Promotion Items

the KILN @Indiegogo
4hr Courses

Dear Friends, Guitaring Passionately has began its inaugural acoustic guitar making process in early 2017. Do stay tuned to the progress thru instagram and Facebook.

Check out our Price Busters

Learn practical guitar maintenance skills in our 4hr Courses. Brochure Download here

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Emerald Guitars and ArtMusicKitchen…

Guitars and Kitchen seldom mix…

Emerald Guitar X5-OS

A private dinner at ArtMusicKitchen

Guitars and Kitchens… they don’t seem to fall within a category. However ArtMusicKitchen ( is all but just a kitchen. The idea was driven by two passionately individuals who love to eat, listen to music, play musical instruments and socializing. It is located within city precinct; it provides a cosy atmosphere for private parties to take place where food, music and fun are all gathered under one roof. It wasn’t unexpected for Emerald Guitars to find its way into this kitchen as well. Check out the video clip of a party below!

About guitars… it is common for guitar enthusiast to engage in discussions about guitar tone. Jargons like woody, deep, majestic, bright, sweet, etc. are commonly exchanged within these discussions. It is true that we are attracted to certain sounds whereas the unwanted sounds are being called noise. To simplify our already very complicated world, lets’ just call them good or unwanted sound.

Guitars are traditionally made from wood. It was almost a taboo to consider otherwise in the early days of guitar making. To build one successfully, guitar makers must possessed knowledge of an engineer, skills of a craftsman, and touch of an artist. Inadvertently, tradition ways have a big influence on guitar making even until today. Some people argued that guitar is timeless… therefore it should not depart from the traditional methods. However, time will change everything regardless.

Many guitar players have been educated that guitars should only be of wood base. It wasn’t like there were plenty of alternate materials and processes in the early days where guitar were created. If all you got are trees in your backyard, it might be obvious that this so called choice materials were actually founded on basis of abundance and accessibility. Imagine you live in Planet Timbuckto and there are only carbon stems in your backyard. Guess what you would build your house with?

One of the founders of ArtMusicKitchen has always wanted to play guitar even he is on the road. The many maintenance considerations of a regular guitar didn’t allow his desire to materialize but Emerald guitars did. He felt the full value of Emerald guitars after owning the X5-OS. The lifestyle of most Singaporeans may benefit from this guitar. Driven and excited, he contacted Emerald Guitars and before he even knew it, the shipment is confirmed and arriving to his doorstep very soon. You can find ArtsMusicKitchen on Facebook as well.

Below video clip features the Emerald X5-OS, Arthur's Theme played by David Ng. 

When I first played an Emerald guitar (, I had mixed feelings. It wasn’t obvious to me why it did. Only after a short moment, I realized that I was subconsciously expecting a “typical guitar sound” during my first test drive of it. Immediately I cleared my mind of any expectation and tried the Emerald X5-OS once more. The feeling was totally fresh and I could better detect the potential and merits of this composite material guitar. I could hear the bass, mid and treble with no problem. The balance was there and playability was great. So does it sound like a guitar with Appalachian Spruce Top and Brazilian Rosewood B/S? It was not about whether X5-OS can sound like a wood guitar. It didn’t need to plainly because it wasn’t made from wood.

Below video clip features the Emerald X5-OS, Scarborough Fair played by Tomo

A good sound is a good sound regardless it is traditional or modern. By the same token, Emerald guitars were built with a different point of view that happen to take the shape, forms and functional features if a guitar. Just because it does, should this guitar be trialed by a jury that only recognizes wood? The X5-OS is a compact and enduring instrument that is suitable for any roadtrip you would be embarking. Imagine strumming your favorite tunes while sunbathing.

Guitaring Passionately is honor to be appointed to provide guitar care for the Emerald Guitars. Drop ArtMusicKitchen an email ( to test drive the Emeralds!

I will leave you to find more from my interview with Alistair Hay, the man behind it all, the creator of Emerald Guitars. Website:

Alistair Hay and his composite guitar

1. Tell us a bit about yourself. Before embarking on making graphite guitars, what were you doing?

I grew up working in the family business which was a composites and engineering factory. I was always interested in the composite side of the business and worked with composites every weekend and during school holidays. I then went on to study Polymer Engineering in College where my interest in composites and polymers was increased further.

