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Old 09-15-2020, 02:01 PM
thegreatgumbino thegreatgumbino is offline
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Default Would you buy a McPherson Touring or Emerald X7?

Looking for advice from those who have played both. I've only had my hands on the Touring and was very impressed with the sound and build quality. The X7 intrigues me due to the cheaper price and the longer scale. From the clips I've heard, I prefer the Touring tone. Primarily looking for a smaller guitar for couch, outside and taking on the go.
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Old 09-15-2020, 04:26 PM
jdinaz jdinaz is offline
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I may be disqualified since I have never played a touring, but I'll still give you my input. I've owned the current and last version of the X7 and X20, and own a Sable now, with that experience, I wouldn't have to think about the choice at all, I would buy a Touring. And I likely will when funds are there. Also, I'd buy from LA Guitars so that I have an eval period. Just in case. I'm sure other dealers offer the same. Good Luck !
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Old 09-15-2020, 05:23 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Since I don't have any experience with the Emerald X7, I can't comment on it, nor make comparisons to the Touring. I can give you my impressions of the Touring...

The first thing to address is that the Touring has a very short scale - 22 3/4", just like the Cargo. If you have played a Cargo, then you will have a feel for the Touring. However, the Touring has a 1 3/4" with a 2 3/16" saddle string spacing, where the Cargo differs with a wider 2 1/4" saddle string spacing.

Personally, I have always liked the short scale. It is great for those longer stretches that can be difficult on a full scale guitar. Also, for aging fingers, to me the short scale is a welcome relief, making the Touring a very comfortable guitar to play.

I always use a strap with my guitars, so handling the small Touring is never an issue. If anything, it is very comfortable, standing or sitting.

That said, there are many people who are put off by the short scale, and I think that if you aren't sure, it is really best to try before you buy (or have a good return policy). Just because one person loves that scale is no guarantee that another will. If you consider the short scale to be a compromise that you are willing to put up with in a travel situation, I would guess you will probably not be happy with it in the long run.

As for quality, McPherson seems to be a real stickler for quality in everything I have seen. My nephews, who are bow hunters, say that McPherson makes the finest carbon fiber hunting bows in the world. If they care that much about that manufacturing process, it isn't a stretch to realize they would also feel that way about their guitars.

For whatever reason, small guitars made of carbon fiber do not seem to suffer the boxiness that so many wood guitars do at that size. To me, the Touring sounds as good as the Sable (I have both), but a bit smaller (not much, considering the difference in size).

To me, the sound is very balanced with excellent note to note separation, and I detect no wolf tones. The guitar has an L.R. Baggs Element system installed. This has an under saddle pickup and a preamp with controls just inside the sound hole. Some people like this pickup, and some don't. I am fine with it, but then I rarely plug in anymore. The 9v battery is in a pouch inside the guitar, attached with Velcro so it doesn't flop around.

If you want a guitar that really is maintenance free for life (other than string changes), I would get the "gold package" with the gold EVO frets. The Schaller tuners in this package are the same ones they use on their expensive wood guitars, so they are pretty fine too.

I am using Elixir HD Light nanoweb strings on my Sable and Touring, and am very happy with these. These are the strings that Andy Powers put together for their Taylor guitars. I really like them on my Taylors, and am really p,lease with them on my McPhersons. They have light gauge lower three strings (E, A, D strings) and medium on the upper three strings (G, B, E strings). I don't recall what McPherson ships with, but they were just fine too as I recall.

In my opinion, the carbon fiber McPhersons play very similar to a Taylor in the feel of the neck and fretboard and string spacing. If you like that, you will probably like these guitars. I own both Taylor and McPherson guitars, so that is where my opinion comes from.

I can honestly tell you that the Touring could easily be my only guitar (but then that is now true of all my guitars). I broke one bone in my right wrist years ago, and ever since then, I only have partial rotation of that wrist (90 degrees vs the normal 180 degrees). Because of that, the Touring is much easier for me to handle than a full size guitar, and as I get older, this is becoming more of an issue.

Personally,I think the main issue for somebody looking at the Touring will be the short scale, which is why I spent some time on it. With the Touring, I treat it as a 12 fret guitar that has some reach beyond that, rather than expecting the fluency of a 14 fret cut-away in that upper region.

