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  #1  
Old 04-23-2008, 12:43 PM
6STRINGSTRUMMER 6STRINGSTRUMMER is offline
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Default My take on the CA Cargo Travel Guitar...

First off, I'd like to say that it was a pleasure to meet AGF moderator "Big Daddy" Joel McKenzie at Sam Ash Charlotte, N.C. last night. Now I can put a face to the name. CA representative Jay Morrissey was there with a number of Composite Acoustics’ models to demo. I was there for one reason. To try out the Cargo.

Needless to say I was not disappointed. Like others, I was actually blown away by this little guitar with a big sound & feel. One of my concerns after playing a baby Taylor and a mini Martin was that I would feel cramped playing inside of the small scale but that was absolutely not the case with the Cargo. Both the Taylor and Martin travel gits were extremely uncomfortable to play (for me). I'm 6'-2" and fairly large hands.

The 1-3/4" spacing provided plenty of room and made this guitar feel more like a full size in my hands. The neck radius was also very comfortable. I also liked the durable road tuff finish. The one I played was Charcoal Grey with electronics.

As far as sound goes there is no comparison. Cargo wins hands down. Both the BT & mini Mrtn sounded boxy to me. Like others before me have said this little guitar packs a punch and it ain't hurtin in the low end dept. either. To me the sound did not seem boxy at all but very open & balanced when fingerpicker or flat picked. Nice glassy highs too. I didn't plug it up but I'm sure it doesn't disappoint when amplified.

As far as justifying price, the fact that you can have an extremely portable/virtually indestructible guitar that sounds and plays this good does it for me!

To me CA guitars sound fantastic. Compared to wood they produce their own distinct sound & tonal dynamics, just like any quality guitar made of solid spruce/mahogany or spruce/rosewood etc. produces its own distinct sound & tonal dynamics. It's all good to my ears. The fact that these guitars are virtually maintenance free, and impervious to weather conditions and temperature changes makes them all the more appealing. CA is onto something great!

Jay if you’re out there, thanks for stopping by Sam Ash for the demo session!
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:27 PM
tyrohne tyrohne is offline
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So the $xxx (beat ya to it cotten) question is: "Did you/Will you buy it?"
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:30 PM
6STRINGSTRUMMER 6STRINGSTRUMMER is offline
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Originally Posted by tyrohne View Post
So the $xxx (beat ya to it cotten) question is: "Did you/Will you buy it?"
I'm definitely buyin one!
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:39 PM
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Acousticado Acousticado is offline
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Thanks for your thoughts and glad you liked the Cargo (figured you would ). By chance, were the Cargo's bigger brothers there (5iM-CE in RT finish and/or 7iM-CE in high-gloss)? I'm seriously considering ordering a 7iM-CE but I'm hoping to first hear reviews from those who may have had a chance to see/play one.

Thanks!
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Wood: '02 Taylor 814c | '18 Taylor 214ceDLX (Rosewood) | '18 Taylor 150e-12 String (Walnut) | '79 Ibanez Dread (First acoustic) | '02 Fender Strat - American '57 RI
Carbon Fiber: '18 Emerald X20 Custom | '08 Composite Acoustics Cargo RT
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:50 PM
6STRINGSTRUMMER 6STRINGSTRUMMER is offline
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Originally Posted by Acousticado View Post
Thanks for your thoughts and glad you liked the Cargo (figured you would ). By chance, were the Cargo's bigger brothers there (5iM-CE in RT finish and/or 7iM-CE in high-gloss)? I'm seriously considering ordering a 7iM-CE but I'm hoping to first hear reviews from those who may have had a chance to see/play one.

