Report on Emerald Guitars, Donegal Ireland

This is the first of a series of posts telling the story of my association with George Thorogood.  It is dedicated to my wife who was born on 3 July 1952, and died 31 January 2017 from ovarian cancer.  She was also a fan, and we shared our love of  The Delaware Destroyers with friends and family for 37 years together.

26 October 2018

I had a great trip through a part of the north of the Republic of Ireland that began in  Dublin, and then headed North to Donegal and then across the border into Northern Ireland, visiting  Londonderry/Derry, Coleraine, and Belfast.  My main reason for this leg of my trip was to visit Emerald Guitars and check out the manufacturing location of their uniquely designed carbon-fiber acoustic guitars.
“Emerald Guitars are produced in our factory set on the side of a hill overlooking the River Foyle in rural Donegal, Ireland.  It’s a magical and inspiring place to build guitars, away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. We believe our location is expressed through the spirit of our instruments and the music they make.”

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I can only hope that I can express the spirit of the instrument with the music I make with it.
It is very much a hand made guitar, and I was able to see the care and precision taken in some of the building steps, including the checking and sanding of the fretboard, the finishing stages of buffing the body and checking the guitar over for fit and finish.  And finally the quality control check that Alistair Hay, owner and guitar designer, performs on each and every guitar that leaves the factory.  I was able to watch as he performed this check on my new X7 Green Artisan Parlour Guitar, purchased as a travel guitar in-person.
The men of Emerald Guitars were open and welcoming to me as a visitor, and I was able to play several guitars before settling on the X7 model.  This included both of the models reviewed by online Acoustic Guitar teacher Tony Polecastro, the X20 Woody featuring a cocobolo veneer. and the 12-string mandolin-like Amicus.  But for my current interest in a guitar I could more easily and safely travel with, and a desire to stay under $2,000.00 US for the transaction, the X7 with its standard 6-string, 12-fret with cutaway design allowing access down the fretboard was the answer.


The guitars pictured here were completed instruments, some pre-sold, some being held for stock for their online ordering.  They have moved away from retail distributors in favor of direct online ordering due in part to the large number of custom guitars they build.  That little green beauty in front is now MY Emerald X7 Green Artisan Guitar

“The X7 is a parlour sized guitar and has been designed to offer maximum tonal output in a compact ergonomic package. The newly redesigned X7 features an extended access cutaway design that eliminates the heel and gives thumb access up the back of the neck for the full extent of the generous cutaway.  Whether you are looking for a parlour guitar for playing at home or on stage or a compact guitar for road tough travel the X7 will prove an excellent choice. The guitar was recently unveiled at the Emerald Guitars 20th Birthday celebration. ”

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I hope to be able to provide even more information and pictures on Emerald Guitars, a carbon fiber acoustic guitar hand made in Ireland.  Thanks Alistair and the gang at Emerald Guitars for a great visit and hopefully a great guitar.  Time will tell.

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It was a dark brown, not dark like Mahogany, but a a darker shade than the many spruce top guitars around. But not completely dark, because the finish was stripped off in large swatches across the face of the guitar from the amplified and hellacious strumming with which George played the guitar.



I was going a little stir crazy back in my parent's house in Norristown PA in the late 70's.  My time and experience with Bharat ended prior to my graduation from Delaware in 1976.  After graduation I was blessed to be able to meet up with a good friend and travel...

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