Frequently Asked Questions
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.
We have supplied guitars to 56 countries and counting, so no matter where you are we can get an Emerald into your hands. Simply go through the selection process on the instrument of your choice, fill in your payment and shipping details and we will then be in contact with confirmation and an estimated delivery date. If you need any further assistance with ordering or have further questions go to our 'Get In Touch' section and contact us!
It very much depends on the model and degree of customisation it may have. Our Artisan models are built to order and have a current lead time of just over four months. Opus models are generally available to ship immediately or on a short lead time. Feel free to contact us for an estimated delivery date prior to ordering.
Shipping in Ireland and to the United Kingdom (UK) is €25, Europe is €45 and the rest of the world is $55.
If you are located within the European Union you will not have to pay import duty as VAT is already included in the price.
If you are located in the USA you will not have to pay import duty as guitars are zero rated. If you are located in the rest of the world you should check locally about potential import duties.
The construction of Emerald Guitars has evolved over the years, but essentially the basic concept of construction has remained the same since Alistair developed his one-piece construction concept back in 1999. The guitars are moulded using our unique monocoque moulding system which allows us to create the entire guitar in one complex moulding process.
The neck, body, top, bridge and fretboard are all created at the same time in the mould with overlapping fibres running between all surfaces meaning there are no joins that can ever fail and the lack of joints means the entire guitar is free’er to vibrate making it more resonant and responsive. This is phenomena that you will feel just as much as hear.
We have many secrets built into the MMS technology so we don't talk too much about the specifics of the process, but rest assured its the most accurate, efficient and repeatable system to produce a guitar in existence, yet we are constantly tweaking the process to make it even better and increase the quality of our guitars.
Emerald Guitars are produced predominantly using various types of high grade carbon fibre bonded together in a matrix of epoxy resin but we also use other structural core materials sandwiched between the carbon layers to create a very lightweight and rigid structure.
Other materials such as glass fibres and Kevlar can also be used from time to time to create various tonal properties depending on what we are trying to achieve in a specific guitar.
The great thing about composite guitar construction is that we have a broad pallet of materials which we can use in various different quantities and layers in the guitar to create many very different tonal properties yet once we create a desired layup for a guitar we can then easily repeat it to give great consistency from guitar to guitar.
Both guitars are constructed in exactly the same way and sound the same. The differences between the Opus and Artisan are merely cosmetic and hardware.
The Crystal Ice finish is our same polyester finish, but applied using a special technique which gives a slight textured or eggshell appearance. After spraying the texture we then hand sand and polish the coating to give a very uniform and tactile surface that is both hard wearing and attractive.
This comes as standard on our Opus series guitars, but often people choose the Crystal ice finish for our Artisan series due to its hard wearing and ability to resist scratches and fingerprints.
All Emerald Guitars, with the exception of the Amicus and the Synergy Uke, have double action truss rods.
The carbon fibre neck design makes a very strong and stable neck and many feel this means a truss rod is not required. It is true that structurally there is no need for a truss rod but it is our opinion that its addition gives an extra degree of adjustability allowing for fine adjustments to neck relief which helps get to your perfect setup and helps set the neck relief to match the optimal for various string gauges.
We don't add a truss rod to the Amicus as its short scale doesn't need one and would not provide much adjustability, if added. Not having it also helps avoid neck heaviness.
We pride ourselves in offering the widest degree of customisation of all the composite guitar builders and we have become known as the company that takes on the challenges that others refuse.
Carbon provides us an incredible degree of strength and design flexibility which has allowed us to create many instruments not possible with wood such as the unique 36-string double neck so if you can dream it up, we are pretty sure we can build it.
However, you may have simpler custom requests and we are able to offer you custom neck dimensions and profiles, custom scale lengths, custom paint finishes and we try to accommodate most requests for custom hardware where compatible.
Take a browse through our Emerald Custom Shop Portfolio and then fill in the simple query form with your custom ideas. If you can't find what you are looking for there, you can always take the next step and commission an Alistair Hay Custom Design instrument!
We have become known over the years for building some pretty exotic instruments and we are always up for a challenge so drop us an email with your ideas and we will get back to you.
Yes, we can accommodate just about any neck and scale dimension and Fan fret (multi scale) necks have become a speciality.
The Opus series is available in black only, featuring the Crystal Ice finish, while the Artisan series come in black, blue, red, green or vintage amber with a high gloss finish on all surfaces. The Artisan series can also be upgraded to a 'Woody' for an additional fee.
For those who purchase a guitar directly from Emerald Guitars we know it's important you have the confidence in knowing that if you find the instrument does not suit you that you are not stuck with it. We offer the option to return any standard guitar to us within 10 days of receiving it for any reason and we will refund the entire sale price. We have only ever had two guitars sent back so we don't anticipate you will have any reason to return it, but it's important for us to give you peace of mind. All returned guitars must be in as new condition in order to receive a full refund.
We don’t anticipate you having many problems with an Emerald as the carbon structure makes a very accurate and reliable instrument, but if you do have an issue, rest assured that we offer a full warranty against any structural defects and manufacturing defects. If you have any issues at all with an Emerald just contact us via the 'Get In Touch' section and we will assist you in finding the easiest resolution.
The Woody top instruments are built using our same carbon technology,, but we add a thin layer of real wood veneer to the top during the moulding process and the epoxy resin which encapsulates the carbon fibres also infuses into the grain of the wood fusing it to the top, giving the strength of the carbon structure and the natural beauty of real wood.
Yes, it has been our experience that the Woody instruments are just as stable as the all carbon guitars. We have customers in the dry desert in Arizona to the humid rain forests in Hawaii and many places in between. So far we have not experienced any compromises in structural integrity.
The Woody series guitars are created by fusing a real wood veneer to the carbon laminate during construction which means the resin impregnates right into the wood fibres, making it one with the rest of the structure.
Yes, we seek out the finest exotic veneers from around the world. It is our goal to connect the natural beauty of real wood with the structural integrity of carbon.
Quilted Maple and Bubinga are the standard options available, but Alistair personally seeks out the most exotic and suitable veneers from various sources around the world. So we generally carry a good supply of alternative custom choices. Have a look at some of the various veneers we have used in the Emerald Custom Shop and then contact us via the query form to see what we have in-stock or can source for you!
We use high grade stainless steel frets on all our guitars. Stainless steel provides much better wear resistance and a very nice smooth feel when bending the strings. They also don't tarnish meaning your frets keep their nice new look indefinitely.
The main reason for fanned frets is to allow optimum scale lengths for different tunings. It allows you to have a longer scale length on the bass side which allows more powerful bass notes at lower tunings while allowing the treble to be shorter which gives less tension and sweeter trebles.
We find the fanned frets a huge benefit for extended range guitars, 7-string guitars, in particular, really benefit from a fanned scale giving much better definition to the low B. We usually use a 27” to 25.5” scale for 7 string but we can offer other options as well.
Over the years we have experimented with various sound hole configurations and we have discovered that by moving the sound hole to the side it gives much better projection to the player, allowing you to hear the instrument better yet still giving great forward projection to the audience.
It also removes the hole from the structurally important area in front of the bridge and allows us to build a lighter and more responsive top.
The fretboard is carbon fibre with a top layer of hard-wearing black polyester.
We currently use a high quality polyester top coat. We find the polyester gives a high quality and resilient finish, but more importantly we find it acoustically transparent as its very similar in makeup to the resins we use in our guitar and so has minimal dampening effect on the tone.