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  #46  
Old 02-28-2014, 12:00 PM
perttime perttime is offline
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"Emerald Guitars" says on facebook that there are more X20-OS videos coming - along with videos featuring their Fanned Fretless, 6 string acoustic bass...
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  #47  
Old 08-17-2014, 12:39 PM
Claytone Claytone is offline
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Sorry to bump this post again guys...but Crazymilo wanted to get the "feel" of the sound of Rainsong & Emerald, so here is a discussion that we had last year...
This is still pertinent methinks...
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Current Acoustics:
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Wechter Pathmaker
Wechter Nashville Tuned
Wechter Dobro
Washburn Nylon

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QSC K8 x 2

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  #48  
Old 08-17-2014, 01:28 PM
crazymilo12 crazymilo12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claytone View Post
Sorry to bump this post again guys...but Crazymilo wanted to get the "feel" of the sound of Rainsong & Emerald, so here is a discussion that we had last year...
This is still pertinent methinks...
Thank you. I appreciate it. I searched the forum, but clearly not enough. If the x20 has got the type of zingy highs and piano like bass that I'm reading about, I've got a couple of wooden guitars that will be moving on.
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  #49  
Old 08-17-2014, 02:29 PM
Claytone Claytone is offline
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Originally Posted by crazymilo12 View Post
Thank you. I appreciate it. I searched the forum, but clearly not enough. If the x20 has got the type of zingy highs and piano like bass that I'm reading about, I've got a couple of wooden guitars that will be moving on.
You are welcome... But I am still gassing for that tobacco burst offset Rainsong that Ted has on his website...sigh...Someone buy it please!!! LOL
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Current Acoustics:
Emerald X-20 OS Opus
Wechter Pathmaker
Wechter Nashville Tuned
Wechter Dobro
Washburn Nylon

Electric:
Line 6 Variax

Keyboards: Korg SV-1 88 key reverse

PA:
QSC K8 x 2

Amps:
Custom Peavey Studio Pro (Superman)
Fishman Loudbox Mini
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  #50  
Old 08-18-2014, 10:48 AM
mot mot is offline
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I'll put in my 2 cents since Claytone again resurrected this thread and echo that the X20 is an awesome instrument. It is so comfortable to hold and the sound that comes out is loud enough to drown out a singer if I am not careful. I don't have enough experience with other CFs to know if this comment applies to all of them, but the X20 definitely sounds like a great guitar with clean highs and a strong bass. I can make it growl and I can make it sound light and clear depending on how I hit the strings.

I almost never get to play it when I take it anywhere because others keep asking for a chance. Some have also asked if I am interested in selling it to them and where they can get one for themselves. I have had it for 8 months now and the honeymoon is still going strong.

My wife thinks it is one of the ugliest guitars she has ever seen though. She dislikes all offsets because "they are not anatomically correct".

Even though it may look like something that could come from a marriage of Salvador Dali's work to a Dr. Seuss book, it's been my go to guitar since it arrived at my house.

Well done Alistair!
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  #51  
Old 08-18-2014, 02:14 PM
Uncle Pauhana Uncle Pauhana is offline
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Default Emerald X20-OS review (Part 1)

PART 1

Since this thread has been revived, this might be a good time to repost this June 2013 review.

Hint: It's a rave.

I should add:

- The minor reservations I had about the neck shape might well apply only to me, and have pretty much faded away anyway.
- I'm now using Ernie Ball Aluminum Bronze strings. Stunning bass, and plenty of highs. They might be too zingy for some, at least when new, but I love them. They last like coated strings, but stay in tune better for me.
- I played through a huge festival system this weekend, and the X20 sounded great. The engineer took the feed from my SansAmp paradriver DI and, I think, left the EQ alone.
- I want to strengthen my endorsement of the K&K Pure Mini. It has proven to be a great choice in terms of sound and convenience.

***********

So here's the original review (PART 1):

Aloha all,

I can't believe that it's been almost six months since I received my lovely Emerald X20-OS. I promised a review long ago, but life intervenes in unexpected ways sometimes.

But I'm now happy to have the chance to share a little of my experience with you, and, although there have already been several reviews and a road trip, I'll try to make up for the delay by boring you with an overly-long review!

FEATURES
- Emerald X20-OS 6 string acoustic/electric guitar
- Full visible weave in Cobalt Blue
- Gotoh 510 18:1 ratio tuners in Cosmic Black
- Adjustable truss rod
- K&K Pure Mini passive soundboard transducer
- Hiscox Emerald-branded hard shell case

I think that this combination (aside from the particular color and pickup options) may be what Alistair is calling the Artisan Series now.

