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Old 01-16-2018, 12:03 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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Default CF meet & greet - X20 Artisan vs. X20 Custom plus a little Luck(y13)

Awhile back before receiving my X20 Custom Woody, Dave (aka frettingflyer) reached out to me on PM. Turns out he's relatively local to me and is an X20 Artisan owner. He was interested in my thoughts on my X20 Custom when it came in as he was considering a custom order of his own for the shorter scale. So of course it made sense to get together so we could meet in person, put faces to names/handles and even more importantly, compare and contrast our X20's. This was very helpful for me because all my comparisons in my review of my X20 Custom to the X20 Artisan I'd owned were clouded with the fog of the nearly 3 year gap since I owned it!

Dave stopped by today and brought along his X20 Artisan. He also brought his Lucky 13 as it's one of the few CF guitars I had yet to try. I'll get that one out of the way quickly by just saying it's a sweet little guitar. Small and light, with decent tone. I was not a fan of the neck shape (no surprise there) but other than that it was a great little guitar.

Now, onto the real deal - the X20 shootout. To summarize, Dave's X20 Artisan is completely stock and only differed from the Artisan I had in the onboard electronics (my was B-Band, his is LR Baggs Anthem) and the color, blue vs. green. For the record I liked his green better than the blue and I liked the LR Baggs Anthem better than the B-Band I had and better than the LR Baggs Element VTC I had in the X7 Custom I owned briefly last Fall. The main differences between his stock Artisan and my Custom Woody (other than cosmetics, of course) are the shorter scale (25.5" vs. 24.6"), neck carve (flat D vs. soft V) and pickups (Anthem vs. K&K). There's also a weight difference, albeit very minor. I'll cover each of these from my perspective and Dave can chime when he visits.

Weight: When I first got my X20 Custom the first thing I noticed was how heavy it felt. This needs to be tempered with the fact that my other guitar (as well as the last few I've owned) is an extremely lightly built all-wood guitar. Also, I don't remember (again, that fog of time) the X20 Artisan I had as being an overly light guitar, but the Custom seemed a little heavy. When compared to the Martin my X20 is somewhere around a pound heavier. Although we didn't weigh the two X20's, mine definitely did feel a little heavier but not much. Maybe a half pound, probably less. So this pretty much confirms my recollection, the Custom X20 is slightly heavier than my Artisan.

Scale: This was a big thing for both of us. Dave is considering a shorter scale for more comfort mostly. He said his fingers tire after playing for a few hours and thought the shorter scale and less string tension would be helpful. For me my concern was if I was losing volume with the shorter scale as my recollection of the Artisan was that it was louder. We both seemed to agree that the shorter scale of my Custom did not translate to any loss in volume, at least not enough to be noticeable. Dave did notice an like the reduced string tension. I noticed it was well and also greatly appreciated the comfort of the reduced reach of the shorter scale.

Neck Carve: This one was mostly me as Dave didn't seem concerned with neck carve, at least not that I remember him saying. I, on the other hand, did instantly remember the feel of the stock X20 neck as something I was not terribly fond of. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it and greatly preferred the Custom's soft V which I ordered. No surprises there.

Pickups: Both sounded very good through my K&K pre-amp and into the Carvin AG200. Obviously I'm a K&K fan anyway so again no surprise there. Dave also seemed to like the tone of the K&K amplified and said he really likes the idea of not having a battery to deal with so it might be something he would consider. As for the LR Baggs Anthem, I was pleasantly surprised with it's tone. I really did not like the B-Band on the Artisan I had, nor did I like much the LR Baggs Element VTC on the X7. But the Anthem sounded great and if I felt the need for some onboard tone and volume controls I would definitely consider it on future guitars, so that was good to know.

