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View Full Version : $1,000-$1,500 Acoustic Guitar Recommendation: Returned It :-o


enigma
01-07-2010, 07:11 PM
I've not played nor owned an acoustic guitar for over a decade. I think it really helps in songwriting, especially. So, I'm in the market for an acoustic (electric) guitar and have my eyes set on the following brands: Taylor, Laravee, Gibson and Martin. My budget is b/w $1,000 and $1,500.

I usually buy used electric guitars, but am a bit weary buying used acoustic guitars b/c they are more delicate and susceptible to humidity.

(I played a Taylor 310 CE Grand Auditorium with a special price of $1,350 at GC - is this a good price by the way?).

I think I really liked the way 310CE sounded; very complex highs with enough warmth and depth. I also do like the warmth of Martins, especially the Roy Rogers model, but so expensive. Those 2 guitars are my benchmarks as to what I like. So, what are your recommendations and why?

HERE IT IS AFTER A 6 MONTH SEARCH:

A 1992 Guild D-30. I paid $762 w/ tax at GC! It's true when ppl say buy the guitar that "speaks to you!" While waiting for the GC guy to find the case i figured out the beginning of a Fleetwood Mac song - that just did it for me.

Sitka Spruce top with Flamed Maple Arched Back & Sides, Mahogany Neck w/ Rosewood board and Grover tuners. Real low action with a beautiful tone. I've never been so happy with a purchase, especially its price was well under my budget! It has some dings, scratches, checking and whatnot - adds personality. Practically no fretwear.

The past owner put a Fishman pickup which I was told is a nice one.

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l199/mergetrio/GUILD%20D-30/Guild_D30-7.jpg

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l199/mergetrio/GUILD%20D-30/Guild_D30-2.jpg

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l199/mergetrio/GUILD%20D-30/Guild_D30-6.jpg

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l199/mergetrio/GUILD%20D-30/Guild_D30-4.jpg

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l199/mergetrio/GUILD%20D-30/Guild_D30-9-1.jpg
Thanks for all of your advice and opinions!

6ringing
01-07-2010, 07:29 PM
A used Martin d-18v can be a GREAT bargain in your price range. Seriously good guitars.

small axe
01-07-2010, 07:34 PM
i like taylors and martins...1350 for a 310ce is high....i played 1350 for a 310ce but it had koa back and sides so it was worth it...you can get a used one on ebay for cheaper if you choose that route....good luck

enigma
01-07-2010, 08:54 PM
Which brand has better pick up system?

I'll check out d-18v, but what's the acoustic/electric version of it?

This particular 310CE might've had a Koa back. I'll have to check again.

6ringing
01-11-2010, 11:08 PM
I haven't tried the d-18ve (pickup version). But the 18v is unreal, sounds very much like a prewar Martin. Especially with some up grades like bone nut and saddle and replacing the plastic pins with ebony.

A huge bargain those.

RockinB23
01-12-2010, 02:40 PM
Here is a list of guitars/brands I would consider in that price range. In no particular order. If you can go a few hundred more a Used Santa Cruz or Bourgeois would be a big step up from this tone wise.

Martin D-18, D-35 Used
Gibson J-45, J-50, J-100 Used
Taylor GA or GS models like GS6 or GS8 Used
Rainsong Guitars Used
Composite Acoustic Guitars Used
Guild D-55 Used
Breedlove Pro Series Used
Larrivee 09's or 05's used

enigma
01-12-2010, 08:17 PM
I see that Santa Cruz is really a big step up! That's a good list to explore. I never really liked Larrivees. It's amazing how hard it is to find and buy an acoustic! Electrics are so much easier.

forresal
01-18-2010, 11:18 AM
Breedlove.

