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Old 05-09-2020, 06:12 PM
Jochiro Jochiro is offline
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Default Decisions, Decisions

Hi Yall, Im torn! Torn between McPherson Sable and Emerald x20. I am leaning looks wise towards the Emerald but from all the info I can gather the McPherson may be the better guitar. Wish I could have both but I can only pick one. Please someone, sway me one way or the other.
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Old 05-09-2020, 07:33 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Originally Posted by Jochiro View Post
Hi Yall, Im torn! Torn between McPherson Sable and Emerald x20. I am leaning looks wise towards the Emerald but from all the info I can gather the McPherson may be the better guitar. Wish I could have both but I can only pick one. Please someone, sway me one way or the other.
Considering that this is a guitar forum in which nobody takes the fiscally conservative route, my recommendation is to buy both and then tell us which you prefer.

I have not experience with the Emerald, but I am fairly certain that there are a fortunate few who have it all - the Emerald X20 AND the McPherson Sable. Maybe they can come in here and tells what's what in carbonland.

Tony
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Old 05-09-2020, 07:34 PM
jdinaz jdinaz is offline
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Those are expensive guitars, make sure you have a good return policy if you can't find them to try. I haven't played a Sable, but I can tell you that my X20 is a wonderful guitar.
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Old 05-09-2020, 07:35 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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... and I can tell you that the Sable is a wonderful guitar. I guess you will just have to buy both.

Tony
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Old 05-09-2020, 07:40 PM
jdinaz jdinaz is offline
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2 wonderful guitars....it's settled. Any other questions?
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Old 05-09-2020, 07:53 PM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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A tough decision for sure. I have both and I do like the look of the X20 a little better but that's where it ends (for me). The fit and finish on the Sable is much better than on my X20. Comfort and playability are good on both but tonally the Sable has a nice warm tone that really doesn't sound too different from a wooden guitar. They're both nice and I think you would be happy with either one. If I could only pick one it would be the Sable.
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Old 05-09-2020, 08:43 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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And, from another point of view: I have 3 Emeralds. I have played both McPherson carbon fiber models - they are very nice guitars. I still have the 3 Emeralds.
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Old 05-09-2020, 09:21 PM
Jochiro Jochiro is offline
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I guess I cant miss. Thanks for the info. Its much appreciated
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Old 05-09-2020, 10:05 PM
Dbone Dbone is offline
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Sable is where I would go
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Old 05-10-2020, 01:49 AM
Tf Tf is offline
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I have a clear preference for the Sable tone wise, but both are excellent guitars.
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Old 05-10-2020, 06:32 AM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Maybe this will help...

Reading through this thread again, I get the idea that both guitars are nice, both guitars play easily enough, but that the each have their own distinctive sound.

Since I have not yet played an current model Emerald, I can't comment on its sound. I will admit that a part of my decision was that the McPherson line is available right here in town and I was able to get really good deals by just walking in and saving them the hassle of having to ship. Emerald offered to let me try before I buy, but I liked the McPherson product very well and wouldn't look forward to having to ship guitars back and forth to Ireland. But that is just me. Many people are fine with such shipping and probably do it all the time.

With the Sable, it does have a nice warm tone. My main style is fingerstyle chord melody (some might refer to it as jazz). I would compare it to cocktail style piano. The Sable seems perfect for that. If I use a thumbpick and play Travis style (a nice diversion once in a while), it seems to work well for that too. It does not have a "jangley" sound, but instead, a thick and warm tone.

It may well be that the Emerald has its signature sound that is better suited to certain styles than others. If only you could try before you buy, playing the music that you like to play, you could judge for yourself. From what I understand reading in this forum, the Sable is not commonly available for many folks to walk in and try either. McPherson is located about a 90 minute drive from me, so I would expect somebody around here to carry their products. Both Fret Central and Guitar Center do. However, we have 3 or 4 Guitar Centers around here, and I think only one carries McPherson (the one closest to me).