I won't post pictures – Alistair's own glamor shots of this very instrument are already in an older thread (scroll down): http://macnichol.com/forum-post/5707.

APPEARANCE & CONSTRUCTION
Even after six months, I still find myself just looking at this thing and admiring its sensuous-yet-purposeful curves. I don't think any of the photos I've seen really get across just how asymmetrical the X20-OS body shape is. It's been said before, but I'll repeat that it seems smaller than you'd expect when you hold it, and molds itself very comfortably to your body. The arm-rest bevel, the offset to lower side that rests on your knee, and the shape of the back all contribute to its comfort. Visually, I especially enjoy the details of the offset soundhole's shape – an aesthetic touch that reminds me of the mouth of some carnivorous plant. And somehow all this asymmetry and non-parallelism come together to make a coherent whole. It makes a very architectural statement, and particularly reminds me of Frank Gehry's Disney Concert Hall, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic: http://www.aia.org/cities/los-angele...hall/index.htm

Cobalt Blue was reintroduced at my request, and this instrument is the first to be made in this color in recent years. It is just as I had hoped it would be. The Amber was tempting, but I'm quite satisfied with my choice. As with all Emerald colors, the Cobalt Blue is fairly subtle under subdued lighting, but really jumps out in direct, fairly bright light, as the photos in the above linked thread depict it.

The Gotoh tuners are a real pleasure. Believe the hype!

I'm really happy that I specified the K&K Pure Mini pickup. I'll write more about the electronics below, but I mention it here because I love not having a big hole in the side of the guitar.

The construction quality is very impressive. It's hard to imagine that something so precise and refined and technically demanding came out of a little workshop in the countryside of Donegal.

The Hiscox hard-shell case that comes standard with this guitar is really nice – definitely a big step up from the molded or even the plywood cases offered by most guitar manufacturers.

ACOUSTIC SOUND
One of the first things I did after receiving this guitar was something that I thought was pretty daring and dangerous – I compared my X20-OS to my 1965 Brazilian rosewood Martin D-28! I realized that I was taking the chance that the comparison would highlight any weakness in the Emerald’s sound and that I would end up feeling disappointed*with my new guitar. I am happy to say, that although there is definitely some very special magic in the sound of an almost 50-year old Brazilian dreadnought, I am still very happy with the sound of the X20 after the comparison test. Actually, the comparison showed me how impressive the X20 really is. It has surprisingly satisfying bass for it’s size – perfect for the tunings I use – plus great presence at the high end, and really nice clarity and balance through its whole range. Just a very pleasing and usable sound overall.

I used it mostly for fingerstyle at first, but when sitting in with other players, I started playing with a pick quite a bit, and enjoyed its clarity for single lines and versatile rhythm sounds - open and chimey for first-fret triads, chunky yet defined for jazz chords.

It was originally strung, I believe, with D'Addario EXP coated phosphor bronze medium gauge. I had a few more sets of the same, so I haven't tried anything different yet. I'm moving away from coated strings, because my recording engineer believes they're hard to tune, and once he pointed it out to me, I think I'm seeing the same phenomenon. So I'll either change to the uncoated D'A PBs, or maybe try something entirely different.

Any string recommendations? Post your choices!

The tunings I use most often are:
- Standard
- D standard Standard tuned down one full step
- Dropped D D - A - D - G - B - E
- Taro Patch D - G - D - G - B - D
- F Taro Patch C - F - C - F - A - C
- C Wahine C - G - D - G - B - D
- Bb Wahine Bb - F - C - F - A - C
- C Mauna Loa C - G - E - G - A - E
- Bb Mauna Loa Bb - F - D - F - G - D

AMPLIFIED SOUND & STAGE USE
I've had the opportunity to play a number of gigs with the X20-OS, and it has sounded great through all the sound systems I've encountered. I remember in particular a couple of venues using JBL powered speakers, and one using QSC K8s. These gigs have all been indoors, the largest being a couple of hundred people, but this weekend I'll be using it at a larger outdoor event, and later in July at an indoor festival that I think seats about 800 or so.

I've been running it through a Fishman Aura Spectrum (with the Aura processing turned off, of course, because the Aura isn't meant to be used with a SBT like the K&K). I've found that, despite the K&K's reputation of needing quite a bit of EQ, only subtle tweaks are needed. One evening I dropped by some friends' gig just to show them the X20, and to my surprise they had a chair and mic ready for me... although I didn't know it, I was expected to sit in for the whole gig! I hadn't brought a pre-amp, and was surprised how great the guitar sounded plugged directly into their little Yamaha board, with very little EQ.

