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Old 12-17-2021, 06:56 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Default Cargo revisited

Since there was a recent thread about Peavey and CA Guitars production, I was motivated to dig out one of my Cargos and give it a spin.

I put a new set of D'Addario EJ-1 strings on it. These are the strings I have always used on my Cargos. I was again surprised at how these guitars sound. A big, deep (but not muffled or muddy) sound and the depth of this guitar is only half that of the McPherson Touring.

One thing I like better about the Cargo over the Touring is that the string spacing is wider at the saddle on the Cargo, making it a bit more fingerstyle friendly.

I must say that there is just a certain "something" about the Cargo that no other guitar I have has. It is almost like a favorite pet. You kind of curl around it when playing. It is just such a weirdly unique looking instrument, very different from anything else.

Though similar in size to the McPherson Touring, it really is its own instrument with a different playing experience. I have said here in other threads that the Touring is what the Cargo would have been if it had been allowed to fully mature. Now, I am not so sure about that. It really is its own thing.

I just checked on reverb.com and saw one for $1450 and another for $1750. I doubt that I will want to sell any of mine any time soon.

So, Cargo owners (whoever is remaining after all these years), jump in with your Cargo thoughts.

Here is a video of Rolly Brown playing "Dancing On the Ceiling" on his Cargo:



Tony
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Old 12-17-2021, 10:47 PM
Guitarsquatch Guitarsquatch is offline
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I'm a recent Cargo buyer, though I wanted one back in 2015 or so but I wasn't prepared to pay the $800 they were going for. I was really eyeing up carbon fiber in general and the, but the Cargos really had my attention which stayed with me, so when I was scrolling through Facebook marketplace and saw one about 30 minutes away from me for $400, I nearly had stroke waiting for the person to reply back. I'll admit that at $400, and the fact that I had a Journey OF660, the reselling prospect was very strong and I even put it on Reverb. It was on there for about a week before I decided to sit down with it, and 30 minutes later I took it off of Reverb and put the OF in it's place. It's mind boggling how good it sounds for what it's made from and how small it is. It's such a shame Composite Acoustics didnt last for a few more years, or they'd be right there with McPherson and Emerald in popularity.
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Old 12-17-2021, 11:05 PM
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From about Ď07 to Ď10 (Peavey took over in Ď10), CA was all the rage on the forums and the Cargo was an immediate hit. I took a leap of faith in March Ď08 and was super impressed with my Cargo RT, still am. Iíve owned Emeralds, CAs and a Blackbird, and the only one that has stayed with me through the years is my gateway drug...the Cargo. Itís not going anywhere.
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Old 12-18-2021, 06:03 AM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Originally Posted by Acousticado View Post
From about Ď07 to Ď10 (Peavey took over in Ď10), CA was all the rage on the forums and the Cargo was an immediate hit. I took a leap of faith in March Ď08 and was super impressed with my Cargo RT, still am. Iíve owned Emeralds, CAs and a Blackbird, and the only one that has stayed with me through the years is my gateway drug...the Cargo. Itís not going anywhere.
Two of my Cargos are original CA Guitars from back when they sold new for the high $700s. I think that was around 07 - 08. I was more than satisfied with 2 Cargos, but when discussion began in the MacNichol forum and here that CA Guitars was going out of business, my wife insisted that I buy one more.

I decided that if I could get one exactly like my other two, and at the same price, I would get the third. The Podium had one and I was able to get it at the original price despite the fact that CA Guitars had raised their prices not too long before. I don't remember the date for that purchase, but it was before we knew that Peavey was going to get involved.

All three of my Cargos are RT (road tough) Wine color. I have played a Peavey Cargo a time or two. I can't really explain it, but there is just something for me about those original CA Guitars Cargos and I am glad that is what I have.

While CA Guitars was in full swing, I also ordered through The Podium, spare parts for my Cargos - extra tuning machines, bridge pegs, saddles and nuts. I still have all that too. I just knew somehow that the Cargo was too good and unique to last.

I do recall there were some QC issues along the way with CA Guitars, but The Podium (Marty Reynolds) went over each one that came in and I recall him saying that had to send several of them back due to quality issues. So I never experienced whatever those problems were.

