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  #106  
Old 03-17-2020, 11:04 AM
martingitdave martingitdave is offline
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Itís in the bridge slot under the pickup.
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  #107  
Old 03-25-2020, 03:29 AM
TÝf TÝf is offline
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NGD for me yesterday after I found a used-but-new Sable on Reverb 😊
It took 3 weeks for the guitar to arrive in Norway (stuck for 2 weeks in Chicago), and I was wondering if it would come at all with the current situation butÖ tadaaaa!

Iíve owned or tested a few composite guitars, namely Emerald X20 and X30, Blackbird Lucky 13 (latest version), Savoy and El Capitan, and Journey OF660. For what itís worth I thought I could share my thoughts 😊

The Journey is a travel guitar, it sounds as such and doesnít play in the same league as the other non-collapsible guitar in my opinion.

The El Capitan is the most wood-like guitar both in sound and looks. It sounds greeeeeaaat and is much more comfortable than I expected due to the curved back and shallow depth. I really really liked this guitar but had to send it back due to a bridge issue.
The Savoy sounds really good for such a small guitar but I didnít like the ergonomics.
The Lucky 13 is really nice, it is quite boxy and has a bit of this ďcarbon soundĒ (for lack of better words) but if youíre not after a typical wood sound itís great. And it looks cool too!
In general, I felt the Blackbird guitars sounded really great, especially the El Capitan. I was less impressed with the finish and attention to detail, and Iím still a bit unsure when it comes to the durability of raw eKoa without any protective lacquer. Iím closely following the development of flax-based composites though as they become a viable and cleaner alternative to carbon.

My first Emerald was a X20, really nice guitar, very balanced, super comfy. The sound is really ďneutralĒ, but perhaps a certain lack of character sometimes? Finish was nice, not perfect but no major defect either. By the way that one had Emeraldís pinless bridge, not the best design in my opinion.
I sold it (stupid me!) to finance a X30 with a slotted headstock. Big guitar but surprisingly comfortable to play. And this carved headstock is a piece of art!! This guitar sounds like no other strummed, deep sounding and warm. I really liked this unique sound signature at first, but then Iíve been a bit underwhelmed by the sound and feel fingerpicked. The top felt a bit ďheavyĒ, and a few notes didnít ring as I would have expected them to ring. While I understand the attraction for this unique instrument, it wasnít for me.

Now comes the McPherson Sable!

Letís start with the negative: itís heavy (2505g, about 5.5 lbs), thereís no option for stainless fretsÖ and the inside smells quite bad 😃
The heaviness is all relative of course, I donít mind but you notice it when you grab the guitar. Itís also slightly neck-diving.
I still donít understand why McPherson doesnít want to go stainless steel with the high volume of carbon guitars they produceÖ
As for the smellÖ well, according to the original owner the guitar has been played 1 hour and stayed in the case, so I expect it will fade away 😊

Now the good stuffs!

Sound: I would describe it as ďbest of both worldsĒ. It doesnít sound fundamentally different than wood tone wise (a little something maybe), but it has more sustain. The combination is really great. I asked my daughter (whoís more of a musician than me) to close her eyes and give me her preference between the Sable and my high-end OM alpine spruce/Madagascar rosewood, and she preferred the McPherson each time. I had done the same with the other composite guitars before and she always preferred my OMÖ not scientific but interesting nonetheless 😊 I still like my OM very much though!
I read it was a bit quiet fingerpicked but I didnít feel like it was and also found it quite responsive. What I noticed is that it compressed the sound when strummed hard.
I quickly tested the Element pickupÖ sounds like a UST.
Ergonomics: it doesnít have the contours of the X20 of course, but itís really comfortable to play nonetheless with a relatively thin profile. The back and sides are textured which makes them non slippery. The neck has a slight soft V profile very close to a C, and fairly shallow (0.83 1st fret, 0.86 9th fret), with a smooth matte texture that is probably the best I had on a composite neck.
Finish: I coulnít find any flaw even minor, so as close to perfect as it gets.

Conclusion: Iím very impressed with the McPherson Sable. Itís the best carbon guitar Iíve played so far (just my opinion of course!). Time will tell but I think I found a keeper!
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  #108  
Old 03-25-2020, 03:43 AM
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kramster kramster is offline
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Great write up on your guitar life Tof (the little line in the O keeps falling down on my computer ) ...good reading! I really like the Sable.
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Emerald: X-20, Center hole X-10 (Maple) and X-7 (redwood), Copper Flame Maple X-30, Amicus, Paduak X7,X10, &, Spalted Chen Chen X 10,
CA: Early OX and Cargo
Blackbird: Savoy
RainSong: CH-OM, CH-WS
Journey: OF660
McPherson: Touring(Honeycomb and gold) Early Kevin Michael Proto
Some wood things by Epi, Harmony, Takamine, Good Time, PRS, Gypsy Music, keyboards, wind controllers.. etc
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  #109  
Old 03-25-2020, 04:14 AM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Tof,

Thanks for the review. Of course, since I have a couple of Sables, I appreciated your conclusion. I have seen a number of McPherson guitars, both wood and carbon fiber. To me, their workmanship is impeccable, their attention to the little details, and their seeming incredible control of the manufacturing processes very respectable.