Its appearance is definitely eye-catching, and I always get questions from musicians and non-musicians alike.

I received this guitar just about the time that the L.R. Baggs Lyric internal mic system was starting to get a lot of buzz, and I wondered if I was missing out. The Lyric is getting great reviews, and if I were ordering now I would certainly consider it. But the K&K sounds much better to me than any of the undersaddle piezos I've used in the past, and having no battery to deal with is a plus.

Last edited by Uncle Pauhana; 09-23-2014 at 07:13 PM.
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  #52  
Old 08-18-2014, 02:16 PM
Uncle Pauhana Uncle Pauhana is offline
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Default Emerald X20-OS review (Part 2)

PART 2 - Please see Part 1

***************

COMMENTS FROM OTHERS
One friend, a non-musician, who heard it described the sound as “warm”. That says a lot, considering that warmth is one thing that critics may find lacking in carbon fiber instruments.

Pro players have also been favorably impressed. Some examples:

I mentioned to another friend, a guitarist, that there is a lot of prejudice in the guitar world against composite instruments, and he replied, “Yeah, but if a guitar sounds like*this, what do they have to complain about?” He was playing it at the time, and it wasn't easy to get it away from him. He also said, "I could play this all day!"

Another friend, an Irish fiddler and guitarist, loved the look of the guitar as well as the sound, even though he is a traditional player. He immediately wanted to know if Alistair would make him a fiddle.

... and there have been other positive reactions of this sort.

NEGATIVES
I have been told that the X20-OS has what is called a "modern C shape" neck profile. I've never played a guitar with this profile, but since it has a name, I guess it must be fairly wide-spread. I much prefer a v-shape like on my Martin and my Adamas 12 string, or a rounder shape like my Tacoma Chief or the Taylors I've played, or like many other guitars. I got (mostly) used to it very quickly, but I'm never going to think of it as one of this guitar's better features. It's all a matter of taste, of course, and I expect most players would either love it, or at least find it less polarizing than I do. I have some hand injuries, and I'm sure that that makes me more sensitive to neck shape. So this is far, far from a deal breaker, and in case you haven't noticed, I still love the guitar.

CONCLUSION
This is a versatile, road-worthy, eye-catching charmer, and a fine value. I know Alistair was concerned that he'd gone too far with this fairly radical concept, but I think that the choices he made in designing this instrument were visionary, and to me at least have proven highly successful. I'd call it a breakthrough.

I've owned instruments that cost a lot more that I never bonded with as I have with this Cobalt Blue Emerald X20-OS. I have named her Kekailipoho‘ohuināmoku, which means “The deep blue-black ocean that unites the many lands”. In the Hawaiian way of thinking, the oceans are not obstacles that separate the lands, but pathways that join them together… just like music *:-)

My thanks to Martin Blanes, who offered me much valuable advice and information with patience and kindness as I was preparing to order this guitar. And of course to Alistair Hay who is a real pleasure to work with, and whose passion and skill I benefit from every time I pick up this guitar.

Mālama pono ā hui hou,
Pili

EDITED TO ADD:
1. Even with the truss rod, the guitar feels quite light, and balances well when used with a strap.
2. I forgot to chime in with what everybody else has said: the revolutionary combination soundhole/side-soundport delivers an extraordinary amount of "out-front" sound to the player. Some friends who have tried the X20-OS gave a little jump of surprise when they first strummed it.
3. Iʻve written about how nice the Cobalt Blue finish is, but I also want to mention that the subtle black burst at the transitions (I canʻt call them joints, since the guitar is built in one piece) is very finely done, and rather than look like it was slathered on just to cover those tricky folds and bends in the fabric, actually enhances the look by adding a sense of dimension. And the Cobalt Blue and black tones blend together naturally, another win for CB.

Last edited by Uncle Pauhana; 09-23-2014 at 07:12 PM.
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  #53  
Old 08-18-2014, 02:27 PM
Uncle Pauhana Uncle Pauhana is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mot View Post
Even though it may look like something that could come from a marriage of Salvador Dali's work to a Dr. Seuss book...
That's the funniest thing I've read about a guitar… maybe ever !



In my review I compared it to a building (copied below), which just goes to show how far we need to reach to describe Alistair's vision!

"(The X20-OS) reminds me of Frank Gehry's Disney Concert Hall, home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic: http://www.aia.org/cities/los-angele...hall/index.htm "
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