They have a great feel, nice natural acoustic tone with pretty sweet pickups for amplified settings.
I play an older Atlas 25 SC/CR Plus. They just updated this model (forgot the model # tho') which run about $1K.

johnny1111
01-20-2010, 09:45 PM
The list posted by RockinB23 is good, but the list assumes that you find a discounted used model in correct playing condition (properly set up with no "issues"). If you are more comfortable with purchasing a new guitar there are models made by most of the same companies listed that are also excellent. If you take 25-30% off the advertised (MAP) price your $1000-1500 should get you into a Martin 16 or OM series, Guild C series, Taylor 5xx series, etc. The Santa Cruz is a fantastic guitar, but they run approx 3 grand, and used ones are not discounted much due to quality and supply. When comparing overall tone, action, resonance, construction, and "feel" I prefer Taylors in the under-$1500 category. However, I like Martin in the $1500 and over category. I have played a few Taylor 310s and I was very impressed. Of course, the resonance, bass quality, etc. is compromised in compared to a top line acoustic (such as the mentioned Santa Cruz). However, the playability was excellent. All acoustics are a bit different, even separately built units of the same model production run. That is why I prefer to actually play any guitar I might purchase. But that's just me. The acoustic guitars I currently own and play include a Martin OMJM, Collings OM-2H, Guild FC-65CE (so cool, my main guitar), and a cheap Breedlove 12 string (ugh). The best deal on a new guitar I have seen lately is the discontinuing/close out of the 6 string Guild Contemporary Series 1. It retailed for around $2400 and are closing out at $600-900, depending on the source. (I should note that my Guild is a 1996 Westerly built F-65 that I picked up at Willies used for $1495, and retailed for around $2600, so I admit you DO get more for your money if you if you find a GOOD used guitar.) Anyway, good luck on the hunt!

Irreverent
01-20-2010, 09:55 PM
Worried about humidity (or lack thereof)?

Get a used Composite Acoustics Legacy. Magnificent guitars that can be found in your price range.

Peace.

tonesurfer
01-20-2010, 09:59 PM
Guild GAD-50s are a great value. 750 new, 400 or so used. Hard to find a 1,500 dollar guitar that does any better. I've found real nice high end guitars (3K-4K instruments) can be found from time to time in the lower 2K range. Never buy without playing!

enigma
01-22-2010, 12:22 PM
Thanks for the good opinions and advices. I think the key to buying acoustics (as opposed to electrics) is actually playing one. This does prevent me from buying one used on-line, i.e., Ebay or here.

I'll have to check into the Guild closeouts or other crazy sales too.

ON a side note. What do you guys think about Rain Song graphite guitars?

dramaticrunner
01-22-2010, 12:47 PM
you can find very nice used tacomas for under a grand

LJOHNS
01-25-2010, 06:43 PM
Martin D-16GT or D-16RGT - amazing for the money!

GuitarsFromMars
01-25-2010, 08:16 PM
Used Gibson, with the proviso:

Play ANY acoustic before you buy it.

enigma
01-26-2010, 09:02 AM
I tried the D-16GT and it is very nice, but I'm looking for complex high tones that I get from Taylor 614CE which obviously is more money.

djbrough
01-26-2010, 09:12 AM
Also take a look at Eastman's high end. They're not a very popular name, but the guitars are solid wood and beautifully outfitted. They'll sonically compete with the other brands mentioned.

jkg
01-26-2010, 05:44 PM
The newish Taylor GA and D series (D-2, D-3, D-4 etc) has some gloss top models that come in in your price range and they are pretty nice. There are some places that sell Martin guitars for well below what you see at guitar center and I think a D-28 might be almost in your reach, which is a beautiful guitar. i was tinkering around with a used 314ce that was well within your range and that is a nice guitar. i think you have some good options.

enigma
01-26-2010, 08:08 PM
Yeah, I do like 314CE, but looking for a used 614 CE at the moment.

mcdonaldkd
01-26-2010, 08:36 PM
Larrivee

enigma
01-26-2010, 09:23 PM
I'm not bonding with Larrivee - tried many of their models.

enigma
01-27-2010, 07:17 AM
I do agree. Takamines are great value for the money and very well made. If I can find one that "feels" like a Taylor or Martin just maybe.

