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Old 06-02-2019, 11:06 PM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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Default Emerald X20 (Final Mod & general thoughts)

Warning, this will be a lengthy post but I feel that I should share some of the issues that I ran into along the way with this Emerald X20. I stated in my NGD post that the guitar was flawless, well that was to the untrained eye. Here we go starting with most recent mod:

Zero Glide Nut:

[IMG][/IMG]

I have one of these on my Les Paul (installed myself) and love it so I wanted to try one on an acoustic guitar so here it is. It certainly makes the guitar feel easier to play as all the strings sit the same height. I like the string spacing on this one. Here's a link to the nut (https://goldtonemusicgroup.com/zeroglide/products/zs-14). Because Emerald uses a slim nut it took a lot of sanding width and height to get this down to size which leads me to an issue I discovered. The nut slot on my X20 isn't even. It's narrower on the treble side which I never discovered until later but it almost cost me the price of this nut. Whoever did the factory installed nut shaved more off that end of the nut to make it fit instead of fixing the slot. They took the easy way out on that as far as I'm concerned. Anyway it caused me to utter some colorful words. When I was done the install the guitar seemed louder to my ears. I don't understand how this is possible with a nut replacement but that's one thing I hear. Definitely more chimey too. I ordered additonal medium stainless steel frets to match the stock frets but they resulted in buzzing. I ended up installing the jumbo nickel fret for now and sent an email to the company to see if they can send me a jumbo stainless steel fret. I never glued the nut or the fret yet until I hear back from the company. It will be glued though. Anyways I'm very happy with this zero glide nut but a little sour on the nut slot.

Okay so another 2 issues I ran into was installing a pickup system. I ordered the guitar without one so I could put my own Schatten HFN Dual source in it. Some of you might remember the thread I created mentioning the soundboard prep work. It caused me some grief as it was impeding the SBT. Anyways sanding off the prep work cured that problem and made the HFN sound as it should. I'm not a fan of UST's but I wanted a UST as a backup in this guitar to cover all ground. The Schatten UST was a good match as I found it didn't impact the unplugged tone of the guitar. However, I couldn't get consistent volume on all strings. Of course I thought it was the saddle as that's the most likely culprit and at one point I thought it was the pickup. I almost threw in the towel on this one but my stubbornness paid off. The saddle slot was uneven. I couldn't believe it. Anyway I have a saddle slot file and used that to fix the saddle slot and now the UST is working fine. Of course I have that nicely black dyed bone saddle sitting on top of it which I'm very happy with.

Okay the other mod I did was the power pins. I like them, I think they look and function neat except for one problem. When you're constantly removing strings to make saddle adjustments etc they're a pain as you need to loosen your strings a lot more so I ended up taking them off until I was done all my mods (and issues). I'll put them on again next string change. I first put the power pins on when I removed the stock strings so I never noticed this issue until I put the stock pins back on. Whichever tech worked on the bridge on my X20 reamed the hole for the "A" string bigger than the rest so if you put the pins normal the A pin is down about an extra 0.5 cm which looks horrible. Luckily you can manipulate the pin to get it to sit the same height but geez. That should not have left the factory like this.

I realize this post is not gonna sit well with some people but being honest about this stuff is the right thing to do. Put it this way, after all the work I did on this guitar I'm extremely happy with the end result. It's certainly singing right now and the pickup system I have in it will be able to get me though anything. All those issues add up though and don't sit well with me right now. I was hoping to get another X30 next year but I honestly don't think I'll take the chance. Anyways, sorry for rambling on.

Last edited by GuitarLuva; 06-03-2019 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 06-03-2019, 12:08 AM
Mark L Mark L is offline
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Thank you for this post, I feel it is valuable and hope it results in increased QA/QC on the part of Emerald. It will certainly result in my doing a little investigating on my own little stable of this fine brand.

But, surely you mean 1 mm, not 1 cm, regarding bridge pin depth?
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Old 06-03-2019, 12:48 AM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
Thank you for this post, I feel it is valuable and hope it results in increased QA/QC on the part of Emerald. It will certainly result in my doing a little investigating on my own little stable of this fine brand.

But, surely you mean 1 mm, not 1 cm, regarding bridge pin depth?
Sorry I forgot the 0.5 in front I edited but yes it's recessed a full 0.5 cm. I have nothing but respect for the company but I agree the QC needs improvement. Whoever built the guitar would've known these things but catching those things from a look over would be near impossible.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:09 AM
Gitaman Gitaman is offline
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Guitarluva,
,
I feel for your frustration. I had one of my bridgepins missing for I don't know how long and did not know. Applied some manicure coat on it and it's holding. Recently I played Tayler nylon through AER605 and loved it. I see Nylon in the future and sure hope Emerald lives up to its reputation in the future as well. Good luck to you as well as Emerald!

