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NAGD - And now for something Completely Different...

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by raysachs, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. raysachs

    raysachs Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    59
    May 21, 2017
    Near Philly
    So my main acoustic has been a Martin 000-15M, a guitar I dearly love. And I've had a Gretsch Jim Dandy for a cheap little knock around guitar, but I recently replaced that with a Yamaha CFS3M because I wanted SOMETHING with a pickup to be able to play my acoustic into a looper. It's a great little guitar but now I have two guitars that are nice enough that I have to manage the humidity they're exposed to and that's nearly the bane of my existence. More in the winter than the summer, but on plenty of high humidity days in summer too.

    And while doing a bit of research on the Yamaha I discovered something I didn't even know existed - Carbon Fiber acoustic guitars. And damned if a lot of them didn't sound really really good. So, I thought, that could be the solution to this whole humidity issue because these things are impervious to it. No more humidifiers in winter and humidipaks and cased guitars in the worst of both summer and winter. So I decided to try one.

    And after checking a bunch of them out (online, I don't know of any place local to try them), it seemed the Emerald X20 was the best combination of sound and features and playaibility for me. So I ordered one, knowing it was returnable if I didn't like it. But not inexpensively - Emerald only sells direct, from Ireland, and return shipping is in the neighborhood of $100. So I checked it out as well as possible before placing the order.

    Well, now I've got it and I really REALLY like it a lot. It sounds like an acoustic guitar is supposed to. If I play it back to back with the Martin, the Martin sounds more like wood, but when I just play the Emerald, it sounds plenty like wood. It feels about like the size of the 000 Martin to play but it sounds a bit more like a dreadnaught, with a bit more low end and it's resonant as hell. It's also set up amazingly and kind of plays like a strat, with really low action but no buzzing even under hard strumming, which I tend to do some of.

    So I'm pretty sure the Martin and Yamaha are gonna go out the door and this is gonna be my acoustic. I may pick up another Jim Dandy for a cheap little knock around since this one has a pickup and electronics in it. I don't have to worry about humidity with the Jim Dandy - I think it probably has less wood in it than this Emerald does... And it's so cheap if one gets destroyed, I'd just get another one.

    These pics are provided by Emerald, taken in a well lit environment. It shows the guitar to it's best advantage, but in normal light, its much darker looking. From across the room I can't see the weave and it looks almost black with just a hint of red. Kind of a very dark purple.

    [​IMG]Emerald X20 by Ray, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Emerald X20 by Ray, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Emerald X20 by Ray, on Flickr

    -Ray
     
  2. Pickcity

    Pickcity Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    247
    Oct 12, 2017
    Atlanta, Ga.
    Very cool guitar. Yep, take it to the beach, take it to a mountaintop. It's all good. CF will become more and more abundant in the next few years, IMO, and hopefully prices will drop.

    It looks nice. Congrats.
     
    raysachs likes this.
  3. tery

    tery Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 21, 2012
    Tennessee
    It sure is pretty :) … Congratulations !
     
    raysachs likes this.
  4. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    61
    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    Looks like fun!
     
    raysachs likes this.
  5. haggardfan1

    haggardfan1 Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2014
    down every road
    That really is pretty, and I like the concept. Congratulations!
     
    raysachs likes this.
  6. ukepicker

    ukepicker Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 15, 2013
    East Texas
    Nice guitar!
    I’d love to have a carbon fiber guitar - if simply for the convenience of being able to take/have a nice guitar anywhere I go without worrying about it.
     
    raysachs likes this.
  7. Nickadermis

    Nickadermis Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    52
    Dec 18, 2016
    Camden Point, MO
    Dang ! That’ll make a fellers mouth hang open and drool on his shoes :eek:
     
    raysachs likes this.
  8. raysachs

    raysachs Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    59
    May 21, 2017
    Near Philly
    That's really my bottom line with it. All other things being equal, I'd probably rather keep my Martin, if only because I have a bit of a traditionalist streak in me. And because I'm really familiar with it and happy with it and if it ain't broke, etc, etc, etc. But all other things are not equal. And I'm really tired of having to think about keeping humidifiers running and staying stocked with pads for them in the winter if I want to have my guitars handy (which I do, because I play them a lot more when they are), and when the humidifiers aren't getting it done and then I have to case the guitars. And when I have to case them in the summer because it's too humid. And then when my wife and I take off for a few months each winter, I can take one acoustic and leave it in it's case with humidipaks but the other one has to stay home - how to I make sure that one stays at a good humidity level? Etc, etc, etc.

