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Old 08-25-2018, 09:59 AM
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Default Emerald Guitars: What's the Deal???

I hear a lot of stuff about Emerald guitars. What's the deal with them???
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Old 08-25-2018, 10:59 AM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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I hear a lot of stuff about Emerald guitars. What's the deal with them???
The deal? They are made in Ireland and sell direct; top quality carbon fiber guitars that are designed with great sound and ergonomics in mind. Spend some time on this sub-forum and you will learn a lot about Emerald and what they offer.

I have been playing guitar for 53 years; have managed to pick up a thing or two along the way. I bought my first Emerald a couple years ago, and it changed the way I consider guitars now. I own an X7 (parlor size) that travels with us; also an X20 that replaced my Taylor 814ce as the top guitar in my small stable. Love the sound; extremely comfortable to play. Love the offset soundhole. Love the ease of care of carbon fiber. Love the craftsmanship of the way the Emeralds are made.

"The deal" is: the Emeralds may just change your perception of what a modern guitar should be. Yeah, I still have some wood guitars, but I don't see that I would be adding any more (more likely that I will be selling off some).

I used to be a "Gibson guy." Tried other brands and found I was a "guitar guy." My last few wood guitars have been Taylors. Then, I tried a carbon fiber guitar (RainSong Shorty) to eliminate the hassle of changing climates... and discovered I like the carbon fiber tone. Bought another Taylor, this time a Grand Concert, looking for comfort. Then bought that first Emerald. Wish I would have made that move earlier.

---- On edit, I see that you already have a couple RainSongs, so I don't have to tell you about the advantages of carbon fiber. So, a lot of the above was wasted effort on my part. From my perspective, RainSong makes nice guitars - more traditional in shape, so they are a natural for a wood guitar guy moving to carbon fiber. Emerald offers better ergonomics (for me), and (big deal) I prefer the tone. I think there are players who appreciate both. I sold my RS Shorty a few months ago because it wasn't getting any playing time since getting the Emeralds.

I would further classify them by shape: the RainSongs are more traditional, the Emeralds are more modern. When I first saw an off-set soundhole, it just didn't look right to me... after getting the Emeralds, the center soundhole looks "old fashioned" to me... and I really like the playing experience with the upturned soundhole.

So, "the deal" is: you should try an Emerald. You have some nice guitars. You just might be ready for the upgrade. ;-)

Last edited by Captain Jim; 08-25-2018 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 08-25-2018, 11:20 AM
mot mot is offline
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I only have experience with an X20. It plays well. It sounds great. I can probably get as good of a sound and playing experience from high end wood guitars, but not the robustness. I almost never need to tweak the tuning when I pick it up. I can leave it out forever with no problems regardless of the heat or humidity. It's extremely comfortable with the beveling.

Captain's played guitars longer than I've been alive, but like him I wish I had discovered CF guitars sooner in my life.
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Old 08-25-2018, 12:02 PM
Carmel Cedar Carmel Cedar is offline
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Captain Jimís response covers it well. I would only add that the ability to customize a guitarís looks, neck shape, scale length and a few other attributes sets Emerald apart. Some of the mods are not cheap, but you have an ability to customize a guitar in ways no other carbon fiber (an few, if any, factory-built wood) guitar makers can offer. To me, that is a huge differentiator that makes Emerald unique.
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Old 08-25-2018, 01:01 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Adding to the posts above, I can speak to a wider range of CF ownership than many. I was an early adopter of Rainsong in 2001, with a classic WS-1000. We lived in Alaska where the winters made it a real struggle to keep the RH in the house up to 20%. I had to aggressively humidify everything made of wood, and that took a lot of effort. Rainsong was the only thing that could safely stay out of a case handy to play, even overnight. RS also tolerated different environments for gigs, camping, and guitar camps far better than wood.

These days, we own CF guitars made by Rainsong, Blackbird, Composite Acoustics, and in the last year three from Emerald. The wooden guitars now get virtually zero play time, and since the Emeralds got here, even the other CF guitars get fairly little play. If I had to let everything but the Emeralds, go I'd be OK for the rest of my playing days. The Emerald's comfy ergonomics and warm tone have spoiled me for conventional guitar shapes. Putting it in wooden terms, the Rainsong tone is bright, clear, and bell-like. Their CH series is mellower and warmer, more wood-like. The Emeralds are generally mellower, more like a mahogany / cedar guitar versus a modern-voiced spruce topped guitar. A standard Rainsong is akin to a classic X-braced Taylor 814, and the Emerald X20 is more like a 524 with an arm bevel.

