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Old 05-27-2021, 08:12 AM
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Default NGD: RainSong Nashville Shorty N-OM1000NSX vs CH-OM1000NS - Shorty Shootout!

A few months back I picked up a 2006 RainSong CH-OM1000NS primarily for busking and I really liked it a lot. RainSong now has these new SFT (soundboard fusion technology) carbon/spruce soundboard models called the Vintage and Nashville series so I started looking into those. I prefer the burst finish of the Nashville series but they only make the stock OM model in the Vintage finish. So when I saw a custom Nashville OM model pop up online I gave our good friend Ted from LA Guitars a call and snatched it up.

In addition to the aesthetics, I was particularly excited to see and hear how the two guitars compared both acoustically and amplified to each other. It was reported from reputable sources (Ted and Aaron Short) that the SFT carbon/spruce fusion tops gave these new models a bit of warmth to the sometimes brash and jangly brightness of the all-carbon fiber models. I was also interested to hear the differences between the LR Baggs Element StagePro in the CH-OM vs. the Anthem StagePro in the Nashville which adds an internal body mic.

So, buckle up and here we go! The first thing out of the gate is the guitar's look. It's gorgeous! The back, sides, neck and head stock are black and the entire guitar is finished in a high-gloss. While the guitar as a whole looks beautiful, I'll admit that I do prefer the look and feel of the matte back, sides and neck of the CH-OM. Shiny pitch black surfaces are basically just fingerprint magnets and a glossy neck can be uncomfortable to play in sticky/sweaty weather. But I think that the Nashville would not look as good with a satin back and side finish unless maybe the top was satin as well.

The RainSong OM size body has a shallow 4" depth and cutaway with a neck that joins at the 12th fret and scale length of 24.9". Hence the model nickname, Shorty. The nut width is 1 3/4" and the string spacing is 2 3/16". The guitar is extremely easy to hold and comfortable to play. It's also very lightweight. Lighter, in fact, than the CH-OM. I also found when I reached inside that the top of the Nashville is thinner than the CH-OM, which I was surprised to feel. I thought for sure that the added wood veneer would make the Nashville top a little thicker. It is not, at least by feel.

Playability of the Nashville is exactly like the CH-OM which is to say it plays great. The small body and short scale are very comfortable. The Nashville came with what surely must have been 80/20 lights and since I've been playing tuned down a half step, that combined with the short scale reduced the tension making the strings feel like they were made of angel hair pasta a bit past al-dente! So I slapped on some John Pearse PB New Mediums which is what is on the CH-OM anyway for a further apples-to-apples comparison.

Now on to the sound. As foretold and expected, the Nashville's carbon/spruce SFT soundboard does indeed impart a bit of warmth, depth and clarity to the tone. Played acoustically, I immediately noticed the difference and felt it was an improvement when strumming with a pick. The downside is that the volume is also more subdued. But, I bought these guitars primarily to be used for busking and that means mostly strumming so no harm, no foul. Any fingerstyle playing would likely be amplified where you can compensate by adding more volume and increasing the highs with EQ.

Playing amplified was a bit of a shock. I was really looking forward to hearing how the Nashville's Anthem StagePro sounded which I assumed would be everything that the CH-OM's Element StagePro was and more. What I found was that although the Anthem StagePro does sound very good, it is not very loud compared to the Element. This is because the added internal body mic of the Anthem means more power from the preamp goes to powering/processing the additional circuitry at the expense of overall signal and ergo, volume.

Once I got past this initial let down and just bumped up the gain to get to the levels of the Element system I can say that like the acoustic-only sound, the Anthem's tone is more refined than the Element, warmer and more complex. The Nashville with the Anthem StagePro was a bit of a let down for sure but only from a volume/gain standpoint. Again, these guitars were not bought to be strictly amplified gigging guitars so it's not a bit deal. While both sound very good amplified, the Cole Clark Angel 2 - my primary gigging guitar - is still far superior for that. But the Nashville would certainly make for a fine backup.

