The Journey, So Far..
An Idea is Sparked
Alistair first gets the idea to build a carbon fibre guitar while working for Seebold Racing in St Louis, Missouri, USA, where he was building Formula 1 racing boats from carbon fibre.
The First Guitar
Alistair finally puts his idea to build a carbon fibre guitar into action and builds his first acoustic guitar.
Emerald Guitars is Born
Alistair decides to pursue a career in guitar-making and officially sets up Emerald Guitars.
Research and Development
Over a 2 year period, Alistair dedicated himself to developing his techniques and ideas on carbon guitar construction. Over 30 instruments were built as test guitars none of which Alistair considered worthy of letting out of his possession.
The Ultra Guitar
While watching Steve Vai on the Ultra Zone Tour, Alistair is inspired to make The Ultra Guitar for Steve. This actually became the first Emerald Guitar to leave the factory.
The First Emerald Range
Finally, after three years of development, a range of Emerald Guitars were launched - They were the X10, X20 (original model) and X30.
A Difficult Start
On September 11th 2001 Alistair made his very first sales call to a guitar store in Belfast. It was while he was in that store that he watched the footage of the twin towers collapse. Guitars didn’t seem very important that day.
First NAMM Show
In January Emerald Guitars exhibit at NAMM Show in Anaheim, California, USA for the first time. That summer Irish artist Mickey Joe Harte represents Ireland performing with an Emerald X10 at the Eurovision Song Contest watched by nearly 200 million viewers around the world.
Emerald Guitars expands its dealer network in the USA and increases production.
The unique fretboard design used by Emerald Guitars becomes unavailable overnight meaning the company can no longer complete guitar orders and now faces a major redesign and retooling effort. The setback is too much for the small company to bear, resulting in the closure of Emerald Guitars.
Alistair gets commissioned to build Bahamut for world famous Chinese American pop star, Wang Leehom. Bahamut would go on to become one of the most famous guitars in the world.
Inspired by the experience of building Bahamut, Alistair decides to rebuild Emerald Guitars and pursue his love for guitar-making.
Alistair fully redevelops the Emerald range improving the quality and processes beyond recognition of what came before.
The Ultra Guitar Tours and The New X20
Steve Vai goes on world tour making the Ultra Guitar one of the main features of the show which would last for three years. Meanwhile Alistair introduces the X20, the very first of which goes on tour with Steve’s opening act, Beverly McClellan. The X20 goes on to be the company’s most successful model to-date.
Emerald Guitars continues to grow expanding its customer base around the globe and product range.
Alistair made the bold decision to stop selling through dealers and to move to a direct sales route. This proved to be the best decision in the history of the company and has allowed us to work very closely with our customers building a better relationship and allowing us to give a much more customised and personal service.
Alistair marked the 20th anniversary by launching the revised X7, X10 and X30 models as well as the all new Kestrel archtop.
A Messy Year
2020 started with so much promise and plans for expansion but then Covid hit and the company was forced into a 3 month lockdown. It was a difficult time but Alistair and the team focused on the future and continued to work on new ideas and developments. Looking back now we can say 2020 was a good year for us and amidst the difficulty many great things emerged.
Expansion and Refinement
2021 is a year that sees Emerald expand into a much larger factory space which sets the foundation of future expansion and development. Many new ideas will be rolled out throughout 2021 and we have never been more excited about our future.