We own both stock and customized Emeralds now (X20, custom X20-12, X7 Woody). The stock models are pretty awesome, and the ability to modify from stock is unique in the CF world. The shorter 24.6" scale length makes my X20-12 easier to play than almost every twelve string I've ever tried. The biggest down side is that Emerald only sells direct - no dealers - so test driving is a challenge, unless you know someone like here in the CF room, and can connect to try theirs. If you buy something from stock and don't like it, Emerald is cool about returns. You just eat the shipping (~$90 from Idaho back to Ireland, and the $55 that they charge you at the initial purchase). I really cannot imagine buying another CF guitar that doesn't come from Donegal, Ireland even as much as I appreciate the other makers. So that's the deal, RP.
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Old 08-25-2018, 02:49 PM
jdinco jdinco is offline
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Like Earl, I had a Rainsong OM years ago, it wasn't as good as the modern RS guitars. More recently I've owned a Shorty and a WS, they were sold shortly after the Emeralds showed up on my door step, not saying one is better than the other, just what i prefer. My experience has been that you can get a nice wood guitar that competes tone wise with my X20, but it will cost you at least twice as much. I was playing the X20 yesterday for a couple hours, it is a special guitar that impresses every time I pick it up. I'm hoping to add one of the new X7's to my wall soon. You already appreciate the CF guitars it looks like, so you gotta try one RP....maybe find an owner near you??
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Old 08-25-2018, 03:26 PM
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I have a few around here somewhere and yes...I like them a lot.
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YUP....
Emerald: X-20, Center hole X-10 (Maple) and X-7 (redwood), Amicus, Paduak X7,X10, & X30, Spalted Chen Chen X 10,
CA: Early OX and Cargo
Blackbird: Savoy
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Old 08-25-2018, 04:53 PM
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eatswodo eatswodo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RP View Post
I hear a lot of stuff about Emerald guitars. What's the deal with them???
Well, there's clearly a lot of love for them here, for well-articulated reasons - many of which were instrumental in getting me to spend more money on my upcoming X20 than I've ever spent on a guitar before, in nearly half a century of playing.

As I mentioned in a recent post, the first CF guitar I played was a CA Cargo at the late lamented Podium in Minneapolis. That one nearly came home with me, I was so taken with the look, the tone, and the playability. Next came a Rainsong (I don't recall which model), a few years later at my local GC. It was, quite simply, stunning to play and listen to - but boring to look at. Then I became aware of Emerald. Frankly, the early ones didn't appeal that much; I didn't care for the bridge design, particularly, and the cosmetics were a bit OTT for my tastes.

Fast forward a few years. Retirement beckons. I'm a bit older, and a bit creakier. Emerald's current designs cater for my specific needs ergonomically, all the videos and reviews I've been able to find suggest that I'm going to love the way it plays, sounds, and feels - and frankly, to my eyes, the design is streets ahead of the competition. Rainsong? Lovely instruments, but aesthetically, for me, they're duds. Blackbird eKoa? Yuck. Why not celebrate the newer materials, instead of making something that looks like Formica?

All in good humour, of course
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Old 08-26-2018, 07:22 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Originally Posted by eatswodo View Post
......Blackbird eKoa? Yuck. Why not celebrate the newer materials, instead of making something that looks like Formica?
All in good humour, of course
Humor acknowledged

But just to be clear for those that might not "get" it or for those who have never seen one in person, don't come down too harshly on ekoa. It looks like mahogany and the El Capitan sounds and feels very much like a Taylor GA. Savoy sounds more like a LOUD mahogany bodied parlor. My Farallon tenor uke sounds every bit as good - but slightly different - than a $1500 boutique built mahogany ukulele that we also own.
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:55 AM
GuitarDoc GuitarDoc is offline
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If you purchase a carbon fiber you can join our family...😂
All kidding aside. Iím down in Chesapeake and you fire me a PM. Some weekend weíll hook up and you can try my x30 12.
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Old 08-27-2018, 11:32 PM
Mark L Mark L is offline
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OP,

If by chance you’re looking for a 12 string acoustic guitar, I believe the Emerald X20-12 to be tha absolute best 12 string available, ever. I include my current Custom Shop Martin 0000 (J body), Takamine 400S-12and Rainsong WS3000, as well as numerous past Taylors, Guilds, Martins, Yamahas and even the 3 Collings O-12’s I’ve played.