I've recorded a brief video demo where I play both the Nashville and CH-OM to compare and contrast the tones. For a change I didn't just use my phone but instead recorded through my ETL Edwina so hopefully that gives a better sound. I'm also going to put the time stamps below the video for each type of playing so you can jump around and compare directly. As always, for best results listen on quality speakers or headphones!



Time stamp jump points:

Strumming Nashville: 05:50
Strumming CH-OM: 08:10

Fingerstyle Nashville: 06:48
Fingerstyle CH-OM: 09:15

Amplified Nashville: 11:22

Photos to follow!

Last edited by Methos1979; 06-04-2021 at 07:32 AM.
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Old 05-27-2021, 08:15 AM
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Photos!

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Old 05-27-2021, 11:18 AM
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Great review. I definitely hear more warmth from the Nashville series. I like it quite a bit better for strumming. I might prefer the all CF one for bare-flesh fingerpicking. If I had to choose just one it would be an easy choice - the Nashville.
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Old 05-27-2021, 01:05 PM
steelvibe steelvibe is online now
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Well that answers my questions Scott- I think you might be the first person anywhere on YouTube to do back to back comparisons.

The Nashville is simply gorgeous. And while I know it is hard to judge a given guitar's tone through YouTube compression and $30 headphones, the Nashville does sound better. I think it sounds a bit more compressed, or more like when a guitar is braced as opposed to an open, more loud sound found from most CF guitars.

Having said that, I also think that the 12 fret design from RainSong is a winner for them for both comfort and tone, and is also the reason I bought a Shorty years ago. Those guitars have a those same sweet and warm dynamics found in 12 fret OMs and Parlors from the wooden makers.

Nice review and than you!
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Old 05-27-2021, 02:38 PM
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Methos: I wish you lived closer so you could include my CO-OM1100NS in your excellent comparison....
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Old 05-27-2021, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelvibe View Post
Well that answers my questions Scott- I think you might be the first person anywhere on YouTube to do back to back comparisons.

The Nashville is simply gorgeous. And while I know it is hard to judge a given guitar's tone through YouTube compression and $30 headphones, the Nashville does sound better. I think it sounds a bit more compressed, or more like when a guitar is braced as opposed to an open, more loud sound found from most CF guitars.

Having said that, I also think that the 12 fret design from RainSong is a winner for them for both comfort and tone, and is also the reason I bought a Shorty years ago. Those guitars have a those same sweet and warm dynamics found in 12 fret OMs and Parlors from the wooden makers.

Nice review and than you!
Astute observation. I was listening back today at work on my headphones and after careful listening 'compressed' was the same thing that popped into my head with regard to the Nashville, especially on the low notes.
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Old 05-27-2021, 04:37 PM
jdinaz jdinaz is offline
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Good review, nice to hear the comparison. The Nashville is pretty impressive. At least on my laptop speakers.
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Old 05-27-2021, 08:44 PM
boneuphtoner boneuphtoner is offline
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Such a wonderful review and comparison - I think you are indeed the first Iíve seen to provide a comparison about whether the wood infusion (I think these are more than veneers) affects the tone. I think the answer is clearly YES. I definitely heard more warmth with the Nashville.

Oh and of course it looks awesome (fellow Nashville owner Iíve got the jumbo). Yours is beautiful- congrats and enjoy!
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Old 05-29-2021, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneuphtoner View Post
Such a wonderful review and comparison - I think you are indeed the first Iíve seen to provide a comparison about whether the wood infusion (I think these are more than veneers) affects the tone. I think the answer is clearly YES. I definitely heard more warmth with the Nashville.

Oh and of course it looks awesome (fellow Nashville owner Iíve got the jumbo). Yours is beautiful- congrats and enjoy!
Thanks. Comparing the two directly was a big part of why I got the Nashville. At some point I'll part with one or the other. Right now leaning on keeping the Nashville but at least part of that is new-guitar-syndrome. I practiced with it all day yesterday and today both acoustically and amplified. Sounds great. I'm also really loving the burst finish which is far prettier in person.