G

Last edited by Gitaman; 06-03-2019 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:46 AM
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steelvibe steelvibe is offline
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I appreciate your feedback Shawn. While I can't be certain the QC issues you are finding with your X20 would deter me from ever purchasing an Emerald- it certainly isn't helping either. Since Emerald is direct only this forum has got to have an impact on sales for them (in a good way). I don't doubt that a few get through the cracks but I also don't doubt the high praise of many happy owners who know a thing or two....or own like 3... Or 5.....or 8.

CF guitars are expensive and people need to get honest feedback. I've heard of problems from most

-CA guitars with neck issues
-RainSongs with aesthetic issues (personal experience)
-Emeralds with fit and final inspection issues, tonal duds
-a Blackbird with deformation/ delamination
-Journey guitars with finish issues (personal experience)
-McPherson with....wait. Maybe a company that has yet to have anything negative reported? Oh yeah, the PRICE TAG
-Leviora?

I think making a perfect CF guitar is hard. You have a very resilient material giving the maker the ability to make something of precision. The last thing you need is to start one over. This isn't wood where you can heat the joints and remove/repair stuff. CF is more like make 1 and done, much less forgiving. But these things like bridge pin holes, misshapen saddle slots, and poorly cut nuts?
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Old 06-03-2019, 02:10 AM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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Originally Posted by steelvibe View Post
I appreciate your feedback Shawn. While I can't be certain the QC issues you are finding with your X20 would deter me from ever purchasing an Emerald- it certainly isn't helping either. Since Emerald is direct only this forum has got to have an impact on sales for them (in a good way). I don't doubt that a few get through the cracks but I also don't doubt the high praise of many happy owners who know a thing or two....or own like 3... Or 5.....or 8.

CF guitars are expensive and people need to get honest feedback. I've heard of problems from most

-CA guitars with neck issues
-RainSongs with aesthetic issues (personal experience)
-Emeralds with fit and final inspection issues, tonal duds
-a Blackbird with deformation/ delamination
-Journey guitars with finish issues (personal experience)
-McPherson with....wait. Maybe a company that has yet to have anything negative reported? Oh yeah, the PRICE TAG
-Leviora?

I think making a perfect CF guitar is hard. You have a very resilient material giving the maker the ability to make something of precision. The last thing you need is to start one over. This isn't wood where you can heat the joints and remove/repair stuff. CF is more like make 1 and done, much less forgiving. But these things like bridge pin holes, misshapen saddle slots, and poorly cut nuts?
I agree making a flawless guitar from carbon fiber is no doubt very difficult. My former X30 that my uncle is now enjoying was basically flawless (I still really miss that guitar). I still have nothing but respect for Emerald and will continue to recommend them but with a word of caution. Some of those issues were minor and some not some much. The recessed bridge pin annoyed me the most. I'm really happy with the guitar the way it is right now but luckily for me I enjoy working on guitars, others may be different. With the zero glide nut and the bone saddle at it's current height the intonation up and down the neck is near perfect.
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:16 AM
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steelvibe steelvibe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuitarLuva View Post
I'm really happy with the guitar the way it is right now but luckily for me I enjoy working on guitars, others may be different. With the zero glide nut and the bone saddle at it's current height the intonation up and down the neck is near perfect.
I don't doubt your guitar is near perfect but you are lucky to have a CF guitar that got you there under your own tenacity. I also love modding my guitars too and every one I've ever owned I've done mods to- some more than others. I also purchased a Zero Glide for my OF660 but haven't installed it yet. However, I did change from D'addario EXP 80/20 lights (after about 2 months) and put on a set of Martin Authentic Lifespan Treated lights..... and man these are making me work! AND this is after tuning the guitar to CGCGCE (working on Bruce Cockburn's "Foxglove"). How can a guitar tuned down 2 full steps on some strings, with light strings, feel stiffer than the former at full concert pitch? Strings are really funny this way- I'm hoping the zero fret will help out with this because I prefer the tone of the Martin strings better.

Thanks again for posting- always appreciate your input
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Old 06-03-2019, 07:45 AM
Gitaman Gitaman is offline
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Guitarluva,

Hope you are not offended by me calling you Steelvibe earlier. My bad! I am much more awake now.