Giving your experiences with other carbon fiber guitars and your wood instrument, provides points of reference for your own tastes and observations. All in all, a well written review, providing useful perspective for others considering a carbon fiber purchase.

Edit: One other comment... The McPherson "gold package" provides gold EVO frets that are apparently not quite as hard as stainless steel, but nearly so, so that these frets should last a very long time. All 4 of my McPhersons have that package which also includes the same gold Schaller tuners used on their much more expensive wood instruments. I think there is a couple hundred US$ upcharge for this over the standard nickel frets and chrome tuners. To me, it is worth not having to be concerned about fret replacement sometime in the future.

Tony
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Last edited by tbeltrans; 03-25-2020 at 05:04 AM.
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  #110  
Old 03-25-2020, 05:43 AM
TÝf TÝf is offline
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Yes the Gold EVO frets are supposed to be somewhere between nickel and stainless steel wire in terms of durability.
I have these EVO on an electric and they're great. I really dislike gold hardware though, so I didn't want the full premium package.
And considering the discount I had on my Sable it will more than cover a refret with stainless frets
By the way if anyone wants EVO frets with nickel tuners/endpin button etc. McPherson told me they could do it.

I took a few pictures of the inside showing the bracing, somehow similar to their wood guitars. You can also see the neck attachment system and how the top is glued to the rest of the body with a sort of lip (and yes you see some glue, hahaaaaaa the hiden side is less than perfect ;-))
There's also a carbon reinforcement for the string ball ends.
Cool stuff

PS: Kramster, I just found the O line on the flÝÝr, it's nÝw back tÝ where it belÝngs. By the way it's kind of a "e" in Norwegian, think KramstÝr
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Sable_inside_1.jpg (43.6 KB, 104 views)
File Type: jpg Sable_inside_2.jpg (50.2 KB, 106 views)
File Type: jpg Sable_inside_3.jpg (49.2 KB, 106 views)
File Type: jpg Sable_inside_4.jpg (39.6 KB, 107 views)
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  #111  
Old 03-25-2020, 06:06 AM
martingitdave martingitdave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TÝf View Post
Sound: I would describe it as ďbest of both worldsĒ. It doesnít sound fundamentally different than wood tone wise (a little something maybe), but it has more sustain. The combination is really great. I asked my daughter (whoís more of a musician than me) to close her eyes and give me her preference between the Sable and my high-end OM alpine spruce/Madagascar rosewood, and she preferred the McPherson each time. I had done the same with the other composite guitars before and she always preferred my OMÖ not scientific but interesting nonetheless 😊 I still like my OM very much though!
I read it was a bit quiet fingerpicked but I didnít feel like it was and also found it quite responsive. What I noticed is that it compressed the sound when strummed hard.
I quickly tested the Element pickupÖ sounds like a UST.
Ergonomics: it doesnít have the contours of the X20 of course, but itís really comfortable to play nonetheless with a relatively thin profile. The back and sides are textured which makes them non slippery. The neck has a slight soft V profile very close to a C, and fairly shallow (0.83 1st fret, 0.86 9th fret), with a smooth matte texture that is probably the best I had on a composite neck.
Finish: I coulnít find any flaw even minor, so as close to perfect as it gets.

Conclusion: Iím very impressed with the McPherson Sable. Itís the best carbon guitar Iíve played so far (just my opinion of course!). Time will tell but I think I found a keeper!
Very nice! I did the same test with my family of good hearing folks. All preferred the McPherson to my Martin D-28 Authentic and D-28 Marquis. People just like the pleasing sound of these things.
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Martin D-28 Authentic '37 (K&K Passive)
Martin D-28 Marquis (K&K Active)
McPherson Sable Honeycomb (Schatten HFN VT)
Taylor 358 LTD (ES2)

"Lift your head and smile at trouble. You'll find happiness someday."
Less clicking, more picking.
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  #112  
Old 03-25-2020, 07:55 AM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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Great write up. It's nice to have the comparisons against other composite guitars.
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  #113  
Old 03-25-2020, 01:38 PM
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kramster kramster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TÝf View Post
PS: Kramster, I just found the O line on the flÝÝr, it's nÝw back tÝ where it belÝngs. By the way it's kind of a "e" in Norwegian, think KramstÝr
Thanks so nice of you and on such short notice
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YUP....
Emerald: X-20, Center hole X-10 (Maple) and X-7 (redwood), Copper Flame Maple X-30, Amicus, Paduak X7,X10, &, Spalted Chen Chen X 10,
CA: Early OX and Cargo
Blackbird: Savoy
RainSong: CH-OM, CH-WS
Journey: OF660
McPherson: Touring(Honeycomb and gold) Early Kevin Michael Proto
Some wood things by Epi, Harmony, Takamine, Good Time, PRS, Gypsy Music, keyboards, wind controllers.. etc
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  #114  
Old 03-25-2020, 02:22 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martingitdave View Post
Very nice! I did the same test with my family of good hearing folks. All preferred the McPherson to my Martin D-28 Authentic and D-28 Marquis. People just like the pleasing sound of these things.
I like this testing you guys are doing.

