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Old 12-30-2012, 06:01 PM
BlueBird2 BlueBird2 is offline
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Default Why Carbon Fiber over Wood ?

Well, I do not want to say anything yet if I like one over the other, but I just want to learn bit more about this Carbon Fiber option. I guess I understand its not an electric guitar so, it can easily be compared to wood acoustic-electric guitars. I suppose you do not need one unless you are planning on plugging it in? Also, I over heard someone saying if its unplugged, wood acoustic guitar sounds better ?


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Old 12-30-2012, 06:51 PM
mchalebk mchalebk is offline
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No, these are not about plugging in. They are absolutely good acoustic guitars. Yes, most guitarists won't even consider a CF guitar, doesn't matter how good they sound or how practical they are. They're not wood and that's a showstopper... for most guitarists.

The feature that initially attracts most guitarists to composite construction is their durability and high resistance to environmental issues. For instance, you won't ever have to worry about humidity with a CF guitar. CF guitars are much sturdier, much less likely to be damaged. For instance, with wood guitars, I had two different ones develop cracks due to low humidity and I snapped the headstock off one when it slid to the ground and hit the base of a lamp stand. I just don't have to worry about that with CF.

My first CF guitar was a CA Vintage Performer (same as vintage voiced Legacy model in the present lineup). It is a standard dread and sounds very much like a quality dreadnought.

After people get past the "not wood" stage, they learn to appreciate some of the other things that CF brings to the table: innovative shapes that sometimes allow incredible access to upper frets, light weight, crystalline tones (for some models), etc.

If you want to see some CF guitars in action, you might want to check out some of the videos on my YouTube page (link in my signature). I'm no virtuoso, just an enthusiastic player/singer who appreciates what carbon fiber has to offer for acoustic guitarists.
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:25 PM
AZLiberty AZLiberty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mchalebk View Post
Yes, most guitarists won't even consider a CF guitar, doesn't matter how good they sound or how practical they are. They're not wood and that's a showstopper... for most guitarists.
.
Quite honestly I think most guitarists don't even know about carbon fiber guitars. When I hand people my Rainsong the first thing they say is "what the heck is this made from?"
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:03 PM
BlueBird2 BlueBird2 is offline
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Default what model is he playing on this one ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...xCzC9wG1k&NR=1

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Old 12-30-2012, 09:22 PM
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Acousticado Acousticado is offline
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Originally Posted by BlueBird2 View Post
Paul is playing an Ovation. The top is wood, the bowl (back & sides) is a composite of some form. Others will know the material for certain. Although many like Ovations, they are not considered CF guitars.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:01 PM
pandaroo pandaroo is offline
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I am aware of its durability features etc. - Most of all they sound pretty darn good too! There are so many wood guitars out there and the ones i have tried, only a handful of them made me go "WOW". I only managed to laid my hands on 2 CF guitars, - 1) Rainsong WS Concert (which i acquired eventually) and 2) CA Cargo (which i regret not getting when a used one came up), and without fail, both of these, I went like "Wow!".

The lightness, sustain, volume and projection and clarity is just insane, normally you can only get these characteristics only from much higher price range of a wood guitar.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:22 AM
BlueBird2 BlueBird2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acousticado View Post
Paul is playing an Ovation. The top is wood, the bowl (back & sides) is a composite of some form. Others will know the material for certain. Although many like Ovations, they are not considered CF guitars.
Does anybody know which model he is playing? Ok sorry for sone reason, I was thinking Ovation were CF. As far on Ovation, am I in a wrong section then? opps.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:25 AM
BlueBird2 BlueBird2 is offline
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Originally Posted by pandaroo View Post
I am aware of its durability features etc. - Most of all they sound pretty darn good too! There are so many wood guitars out there and the ones i have tried, only a handful of them made me go "WOW". I only managed to laid my hands on 2 CF guitars, - 1) Rainsong WS Concert (which i acquired eventually) and 2) CA Cargo (which i regret not getting when a used one came up), and without fail, both of these, I went like "Wow!".

The lightness, sustain, volume and projection and clarity is just insane, normally you can only get these characteristics only from much higher price range of a wood guitar.
Please tell me more. Where is a good start to learn about them? I nean I don't see them much in my area. Known brand, model, artists, etc?
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:59 AM
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4 major builders and a couple new companies just starting.

Emerald Guitars
CA (Composite Acoustics)
Blackbird Guitars
Rainsong (the earliest company)

There are better videos out there but here are a couple I found quickly. Others will add more, I'm sure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHsU6RTQvE0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKlGNmVU2kY

Found a link to his own YouTube page:
https://www.youtube.com/user/mrdavidwilcox

He plays wood also, but they are very expensive and fragile so he keeps them at home for the most part.

Last edited by ac; 12-31-2012 at 03:10 AM. Reason: added link
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:05 AM
Doubleneck Doubleneck is offline
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I personally think carbon guitars work better than wood electrified. It is a purer sound which works well amplified. You can also like CF just as a work of art. Thats how I view the Emerald Doubleneck, playable sculpture with absolute permanence.
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:01 AM
Ed422 Ed422 is offline
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The big thing I'd say is to try them before you buy. They do *not* sound like wood guitars so if that is the sound you want, they may not be for you. The closest to wood I have ever played has been a couple Rainsongs. I have an Emerald X7-OS which sounds ok except for a sharp attack sound on the down stroke of many strums... kind of a whap sound I don't get on any of my wood guitars. I thought it was just the way I played, but I hear the same thing on several of the audio and video samples people have posted. I think it is the result of the material used and the hollow neck. The strings slap down onto the fingerboard. It doesn't come through when plugged in and with judicious EQ, it's possible to get a very good acoustic type sound amplified.