Thanks!
The 5iM-RT was there. It produces some amazing low end. No 7iM though. I should have asked the CA rep about the dfferences in sound or tone between the two. The 5iM does sound impressive.
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Old 04-23-2008, 02:02 PM
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Acousticado Acousticado is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6STRINGSTRUMMER View Post
The 5iM-RT was there. It produces some amazing low end. No 7iM though. I should have asked the CA rep about the dfferences in sound or tone between the two. The 5iM does sound impressive.
Thanks for that! I believe the only difference between the 5iM and 7iM is the finish. So, the two should sound pretty-much the same. I forgot to also ask, was there an 8M there and if so, what were your impressions compared to the 5iM?
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Wood: '02 Taylor 814c | '18 Taylor 214ceDLX (Rosewood) | '18 Taylor 150e-12 String (Walnut) | '79 Ibanez Dread (First acoustic) | '02 Fender Strat - American '57 RI
Carbon Fiber: '18 Emerald X20 Custom | '08 Composite Acoustics Cargo RT
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Old 04-23-2008, 02:20 PM
6STRINGSTRUMMER 6STRINGSTRUMMER is offline
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Originally Posted by Acousticado View Post
was there an 8M there and if so, what were your impressions compared to the 5iM?
I believe there was an 8M as well as a 7M. I played the 7M. It sounded very nice. It had a full sound with great balance. Very comfortable guitar to play. Great neck feel. The 7iM had them all beat in the low end dept. It had a much richer and pronounced low end when strummmed. Not as balanced as the 7M.
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:13 PM
mazzack mazzack is offline
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The sound hole high on the guitar seems strange to me. I believe this is a change from the older model cargo? I want to ask a general question about that design but I can't compare it to anything. These guitars are very popular based on their limited availability and forum time they receive.

CA is definitely on to something good. There is only one dealer in MA which makes playing before you buy a bit limiting. I just might put one on order though!
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:23 PM
6STRINGSTRUMMER 6STRINGSTRUMMER is offline
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Originally Posted by mazzack View Post
The sound hole high on the guitar seems strange to me. I believe this is a change from the older model cargo? I want to ask a general question about that design but I can't compare it to anything. These guitars are very popular based on their limited availability and forum time they receive.

CA is definitely on to something good. There is only one dealer in MA which makes playing before you buy a bit limiting. I just might put one on order though!
I'm not aware of any other Cargo design. The offset soundhole seems to enhance the lower frequencies allowing the Cargo to generate an amazing amount of low end for it's size, resulting in a nice full tone in my opinion.
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Old 04-23-2008, 05:05 PM
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strummer - thanks for the review. I am looking forward to hearing the Cargo in person!

RR
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  #11  
Old 05-14-2008, 07:00 AM
davidl13 davidl13 is offline
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Default cargo review

I played the cargo yesterday next to the little larivee and mini martin. The cargo I played had electronics and I tried it acoustically as well as pugged in.

To my ear, the cargo is a nice guitar to strum. Certainly not an "even" response, but a good sound. The sound hole being offset to the low strings creates an unusually large presence in the low end for such a small guitar. it is very full sounding. the trade off is there is a significant loss of presence in the midrange. So you have big lows and highs, but no "body" in the midrange. The guitar performs well in strumming, but it does not perform well when "picking" out notes. I want to be able to practice scales while riding as a passenger in a car and picking/soloing is the cargo's weak spot. I wonder if a normally placed sound hole or the addition of other smaller holes (like ovation) would help balance the sound and bring the midrange back in.

Plugged in, i could use the EQ on the amp to add midrange back in, but there was one problem. The High E string was significantly reduced volumed through the pickup. so much so that i called CA from the store, the said to shave the saddle below the E string. For the price , that worries me. It seemed to me the issue was in the pickup's setup, not the guitar tone itself.

The Mini martin had a small neck...so it made it a little cramped to play, but it had a good full midrange presence but did not have the lows of the cargo. I like the LXM martin. some others mini martins sounds terrible, but the LXM has a good sound.

The Larivee, forget it, for the price, i would take the martin LXM for sure ( since they are so similar).

As for durability, well i can buy 3 mini martins for the price of the cargo! how long it would take me to destroy 3 martins...who knows.

