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Old 06-13-2020, 10:27 AM
Steve-arino Steve-arino is offline
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Default Carbon Fiber (Ekoa?) Unplugged, Fingerstyle guitar advice

I'm on the lookout for a guitar that is unaffected by humidity, is "easy" to play up and down the neck and has great unplugged acoustic sound. I didn't get serious with my playing until I was 60 years old but now that I'm almost um, gulp, oy, man, 65 (July 4) If find myself playing all the time. Playing has become a major part of my life especially these days when I find myself spending lots more time at home. Strictly fingerstyle I gravitate to blues, Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Dylan, etc. I'm a solo "couch" player. I've gotten to the point where I'm good enough to play through a tune and don't cringe at my playing; that's huge for me.

For reference, I love playing my Martin 000-28MD. And the nuance of its' acoustic tone. I can sit for hours and play this particular guitar. It's a 14 fret, 1 3/4 nut.

I've owned a few CF guitars over the years but have been mostly underwhelmed. Early Emerald X20 (sounded like a CF guitar), Mcpherson Touring (too small) and a Rainsong Parlor (nice but too small). I'm thinking OM size guitar. I'm not biased toward any manufacturer. I'm gravitating towards a CF guitar as humidity in my area can easily move from 20% to 80% and I'd like to leave the guitar out of it's case.

I'm aware of the Blackbird El Capitan, the Savoy, and the McPherson Sable. Do any of you guys (gal) have direct experience with these guitars from a strictly acoustic standpoint? I would try to find one without any electronics.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and practical advice.

Thanks!!!!
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Old 06-13-2020, 10:36 AM
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David Eastwood David Eastwood is offline
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Originally Posted by Steve-arino View Post

I've owned a few CF guitars over the years but have been mostly underwhelmed. Early Emerald X20 (sounded like a CF guitar),
I'm always amused by comments like this. What does a CF guitar sound like?

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I'm aware of the Blackbird El Capitan, the Savoy, and the McPherson Sable. Do any of you guys (gal) have direct experience with these guitars from a strictly acoustic standpoint? I would try to find one without any electronics.
Lots of very happy Sable owners here, in particular - I'm sure one or more will chime in soon enough.
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Old 06-13-2020, 11:11 AM
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If you can find a used or new-old-stock Composite Acoustics GX, that might fit the bill. (Peavy seems to no longer be manufacturing them.) Size is similar to a Taylor GA, and the acoustic tone has often been described as more "woody" than some other CF guitars. They did make versions with a 1-3/4" nut, although there may be fewer out there than the slightly narrower nut versions. They do have a very flat-profile neck, so that's something to be aware of.
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Old 06-13-2020, 12:26 PM
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...I've owned a few CF guitars over the years but have been mostly underwhelmed. Early Emerald X20 (sounded like a CF guitar)...
With that qualifier, I'd be reluctant to suggest anything because it might also sound like a carbon fiber guitar. Let's face it, we've probably all played wooden guitars that were also underwhelming...
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Old 06-13-2020, 12:26 PM
Steve-arino Steve-arino is offline
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I'm always amused by comments like this. What does a CF guitar sound like?

I'm glad you're amused. It simply didn't do it for me.

Lots of very happy Sable owners here, in particular - I'm sure one or more will chime in soon enough.
I'd love to hear from them.
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Old 06-13-2020, 12:44 PM
Steve-arino Steve-arino is offline
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With that qualifier, I'd be reluctant to suggest anything because it might also sound like a carbon fiber guitar. Let's face it, we've probably all played wooden guitars that were also underwhelming...
True enough.

I seem to have hit a sensitive spot on the Carbon Fiber forum :-)), which was not my intention at all. I found the overall sound of the McPherson Touring more pleasing to my particular set of ears. It had a certain warmth and sweetness that I felt the X20 was missing. Maybe I should take a good look at the Sable. It's obviously difficult to get my hands on a recent X7 which might also fit the bill.

I've sold a couple of guitars recently and am interested in a long term keeper made from a material less sensitive to humidity than a wood guitar.
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Old 06-13-2020, 02:10 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Originally Posted by Steve-arino View Post
For reference, I love playing my Martin 000-28MD. And the nuance of its' acoustic tone......I've owned a few CF guitars over the years but have been mostly underwhelmed......I'm gravitating towards a CF guitar as humidity in my area can easily move from 20% to 80% and I'd like to leave the guitar out of it's case.