If you arrange tunes yourself, you would arrange to the instruments you wish to play, and then there is no problem. If you only play what other people arranged, then you might need a guitar like the instrument the arrangement was written for. One of the great things about the guitar is that it seems to have a much more DIY attitude in its culture than so many other instruments do, so arranging for yourself is quite normal.

One last thing...the Touring comes with BOTH a very nice quality gig bag AND a very nice quality hard shell case, as well as two saddles of differing heights and a very nice nylon strap that is quite comfortable and fits rolled up in the case. Make sure, if you buy a Touring, that you get everything it is supposed to come with. There should be some goodies in the case compartment of the hard shell case. As I recall, there were some McPherson guitar picks and some information.

I hope that helps...

Tony
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Old 09-15-2020, 06:21 PM
Irishrep Irishrep is offline
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I have a x-7 and a touring. I do like both - but for the purpose you say you want one..... I suggest the touring. It sounds like a much bigger guitar than it actually is. The emerald is a unique guitar and the veneers tend to pull players in, but the neck and workmanship of the Mcpherson will make you happy in the long run. The only downside to the touring is the lack of a truss rod. I believe that the emerald is a much more rugged guitar. But that is only my opinion. Molding everything at once gives a strong guitar. Tough decision- what the heck - buy them both.
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Old 09-15-2020, 07:03 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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There is a video on youtube with a McPherson employee (Larry) being interviewed about the Touring and Sable. He talked at length about how much stronger the McPherson neck is than steel due to its particular construction. Apparently, the neck will never move. I didn't bother to mention this since it isn't a concern that I have ever given any thought to. If the neck relief is right when you get the guitar, it should always be right.

This is from their web site: Non-adjustable truss rod (adjustment is not needed because carbon fiber does not move like wood does)

https://mcphersonguitars.com/carbon-series/touring/

Here:



...at about :47 you can see the neck construction.

Here is the discussion about the neck design:



...at about 5:45 is a brief discussion.

Tony
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Last edited by tbeltrans; 09-15-2020 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 09-15-2020, 07:07 PM
jdinaz jdinaz is offline
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Great write up Tony, I'm not the OP, but I sure appreciate the info about the Touring. The Sable shocks me everyday with how good it is, if the touring is even close.....
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Old 09-15-2020, 07:21 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdinaz View Post
Great write up Tony, I'm not the OP, but I sure appreciate the info about the Touring. The Sable shocks me everyday with how good it is, if the touring is even close.....
It is close, surprisingly so. It sounds smaller than the Sable by virtue of its physical size, but not in a way that compromises its sound quality. I don't know how McPherson did it. Sometimes I think it would be worth it to try to get at least a part time job there just to learn how they did it.

As mentioned in my earlier post, I don't have any experience with the Emerald guitars of recent years, so hopefully nobody takes any of my commentary as comparison to Emerald.

Tony
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Old 09-15-2020, 08:17 PM
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steelvibe steelvibe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeltrans View Post
It is close, surprisingly so. It sounds smaller than the Sable by virtue of its physical size, but not in a way that compromises its sound quality. I don't know how McPherson did it. Sometimes I think it would be worth it to try to get at least a part time job there just to learn how they did it.

As mentioned in my earlier post, I don't have any experience with the Emerald guitars of recent years, so hopefully nobody takes any of my commentary as comparison to Emerald.

Tony
I think it is because of the same reason CA guitars sound so good? it's bracing. Not because CF needs it, but rather because it helps direct the sound to a more traditional reference. RainSong and Emerald's lack of bracing may lend to a much more mid-heavy and trebly tone?
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Old 09-16-2020, 03:31 AM
Irishrep Irishrep is offline
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There is a noticeable difference in action when I put medium strings on my touring verses light strings. The original designer for CA guitars helped develop the McPherson carbon versions. I also had a Composite Acoustic OX but I sold it. I had issues that the neck developed a bow that I could not adjust. I also had issues with the bracing loosening and rattling on the open A string. Back to the factory twice (while it was open) before it was acceptable. After that experience, I try to buy guitars that can be slightly tweaked if needed. The touring is a very responsive guitar- that is why the bass is strong. Mcpherson knows how to work with harmonics to get the most out of that small box. I feel it would be perfect if it had some adjustment to account for different strings - regardless of what the manufacturer says.
If you want a small guitar that sounds more like a big one- get the touring.

