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Emerald Guitars' new Virtuo is an electric / acoustic hybrid

With their lightweight and contemporary Carbon Fibre builds and trailblazing design approaches, Ireland's Emerald Guitars are already carving bold new paths in guitar design. The Virtuo is the most interesting development yet from designer and founder Alistair Hay; a different approach to blending an acoustic and electric guitar.

According to Hay, the Virtuo is built on the concept of "a guitar that would be capable of not only the acoustic type performance but could at the flick of a switch produce electric tones just like any solid body electric guitar." 

Emerald Guitars

(Image credit: Emerald Guitars)

It promises to be a very versatile guitar indeed, thanks to three key, high quality elements; an acoustic voice from its Graphtech Ghost Piezo
, electric voice from a pair of  Fishman Fluence humbuckers  and a midi/synth voice via its 13-pin output
.

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Emerald Guitars

(Image credit: Emerald Guitars)
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Emerald Guitars

(Image credit: Emerald Guitars)
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Emerald Guitars

(Image credit: Emerald Guitars)
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Emerald Guitars

(Image credit: Emerald Guitars)

We've already experienced how effective the Ghost Piezo was on the Epiphone Alex Lifeson Les Paul, and we've had great experiences with Fishman Fluence pickups too. The idea of blending these already adaptable pickup systems with MIDI throws the creative doors wide open for players to combine them. 

The Fluence humbuckers don't just allow vintage and modern voicings, they can also create some of the most impressive split coil sounds we've heard. 

The two Fishman Fluence humbucker pickups have vintage and modern humbucker sounds and with an option to split to single coils. The Graphtech Ghost Piezo features six individual saddles that can be adjusted and then the acoustic bridge's height and intonation can be easily modified.  

The Virtuo's slim body is made for comfort with a neck designed for speed with a heel design for players to reach all 22 frets with comfort. It's also a lightweight guitars thanks to the carbon build.  

The new model is available in a range of finish options and prices start at £2,150. More info at Emerald Guitars

Rob Laing

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before that I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar.