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Beyond 6 Strings

New possibilities in guitar design

If you look at the current range of guitars in the Emerald line up you will notice that there is an unusually large percentage of instruments with more than the traditional 6 strings and so we asked Alistair to tell the story of how this all came about.

As Alistair reflects on the many unusual guitars he has built over the years ranging from 4 strings to 36 strings the one thing that unites these designs together is the freedom and strength that carbon construction offers to these unusual designs.

Alistair has always chosen designs that may not be the obvious choice for a guitar company but which best utilize all the properties of his material of choice.

12 String

In the Emerald line up we now have 4 main 12 string models, the Amicus, X7-12, X20-12 and the Jumbo X30-12 which together as a collection create a 12 string design for every player. 12 string guitars can often get overlooked by some manufacturers due to their complexity and fragility but here at Emerald we have made it a speciality with Alistair stating that at Emerald we make a great 6 string guitar but he believes we build the best 12 string guitars in the market due to the strength and stability of carbon which gives a 12 string guitar that stays in tune, has better playability and has amazing tonal properties.

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Chimaera double neck guitar

12 strings didn’t seem like enough of a challenge for Alistair and so after a meeting with Richie Sambora in Dublin he was inspired to design the Chimaera double neck which was launched in 2012. This guitar with its 18 strings and 2 necks is the ultimate showcase of complex one piece carbon moulding that has resulted in a wonderful instrument with fantastic tonal properties in an easy to play ergonomic form.

The Chimaera has been a strong favorite over the years and has been produced in many custom configurations in the past.

Harp Guitar

The first harp guitar design was the small body Synergy X7 followed by the larger body Synergy X20 with its huge sound and wonderful ergonomic contours. The set was completed with the addition of the Synergy Harp Ukulele which Alistair loves for beings so unique in the musical instrument world and for creating such wonderful music.

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While Alistair has added a wonderful collection of instruments to the standard production line up he has also undertaken many personal custom commissions over the years to showcase his skills as a luthier and the materials that are his chosen art form.

All harp guitars

   There have been numerous 7, 8 and 9 string guitars over the years and lots of custom 12 and 14 string guitars but Kevin Kastning stretched the limits of what possible with a series of commissions starting with a 30 string double neck then a 36 string double neck and then a pair of 15 string Nylon string guitars. Alistair loved working with Kevin on these instruments as they brought to life sounds that Kevin had conceived in his imagination and could finally be brought to realisation and shared with the world on these instruments.

Steve Vai’s 7 String

36 String

 Alistair reflects that its the music that inspires him most and if his instruments provide inspiration and freedom to musicians to create new music then that is his ultimate goal.