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Old 01-10-2019, 01:18 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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Default Emerald X7 Custom Woody - one month in: Update with epiphany!

Update at bottom of this post - but above the photos.

It's been almost a month since I received my most recent (second) Emerald custom woody, in this case a new-style X7. For those that did not see my NGD post for that guitar it's a highly-customized X7 with the following features: 24.6" scale (vs. 24.0" standard for the X7), v-shaped neck carve, custom pinless centered point bridge with exposed CF weave, highly-figured ziricote veneer with distinct sapwood center and amber back and sides, and K&K pickup. Photo to follow.

This guitar has really become my favorite. The light weight, smaller body size (as compared to the X20) with the contoured body, beveled armrest and scale make for easily THE most comfortable guitar I've ever played, period. I'd put the body size akin to a 00 14 fret guitar as opposed to the X20 being more like a 000 14 fret. The pinless bridge looks great but in all honesty I don't find the string changes or the palm muting any easier or better. But I do like the centered bridge point which works better with the book-matched veneer.

One thing that I do love is the new, large cutaway on the back of the guitar. The ability to access the upper frets is incredible. I wonder if this feature will be added at some future point to the X20. I think it's a great feature. And I'm not one that spends all that much time past the 5th fret. I should mention that another thing I like better on the X20 is the v neck carve. Due to the wider neck on the X7, the v carve is not as comfortable as on the X20. But it's still much better than a stock Emerald neck by my preference.

Unplugged, the X7 tone is awesome. This guitar is louder than my X20. Really. The X20 has a more even tone across the strings but the X7 is definitely louder. I think part of that is the lighter weight. It's just more resonant. Plugged in the X20 is definitely still the king though. This might be in part due to my choice of the K&K. The smaller body size means certain frequencies (specifically the G) are way more boxy sounding. As someone that is used to small body guitars with K&K's I'm used to dealing with this. And while I can EQ a decent tone out of the X7/K&K combo, once the volume gets up to a certain point it just gets really hard to tame and X20 just sounds so much better.

So for gigs that require volume or for open mics where I don't know the host/gear, the X20 always gets the call with the X7 in the car as backup just in case. This does bum me out a little bit only because I really always want to play the X7 as it's smaller size and lighter weight is so much preferred over the X20. It makes me wonder if the K&K was the right call for the X7. At some point I'd like to A/B it with an X7 with a different, UST-type system to see if that eliminates that G boxiness. For those of you out there with a new X7 with a different system, I'd love to hear your thoughts about this.

One thing for sure is that the three-way shootout between the two Emeralds is over and the Martin will be going on the chopping block once we get past the cold winter months here in New Hampshire. I've pulled it out and A/B/C'd it a number of times and while it's a wonderful guitar, I much prefer the Emeralds.

Update:

It's Saturday and my wife and I are in the middle of our weekend practice for upcoming gigs. While I play the X7 unplugged during the weekdays, on the weekends I set up all the equipment and play with the X20 to simulate the gigs. We had just finished a specific song that uses the chorus effect via the Boss VE-8 when I decided I wanted to 'test' the X7 amplified to see what effect, if any, that had on the boxiness. As expected, the boxiness was just as awful.

Then something hit me: Could I maybe dial out that boxy G tone with the VE-8's notch? I only ever used it to filter out feedback issues but since I started using the EDM-1 preamp I no longer need the VE-8's notch filter as the EDM-1's variable high-pass filter takes care of that quite effectively. This essentially frees up the VE-8 notch. I took a few seconds and sure as heck I was able to find a position (20) on the VE-8 notch that magically dialed out the G boxiness and left just the G! Woohoo!!

To say I'm stoked at this revelation is an understatement since this means I can now use the X7 at full gigs. At least that is the hope. I'll continue on this path of exploration for the next few weeks with the next full gig being in early February at which time I'll put it to the full test. Rest assured, the X20 will be there just in case. I'll report back after a gig or two on how it went.

Now, back to your regular scheduled programming!

Folks have asked me what I'm calling the X7. I never name my guitars. Never felt the need. But as I look at that gorgeous ziricote veneer I see two things: a sword with a cool hilt or a certain alien movie character.

So if I were to name it, I'd call it either Excalibur or Predator! What do you think?


Last edited by Methos1979; 01-12-2019 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:19 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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Here's what I see...

Excalibur



Or Predator!

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Old 01-10-2019, 04:03 PM
TheChicagoTodd TheChicagoTodd is offline
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Ha!! So funny! I wouldn't have thought about that, but now that you mention it, I can totally see both!! Very lovely piece of ziricote, I am a fellow ziricote owner...X20-12.

Very nice...

Todd in Chicago
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:12 PM
EvanB EvanB is offline
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Methos;

Is your K&K passive? If so can it be made active with tone and volume controls in the sound hole?

On my 7 electric I have the Barbara pickup, active with tone and volume control. Last weekend I played with a group of 10 instruments--banjo, two mandolins, bass guitar, and six guitars (we really needed more guitars but there were no more around at the moment). Anyway, I was plugged into a small Roland amp and I could have had the whole crew for lunch, if I was that sort of guy.

The 7 is a great size and even the thin-body on the electric has remarkable acoustic presence.
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:31 PM
bsman bsman is offline
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I misread the title as "Emerald X7 Custom Wooly - one month in" and immediately pictured something like this:





Congratulations on the beautiful X7!
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Old 01-10-2019, 04:44 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvanB View Post
Methos;

Is your K&K passive? If so can it be made active with tone and volume controls in the sound hole?