The rumors were that the Cargo was a "loss leader" for CA Guitars, that they lost money on each one sold and the intention of the little Cargo was more of a gateway to their larger instruments than to be anyone's final purchase. They sold for less than the larger guitars, but due to the hands-on intense aspect of working with carbon fiber, cost as much to build. They apparently didn't expect the Cargo to be so popular they couldn't keep up with production.

I still don't know how true this story was, but it was a sad thing when CA Guitars closed their doors. They were innovative. I became interested in McPherson's carbon fiber offerings when I read that Ellis Seal was involved in developing the product after the Michael Kelly version. I tried one or two of those early Michael Kelly models and didn't like them at all, but the newer generation with Ellis Seal were (are) excellent.

That was a fun time when carbon fiber was a new thing in the guitar world and MacNichol forums were ticking along.

When I got my McPherson Sable and Touring, I seriously considered selling my Cargos. My wife prevailed on me to keep them, and I am glad she did. She has always been the voice of reason in my guitar activities.

Tony
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Old 12-18-2021, 06:12 AM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Originally Posted by Guitarsquatch View Post
I'm a recent Cargo buyer, though I wanted one back in 2015 or so but I wasn't prepared to pay the $800 they were going for. I was really eyeing up carbon fiber in general and the, but the Cargos really had my attention which stayed with me, so when I was scrolling through Facebook marketplace and saw one about 30 minutes away from me for $400, I nearly had stroke waiting for the person to reply back. I'll admit that at $400, and the fact that I had a Journey OF660, the reselling prospect was very strong and I even put it on Reverb. It was on there for about a week before I decided to sit down with it, and 30 minutes later I took it off of Reverb and put the OF in it's place. It's mind boggling how good it sounds for what it's made from and how small it is. It's such a shame Composite Acoustics didnt last for a few more years, or they'd be right there with McPherson and Emerald in popularity.
Congrats on getting a Cargo. These really are keepers, as odd looking and great sounding as they are. You were apparently very fortunate to get a Cargo for $400, since I have not seen one selling for even the price I paid for mine.

Peavey seems to have set a much higher price and that is where the market seems to have settled. From what I understand, the $1500 range is where the Cargo needed to be to remain profitable enough for a company to make them. Since I have never been in that business, I can only parrot what I have read and am certainly vulnerable to being proved wrong.

I enjoyed reading your story of obtaining the Cargo. I have to admit that I was spoiled for a long time with having The Podium as a fixture here in the Twin Cities for so long. I moved here in 1978, and discovered The Podium probably a year or two later and had been going there nearly every Saturday since until they unfortunately closed forever.

Being able to walk in and play a Ryan, Olson, CA Guitars, SCGC, Eastman, Collings, and all the other fine instruments commonly discussed here, was just something to do on a Saturday afternoon. If I wanted a Cargo, it was only a 15 minute drive and there they were. I really miss that place.

Willie's American Guitars over in St. Paul is a nice shop that has been around a long time. They currently have a 1937 Martin archtop that I would like to try someday if I can get over there. That is always a fun place too, but there was just something about The Podium that no other shop can replace.

Tony
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Old 12-18-2021, 08:22 AM
Jim in TC Jim in TC is offline
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I must admit I am a bit envious of those under-$1000 Cargos, since I managed to pay top dollar (just after, I think, a big price increase, not long before a significant sale) at over $1500. Not sure exactly when, but a few years back. But hey, buy high, sell low is my motto.

When I first looked at it, at Elderly Instruments, I almost didn't even try it out...seemed just too small to take seriously. I was almost sold after the first chord, and after a few comparisons (to the GS Mini and a few other small, short scale guitars) it went home with me. I still like it a lot, but more often play the newer X7 - as you can surmise, I was bit by the small-body/carbon fiber bug pretty badly...
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Old 12-18-2021, 09:20 AM
Guitarsquatch Guitarsquatch is offline
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The woman I bought mine from said she and her husband bought two of them brand new (she didn't have the other one sadly). So I assume since they were around $800 when she bought it, she sold it at $400 since it was used, without checking the market.
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Old 12-18-2021, 09:44 AM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Originally Posted by Guitarsquatch View Post
The woman I bought mine from said she and her husband bought two of them brand new (she didn't have the other one sadly). So I assume since they were around $800 when she bought it, she sold it at $400 since it was used, without checking the market.
That was a lucky break. CA Guitars (as I recall) started raising their prices around 2009 to something over $1k. When Peavey re-introduced the Cargo, it was around $1500 as I recall, so the woman you bought from must have purchased hers around the time that Acousticado (Tom) and I bought ours, when they were selling for the upper $700s to $800. That would make your Cargo one of the originals (like owning a pre-CBS Fender).