Maybe those who have had the opportunity to play both the Emerald X20 and the McPherson Sable, could comment on which they prefer for what types of music. But, then maybe both are good all around guitars too (which wouldn't help your decision). You have not indicated what music you like to play unless I missed that part of your posts, but among such posts, you might discern a pattern that helps you decide. This thread could then serve in the future for others faced with the same decision.

Tony
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Old 05-10-2020, 08:59 AM
EvanB EvanB is offline
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The easiest way to make the decision is to purchase a Blackbird, thus avoiding the need to purchase two instruments or always wondering if you did right in purchasing only one of two choices.

Or maybe you just buy all three and cover all the bases.
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Old 05-10-2020, 09:10 AM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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The easiest way to make the decision is to purchase a Blackbird, thus avoiding the need to purchase two instruments or always wondering if you did right in purchasing only one of two choices.

Or maybe you just buy all three and cover all the bases.
Yep! This is called the paradox of choice. The problem is that when we have to many good choices, we will often look back, second guessing if we made the right choice, thus diminishing from the full enjoyment we might otherwise have.

Fortunate for me is that I strongly prefer "try before you buy", and since only Rainsong and McPherson are locally available, the choice for me was easy. I didn't like the Rainsong necks and there was nothing I didn't like about the McPherson. If there were Emeralds hanging on the shop wall, well, then I might be in trouble.

For somebody who must order whatever guitar s/he chooses, that person will face the paradox of choice.

Tony
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Old 05-10-2020, 09:33 AM
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I owned an X20, I've only read about the Sable. But, from what I can gather, the Sable has a mellower, "woodier" tone than the X20. Again, i can't comment on the Sable, but I did find the X20 kind of sharp and "zingy" for lack of a better term. That's far from a universal opinion of the X20, and there may be a difference in guitars as well as obvious differences in what we hear and prefer individually. I found the new X7 to be a warmer sounding guitar than the X20 and every clip I've heard suggests the X30 is too, See people love the X20, but I wouldn't describe the X20 as warm based on my experience with it. The Sable sounds like it would lean further in that direction.

The X20 seems to project more volume - I don't know how much of that is real and how much is perceived by the player based on the bi-directional soundhole that shoots a lot of sound right up at the player, vs the Sable's front facing soundhole. And the X20 has wider string spacing then the Sable, so if you're a finger picker, you may have a preference there.

There is no "better" or worse with these guitars, just what each of us would probably prefer. I suspect I'd prefer a sable for strumming and flat picking and the X20 for fingerpicking. But my preference have nothing to do with your's.

If you have a preference for string spacing, take that into account. If you don't I think all you can do is listen to as many clips from each of them as you can and see if one hits you more at a gut level as being the sound you're looking for. If so, go that way. If not, I think you're down to a coin flip.

-Ray
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Old 05-10-2020, 09:39 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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I cannot really help you decide, since I have only ever played a McPherson CF in passing while visiting Kramster in Phoenix a couple of years ago. It was quite nice, but I don't remember very much specific. At least I don't recall anything remotely negative -- my attentions were clearly elsewhere. During that visit I had a used X20 en route to home, although I had never actually played one before trying his. My wife ended up getting an X7 Version 2 (forward facing sound hole) after trying one at that carbon fiber gathering too. From all reports here, I'm sure that I would be happy with a Sable too.

At the moment, we own a Composite Acoustics Cargo, Blackbird Lucky 13, Rainsong WS-1000 (older version with the original neck) and several Emeralds ranging from X7 to X30. I also have custom short-scale X20 six string currently in the build queue somewhere, to match my custom X20-12.

What I can say about my X20 is that a buddy and I did a side by side shootout with a custom shop Martin OM-28 in his living room last year. In every way, the Emerald beat that Martin that cost twice as much - tone, loudness, playabilty, and intonation. It wasn't even close, and was even obvious to the non-playing spouses. In fact, he called me up last week to ask about the availability of mine. Not until my custom X20 comes in.....
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