I don't know what it is about digital photography that makes burst finishes look awful. It seems to really the red tones more pronounced in the transition area from dark to light but in person it's not nearly as red, more brown and much more pleasing to the eye. I thought I'd mention that for those that are considering the burst finish but apprehensive based on the online photos.
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Old 05-30-2021, 12:25 PM
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Here's the Nashville along with the Froggy. In the subdued light of a gray, rainy day the burst finishes look better and more like what they look like in person. But still not completely so.

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Old 05-30-2021, 12:56 PM
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Well Scott, that is one beautiful burst! Congrats on your Nashville!
Listening to your demo, The Nashville is definitely a little warmer, but still has very nice clarity.

I have the Black CH-OM (would've preferred a Sunburst) and it's a great gigging guitar. 80% of my gigs are outdoors and for the past 3 or 4 years it's done about 350-375 shows and has held up great.

I know you said you got it for busking outdoors, I'm sure you will be very happy with it.

Thanks for another informative review and wish you the best with your Nashville.
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Old 05-31-2021, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by jricc View Post
Well Scott, that is one beautiful burst! Congrats on your Nashville!
Listening to your demo, The Nashville is definitely a little warmer, but still has very nice clarity.

I have the Black CH-OM (would've preferred a Sunburst) and it's a great gigging guitar. 80% of my gigs are outdoors and for the past 3 or 4 years it's done about 350-375 shows and has held up great.

I know you said you got it for busking outdoors, I'm sure you will be very happy with it.

Thanks for another informative review and wish you the best with your Nashville.
Thanks, Joe. I remember when I was first looking for a CF guitar busking to re-enter the CF world and I did a bunch of research here on AGF I posted about the RainSong CH-OM and you replied with your stats above. That went a long way towards convincing me to give the CH-OM1000NS a go. Although my initial plan was to only keep one of them (the Nashville or the CH-OM) I'm having a hard time letting go. The Nashville is a keeper for sure. But I can't help but think that keeping the CH-OM if only for busking would be a good ideal. While the Nashville certainly can handle busking, it's so new and pretty that like a regular wood guitar I'd worry about taking it out in public! Fortunately, I don't need to sell anything right away. I have time to mull.
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Old 06-01-2021, 10:33 AM
varmonter varmonter is offline
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I like my shorty.
Actually alot..
I was neverva fan of CF
guitars until i started
reading about the shorty.
One used came up for sale
and i jumped on it. Its
an older model with the
cf top with the grain running
like a wood guitar.
It has good sustain and a
natural compression you
dont get with a wood guitar.
plus i can leave it out and
play it anytime i want.
Scott you living in nh the
winters are similar here across
the river in VT. wood heat
and wood guitars dont mix.
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Old 06-01-2021, 10:42 AM
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I had a CH-OM for a while. I liked it in many ways but a couple things sent it down the road. On the down side, the side fret markers were really hard to see on certain dark stages or under certain color lights. Most of the time it wasn't an issue but there were a couple gigs where I hit a clunker note because of that. It's funny, but I didn't think I really paid attention to those little dots but subconsciously I think we do.

I also thought the shoulders of the neck/edges of the fingerboard felt a bit sharp. I'm really not fussy about necks or profiles but there was something about that Rainsong neck that I never completely warmed up to when I did thumb over the top of the neck voicings.

I also didn't get along great with the Baggs Element. Maybe if I had known about the Tonedexter I might have kept the guitar, who knows.

On the upside, it was a LOUD little beast with a bold voice and easy/fun to play. Now and then I wished for a bit more warmth from it but it was still almost shocking how much sound came out of that little thing. I loved being able to leave it on the stand year round and schlep it to gigs without worry (I live in the Northeast too).

I think it's cool what Rainsong is doing with their Nashville models. Good luck with yours and may you choose the best guitar!
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Old 06-01-2021, 12:07 PM
jricc jricc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geewhiz View Post
I had a CH-OM for a while. I liked it in many ways but a couple things sent it down the road. On the down side, the side fret markers were really hard to see on certain dark stages or under certain color lights. Most of the time it wasn't an issue but there were a couple gigs where I hit a clunker note because of that. It's funny, but I didn't think I really paid attention to those little dots but subconsciously I think we do.
YES! The side markers are hard to see! I used a white marker and made them a little brighter and bigger...
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