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Old 11-23-2018, 02:30 PM
gerardo1000 gerardo1000 is offline
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Default Ode to the Emerald Opus guitars. You will be missed by many.

I was a very early adopter of Emerald guitars, from the time when the brand was almost unknown in the United States, where I live. I started over 15 years ago with an "X20 shaped" all fiber glass guitar (!), then I bought one of the very first green X30s, with a center sound hole and an unusual saddle divided in 6 pieces, one for each string. My son still has, and loves, an X20 more than ten years old, with an 11/6 neck width and a center sound hole.
And two years ago I purchased a great X7 Opus, brand new at a price that I believe was around $950.00.
All this to say that I am sad (and a little bit disappointed, if I may) that Alistair decided to drop the Opus line. I understand that, due to the current well deserved success, Alistair may have decided to focus on the more refined and expensive Artisan line, but in this way he sort of "betrayed" long standing customers who cannot afford the Artisan prices.
Rainsong and Composite Acoustic sell models that range from $2500 to $3000, but they also offer some popular guitars (like the OM for Rainsong and the OX for Composite Acoustic) in a "striped down" version that make them affordable for a clientele that is less wealthy, i.e. the "Raw" series for Composite Acoustic and the "Custom Hybrid" series for Rainsong. These guitars have a price ranging from $1200 to $1500 in their only acoustic versions.
And these two builders have to share a percentage of the price with dealers.
Emerald sells directly, with no middle-men, and I am sure that, for Alistair, to build at least a model with a more affordable price is only a matter of will. Let's say, for example, an additional version of their best seller, the X 20, built with less appointments, may be a matte finish and everything that Emerald could think to lower the price without affecting the quality of the tone and the playability. Ibelieve that an X20 of this sort would be very welcome by Emerald fans who cannot or do not want to pay the Artisan prices.
Opinions on this are welcome !

Last edited by gerardo1000; 11-24-2018 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 11-23-2018, 02:48 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Gerardo, Alistair has been pretty clear on this in past posts when the Opus series went away. He is aware that many folks are price sensitive, but it comes down to this: they are busy building all that they can, and over 90% of their orders were Artisan models anyway. Opus were not as "wildly popular" as you believe. When your company is struggling to keep up with demand, you need to concentrate on the best sellers. That is just good business sense. An old friend of mine visited the factory in Ireland last month and said that everyone he saw there was quite busy building, shipping, etc. (He also bought the October Select Series paduak Amicus while there, the same day it came out - timing is everything. And he has finally stopped cursing my name for letting him know about Emerald).

My first thoughts were to go with Opus and save a few bucks. But all three of ours are Artisan models (X7 woody, custom X20-12, stock X20). They will on rare occasion have "B stock" marked down with cosmetic flaws, and there is often a used Emerald or two for sale here in the AGF classifieds. You can also cut the price by opting to forego the pickup and choosing the gig bag only.
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Old 11-23-2018, 02:49 PM
EvanB EvanB is offline
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Gerardo;

Very good point. It is happening all over the world, as kramster has often said, "life is good but getting expensive." Or something like that. Alistair has hit Bingo and doing very well with both custom and production instruments.
But while his custom instruments are reasonably priced , from my standpoint, they are not within the range of many players.

On the other hand, what the Emerald price-points do is place Peavey and Rainsong (and others) as starter models for people who might well ultimately move to Emerald art.

I have mixed emotions.
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Old 11-23-2018, 03:23 PM
jdinco jdinco is offline
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You can order a stripped down "Artisan" with no pickup or hard case and get the price pretty close to what the Opus was. And still have the color option. Point well taken though.
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Old 11-23-2018, 03:28 PM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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They don't have the manpower required to keep the Opus line going and Kramster's custom orders at the same time!

All jokes aside though I feel your pain. They're only a small outfit who are overwhelmed with orders. Maybe one day if they get things under control they can bring the Opus line back.
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Old 11-23-2018, 04:27 PM
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kramster kramster is offline
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How the heck did I get dragged into all this ? Should I get more Emeralds ?
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Old 11-23-2018, 04:37 PM
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fazool fazool is offline
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A very parallel story was when Taylor discontinued their "Acoustic Line" of guitars (GC/GA/DN/GS) models. IMO, these were the best deals for any Taylor guitars and my favorite of their line.

Of course such decisions are made in the best interests of the business.

They have to weigh in profit of each model versus selling volumes of each.


I miss the Taylor acoustic series and can appreciate your feelings about the Emerald opus. I was close to selecting an X20 Opus when they were discontinued. I have zero interest in a built-in pickup or fancy colors.
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Old 11-23-2018, 04:38 PM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kramster View Post
How the heck did I get dragged into all this ? Should I get more Emeralds ?
LOL...and no I think you have enough!
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Old 11-23-2018, 05:31 PM
chistrummer chistrummer is offline
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Originally Posted by EvanB View Post
On the other hand, what the Emerald price-points do is place Peavey and Rainsong (and others) as starter models for people who might well ultimately move to Emerald art.
I assume that comment was meant as a joke.
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Old 11-23-2018, 06:59 PM
AZLiberty AZLiberty is offline
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At the beginning of the year Emerald:

--Increased prices 15-20%
--Increased their shipping cost (to the buyer) by $80
--Discontinued the Opus line.

