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  #1  
Old 04-23-2019, 08:32 AM
rdamato rdamato is offline
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Default Another “Help me choose a guitar” Thread

As the title says, I’m in the market for a new acoustic to play live Solo, with a band and home on the couch. I have a Takamine Dread but it’s uncomfortable to play at home. I’m leaning towards a CA GX or an Emerald X20.
Those choices are based on videos and the Carbon choice on the fact that I like to leave guitars out of their cases.

Any recommendations are appreciated.

Best
Ron
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Old 04-23-2019, 09:42 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Congrats on considering low fuss carbon fiber, Ron. These days I own an equal number of wood and CF guitars (six each) with the wooden ones gradually on their way out - they get very little play time anymore with all these nice carbon guitars hanging out worry-free and immediately handy to play.

You are looking at two stellar examples. The X20 fits me perfectly and sounds great, plus those bevels and ergonomic curves will quickly spoil you for other guitars. Each Emerald guitar feels one size smaller than its dimension indicate. The X20 feels like a 000, the jumbo X30 more like dreadnought, and the X7 feels like a parlor or 00. CA guitars have the reputation of being the most wooden sounding among composites but also being a bit quieter in overall volume. If you can try one the Rainsong C-H (composite hybrid) series is a real sweet spot for both price and warm tones. Hard to beat.....

As an aside, it took me long time to crack the CA model code. Gx means (generally) a Grand Auditorium or GA size, and Ox means on thinner slightly smaller OM / 000 size.
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Old 04-23-2019, 11:04 AM
rdamato rdamato is offline
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@Earl49:

Thank You your detailed response. Regarding Emerald, the You Tube videos sound great. Do they sound as warm and woody in person??
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Old 04-23-2019, 11:36 AM
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Shades of Blue Shades of Blue is offline
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If I was going to play live at all, I'd go with a Taylor. Get the best one you can afford. That is just my 2 cents, so with that and 2 pennies you at least have 2 cents.....

In all seriousness, I think that pound for pound Taylor makes the best gigging acoustic out there. I think I'd go with something in their 100 or 200 series since you seem to want something more durable. Heck, if you plan on leaving it in the car and everything, then yeah maybe carbon fiber is the way to go.

I remember one time freaking out because we had an outdoor church gig and I was playing my Taylor 214ce. It was 90+ degrees and I was so worried about the guitar all day. I certainly understand that peace of mind has a value.
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Old 04-23-2019, 12:42 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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I have no direct experience with the Cargo CF guitars although I did recent hear one at an open mic that sounded great.

I've played and owned a lot of Emeralds and also a few Rainsongs. Great guitars. The Emeralds are terrific guitars for sure if you can get past the non-standard look of them. The X20 is the Swiss Army Knife of the model line. It does everything equally well. That said, for a smaller body experience you are looking for (playing on the couch) you can't beat the X7. The best thing about the Emeralds is you can custom order them to mix and match your exact desires. For instance, on my X20, while I love the size I didn't like their stock neck shape and scale or pickup systems. So I custom order on with a short scale, custom neck shape and preferred K&K pickup system and then had them throw on a gorgeous cocobolo woody veneer. It was still cheaper than a custom wood guitar and now it's exactly what I want. I did the same with my X7 and now I'm considering a third custom. All my wood guitars are now gone.
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Old 04-23-2019, 01:08 PM
mischultz mischultz is offline
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Regular guy at a venue I used to mix had a CA OX. Always sounded great, and I really dug it when I had the opportunity to play it myself. General vote of confidence for your direction and check both the GX and OX for personal ergonomics.
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Old 04-23-2019, 01:14 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdamato View Post
....Regarding Emerald, the You Tube videos sound great. Do they sound as warm and woody in person??
Carbon fiber tone is different than wood tone. Quite good in its own way, but different. There is a different mix of initial attack, overtones, damping, clarity and sustain than with wood. There is no substitute for trying one personally. With Emerald that can be a challenge, since they only sell direct. Sound is so subjective, but I - and almost everyone who has tried my X20 and the other Emeralds - like their tone quite a bit. I've also turned three different friends on to Rainsong guitars, so sometimes at a jam we have several CF guitars present.

I suggest spending some quality time reading threads in the carbon fiber room, where you will learn a lot about these alternate materials. If you gave us some clue where you are located, you might even find someone nearby willing to let you visit and test drive theirs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shades of Blue View Post
If I was going to play live at all, I'd go with a Taylor. Get the best one you can afford......
Good points. Taylor is gig ready, with the electronics being almost unavoidable unless you special order. Candidly I am NOT a fan of the ES2 system, but many like it. ES1.3 is the high point in my opinion. I am generally a big fan of Taylor guitars, and had nine at one point, but have since thinned the herd with three more outgoing this summer. I will eventually only keep my two koa Taylor guitars, with most other wooden ones gone. Yet I still very much like the CF offerings a lot. In part, I am tired of all the worry about temperature and humidity with wooden instruments (we lived in Alaska for many years with ultra-dry winters, which got me into carbon fiber guitars in the first place).

Before you panic about durability, I have played wooden guitars at outdoor festivals and campfire jams in Alaska down to 40°F and at summer festivals here in Idaho at 105°F. Anywhere that you can survive, the guitar will too. Just don't leave it cooped up in a hot car for hours, and it will be OK. Keep the case in the shade whenever possible. I always say, "Treat your guitar like you would a small child or a pet. Don't leave it in a hot car in the summer, or in a freezing car in the winter".

Last edited by Earl49; 04-23-2019 at 01:21 PM. Reason: added content
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Old 04-23-2019, 04:03 PM
tippy5 tippy5 is offline
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I have no desire to go composite. I have cheap Asian acoustic for daytime car rides and field work.

After playing piano, organ, banjo and electrics I really like my old wooden friends to fill a room with mystery and song. Good ol' acoustic guitar music. Hand built with appointed tonewoods. Different tones and feel over the course of its stay with me. A real relationship that challenges maintenance, compromise of approach and future malleable possibilities.
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Old 05-04-2019, 06:39 PM
rdamato rdamato is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tippy5 View Post
I have no desire to go composite. I have cheap Asian acoustic for daytime car rides and field work.



After playing piano, organ, banjo and electrics I really like my old wooden friends to fill a room with mystery and song. Good ol' acoustic guitar music. Hand built with appointed tonewoods. Different tones and feel over the course of its stay with me. A real relationship that challenges maintenance, compromise of approach and future malleable possibilities.


So I went with a McPherson Sable which to my ears, had the most “Woody” tone. I let you know what it sounds like at my first gig next week.
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