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Emerald Guitars breaks the mould with carbon fiber, Fishman Fluence-equipped electric-acoustic hybrid, the Virtuo

Irish acoustic guitar specialist Emerald Guitars has lifted the lid on its all-new six-string model, the Virtuo – an electric/acoustic carbon fiber-equipped hybrid that has “the body of an acoustic with the soul of the electric”.

The futuristic-yet-boutique looking model, which arrives in an array of different aesthetic iterations, seeks to push the boundaries of contemporary guitar design by combining the best of both acoustic and electric blueprints.

There are three main specifications that make up every Virtuo model: a Graphtech Ghost Piezo pickup, a pair of Fishman Fluence humbuckers and a 13-pin MIDI/Synth voice output.

And, thanks to the all-analog, push-pull pot-loaded control layout, which includes versatile volume and tone controls, each onboard pickup can be blended together to create a number of tonal options.

With these three core ingredients, Emerald aims to make good on its promise of providing a visionary instrument that can “inspire any artist and remove all limitations for the player”.

In operation, a three-way toggle switch is used to flick between the pickup configurations – piezo only, Fishman only, and both sets together – with a regular three-way pickup switch controlling the Fluences once they’re engaged.

Further electronic appointments include coil-splitting push-pull tone pots, which access single-coil tones, as well as push-pull volume knobs, used for engaging higher output sounds.

Elsewhere, other fundamental appointments include a 25.5” scale length, 22 medium stainless steel frets, a 12”-16” compound fretboard radius and Gotoh 510 tuners, as well as a fully adjustable Carbon bridge.

The Virtuo can also come equipped with a huge selection of different veneer materials for a more ornate aesthetic, including quilted maple, padauk, koa, macassar ebony and figured mahogany.

And, in case you don’t see one that takes your fancy, Emerald Guitars also offers a custom design-your-own-Virtuo program, which can be used to cherry pick specs such as carbon fiber color, hardware color, inlay design and veneer type.

Of how the innovative design came about, Emerald Guitars founder Alistair Hay said, “Last year, when the lights went out on the music industry, musicians were forced to think a little bit differently about how they perform and how they engage with an instrument.

“That forced us to think a little bit differently about how we existed as a guitar company,” he continued. “During that time, I was watching three guitarists in particular: Mark Black, Davy K and Johnny Gallagher.

“When I watched them I was inspired to create an instrument, and that instrument was the Virtuo. The reason I created this instrument is because I wanted to hear new music, and I wanted it to be a tool and an extension of the musicians.”

To find out more, head over to Emerald Guitars (opens in new tab).

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Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.