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  #1  
Old 05-04-2018, 09:16 AM
ssjk ssjk is offline
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Default (long-ish) report on my visit to Emerald Guitars

Ive been intrigued by the Emerald Guitars line for a while but have no experience with CF guitars so I never looked seriously to buy. But when I started planning a trip to Northern Ireland plus Counties Donegal and Mayo for other reasons I checked with Sean (no longer with Emerald Guitars) and then with Alistair who was kind enough to host a visit.

I was pretty sure that my main interest would be in the X20 steel string (but maybe the nylon) and was lucky that Alistair had one of each that I could compare. Ill cut to the chase I played the 8 instruments he had available and ended up ordering a red X20 Artisan steel string. I thought others who wont have the chance to visit might be interested in my reactions to the instruments I played.

First a few general comments:

Colors. Colors are a close match in person to those shown on website using either an older iMac or a new iPad. The green artisan was to my eye just a touch brighter. Everything else was exactly what the images show.

Woody option. Again exactly what I expected from the images. Very pretty, although luckily for my wallet I prefer the non-woody version.

Shape. Loved the X20 body shape when I played it. Very comfy. I liked the overall presentation better in person than on line. The offset soundhole really works with the body shape. Hard to get that through the photos the 3 dimensional view is what matters. Somebody else said sexy. Yep.

Neck and feel. When I first picked up the 20 series I thought the neck was a bit fuller than I expected. Not chunky feeling or a baseball bat by any means. Fuller is the best I can come up with. I forgot all about it after about five minutes with the X20 Artisan steel and nylon versions, so my reaction might just be comparison to what I normally play. Which is mostly a Martin OOO copy and an actual HD28. (Note I am pretty indifferent to neck profile and nut width).

Quick reaction to everything I got to play. By the way, I played all of these fingerstyle, no picks. For flat picking I assume I would turn to the dread anyway, so I didnt even test that.

Artisan x20, which I am getting. Loved the feel and the overall look in person. Good balance to my ears. Excellent on the high strings up and down the neck. Nice shimmer on chords up the neck. Plenty of bass for my purposes.

Artisan x20 nylon. I recently bought a very nice Pono crossover because I used to play nylon strings, Im getting older, and I thought I would transition back. Loved the guitar but it just wasnt a sound that fits with what I play and sing. So I sold it and told myself my nylon string experiment was over. This Emerald nylon almost changed my mind. Massive repeat massive bass. I believe someone else mentioned that you would have to learn to control this, and I agree. Much lighter touch than expected was needed here. Very nice with chords and simple melodies up the neck. Loved the sound. And loved the look with the slotted headstock.

I played the nylon and steel string back to back for quite a while, playing on each successively some of the tunes I would normally play. Much as I loved the sound and look of the nylon, it was clear that the steel string sounded more like me. I thought so and my wife said the same thing, although not until I had actually decided on the steel.

X7 custom woody. Seemed a bit small to me visually more than regarding sound. Nice sound and a great travel guitar, but I did not look or play intensively

Fan fret 7 string. Great feel and sound top to bottom. Especially bottom. Im mostly a chords and leads built around chords kind of guy so Im not sure the fan fret would work for me, but for somebody who actually knows what they are doing I think it would be great. Fan frets were not as much of a problem for me as I expected, but there would be a learning curve for sure.

Standard baritone. I recently bought one of the Stupid Deal Alvarez baritones and its sufficient for my infrequent use. And I have no experience with anything better. If I thought to upgrade this Emerald would certainly be on the compare list. Loud but nice and crisp on the low end.

Amicus small 12 string. Very catchy, but definitely a niche product. Great sound if its a sound you need. Wife said it sounded like something youd hear on the intro to a song. I agree. Or to fill in the mix at a higher register if you dont have a mandolin. Speaking of which, I play mandolin and to me the amicus seemed a bit cramped for fingering compared to the mandolin. Maybe because there are six courses instead of four.

Bass. Great look and sound. Might be able to use it unamplified in a duo or small group, but my bet is youd want to amplify it. Physics just is what it is.

Chimaera double neck. Loved the look. This was the only item that weighed much more than I expected. That and neck heaviness, which I did expect, might just be the nature of a double neck Ive never played any other. Sounded fine on both six and 12 string necks, but this was a pretty cursory look.

Harp Guitar. Just looked - have no idea how to play one and didn't even want to bluff. Beautiful though.