Last edited by Irishrep; 09-16-2020 at 03:32 AM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 09-16-2020, 05:31 AM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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Maybe you should consider 6 Baby Taylor Hog tops, or 4 GS Minis and discard them as needed :~).
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:33 AM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelvibe View Post
I think it is because of the same reason CA guitars sound so good? it's bracing. Not because CF needs it, but rather because it helps direct the sound to a more traditional reference. RainSong and Emerald's lack of bracing may lend to a much more mid-heavy and trebly tone?
I think there is a lot to that idea. I do remember that CA Guitars had their bracing specifically for that purpose, though I can't comment on RainSong or Emerald's tone.

Also, the back and sides, as discussed by Larry in the NAMM youtube interview I linked in my previous posts, have much to do with the sound. I read CA Guitars' patent on their back and sides and that was their focus in their design too - to achieve a warmer, "woodier" tone. Both CA Guitars and McPherson, rather than straight carbon fiber back and sides as other makers use, instead chose to use a mixture of materials. In the case of CA Guitars, as I recall, it was layered carbon fiber and then their proprietary material, while McPherson (according to the interview) use a mixture of carbon fiber pellets and their proprietary material.

However, in both cases, as you mentioned, the bracing is used to "tune" the sound to get what these respective companies wanted. I have both Cargos and McPhersons, and both seem to have similar qualities, though the McPherson is more balanced and with better clarity. For some time now, I have been saying that I think the McPherson Touring is what the Cargo would have been, had it been allowed to fully mature through proper R & D. CA Guitars was definitely on to something good, and McPherson finished the job.

Tony
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:42 AM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishrep View Post
There is a noticeable difference in action when I put medium strings on my touring verses light strings. The original designer for CA guitars helped develop the McPherson carbon versions. I also had a Composite Acoustic OX but I sold it. I had issues that the neck developed a bow that I could not adjust. I also had issues with the bracing loosening and rattling on the open A string. Back to the factory twice (while it was open) before it was acceptable. After that experience, I try to buy guitars that can be slightly tweaked if needed. The touring is a very responsive guitar- that is why the bass is strong. Mcpherson knows how to work with harmonics to get the most out of that small box. I feel it would be perfect if it had some adjustment to account for different strings - regardless of what the manufacturer says.
If you want a small guitar that sounds more like a big one- get the touring.
When I look inside both my Touring and my Cargo, the bracing looks as if it is part of the molded top, rather than separate pieces glued on. The OX is a different model that came along after the Cargo was introduced, and I think CA Guitars may have done various changes in the design. So it is entirely possible that the braces were treated differently in that design.

Since the changes I made between the strings that were on my Touring when I bought it, and the strings I currently use, I would not have experienced the changes in action that you did. You do make interested points worth exploring. I never use medium gauge strings myself because I am after "easy play", but maybe somebody else here might be willing to try it. The strings I use now do have medium gauge top three strings as I described in an earlier post, but I have not noticed any changes in action.

I do believe thought that, according to the youtube NAMM interview, the Touring neck is much stronger than the Cargo neck and therefore may possibly not flex. At least, that is McPherson's claim.

As for the quality problems you experienced, I have three original Cargos and none have given me any trouble. I know that CA Guitars had QC issues, and I also know that Marty at the then Podium inspected each guitar that came in and sent several back for that reason. So the Cargos I bought were pre-inspected specifically for those kinds of issues. There are "good ones" and "not-so-good-ones" floating around out there, depending on whether the shop folks purchased their guitars from did such inspection or not.

I have yet to hear of problems with a McPherson. They seem to have a very solid manufacturing process.

Tony
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Old 09-16-2020, 08:56 AM
thegreatgumbino thegreatgumbino is offline
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Thanks for the responses, folks. I ordered a Touring. Should be here in a few days. Let the waiting begin.
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:06 AM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Thanks for the responses, folks. I ordered a Touring. Should be here in a few days. Let the waiting begin.
Congrats! Please do post your own impressions once you get to know your Touring. The more perspective people have, the better their own decisions on future purchases will be.

Reviews don't have to be a "love fest", but rather a real world evaluation - what you like and what you don't like about the guitar. Though I can't find anything not to like about the Touring, I realize that for many folks, the very short scale may be a real sticking point. Also, to address the concern about the neck possibly moving and therefore requiring a truss rod, I dug up what McPherson had to say, since I personally can't find any fault or first hand knowledge to support their claims.

Tony
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Old 09-16-2020, 03:50 PM
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If you ask me and best you don't... get both. Hope this helps a little
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