I'm aware of the Blackbird El Capitan, the Savoy, and the McPherson Sable. Do any of you guys (gal) have direct experience with these guitars from a strictly acoustic standpoint? I would try to find one without any electronics....
Steve, I have an X20 from 2016 and another custom version currently being built. It's just so hard to ignore the ergonomics of those curves and bevels. Last year a buddy of mine had an A/B shootout between my X20 and a five year old custom shop OM-28 that he was considering. We all agreed (including the non-playing spouses) that the X20 was a winner in every way - balanced tone, volume, and playability. So you might want to reconsider. I don't know what specifically might have changed versus the older X20 that you previously tried. The newest version of the X7 is only slightly smaller than the X20 and people like its tone, having described X7 version 3 here as "almost as big sounding as an X20". Physically the X20 seems equivalent to a GA and the newer X7 as more OM-like. We happen to like our older pre-2018 version 2 of the X7's just fine (forward facing sound hole) but they are more like parlor sized.

I also own a Blackbird Lucky 13. When I was in the market I got to try an early El Capitan and described its tone and feel as very much like some of my Taylor GA's. Leaning toward an even smaller guitar I instead chose the Lucky 13. The Savoy was pending but had not been released at that time. I've played one briefly and it sounds fine, but the aesthetics were not for me. It was a bit too small. Similarly I did not care for the aesthetics of the Rainsong Parlor -- the proportions just didn't look "right" -- although the sound was pretty good. I like my WS-1000 just fine, but since the X20 got here, the WS-1000 sees very little play time.

There has been lots of love for the Sable here lately. I only have a brief encounter with one and it left a very favorable impression, but my X20 was actually en route when I test drove the Sable. From what you've said, the Sable may the right answer for you, or possibly a Rainsong OM. Hope this helps some. And no offense taken on your "sounds like CF" comment.

Last edited by Earl49; 06-13-2020 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 06-13-2020, 02:18 PM
JimCA JimCA is offline
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Iím loving my RainSong V-OM. Pricy but nicey. Itís disguised as a wood guitar.

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Old 06-13-2020, 02:18 PM
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I seem to have hit a sensitive spot on the Carbon Fiber forum :-)).
I certainly took no offense - but as I said, the 'sounds like CF' phrase always raises an eyebrow, because I genuinely do not know what it means. My X20s (2018 and 2019) sound like guitars to me

Anyway, good luck with your search. All the Sable owners must be doing something else this weekend, but I'm sure they'll pop up sooner or later.
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Old 06-13-2020, 02:53 PM
Steve-arino Steve-arino is offline
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Thanks for the constructive comments guys. And Earl that's a great thought; maybe it wasn't the X20 - maybe it was me. Ergonomically the X20 ticks all the right boxes for me. And after the last 3 years of playing 2 hours a day I know I'm more aware of what I like and what I don't like.

Again thanks for your thoughts. I'm hearing them. I'll keep my eyes on this thread.
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Old 06-13-2020, 04:14 PM
danielou danielou is offline
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I understand what you mean Steve! I have both the X-20 and 4 rainsongs (2 CO-WS1000, and a Shorty and Parlor. They are all nice guitars in different ways. If you want a warm sounding, bulletproof guitar I'd endorse the CO-WS1000N2, it is a vastly deeper acoustic sound than the parlor. I like the Parlor a lot as well, but the OM body of the CO-WS is just right for size and volume. The top mounted soundhole -CO-WS1005 might be one to consider. The Emerald has nice contours and the top mounted soundhole which is great for the player, but I'd characterize the Rainsong CO-WS1000 as overall warmer, though the Emerald is a keeper also. I also hope to try a McPherson in the coming year.
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Old 06-13-2020, 04:47 PM
esimms86 esimms86 is offline
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I have limited experience with the Blackbird El Capitan and Savoy. A couple of years ago I walked into the Music Emporium in Lexington, MA ready to drop money on the table for an El Capitan. I was underwhelmed by the sound of the El Capitan and was more impressed by the sound of the(smaller and less expensive) Savoy. I had read where others had compared the sound of these two guitars to the sound of a decades old acoustic. In my very limited sampling, I did not find that to be the case and I was most struck by the(to my ears that day) relative lack of overtones(although, admittedly, some folks don't want overtones). Neither of them, to me, could stand up to the sound of the wood guitars I tried out that day but then, the guitars at TME are uniformly high end and great sounding. I ended up leaving with a much more expensive Lowden F32c, which I still own and enjoy. To be certain, I have nothing against Blackbird or Ekoa guitars in general; the two that I played on that one occasion just didn't produce the sound that I was chasing after.