Bottom line these are as nice as you think they are. Im glad I got the chance to see them in person. I was prepared to order one, and I did.
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Old 05-04-2018, 09:24 AM
jdinco jdinco is offline
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Great report, thanks, only think I might be able to add is that the X20 plays and sounds great with a pick. Enjoy your new X20 ! What a great trip !
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Old 05-04-2018, 12:04 PM
EvanB EvanB is offline
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SS;

Great report! I could not help but feel a bit of envy at you playing in a field of Emeralds. It sounds like you found your Emerald and came away with a good feel for Emerald options. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 05-04-2018, 03:08 PM
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That was an enjoyable, informative read. Thanks for sharing. Lucky you, to have made a pilgrimage to the world of Emerald Guitars.
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Old 05-04-2018, 04:03 PM
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Very good story...thanks
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Emerald: X-20, Center hole X-10 (Maple) and X-7 (redwood), Amicus, Paduak X7,X10, & X30, Spalted Chen Chen X 10,
CA: Early OX and Cargo
Blackbird: Savoy
RainSong: CH-OM, CH-WS
Journey: OF660
McPherson: Touring(Honeycomb and gold), Sable
Some wood things by Epi, Harmony, Takamine, Good Time, PRS, Gypsy Music, keyboards, wind controllers.. etc
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Old 05-04-2018, 04:12 PM
jwellsy jwellsy is offline
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That's a great prelude to the open house later this month. Thanks!

Congrats on the X20.

Did you happen to get to see the Ziricote Cross veneer?
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Old 05-04-2018, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwellsy View Post
Did you happen to get to see the Ziricote Cross veneer?

Sigh...here we go ... just had to bring that up again... but then can't blame you... maybe he got to touch it.
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YUP....
Emerald: X-20, Center hole X-10 (Maple) and X-7 (redwood), Amicus, Paduak X7,X10, & X30, Spalted Chen Chen X 10,
CA: Early OX and Cargo
Blackbird: Savoy
RainSong: CH-OM, CH-WS
Journey: OF660
McPherson: Touring(Honeycomb and gold), Sable
Some wood things by Epi, Harmony, Takamine, Good Time, PRS, Gypsy Music, keyboards, wind controllers.. etc

Last edited by kramster; 05-04-2018 at 04:16 PM. Reason: spell
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Old 05-04-2018, 04:22 PM
jwellsy jwellsy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kramster View Post
maybe he got to touch it.
Touch it? Heck, I'd have to smell it before it gets ensconced. I'm not the jealous type no matter how much you bait me into it.
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Old 05-04-2018, 04:22 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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Great report - thanks for taking the time.

Interesting that Sean is no longer there... I hope it wasn't dealing with me that drove him away!
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Old 05-04-2018, 04:27 PM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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Lucky you! Thanks for the great report. I'm sorry to hear Sean isn't with Emerald any longer. Great guy.
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Old 05-04-2018, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwellsy View Post
Touch it? Heck, I'd have to smell it before it gets ensconced. I'm not the jealous type no matter how much you bait me into it.
Maybe he got to cuddle it a wee bit... and take some photos that will be kept to himself or hang on the wall.... maybe it made a nice plate for some colcannon or champ.
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YUP....
Emerald: X-20, Center hole X-10 (Maple) and X-7 (redwood), Amicus, Paduak X7,X10, & X30, Spalted Chen Chen X 10,
CA: Early OX and Cargo
Blackbird: Savoy
RainSong: CH-OM, CH-WS
Journey: OF660
McPherson: Touring(Honeycomb and gold), Sable
Some wood things by Epi, Harmony, Takamine, Good Time, PRS, Gypsy Music, keyboards, wind controllers.. etc
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Old 05-04-2018, 04:46 PM
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Maybe Sean has left Emerald to start his own CF guitar company...”LepreSean Guitars”.

Great guy...wish him well in whatever he does!
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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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  #13  
Old 05-04-2018, 06:14 PM
EvanB EvanB is offline
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touch it, smell it, feel it--these CFers are a pretty sensory crew.
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  #14  
Old 05-04-2018, 07:44 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is online now
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Nice report.

I echo the thoughts about Sean no longer being there - always a pleasure to deal with him. So, who's the social media, e-mail response person at Emerald now?
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Old 05-04-2018, 07:47 PM
jwellsy jwellsy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Jim View Post
So, who's the social media, e-mail response person at Emerald now?
Alistair has been the only person responding to my emails that I can tell.
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