On leaving College I got a job in the USA building formula one race boats for the Seebold race team and work closely with the world Champion Bill Seebold. This experience changed my life as I learned about high tech composite structures and carbon fibre. Bill became my mentor and inspired me to excel and find something that I could be the best in the world at.

After that I came back to Ireland and the seed that was sown started to grow into Emerald Guitars

2. Do you have any formal training in guitar building or prior experience in dealing with carbon fiber?

I don't have any formal training in this field. I started off by reverse engineering my own guitar and making lots of mistakes. I was determined to take a new approach and the materials I was using were so different from regular guitar building. I did however find a highly skilled local Luthier who guided me a little and helped steer me a little.

It was very much trial and error and from 1998 to 2001 I made about 50 guitars just to perfect my art. None of these left my possesion and most are screwed to the roof of my factory. I knew that It was going to take alot to make a guitar good enough to sell. Since then it has been a continual development and each year we strive to make guitars better than the year before.

3. Before carbon fiber, did you ever build traditional wood guitars?

No I have never built traditional guitars but over the years I have studied traditional wood guitar building and have learned a great deal about voicing and tone and reinterpreted these rules and applied them to composite construction.

Building with carbon requires a completely different approach as the construction methods are so different and you need to think about the materials in a different way.

4. Why carbon in the first place?

First and foremost I started with carbon because it was the medium I understood best. For me the guitars I build express everything I have learned over the past 25 years and it is a medium that allows me to utilise all my knowledge and skills to the maximum through materials, engineering structure and artistic expression. Working with carbon is so natural to me and I find it very liberating. Because of composites we can do things that just arent possible with wood. I would never say we will replace wooden guitars but in some areas Carbon is just soo much better. 

5. How did Emerald Guitars start?

I first started building guitars in 1998 as a hobby but soon after I realised it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. The name Emerald Guitars came into existence in 1999.


6. I understand Emerald almost went under some years ago. What happened and will it happen again?

We had worked closely with Parker guitars and agreed a deal to use their unique fret board. It was great for a few years but then Parker was sold over to US Music and soon after without warning they stopped suplying us. This left us over night with no fretboards to complete orders and no way to create income. The Parker design is very different to conventional fret boards so we couldnt source a replacement without significantly modifying all our moulds. This was a challenge we couldnt afford to meet and put us out of business virtually over night.

I have since redesigned all our moulds and we now do everything in house giving us a much greater security and after this difficult event we have created a more secure business and a higher quality guitar as well. Its been a tough lesson but a valuable one.

7. Is there a typical profile of a Emerald Guitar buyer? What should a potential buyer expect from Emerald Guitars?

It continually surprises me how diverse our buyers are but I would say the thing the all have in common is that they judge our guitars on their merits rather than preconceived ideas of what a guitar should be.

We strive to create inovative products of high quality that allow musicians to express their music in a new way and give them the freedom to enjoy playing guitar without the worry about weather and climate effects.

8. What's the greatest reward you get from Emerald Guitars?

The greatest reward is to hear a musician play music that was inspired on my guitars and this in turn inspires me to build guitars. Its a perfect symmetry of give and take.

9. Share with us, if you will, some of your musical influences.

From a very young age I have been fascinated by guitars and any music containing lots of guitar. In my early years it was Dire Straits, Queen, BonJovi, Metallica, Black Sabbath etc.. then I went to college and a friend gave me a Steve Vai album. I had never heard solo guitar like this and it transformed me and led me to buy my first guitar 2 weeks later. That opened a world of solo guitar players to me such as Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen, John Petrucci, Paul Gilbert and acoustic players such as John Williams, Paco De Lucia, Pepina Dagostino, Eric Roche and Andy Mckee.

Music is the source of my inspiration and its been so amazing to have been able to build guitars for some of my influences and its been beyond my wildest dream to have built 3 guitars for Steve Vai, one of which he has used in his upcoming album.

10. You’ve already documented how your friendship with Wang Leehom came about ( What about your link with Singapore’s very own Tay Kewei?

I first met Tay Kewei when she was performing as a backing singer with Leehom in Malaysia and then we met again in Beijing. I really admired her singing and she was looking for a new guitar that suited here style so we built an X7 for her. She really loved its compact and comfortable proportions and the great tone she could achieve during performances with it.

- End of Article -

1 comment:

  1. Wah seh...Adam, thanks for the endorsement indeed!
    Shipment has yet to arrive, but the various models will be available for pre-orders soon!
    Do Like us on FB to get updates!!