Out-front tone, Martin vs. X20 Custom: Last up was just the joy of actually being able to stand out front of my guitars and hear them played by someone else. Dave is a predominantly fingerstyle player like me (although he's a little better!) so it was very nice to listen to him play my guitars from a vantage point I never get to hear. He played both my Martin 000-18GE Custom and the X20 Custom which I very much appreciated as it allowed me to finally be able to compare and contrast tones and volumes from the listener standpoint. The volume of the Martin was just ever so slightly louder than the X20 out front and it sounded incredible, pure Martin magic. The X20 also sounded very good with a very even tone across the strings and great sustain, pure Emerald carbon fiber goodness.

Of course the best thing was getting to meet Dave in person. He wants to start playing open mics and he's definitely ready so we hope we'll see each other from time to time although we do have somewhat opposite work schedules. Thanks for stopping by, Dave, and helping me answer some questions I had. Hopefully others will find this information useful as well!
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:04 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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Me and Dave, playing each other's X20!

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Old 01-16-2018, 01:34 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Nice comparisons! If not for this forum, you two may not have met. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 01-16-2018, 02:24 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Jim View Post
.....If not for this forum, you two may not have met........
Ditto that, and taking it one step further: if not for this forum, I would be unaware of Emerald guitars and would not own my most excellent X20-12.

I've had lots of off-line communication with Dave (Fretting Flyer) and Methos, and would love to meet both gentlemen at some point. Also true for most of you here in the CF room. Once the schedule settles (SWMBO officially retired last Friday) we'll set a date for travel south and start a new thread for a Phoenix area carbon-fest sometime in the latter half of FEB.
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Old 01-16-2018, 02:32 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
Ditto that, and taking it one step further: if not for this forum, I would be unaware of Emerald guitars and would not own my most excellent X20-12.

I've had lots of off-line communication with Dave (Fretting Flyer) and Methos, and would love to meet both gentlemen at some point. Also true for most of you here in the CF room. Once the schedule settles (SWMBO officially retired last Friday) we'll set a date for travel south and start a new thread for a Phoenix area carbon-fest sometime in the latter half of FEB.
Congrats to your better half on retiring! We still plan to be in AZ at that time, so keep me posted.
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Old 01-16-2018, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
we'll set a date for travel south and start a new thread for a Phoenix area carbon-fest sometime in the latter half of FEB.
I better start learning to play and get a few CFs and an eKoa in case I am home that day
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Old 01-16-2018, 05:38 PM
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Acousticado Acousticado is offline
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It’s really cool that you two got together. Thanks so much for sharing all that insight into the X20s. The timing of this info is good for me. Cheers!
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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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Old 01-16-2018, 05:45 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is online now
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Default Phoenix trip

We'll give plenty of notice and hope for some serious dialogue here for coordination purposes. We need to visit the M-I-L in Sun City, so plan to be in the area for 7-14 days, and even make a side trip to Tucson. I plan to bring along all four of our CF guitars plus the ekoa ukulele. If Acoustic Vires did consignments (I checked already) they would get the four Taylor guitars that I want to sell too.

At this point, the biggest calendar obstacle is a technical presentation that I long ago agreed to give to a professional group here on FEB 12th. It would be hard to reschedule that now with less than a month's notice. I would very much like to instigate a meet-up during the latter half of FEB, with so many of the CF room regulars being in the area.
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Old 01-17-2018, 06:57 AM
Frettingflyer Frettingflyer is offline
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I want to thank Scott for the opportunity to get together and compare our CF guitars! What he said is really how I felt too. I never actually held them both to compare weight though, fwiw. The shorter scale did play with noticeably less tension and may be a contender for me to replace my current X20. I would like to talk to Sean and Alistair about a short scale 12 fret configuration(probably 24.9”) and may do that later this year.
As for tone and volume, there may have been slightly more bass on his short scale, but now a day later I am not sure how noticeable it really was, could even be strings etc...Volume was not noticeably differn’t to my ear.
BTW-his custom X20 looks even better in person than in the pics!
So Thank you to Scott, it was a great morning, and I learned a lot. I really appreciate that.
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