The Emerald X20-12, acoustic or amplified, is superior in every way, imo. An astoundingly good instrument, flatpicked, fingerpicked, strummed, acoustic or using the electronics. I love mine, bought through agf classifieds.

There are other good CF guitars, the 3 I’ve kept are the Rainsong Al Petteway LE (extremely good instrument), the Rainsong WS3000 (no longer made), and the Composite Acoustics Cargo (a surprisingly fine and interesting “travel” guitar).

There are several players I am aware of who prefer the CA Cargo and the RS Parlor to the Emerald X7, which is also an excellent parlor.

So I’ll stick my neck out and shoot you an answer to your “what’s the deal” query: they’re excellent guitars made by an excellent, forward looking company, that are enjoying an apparent surge due to mostly their inherent excellence and locally due to a minor, often humorous push from some of their fans (fanclub?) that post a lot in this forum.

Emeralds are not all perfect, and the experimental nature of their guiding creative force, Alistair Hay, can lead things a bit too far off the beaten path now and again, the attempts to introduce unproven CF tuners being a case in point. Wood veneers are not necessarily for everyone either I think. For the most part though, there are several Emeralds I wouldn’t mind trying and perhaps keeping, X20 6 string and a nylon string being foremost, and perhaps a Bari as well. Perhaps a plain black Chimaera 6/12?!

Finally, OP, always remember when reading on fora such as these, that you’ve likely never heard or seen any of these posters play. Me included. While some do have youtube or soundslice sites (for better and worse), you more often don’t know if they strum/sing, flatpick fiddle tunes, play in altered tunings, Travis pick, thumb and 3 classical finger style, play swing or bebop or Gypsy, etc. You don’t know if they play John Denver, Thelonious Monk or JS Bach, or all 3 (at the same time?) and then some. Do they plug in? I have often been shocked, when I’m able to go audition an instrument at some seller’s house, at the gap between owning an instrument and being able to play it. Witness the current comments in the general posting forum under the topic “do you own a guitar which highlights your bad technique” or somesuch. Geez.

How does one really judge an online comment, or critique of an instrument? Op, you have over 12k posts in 12years, so you must be somewhat aware of the nature of the game.

And really, people have been known to beat the internet drum about a brand just to keep the consciousness and value up when it’s time to sell their lifetime keeper, after a couple of years of possession, to the next guy in line. Lots of business and marketing degrees out there.

So finally, with best wishes to all, what was the question??
I kid, gentlemen, I kid. It was, iirc, “what’s the deal?”

“Ymmv”. “Play music”.

Last edited by Mark L; 08-28-2018 at 12:06 AM.
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Old 08-28-2018, 01:46 AM
pandaroo pandaroo is offline
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My X20 sound and looks incredible. I have had it for a while now so honeymoon period is over. To me, it is the best CF guitar out there now. My Rainsong hardly get played, just hands down, not even close, absolutely cannot compete with my X20, ergonomically, tonally and aesthetically.
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Last edited by pandaroo; 08-28-2018 at 01:54 AM.
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Old 08-28-2018, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by pandaroo View Post
My X20 sound and looks incredible. I have had it for a while now so honeymoon period is over. To me, it is the best CF guitar out there now. My Rainsong hardly get played, just hands down, not even close, absolutely cannot compete with my X20, ergonomically, tonally and aesthetically.


^^^ Whar pandaroo said.
I love my Rainsong H-OM but when I got my X20 i was amazed by it. The tone is closer to wood and it is the most comfortable guitar I own.
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Old 08-28-2018, 09:50 AM
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While some of you were put off by my use of the word "deal" to gather information about Emerald guitars, I really appreciate those of you who offered really good info and insights into what seems to be an amazing line of CF guitars...
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Old 08-28-2018, 09:53 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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I still really like the playability and tone of my WS-1000, but the ergonomics of the X-20 are so sweet. The arm bevel is really spoiling me for any other guitar. And X20's tone is mellower too - noticeably less in-your-face, and not quite as loud.
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