Vibrolucky
01-27-2010, 10:06 PM
Hard to beat a D-28 Martin...its the standard to which all Acoustic guitars are judged!!

You can pick one up used in the $1400 range....

Blanket Jackson
01-27-2010, 10:14 PM
Your budget is too low. Kick it up to $2k and hit the used market for H&D, Bourgeois, good Martin, or Froggy Bottom / Collings if you can find one. Forget about electronics, go by acoustic tone. You can always add electronics, you cannot add better acoustic tone. Play every one several times before committing - not every model, every actual guitar. Even in high QC shops like the ones I listed above, there is still a lot of tonal variation, and feel. A good acoustic will open up you outlook on music in general. Nothing like the tone of the right one. Let the right one in.

aaron1433
01-27-2010, 10:19 PM
Play with your eyes shut and your ears open. I mean you might find a diamond in the rough. Happened to me this week. I own a mega dollar acoustic, and I'm still very happy playing my recently acquired 1973 Yamaki Custom 135. Probably couldn't sell it for $300 if I tried.

Play some super expensive ones that you'll never be able to afford. It will help shape your appreciation of what is out there. Also worth mentioning (yet again in this thread), there are shining and dull examples of nearly every guitar maker, even small scale solo operations. These guys put their souls into their work and sometimes the end result still isn't quite right. It happens, and it happens with more frequency the more guitars there are going out the maker's/manufacturer's door.

whomad1215
01-27-2010, 10:27 PM
i like my Larrivee. good deals especially if you find a slightly used one
i also played a guitar at my local store that was used, Trinity College was the brand. never heard of it before but it sounded really really nice, $800 with all solid woods, spruce top, rosewood back/sides

enigma
01-28-2010, 04:22 PM
All great responses! I'll take all of your advices and apply them! It'll be a fun process :)

enigma
02-01-2010, 03:52 PM
........

tonesurfer
02-01-2010, 04:15 PM
Cool deal! :)

HeeHaw
02-01-2010, 08:49 PM
I've not played nor owned an acoustic guitar for over a decade. I think it really helps in songwriting, especially. So, I'm in the market for an acoustic (electric) guitar and have my eyes set on the following brands: Taylor, Laravee, Gibson and Martin. My budget is b/w $1,000 and $1,500.

I usually buy used electric guitars, but am a bit weary buying used acoustic guitars b/c they are more delicate and susceptible to humidity.

(I played a Taylor 310 CE Grand Auditorium with a special price of $1,350 at GC - is this a good price by the way?).

I think I really liked the way 310CE sounded; very complex highs with enough warmth and depth. I also do like the warmth of Martins, especially the Roy Rogers model, but so expensive. Those 2 guitars are my benchmarks as to what I like. So, what are your recommendations and why?

HERE IT IS AFTER A 6 MONTH SEARCH:

A 1992 Guild D-30. I paid $762 w/ tax at GC! It's true when ppl say buy the guitar that "speaks to you!" While waiting for the GC guy to find the case i figured out the beginning of a Fleetwood Mac song - that just did it for me.

Sitka Spruce top with Flamed Maple Arched Back & Sides, Mahogany Neck w/ Rosewood board and Grover tuners. Real low action with a beautiful tone. I've never been so happy with a purchase, especially its price was well under my budget! It has some dings, scratches, checking and whatnot - adds personality. Practically no fretwear.

The past owner put a Fishman pickup which I was told is a nice one.

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l199/mergetrio/GUILD%20D-30/Guild_D30-7.jpg

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l199/mergetrio/GUILD%20D-30/Guild_D30-2.jpg

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l199/mergetrio/GUILD%20D-30/Guild_D30-6.jpg

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l199/mergetrio/GUILD%20D-30/Guild_D30-4.jpg

http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l199/mergetrio/GUILD%20D-30/Guild_D30-9-1.jpg
Thanks for all of your advice and opinions!

