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  #1  
Old 06-26-2022, 11:02 PM
PTL PTL is offline
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Default How does Composite Acoustic guitar stack up to current crop of Carbon Fiber guitars?

I'm assuming that CF guitars continue to improve but have not played any.

I've had about a dozen Composite Acoustic (CA) guitars pass through my hands from the travel Cargos to the full sized OX, Dreadnoughts and Xi. However, I've not played any of current CF guitars such as Emerald and McPherson.

Curious if the CA guitars still hold their own in comparison or are they outclassed in tone? For sure, tone is subjective but over time, there is generally some concensus.

Curious.
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  #2  
Old 06-29-2022, 04:33 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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I still own my original CA Guitars Cargos and as far as I am concerned, they still sound just fine compared to my CF McPhersons. The Cargos always were unique and special, in my opinion.

The McPhersons are "finished" while the Cargos seem a bit less so, but that doesn't affect the sound. If anything, I think the Cargos have more room between strings for fingerpicking, which I appreciate.

As I understand it, the CF McPhersons (not the earlier models without the McPherson name on the headstock) were developed by Ellis Seal (the engineer behind CA Guitars). So I would expect them to have a similar sonic signature.

Tony
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Last edited by tbeltrans; 07-01-2022 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 07-02-2022, 11:06 AM
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I’ve owned an ‘08 Cargo since new. I had an ‘08 GXi for about four years but sold it to help fund an Emerald doubleneck, which I sold. I’ve also had an Emerald X20, which I sold. All that remains and always will is the Cargo.

I only have Emeralds to compare CAs to (other than trying the odd Rainsong in stores which did not tickle my fancy). In my experience, CAs tend to be heavier, but maybe that contributes to their tone which imo, is appealing and distinctive, definitely not outclassed by any of the current offerings. I have no idea where the CA line is at these days under Peavey, but it may be that the only reason CAs are not discussed here a lot anymore could be because Peavey may not be promoting or innovating as much as they should be.
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Old 07-02-2022, 12:40 PM
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Thanks to both your replies.
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Old 07-02-2022, 01:06 PM
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I've had two top-end CA dreadnoughts, both with the Onboard Aura Preamp/Matrix UST System, and I'm recalling that they sounded fine compared to my 2020 Emerald X20 and 2022 RainSong DR1000N2. The only thing I had against CA guitars was their Quality Control because when tuning for the first time, my new, just-received, fresh out-of-its-case, top-of-the-line dreadnought, the bridge peeled away from the top--It's True! That was in the Summer of 2007 and I think the company at that time was financially strapped and may have been having issues with disgruntled employees possibly retaliating through sabotage of the company's guitars.
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Old 07-02-2022, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeltrans View Post

As I understand it, the CF McPhersons (not the earlier models without the McPherson name on the headstock) were developed by Ellis Seal (the engineer behind CA Guitars). So I would expect them to have a similar sonic signature.

Tony
Yup…you are very understanding
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Old 07-02-2022, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpruceTop View Post
I've had two top-end CA dreadnoughts, both with the Onboard Aura Preamp/Matrix UST System, and I'm recalling that they sounded fine compared to my 2020 Emerald X20 and 2022 RainSong DR1000N2. The only thing I had against CA guitars was their Quality Control because when tuning for the first time, my new, just-received, fresh out-of-its-case, top-of-the-line dreadnought, the bridge peeled away from the top--It's True! That was in the Summer of 2007 and I think the company at that time was financially strapped and may have been having issues with disgruntled employees possibly retaliating through sabotage of the company's guitars.
WOW! That is quite a story.
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Old 07-02-2022, 03:52 PM
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By the way,

Last edited by Acousticado; 07-04-2022 at 01:04 PM. Reason: Please review forum rules...
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Old 07-05-2022, 07:17 AM
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I have a Peavey Cargo I got new a few years ago. It replaced my Larrivee Parlor as my go to travel guitar when I retired. It has a nice overall tone and good bass response for its short scale. Was as good or perhaps better than my Koa Parlor and almost indestructible. On flights, it fits in an overhead compartment on a plane. I never played any of the newer carbon guitar brands, but it fills the void that I wouldn’t want to subject my wood guitar to. As a side note, the LR Baggs UST Element’s endpin preamp jack is TRS stereo capable so I wired a condenser lavalier mic to it and attached it by the sound hole to my outboard dual preamp (I have a K&K Golden Trinity, Fishman Blender and a Rane AP-13) The mic really fills out the sound when I plug it it. All round, a great outdoor, travel and couch guitar.
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Old 07-11-2022, 10:58 AM
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I had a CA Cargo about 10 years ago. Great sound and ergonomics. Wish I’d kept it. I have an Emerald X20 now. I think I prefer the Cargo, mostly for the form factor.
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  #11  
Old 07-11-2022, 02:31 PM
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The CA Legacy converted lots of friend who never thought a carbon guitar could sound like a wood guitar. It had a tone unlike any other composite guitar I've tried, even from CA.

Unfortunately, I love using the whole fingerboard, and the lack of a truss rod severely limited how low the action could be, and therefore killed the idea of advanced chord-melody. Rainsong and an old Ovation Adamas 12-string currently rule the roost.

If someone does't go much past the 7th fret, I'd be okay recommending a CA, but if going higher on a regular basis, forget it.
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Old 07-11-2022, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
The CA Legacy converted lots of friend who never thought a carbon guitar could sound like a wood guitar. It had a tone unlike any other composite guitar I've tried, even from CA.

Unfortunately, I love using the whole fingerboard, and the lack of a truss rod severely limited how low the action could be, and therefore killed the idea of advanced chord-melody. Rainsong and an old Ovation Adamas 12-string currently rule the roost.

If someone does't go much past the 7th fret, I'd be okay recommending a CA, but if going higher on a regular basis, forget it.
For extra $$$, you can get a refret and fingerboard planed.... But yes, probably not worth it.

I wonder if the Legacy sounds like the Bluegrass model.
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Old 07-11-2022, 11:11 PM
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At some point I did contact CA about truss rods, and whoever replied repeated the "self-adjusting neck" stuff from the advertising, "self-adjusting" meaning "at whatever string height the string tension winds up pulling the neck to, that's your self-adjustment." *laugh*

Even with getting the fingerboard and frets zeroed in for one specific set of gauges, you're then stuck with that set of gauges. No possibility of further experimentation? No thanks....
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Old 07-11-2022, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
At some point I did contact CA about truss rods, and whoever replied repeated the "self-adjusting neck" stuff from the advertising, "self-adjusting" meaning "at whatever string height the string tension winds up pulling the neck to, that's your self-adjustment." *laugh*

Even with getting the fingerboard and frets zeroed in for one specific set of gauges, you're then stuck with that set of gauges. No possibility of further experimentation? No thanks....
True . But for some, they experiment around until they find the one gauge and string design that they think is the best. And stay with it. But of course, different strokes for different folks. Some may perpetually experiment. I tend to be the former type...
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Old 07-12-2022, 04:21 PM
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On my Legacy, I had a tech take down the frets that are on the body of the guitar. That created plenty of space to adjust the action. As far as tone, the only carbon fiber I’ve heard that comes close to a Legacy is an Emerald X30. It’s a jumbo size, I know vs a dread naught size Legacy. I’ve never tried an Emerald X20, which is their dread naught size.
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