    So if someone will make a guitar that looks non-traditional and sounds great but not in the same way as I'm used to, I'm gonna figure out how to adapt to that. And someone did...
     
  9. raysachs

    raysachs Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    59
    May 21, 2017
    Near Philly
    They make some really gorgeous ones with amazing wood veneers on the tops, which would REALLY make you drool. But these aren’t budget guitars to begin with and some of this wood veneer models get really pricy, particularly if you start adding custom options. I don’t know how the veneer doesn’t change the top enough to affect the sound, but folks who have both swear it doesn’t... Mine is just bone stock and is still the most expensive guitar I own, but so was the Martin, and it’s one of the RELATIVELY budget MIA Martins...

    -Ray
     
    jannodude and Nickadermis like this.
  10. raysachs

    raysachs Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    59
    May 21, 2017
    Near Philly
    This one’s got electronics in it and it wasn’t a cheap guitar, so I’m not gonna abuse it in all conditions - that’s still what something like a Jim Dandy would be for. But I’m gonna keep it out on a stand or wall hanger 365 days a year and not worry about it...

    -Ray
     
  11. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    That is a nifty-looking instrument. Wear it out!
     
    raysachs likes this.
  12. zombywoof

    zombywoof Friend of Leo's

    The guitar industry started experimenting with carbon fiber instruments around 1975 and more than a few folks I know swear by their Cargo and RainSong guitars. Just ain't my style I guess. My guitars are all so old I figure they have shown they can survive just about anything short of being run over.
     
    raysachs likes this.
  13. Wobbles

    Wobbles Tele-Meister

    162
    May 17, 2015
    Snowlake Arizona
    Humidifiers are good for people too.
     
  14. raysachs

    raysachs Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    59
    May 21, 2017
    Near Philly
    Here's a glimpse of some of the veneer work they do. It's still a plastic guitar, but it's awfully pretty! This one costs nearly half again what mine did, though, for essentially the same guitar with a pretty sheet of veneer on it...

    [​IMG]X20-Coco-Ele-CS-4738_4-as-Smart-Object-1 by Ray, on Flickr
     
    twr102, Macrogats and jazzboy like this.
  15. Dukex

    Dukex Tele-Holic

    520
    Nov 8, 2012
    SoCal
    Congrats on the beautiful X20. Have a blast!
     
    raysachs likes this.
  16. Nickadermis

    Nickadermis Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    52
    Dec 18, 2016
    Camden Point, MO

    This is incredible! I would think if it’s part of the lamination process, it would not affect sound? Beautiful!
     
    raysachs likes this.
  17. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    Ray... I went through the very same process that you just did, based on needing to tend to the humidity of my Martin OM-28V, Taylor 325 all-Mahogany, and Eastman 00-All Mahogany.

    Eastman 00-Mahogany
    [​IMG]

    I didn’t want to give up my wood acoustics, but wanted one or two excellent guitars that I could leave out of their cases at all times and travel with (motorhome) with no concerns whatsoever for temperature changes nor humidity changes.

    Fortunately, I found a local fellow who has, perhaps, 15 (if not more) carbon fiber guitars - RainSong, Emeralds, CA, Blackbird, McPherson, and others. (Kramster on the acoustic guitar forum). I played them all, for hours! He had an X20, X10, X7 and some very different Emeralds. Also a variety of Rainsongs. I found the X20 to be a fair bit larger than I prefer (sure feels bigger than a OOO or OM, to me). But I liked the concept. The best sound that I found, to my ear, came from the Rainsong OM. So, I bought a Rainsong OM and an Emerald X7. (I’m guessing that you might have seen my posts over on acousticguitarforum?)

    My Rainsong, thriving in dry Sonoran desert conditions that could kill a wood acoustic guitar (if un-protected)
    [​IMG]

    And, my Emerald X7, similarly unfazed by difficult environmental conditions
    [​IMG]

    I like the compact form factor of the X7 - ideal for motorhome travel. But in hindsight, I think the X10 is the “Goldilocks” Emerald guitar for me... not too big, not too small... just right. Emerald stopped making the X10 a while back, but they tell me the cry for X10 size is too loud for them to ignore and they are apparently re-offering it again.