Tony
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Old 12-18-2021, 09:47 AM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Originally Posted by Jim in TC View Post
I must admit I am a bit envious of those under-$1000 Cargos, since I managed to pay top dollar (just after, I think, a big price increase, not long before a significant sale) at over $1500. Not sure exactly when, but a few years back. But hey, buy high, sell low is my motto.

When I first looked at it, at Elderly Instruments, I almost didn't even try it out...seemed just too small to take seriously. I was almost sold after the first chord, and after a few comparisons (to the GS Mini and a few other small, short scale guitars) it went home with me. I still like it a lot, but more often play the newer X7 - as you can surmise, I was bit by the small-body/carbon fiber bug pretty badly...
To me, it is the small body carbon fiber guitars that really benefit the most from that material due to the small size, big sound factor. So I can certainly understand being bitten by that bug. Heck, I own three Cargos and two Tourings.

Don't feel bad though about missing the price point. I celebrate that because it is one of the few times in my life that I have been fortunate in that regard. When I worked for tech startups back in the 90s and early 2000s, there were some that I missed the stock purchase by even a few days to get the big win.

By the way, I think Kramster is the big guy around here for CA Guitars and all things carbon fiber. He was always getting the latest and greatest carbon fiber offering, even back in the MacNichol days. That guy IS Mr. Music. He played wonderful piano/keyboard AND guitar, and who knows what else. Where is he these days?

Tony
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Old 12-18-2021, 01:38 PM
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Still have my first Cargo.. that one that stared in "The Cargoians" with the Sunrise pick up , The pickup it came with and a K&K ...I better play it some






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Old 12-18-2021, 02:00 PM
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I had a beautiful Carbon Burst Cargo for a few years, I made the mistake of selling it to get an X7. Now I have neither, but am the fairly new owner of a Touring. The Touring is pretty special too, but I agree that it is different than the Cargo was. All great guitars, and I doubt my Touring will ever be for sale. One thing Tony told me was that the Touring will quickly become a favorite, and it has, the small body and big tone are great and a pleasure. It does give the Sable a run for the money.
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Old 12-18-2021, 02:43 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Still have my first Cargo.. that one that stared in "The Cargoians" with the Sunrise pick up , The pickup it came with and a K&K ...I better play it some






There he is! Well, it appears that several of us have kept our first Cargos. There is something special about them isn't there?

The Cargoians were something else too, and a perfect depiction of what "Cargo" is all about. Hopefully they are still lurking about and ready to pop out again at a moment's notice.

Tony
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Old 12-18-2021, 02:45 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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I had a beautiful Carbon Burst Cargo for a few years, I made the mistake of selling it to get an X7. Now I have neither, but am the fairly new owner of a Touring. The Touring is pretty special too, but I agree that it is different than the Cargo was. All great guitars, and I doubt my Touring will ever be for sale. One thing Tony told me was that the Touring will quickly become a favorite, and it has, the small body and big tone are great and a pleasure. It does give the Sable a run for the money.
Yes, the Touring is also definitely a unique instrument, though not as far-fetched looking as the Cargo. In a comedy duo, the Touring would be the "straight man" to the Cargoian comedian (with a nod to Kramster's creations).

Tony
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Old 12-18-2021, 02:48 PM
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T

The Cargoians were something else too, and a perfect depiction of what "Cargo" is all about. Hopefully they are still lurking about and ready to pop out again at a moment's notice.

Tony
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Old 12-18-2021, 02:55 PM
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There he is! Well, it appears that several of us have kept our first Cargos. There is something special about them isn't there?

The Cargoians were something else too, and a perfect depiction of what "Cargo" is all about. Hopefully they are still lurking about and ready to pop out again at a moment's notice.

Tony
...Along with trusty accomplices, Gumby & Pokey!
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