On my 7 electric I have the Barbara pickup, active with tone and volume control. Last weekend I played with a group of 10 instruments--banjo, two mandolins, bass guitar, and six guitars (we really needed more guitars but there were no more around at the moment). Anyway, I was plugged into a small Roland amp and I could have had the whole crew for lunch, if I was that sort of guy.

The 7 is a great size and even the thin-body on the electric has remarkable acoustic presence.
Yes, K&K is passive, no tone controls. I always carry my little headway EDM-1 which gives me all the preamping/EQing/notching I need but in some cases where the volume is loud it's near impossible to get rid of that boxiness. At least that has been my findings thus far.

I've played three gigs and three open mics with it. The gigs were okay although I was wishing I had my X20 and henceforth I WILL have the X20 for any gig that requires amplification.

For the open mics, the first one was a dream. The guy running it is a tone snob with outstanding equipment PLUS he plays fingerstyle (like me) so he knows how to dial in/compensate for that type of playing. I didn't even need to pull out my EDM-1. He also plays an incredible old Froggy.

The second open mic (the very next day at the very same venue but with different host and equipment) was a struggle as he had his system dialed in for pick strummers. My tone right out of the gate (no EDM-1) was the usual, horrendous muddy/muted tone. I pulled out the EDM-1 and instantly gave him the basic tone/signal he gets from pick strummers and we were good to go.

A couple weeks later at a brand new (to us) open mic I knew before I even got up there I was in trouble. Loud rock bands, all electric guitars, full drums, bass and PA. Drummer was host and no clue at all about how to dial in ANY acoustic guitar. It was awful. I fought feedback the whole time.

In the future I'm going to just start carrying my Bose S1 in the car and I'll bring that in for open mics like that. With battery power, setup is fast and easy and then I won't anything from anyone!
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Old 01-10-2019, 05:08 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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I see "Excaliber" myself. The Predator movies scared the stuff out of me, and therefore I would not name a prized guitar after the creature.

And appropo of little, the local upholstery shop that we have used is where those sheepskins get installed on Mr. Gibbon's guitars. The owner pointed out the hide waiting to be replaced.
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Old 01-10-2019, 06:06 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
I see "Excaliber" myself. The Predator movies scared the stuff out of me, and therefore I would not name a prized guitar after the creature.
Yes, I'm inclined to call it Excalibur as well. The allegory being that the guitar (especially THIS one!), like a mighty sword in the hands of a might warrior (me, hey, it's MY guitar!) is capable of performing mighty feats!

Going to have to find some dragons to slay...

OMG! I just thought of something else...

The guitar arrived with a cup. Nay, a GRAIL!
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Old 01-10-2019, 07:00 PM
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raysachs raysachs is offline
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I’m having a similar experience with my bone-stock X7 woody, bought about the same time. I played it along side my X20 for a couple weeks before leaving for three months with just the X7. And I haven’t once missed the X20 or wished I had another acoustic available to play. I rarely plug in, so that aspect of the X20 doesn’t matter to me. I like the spec neck of the X7 more than the X20 - it feels a little rounder and fatter. I’d have to say the only time I clearly prefer the X20 is on the rare occasion I play with a capo up around the 5th fret or higher - the shorter scale of the X7 starts to feel really crowded up there in a way the X20 doesn’t. But that’s not a neighborhood I spend much time in, so if I don’t find myself reaching for the X20 after I get home in March, it’ll probably find itself in the classifieds sooner than later. This X7 feels like a lifetime guitar...

I don’t name my guitars as a rule - I just call this one my guitar. I think Excalibur works well for yours... That’s a pretty identifiable symbol in that veneer. I just have a couple of eyes looking at me...

-Ray
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Old 01-10-2019, 07:30 PM
jdinco jdinco is offline
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You guys make me feel better about my X7 order (and wait period) every day. Good reviews.
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Old 01-10-2019, 07:32 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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You know, it actually looks like a flaming sword!

Like this!



Or maybe this! (On/Off button hidden!)



Bring me an open mic to slay! (Yes, I'm bored at work!)

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Old 01-10-2019, 09:46 PM
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kramster kramster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Methos1979 View Post
You know, it actually looks like a flaming sword!

Like this!



Or maybe this! (On/Off button hidden!)



Bring me an open mic to slay! (Yes, I'm bored at work!)

[IMG]https://uploads.tapatalk-

cdn.com/20190111/a470a695c65fa664c6f3a05dacd73989.jpg[/IMG]
That's hot.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:20 AM
wickedwahine wickedwahine is offline
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I agree on the image of the flaming sword. So as a Game of Thrones fanatic, I would name if after Beric Dondarrion, who wields a flaming sword. For your options, definitely Excalibur.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:00 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Methos1979 View Post
....The guitar arrived with a cup. Nay, a GRAIL!
A grail - brilliant! And it comes wearing the crest of Rufus the Hound.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:29 AM
Melt in the Sun Melt in the Sun is offline
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I like the visible carbon fiber weave on the bridge - was leaving it that way rather than painted black a cost-increasing option? I also notice that the little "point" is centered...so maybe the whole thing was a custom bridge?
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