G
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Old 06-03-2019, 08:17 AM
Gitaman Gitaman is offline
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[QUOTE=steelvibe;6077400]I don't doubt your guitar is near perfect but you are lucky to have a CF guitar that got you there under your own tenacity. I also love modding my guitars too and every one I've ever owned I've done mods to- some more than others. I also purchased a Zero Glide for my OF660 but haven't installed it yet. However, I did change from D'addario EXP 80/20 lights (after about 2 months) and put on a set of Martin Authentic Lifespan Treated lights..... and man these are making me work! AND this is after tuning the guitar to CGCGCE (working on Bruce Cockburn's "Foxglove"). How can a guitar tuned down 2 full steps on some strings, with light strings,

I have lifespan on three guitars. I will pay more attention today when I put on Elixir on Journey ( Gotoh ages gold SGS510Z S5 arriving today.) I did notice it gets grabby if I sweat a little.

Speaking of QC for my guitars without any regard for the price, Here is my observation:

Marin GPC28E 2017
Yamaha FG from 80's
Emerald X7Coco 2018
Journey OF660 2018

Would I buy another Emerald? Yes, I would because I like the tone and the ergonomics enough to overlook issues that I could either live with or get 'em fixed.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:44 AM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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I can't imagine any Emerald fan would be concerned about you posting what you found and fixed on your guitar. Some folks wouldn't know where to start if the tone or playability on a guitar wasn't up to snuff - I think your post here has been very positive and informative.

Clearly, this points out: every little thing matters.

Thanks for taking the time to follow up on this.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:50 AM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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Originally Posted by Gitaman View Post
Guitarluva,

Hope you are not offended by me calling you Steelvibe earlier. My bad! I am much more awake now.

G
I never even noticed lol. It was late last night when I created this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Jim View Post
Guitarluva,
I can't imagine any Emerald fan would be concerned about you posting what you found and fixed on your guitar. Some folks wouldn't know where to start if the tone or playability on a guitar wasn't up to snuff - I think your post here has been very positive and informative.

Clearly, this points out: every little thing matters.

Thanks for taking the time to follow up on this.
Thanks Jim. Because my memory is so bad things are starting to click together. I remember when I announced my X20 was shipping a few people asked me the order date. Some orders were placed weeks ahead of mine. Maybe my particular guitar was rushed a bit, hard to say for sure. I am happy I was able to work out all the bugs myself, except the bridge slot that's not repairable but at least I can cover it up or work around it. I'll get over it all eventually and who knows what the future holds.

From a design and creativity standpoint I still think Emerald are 2nd to none. All those fancy contours and bevels are hard to beat for comfort. Their customer service is also amazing. Kevin sent me a replacement saddle for my X30 without me even asking. Those things go a long way with me as well. They do need to work on their QA/QC though and hopefully they continue to improve.
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Old 06-03-2019, 12:44 PM
Melt in the Sun Melt in the Sun is offline
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Originally Posted by Captain Jim View Post
I can't imagine any Emerald fan would be concerned about you posting what you found and fixed on your guitar.
I am terrified to receive mine, honestly. I guess that makes me not a fan?

If my nut slot looks like this one or one of the bridge pins sits 5mm low, "concerned" will be an understatement.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:21 PM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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Originally Posted by Melt in the Sun View Post
I am terrified to receive mine, honestly. I guess that makes me not a fan?

If my nut slot looks like this one or one of the bridge pins sits 5mm low, "concerned" will be an understatement.
I wouldn't be terrified but I would definitely give it a thorough look over, just like you would do with any guitar. I realize you've been through this kinda thing before. Emerald definitely produces flawless guitars of that there is no doubt I hope you receive one this time. I should add that nut in the pic wasn't cleaned or polished that was immediately after the install. The slot however, different story.
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:42 AM
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GuitarLuva, I have a question about how you chose the model of Zero Glide.

On my X7 (reimagined; V-braced version), the ZS-14 is a little less wide than my strings at the nut, and the ZS-15 is a bit wider. Was your X-20 right on one of them?

I prefer a bit more spacing, so I would choose the ZS-15? (I've never modded a guitar at all)

Thx.
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Old 06-04-2019, 11:53 AM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pine View Post
GuitarLuva, I have a question about how you chose the model of Zero Glide.

On my X7 (reimagined; V-braced version), the ZS-14 is a little less wide than my strings at the nut, and the ZS-15 is a bit wider. Was your X-20 right on one of them?

I prefer a bit more spacing, so I would choose the ZS-15? (I've never modded a guitar at all)

Thx.
My X20 has the stock 1 3/4" nut width and the ZS-14 was the closest match. The string spacing on the ZS-14 is just a tad slimmer than the stock nut. I would be worried with the ZS-15 about the high and low e strings being to close to the fret ends on a 1 3/4" nut slot, unless yours is wider. They can also custom make a nut to your preference but it's a lot more expensive.
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