I do recall having very much enjoyed a Composite Acoustics OM style guitar(model?) that I played briefly in the same shop a year or two prior, however, that particularly day I was just kicking tires and the CA guitar was not in stock at the time of any subsequent visits. I am very much NOT an anti-CF guy(in fact, I recently took ownership of an Emerald Kestrel that I am thrilled with. Unfortunately in this case, the Kestrel is not a guitar that would tick your boxes/suit your requirements).

I have been very much impressed but what I've read here and seen/heard on youtube videos of the McPherson Sable. You also stand a way better chance of finding a Sable in the wild to try before you buy, unlike Emeralds which have no participating dealers(they sell only direct from Ireland) and infrequently show up on the used market. Emerald has shipped a number of guitars to individual buyers in and around NYC and maybe you might be lucky enough to find someone on the forum who would allow you to take theirs for a spin(not so easily done during a pandemic but still possible, theoretically at least).
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Old 06-13-2020, 05:29 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-arino View Post
True enough.

I seem to have hit a sensitive spot on the Carbon Fiber forum :-)), which was not my intention at all. I found the overall sound of the McPherson Touring more pleasing to my particular set of ears. It had a certain warmth and sweetness that I felt the X20 was missing. Maybe I should take a good look at the Sable. It's obviously difficult to get my hands on a recent X7 which might also fit the bill.

I've sold a couple of guitars recently and am interested in a long term keeper made from a material less sensitive to humidity than a wood guitar.
I have both the Sable and the Touring. If you like the sound of the Touring, you will probably like the sound of the Sable since they are very similar. To me, the Sable and the Touring both play like a well set up Taylor.

In fact, in another thread, I posted about getting the necessary tools from StewMac to measure and adjust the string height at the nut and the saddle.

When I did the initial measurements, I compared them to my 2019 Taylor K14ce Builder's Edition, and they were identical.

I think that these instruments are set up from the factory as a compromise between a strummer and a fingerstyle player, with the expectation that we will get whatever setup we want. I set the strings on my Sable lower to make it easier to play those big jazz chords. It sounds and plays just fine.

In other words, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Sable, and for most people it is probably just fine as it comes from the factory. If you like playing a decent Taylor, then you will like playing a Sable. If you like the sound of the Touring, then you will like the sound of the Sable.

Tony
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Old 06-13-2020, 09:01 PM
Steve-arino Steve-arino is offline
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Thank you guys for taking the time to offer suggestions. Lots to digest. I'm leaning towards the Sable. I'll probably make a decision later this week.

This is a fun diversion from everyday reality.

I haven't seen my kids in months but we are all getting tested for Covid antibodies and the plan is that they're coming to my place on Father's Day. Two of the three of us are negative and the other will have results this week....

Happy Early Father's Day!
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Old 06-14-2020, 05:33 AM
Fixedgear60 Fixedgear60 is offline
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Interesting discussion... I have owned both the El Capitan & Savoy for a couple of years. Loved there natural looks and playability. The El Capitan as you could imagine has more bass and fuller sound but the Savoy for it size had a nice mid-range sound and not small or boxy. I wound up selling both when I played the McPherson Touring. (Probably should have kept the El Captain in hindsight) I though the Touring had a warmer and sweeter sound to my ears and the short scale and "Taylor" like neck was easier for me to play given my smaller hands. I also was consolidating and wanted to get down to the magic "one" guitar. Given its size, was very easy to travel with and plug in occasionally. I hear the Sable gives you all the great sound but a longer scale. Would love to try someday when stores start to open but given my needs will probably buy another touring with that cool honeycomb top eventually so I can keep one in the office and one in the bedroom. What I like most about the touring is the sound, playability and all business looks and appointments. Satin neck and no slippery back and sides. There is nothing else to buy when you purchase....(two cases, two saddles-med/low, feedback buster....ect). No set up needed... just play!

Everytime I strum the touring... "it's like a magic trick that never gets old"..... I can't believe all that warm balanced sound is coming out of this small guitar.... :-)

Last edited by Fixedgear60; 06-14-2020 at 05:45 AM.
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