The big thing I'd say is (and I know they are tough to find) if at all possible, try one or buy from a shop that has a good return policy should it not be your cup of tea.

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Old 12-31-2012, 01:19 PM
Ted @ LA Guitar Sales Ted @ LA Guitar Sales is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueBird2 View Post
Sir Paul is playing one of his Ovations in that video, not a Carbon Fiber guitar but they were the first successful company to market and sell a guitar that was not made entirely of wood. BTW, the back and sides of the Ovation is a composite material that Kaman, Ovations parent company, was/is using to build helicopter rotors for the military.

As to why you don't see many Carbon Fiber guitars for sale, easy, not many are built each year. Rainsong is the oldest and currently the largest manufacturer of carbon guitars, they use the most expensive materials and highest grade tooling available to produce the most consistent product available, but at this time their total production per year is only about what Taylor builds in a few days. Composite Acoustics used a slower process using both aluminum and foam molds yet managed to produce around 1500 guitars a year, but they went out of business March of 2010 and most doubt the current owners build that many guitars per year. Blackbird and Emerald, are the smallest, between the two shop they build around 400 guitars per year most of which are sold factory direct.

So why CF over wood? For me it was a matter of necessity having to do with a newly purchased vacation house in the local mountains. With an average humidity level of 12% I needed something more durable than the Martin OM-15 I used to keep up there, so after a quick trip to the Hollywood GC I became the owner of my first CF guitar, a Rainsong OM1000 which has served me and others well for the last 12 years. My personal collection includes several examples from all four builders mentioned above, and although I'm not about to give up my wood guitars, I am quite found of these carbon creations.

Last edited by Ted @ LA Guitar Sales; 01-01-2013 at 10:20 AM. Reason: Edited to keep confusion to a minimum... :)
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:42 PM
P_K P_K is offline
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i would like to precise a bit the previous post. I've been both at Blackbird and Emerald facilities and they don't use foam moulds. they use moulds like CA and Rainsong. Emerald have a complete proprietary different moulding process, though.

i've read rumors around on forums that both Blackbird and Emerald produce more than 300 hundred guitars a year each but i haven't read any official numbers. still fairly small numbers compared to Martin or Taylor for sure. Rainsong and CA also lay one sheet at a time when they build their guitars, but each company has really different approaches. The difference on production numbers is that Rainsong has been in the market for longer and they have a larger facility and more than triple times more workers. they have a larger network of retailers and distributors too and a good fanbase

i think that Blackbird and Emerald consistency is remarkable too IMHO

returning to the OT, carbon fiber companies are really small. it is impossible for them to have guitars on every shop in the country. In fact, they don't intend to do it. They prefer to make amazing guitars, not amazing selling numbers. These companies don't intend to be like Martin. Think of them as boutique speciality guitars.

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Last edited by P_K; 01-04-2013 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:01 PM
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Don't be fooled by the David Wilcox video. He has at least three pick-ups in the guitar, including an internal mic, and he mics the guitar to boot.

He then uses an expensive preamp to precisely eq the sound of each pick-up, before running it through the P.A. system. So you have to take the live Youtube vidoes with a grain of salt. Listen to his most recent studio album, Open Hand, on which he used the Rainsong, to get a true idea of how the guitar sound acoustically.
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:19 PM
Ted @ LA Guitar Sales Ted @ LA Guitar Sales is offline
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Originally Posted by P_K View Post
i would like to precise a bit the previous post. I've been both at Blackbird and Emerald facilities and they don't use foam moulds. they use moulds like CA and Rainsong. Emerald have a complete proprietary different moulding process, though.
Martin, I have not been to Alistar's shop and considering how close it is to me I am ashamed to have to admit that I have not been to Joe's shop either, but I have seen their molds as well as the molds used by Rainsong and CA and they are not the same. My post was not to insinuate that one technique is better than the other, it was simply to point out that very few CF guitars get built per year.

Below is a picture of the Blackbird Lucky 13 mold being made, I believe the industry does call it some type of foam but I could be mistaken, it certainly isn't aluminum like the Rainsong mold below it. What ever it is, Joe is producing some amazing guitars with it. My personal Rider has been all over the US and has impressed everyone who has tried it, and the last Super OM I sold went to a customer who was picking up a $10,000 Martin but just couldn't put that "strange looking black guitar" down. Joe's guitars actually do sell themselves.

As for Emerald, I have only seen his dragon guitar mold which does appear to be a white foam, it's certainly not aluminum like the ones used by CA and Rainsong. Given his way of building his guitars without seems it's only logical to assume he uses a foam mold that can be dissolved chemically and poured out of the soundhole once the carbon fiber dries. Again, whatever he uses he manages to produce some phenomenal guitars that are as much a work of art as they are musical instruments. Alistar is one of the most talented people I know.


Blackbird L13 Mold



Rainsong Parlor mold

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