However, I still will be looking forward to seeing eastwodo (David's) Emerald after we have had our fill of conrona.

Tony
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  #115  
Old 03-30-2020, 11:47 AM
JungWoo JungWoo is offline
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I used my Sable yesterday with the Anthem SL... too much body handling noise, even if I adjust the mic.

The rough back of the guitar makes a lot of handling noise. I wish I could buff it to a smooth finish.

Does the HFN have a lot of handling noise?
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  #116  
Old 03-30-2020, 12:12 PM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JungWoo View Post
I used my Sable yesterday with the Anthem SL... too much body handling noise, even if I adjust the mic.

The rough back of the guitar makes a lot of handling noise. I wish I could buff it to a smooth finish.

Does the HFN have a lot of handling noise?
Yes it does it would be close to the same as the anthem.
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  #117  
Old 03-30-2020, 04:01 PM
martingitdave martingitdave is offline
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Default NGD: McPherson Sable: First Carbon Fiber

Quote:
Originally Posted by JungWoo View Post
I used my Sable yesterday with the Anthem SL... too much body handling noise, even if I adjust the mic.



The rough back of the guitar makes a lot of handling noise. I wish I could buff it to a smooth finish.



Does the HFN have a lot of handling noise?

I don’t recall the HFN being tremendously different than the Anthem, in terms of handling noise. But, I would say there is slightly less because I roll back the highs. You can’t do that as readily with the Anthem SL. I’m still testing/using the HFN at home and probably won’t be convinced otherwise until I’m playing out again.

BTW, it may seem like I’m dissuading you from the HFN. I’m not. For me, it’s a big difference in acoustic tone with little or no drop off in amplified performance. But, I have so little gig experience with this guitar and pickup combo, I’m hesitant to send anyone else on a wild goose chase. Moreover, this is my first CF, so what do I know? That said, I probably won’t change back to the Anthem unless this fails miserable, which I do not expect it to. I’ve only had one gig with it, but I’ve played a lot of my repertoire on it and pretty high volumes in my practice space. It’s held up well.
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Martin D-28 Authentic '37 (K&K Passive)
Martin D-28 Marquis (K&K Active)
McPherson Sable Honeycomb (Schatten HFN VT)
Taylor 358 LTD (ES2)

"Lift your head and smile at trouble. You'll find happiness someday."
Less clicking, more picking.

Last edited by martingitdave; 03-30-2020 at 09:10 PM.
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  #118  
Old 03-31-2020, 03:34 PM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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Dear Mr. Martingitdave,

You've had your first CF guitar for a month.

You lined up your family to swear it was the best sounding guitar in your collection (Did you also have them praise your leadership? :~).

Presumably now the honeymoon is over. If you could edit your initial review, which you can, what would it say today?

Respectfully,
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  #119  
Old 03-31-2020, 04:22 PM
55tele 55tele is offline
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I ordered my McPherson Touring with the satin nickel tuners and EVO frets and it looks fine.....
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  #120  
Old 03-31-2020, 06:54 PM
martingitdave martingitdave is offline
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Default NGD: McPherson Sable: First Carbon Fiber

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonfields45 View Post
Dear Mr. Martingitdave,

You've had your first CF guitar for a month.

You lined up your family to swear it was the best sounding guitar in your collection (Did you also have them praise your leadership? :~).

Presumably now the honeymoon is over. If you could edit your initial review, which you can, what would it say today?

Respectfully,

Youíre a trouble maker Mr. Jon. But, I like your trouble making style.

As far as the Sable is concerned, it is presently my favorite guitar to play. And, Iíll remind you that I have a new D-28 Authentic and new Taylor 12 string at home too. I have no idea why. The tone suits me, the neck suits, me and I really am enjoying the Schatten HFN pickup.

I think the dry Winter and early Spring are entering into the calculation because the guitar is so handy to keep out on a stand. I think a few weeks at home, away from my bluegrass friends, is also contributing to the extended honeymoon.

The D-28 Authentic is a better, and certainly more traditional, sounding guitar. And, I really enjoy it too. But, for now, the McPherson Sable is in my number one spot.

I was surprised and a little hurt when my wife and kids preferred the Sable in the blind test. I expected them to pick the Authentic. While they are not so fond of my household leadership (i.e. guitar obsession) at most times, they do occasionally humor me.

I think once Iím back out with the banjos the D-28 will be back on top. But folk fingerpicking suits the Sable.

[EDIT]

Another apparent strength of the Sable is recording. Since all my playing right now is via streaming with friends, family and fellow folkies (4Fs), I think the Sable records and amplifies better than my other guitars for close mic work. Interesting.
__________________
Martin D-28 Authentic '37 (K&K Passive)
Martin D-28 Marquis (K&K Active)
McPherson Sable Honeycomb (Schatten HFN VT)
Taylor 358 LTD (ES2)

"Lift your head and smile at trouble. You'll find happiness someday."
Less clicking, more picking.

Last edited by martingitdave; 03-31-2020 at 07:00 PM.
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