I liked both the cargo and the LXM martin, but the shortcomings of the cargo are very short. I like the composite material and that big bottom end and that it has a pickup...very cool if i needed it to play. The narrow neck on the Martin is a bummer.

The cargo could be used in a gig, only as a coffee house strummer and the martin is for practice only (IMHO).

My jury is still out, I "want" the cargo, but i am leaning toward LXM Martin because i like the sound better for my purposes and it is less than 1/3 the price, if that makes any sense.

These are good "problems" to have
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  #12  
Old 05-14-2008, 07:32 AM
jwsamuel jwsamuel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidl13 View Post
My jury is still out, I "want" the cargo, but i am leaning toward LXM Martin because i like the sound better for my purposes and it is less than 1/3 the price, if that makes any sense.
I have had an LXM for the past year and just bought a Cargo. I tried taking the LXM with me when I stay in hotel rooms but found that the cramped fretboard made it less than usable for me. My hands are just too big.

When I tried the Cargo, I immediately liked the 1-3/4 inch nut. It feels like a real guitar to me!. I also like the construction of the Cargo more than the LXM. I sometimes have to leave the guitar locked in my car for 12 hours or so. I think the Cargo will hold up to that better than the LXM.

It's all personal preference. I have both now and will soon be putting the LXM on eBay.

Jim
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  #13  
Old 05-14-2008, 10:11 AM
mhs mhs is offline
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Hi David,

I don't know if you happened to see my post when I received a Cargo with P/U, but I had very similar problems, and to a smaller extent still do.

The setup wasn't good. The carbon-fiber saddle was wedged stuck in the bridge somewhere short of the bottom of the bridge. It made a muted sound.

To repair it, I had a bone Colossi Taylor saddle sitting around and decided it was just as easy to try that out as anything else, because it wouldn't change the stock saddle (after all this was 5 minutes after I opened it). I quickly shaped the bone saddle to fit since it has same width, shape, compensation, and is only 1/8" longer and dropped it in.

That took care of the muffled sound and helped the balance as much as could be. The thing it really helped was that there was no longer a problem with balance using the pickup. The thing that couldn't be helped by the saddle was that the bias is greatly towards the bass strings when playing acoustic.

I know that Martin lovers in here think that the big bass is great, but this is at the expense of mid and treble. When I'm playing the Cargo, I can barely make out melody lines. I play a full style and need to hear melody lines without having to completely alter my style.

I noticed that the offset sound hole appeared to be the biggest culprit of this problem. If I took a piece of blue masking tape, and taped off the top 1" or so of the sound hole (the part closest to the guitar side edge), that the acoustic sound suddenly was nearly balanced.

Since I had to use it on gigs for the past 3 weeks (was away from home without a backup), I had many chances to ask listeners up close (15 feet away?) about the balance during solos, and without the tape, the listeners had a difficult time making out melodies on the upper strings. With the tape, not nearly as bad.


I think this is a design flaw. Do the bassy Martin guitars that Martinaholics love overpower the treble strings or do they complement them. I'm not talking about strummers, only for playing a fuller style of melody/chords/bass.

Just for the heck of it, you might give the tape trick a try. Yes it looks like crap when you do this, but sound trumps looks, especially in a pinch.
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Old 05-15-2008, 06:15 AM
mcrofutt mcrofutt is offline
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Where can I play one of these? I live in southwestern Connecticut, and am willing to travel reasonable distances. I have yet to find any dealer in the vicinity who would have any CA to play, nevermind a Cargo.
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  #15  
Old 05-15-2008, 06:38 AM
jwsamuel jwsamuel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcrofutt View Post
Where can I play one of these? I live in southwestern Connecticut, and am willing to travel reasonable distances. I have yet to find any dealer in the vicinity who would have any CA to play, nevermind a Cargo.
Sam Ash just started carrying them. I bought the first cargo the SA near me had in stock. In fact, they were just unpacking it when I walked in looking for a travel guitar.

Jim
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