Add those up and it's a pretty significant cost increase to buy an Emerald.

For example:
Last Novemer you could buy an X-20 (Opus, no pickup, gigbag) for $1495
Today the least expensive X-20 (Artisan, no pickup, gigbag) is $1905

The price of the Chimaera I want has gone up by over $600. That is not a small difference.

Now I certainly understand. Emerald is production constrained, so it certainly makes sense for them to concentrate on models which have a lot more profit baked in.

However, last time I bought a guitar, I bought another Rainsong. (A CH-PA)
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Old 11-23-2018, 08:29 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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As a former business owner, I understand the dilemma. Emerald Guitars are unique. It is a niche market, and these guitars are special, even when compared to other carbon fiber makers.

As buyers of their products, some of us assume that Emerald is maxed out on production capacity. We know they are busy, but only those inside Emerald know their capacity. Assuming (again) that they are at their capacity to build, without adding more equipment and qualified staff, it is only good business to maximize their sales by eliminating the lesser expensive models that take the same amount of time to produce.

It is not likely that Emerald could become the next Taylor in terms of production. Also not likely that Alistair has any desire to be the next Taylor.

I have an Opus, an X7, from several years ago. It is spectacular workmanship. As good as any custom guitar I've seen. I've had the opportunity to see some older Emeralds, and this is much nicer... Emerald continues to improve their product. At some point, the lower price can't support the time and materials that go into making this delightful instrument. ($995 + $150 for the B-Band pickup) The price has to go up, and/or you eliminate the lower priced product. It doesn't make them greedy or bad - it is simply a business decision.

Yes, there are some people who can't afford an Emerald Artisan or Custom. There are also many people that can't afford an entry-level wood guitar. That doesn't mean that Taylor or Martin should try to offer a $100 guitar or stop making their more expensive offerings.

We all know that every guitar isn't the same. There are plenty of people out there who wouldn't know the difference between the cheapest wood guitar and an Emerald Custom... those people aren't Emerald's market. Some of us can see the difference. And, if we don't have the disposable income right now, we're willing to save up to get that guitar we want.

When I hear that someone wants an X20 but buys a lesser expensive model of another brand... that says to me that they simply want a carbon fiber guitar... and are willing to accept something rather than save for that X20. That isn't a put-down of anyone's choice.

If you go into a BMW dealer looking for an i8, decide it is more than your budget can afford, and get a very nice new Corvette instead, it doesn't mean the i8 is over-priced. I can't afford either of those, but we all have to make buying decisions in our everyday lives, weighing our desires, budget, and perceived value. I see it every time I push the shopping cart around Walmart for my wife.

Another example: is a guitar made by Jim Olson worth $10k or more? Obviously, to some people, it is. It isn't in my price range, but I wouldn't buy a GSmini if I really wanted an Olson. For some of us, the Emerald creations are special. And, worth the price.

For most businesses, when a product stops selling, it is because it is no longer relevant or the price has exceeded the public's perceived value. If a manufacturer simply lowers the price to try to regain sales, it says to me that the price was too high. Better for the manufacturer to change up the product a bit and offer it at a lower price. It doesn't have "the appearance" of a mark-down. When I was ready to sell my RainSong Shorty SG-FLE (glossy, limited edition), their much lower priced CH-OM kicked the bottom out of the value of my guitar.

Those who follow carbon fiber guitars know that the materials aren't inexpensive. It's also pretty easy to see that there isn't $1000 difference in materials between a parlor size guitar and a larger model... but, the public can't see paying the same price for a parlor as they would for a Grand Auditorium. It is perception. The labor involved is similar. Manufacturers have to constantly be weighing their price and perceived value. And know their break even point, then price to make a profit.

Running a business isn't easy. Running a successful business means you have to always be aware of public perception and perceived value. I have an Opus, a Select Series, and a Custom Emerald... to my eye, they are all excellent workmanship. While there are details that I requested on my Custom, I see no difference in workmanship between that and my Opus. In fact, I requested the Crystal Ice finish on the back and sides on that Custom (the Crystal Ice used to be part of the Opus finish)... there was no reduction in price compared to all gloss.

I am not joking when I say I opened the box on my X7 Opus (a few years ago) and said, "How can they make something this nice for this price?"

If there are open production slots, it is better to fill them with an Opus rather than have dead time. At this time, I doubt that Emerald has any open production slots, but they are smart enough to schedule-build some very nice guitars for "in stock."

Beautiful instruments, good business.
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Old 11-23-2018, 08:35 PM
byudzai byudzai is offline
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The point, clearly, is that i should buy this amber X7. Right?

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Old 11-23-2018, 10:06 PM
AZLiberty AZLiberty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byudzai View Post
The point, clearly, is that i should buy this amber X7. Right?
I really do like the Amber. There is a practically new black one listed in the for-sale sub forum.
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Old 11-24-2018, 07:25 AM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byudzai View Post
The point, clearly, is that i should buy this amber X7. Right?

Obviously. And for those who truly want an Opus, I got an e-mail from Emerald yesterday telling they they have 6 Opus (including one X10) left in stock, and at great prices.

And... don't put it off.

Last edited by Captain Jim; 11-24-2018 at 07:32 AM.
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Old 11-24-2018, 08:07 AM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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They have lots of deals on old stock currently on their website.
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