    All in all, I could not be more thrilled with my Rainsong OM. The size is just perfect for me (000/OM size) and the sound quality is absolutely glorious.
     
  18. raysachs

    raysachs Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    59
    May 21, 2017
    Near Philly
    Hi again Don,

    Interesting about the Rainsong. I might have liked that one a lot too but I didn't have an easy way to sample them, so I just went with a combination of reading and watching every Youtube clip I could find. To me, the X20 sounds bigger than the 000-15M, but it doesn't feel any bigger playing it. Or maybe I'm just not that sensitive to differences in size up to a point and then I'm very sensitive to it. I played a dreadnaught for years but anytime I pick one up now, it just feels HUGE and unmanageable...

    A question - you take your CF guitars on motorhome trips, which I assume are of some duration. And I think I recall you saying in another thread here, although I could easily have you confused with someone else, that you have a humidity controlled room somewhere at home for your guitars. But when you're gone for a while, what do you do with your wood guitars? Is your setup such that whatever humidification system you have is self-controlled with a dedicated water supply? Or do you just case your guitars with humidipaks and hope for the best?

    I ask because aside from the hassle of constantly keeping humidifiers running while we're home in the winter, we also relocate to North Carolina for three months each winter near one of our daughters. (Hopefully the place we rent is still there - it's right on the beach outside of Wilmington and we THINK it came through OK, but we won't know for sure for a little while.) But it's a small place and I can realistically only take one electric and one acoustic guitar and a small amp. So when I had more than one decent wood acoustic, I had to leave something at home. I've been warned against using humidipaks long term - there have been some horror stories about the paks failing and badly damaging some really really nice guitars.

    Anyway, it's academic now - I've made the move to the Emerald and if I ever have another second acoustic it'll either be a small CF guitar or it'll be a dirt cheap little guitar like a Jim Dandy that you damn near can't hurt and if you do, you just buy another one. But I'm curious about how people with nice guitar collections that are left home alone a lot deal with their care while away.

    -Ray
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
  19. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    Ray... so far, I’ve been fortunate in casing the acoustics inside the guitar closet with sound hole humidifiers in between the 3rd and 4th strings, and I put a soaked sponge inside plastic soap bar cases with holes poked in the top of the cases, under the heads of the guitars. And in the closet, I have several large containers filled with water and water beads. These tiny beads start out smaller than the head of a pin, then absorb water and swell to about the size of a marble, then they release moisture to the air over time. This has worked well for periods of a couple of months. I have a small room humidifier in the guitar closet running now and then on a timer, which is all I need while I’m at home to refill it from time to time (once a week or two). But it would run empty if I’m gone for more than a couple of weeks.

    For longer trips, I would do as I do inside the cases and have read that sealing the cases in plastic wrap prevents humidity loss from the cases, so I would try that as well. I could live without my wood acoustics as I play almost entirely electric at this point, but I’m sure at some point I would want to play them again, so I hang onto them. I got my OM-28V for a really good price and it’s an amazing Martin guitar. I will probably keep it until I leave this world. The CF guitars are awesome in how impervious they are to changes in temp and humidity - and they can sound really, really good too. It’s nice to have that option.

    I don’t play my X7 much at all, but it resides on a stand in my home business office should I ever feel like picking it up while I’m in there. Someday I will probably sell it and replace it with an X10. For me, the X10 is THE Emerald I would like to have.



    CF guitars are difficult to find available for sampling. I just happened to be fortunate that Kramster lives in nearby Phoenix and he has, seemingly, every CF guitar known to man!

    Of all the CF brands, Rainsong is the one you are most likely to find a few of in various guitar shops. Rainsong has been at this for a long time and they really have it down. Exceptionally wonderful and surprisingly great tone with their CF guitars. I do like the traditional acoustic guitar form factor, as well. Their CH-OM1100-NS is priced well, plays great, and sounds great. And, it’s in my favorite size: 000/OM. If you ever get a chance to play some Rainsongs... definitely check them out.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
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