Sunday, February 19, 2017

A review...

On a guitar forum, I was asked for a review of the X20, after having a chance to play it for a while...


24 hours in. I've been playing the X20 for about 18 of those hours.

Yes, I'm kidding. There was a few hours for sleeping. A previously scheduled "date" ... well, not a candle-light dinner - my wife and daughter like to play Bingo once in a while. And, being the man of the house, I put my foot down and said, "Whatever you want, Dear." Because that's the way I roll. On the bright side, I won a $75 jackpot (one of the smaller ones) - first time ever. I give credit for that to the good karma generated by the new X20.

So, time out for a bit of sleep, and a meal or two, and I've still been playing the X20 a bunch. First impressions: "Oh, baby!" (yes, you may quote me on that)

We all bring preferences and biases with us when we evaluate a guitar. I've been playing for going on 53 years; I should be better than this. But, I digress. There are some things about other guitars I own that really shine...
814ce: tone, playability, and looks (tobacco burst)
T-5: plays like a dream, versatile
X7: hands down, the most comfortable guitar I've owned; great tone for its size
RS Shorty: introduced me to the sound and ease of CF
522ce 12-fret: rich mahogany sound, typical Taylor playability
GSmini: introduced me to the pleasure of a small guitar

This X20 seems to take the best of those and kicks it all up a gear... or twelve. Opening the case, I was taken by the striking looks of this guitar - the sensuous curves designed in, the black CF weave on the sides and back, and the show-piece: the louro preto veneer. Gorgeous!

Picking it up, you notice the light weight... and, again, those curves. Even before putting a strap on it, I had to strum... love the rich sound! That off-set sound hole delivers the punch of this guitar up to the player as well as out. Rich, full, and balanced. It has the crystal highs I expect from carbon fiber, but balanced with rich bass. It sounds much bigger than the X7, but is every bit as comfortable. As far as set-up, there is nothing I will change about how this plays, other than the strings I prefer, at some point, probably a couple weeks down the road. Just right, straight out of the box.

The X7 is a delight. The size, sound, and comfort make it an intimate playing experience... then plug it in, and it kicks butt. It is the "pocketknife" I slip into a comfortable pair of jeans. My first exposure to the X20 is the sound that comes out and grabs you by the face. Instead of a "pocketknife," this guitar is a carbon fiber weapon. It is probably possible to play it quietly, but that would be a darn shame.

I don't have an amp or PA with me this trip, so I can't say anything about the LR Baggs Element Active pickup. If it is as good (or better) than the B-Band in my X7, I will be a happy boy. All acoustic at this point, and I am very impressed.

I haven't owned a Hiscox case before. This came with the Hiscox LiteFlite case, and I like it. A lot. Lighter than the wood cases I own, and seems to offer plenty of protection. It made the trip here (Phoenix area) from Ireland, and the guitar seemed plenty happy about it. The optional gig bag is a nice companion for easy, lightweight traveling. I have come to really appreciate a good gig bag.

I will admit that I spent more time playing than looking, after that first "Ohhhhhh!" when I opened the case. Now, looking closely, the workmanship is impecable. While it immediately moved into first place in the Beauty Competition, this guitar isn't just a pretty face. (see the "face" reference early in this thread)

Honeymoon period? The above is all stuff that isn't going to fade away with more use. I've been playing long enough to know what I like in a guitar. This X20 does it all for me, and delights me with the rich sound, the comfort, and the striking looks.

And, as with my X7 purchase, Emerald has made this a first class buying experience. Any downside? That whole week between them handing the guitar over to AN Post and the US Postal Service putting the pink slip in the box... apparently, there was some "waiting angst" that some perceived. Me? Nah, I was cool about the whole thing.

Worth the wait? I have been waiting over 50 years for this... I just didn't know it until I opened the box.


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