Good score! I love the Guilds! The Big D50's and D55's are my favorite next to the D25's. I havn't played a Taylor yet that could match the Guild dreds for their overall volume and projection.

enigma
02-01-2010, 09:17 PM
You are right about the volume and projection - just huge!

enigma
02-02-2010, 11:03 AM
BTW, on another thread I wrote that I found a combination of woods that I really liked in Taylor 614CE:

Taylor 614CE Grand Auditorium
Solid Sitka Spruce Top
Solid Big Leaf Maple Back and Sides
Bound Rock Maple Neck
Ebony Board
Pearl Leaf Pattern Abalone Soundhole Rosette
Headstock Overlay

The D-30 I bought has the same combination except for the Ebony fret board and Mahogany neck. I'm glad my ears did not fail me with the tonal qualities I was drawn to in 614CE.

DeaconBlues
02-02-2010, 05:05 PM
Nice score!

Jahn
02-03-2010, 09:32 AM
Sweet guild! I love the sound of a maple dread - percussive but still brings the sustain in the bass due to all the air in there. That fishman rare earth pickup is what I have for soundhole usage too, good stuff.

enigma
02-03-2010, 02:44 PM
So, I put a strap on and played it standing, and found this Guild to be way too big; very uncomfortable and I can barely see the fretboard. So, I reluctantly returned it! :-(

ImmortalSix
02-03-2010, 02:55 PM
Hey! That's about EXACTLY what happened to me 12 years ago!

I went out looking for a Martin or a Taylor, and I had literally never heard of Guild before (small town life!)

Well, I was out with a great bluegrass picker, who was helping me shop, and he wasn't looking for a guitar at all, just tagging along for fun.

When we both played it, he said, flat-out: "If you don't buy that thing, I'm going to."

I brought it home, and it's been with me ever since!

Mine is identical to yours.

http://hphotos-snc1.fbcdn.net/hs140.snc1/5976_767129394443_6201882_43437052_639645_n.jpg

http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v65/181/51/6201882/n6201882_33295076_4774.jpg

P.S. My buddy wasn't joking --- he ordered an identical D30, bought it, and when it arrived he lamented that it wasn't as good as the one I picked up.

enigma
02-03-2010, 03:33 PM
ImmortalSix, it does look identical! I returned it today, however, as its was too bulky when playing it standing up :(

ImmortalSix
02-04-2010, 07:16 AM
ImmortalSix, it does look identical! I returned it today, however, as its was too bulky when playing it standing up :(

Yeah, that arched back is a bit much for some.

I also have noticed that the body is shallower near the neck and deeper near the endpin --- it's a pretty big dread for sure!

Sorry it didn't work out for you --- they are weird and wonderful guitars!

-Hunter

MikeVB
02-04-2010, 07:35 AM
ImmortalSix, it does look identical! I returned it today, however, as its was too bulky when playing it standing up :(

I accidentally figured out after years of being uncomfortable standing with guitars that if I sort of play the guitar at an angle to my body everything is much more comfortable and lines up more ergonomically. That is, imagine you're facing an audience with a guitar straight in front of you. Now leave the guitar in exactly that position relative to the audience but turn your body slightly to the left, so the guitar now sits on your right hip. It falls more naturally under your right arm, and the left arm and hand are more comfortably positioned. YMMV, but since "discovering" this I noticed a lot of the big boys on tv alternate between this and leaning forward on one foot into the vocal mic, so the guitar literally hangs in front of them.

Also, try out some 000 body styles. They're shallower.

enigma
02-04-2010, 08:01 AM
Yeah, I need to find that ONE again which is also ergonomic.

tonesurfer
02-04-2010, 09:05 AM
If you really want an ergonomic one get an 00 size guitar. They're more an old school blues guitar but they are the most comfortable acoustic guitars IMHO.

Due to their smaller size you want to shoot for a higher quality guitar to get good volume and dynamics.

You can get a really nice one around 3K (sound clips are in the links)
http://www.dreamguitars.com/new/how/how_ladder_braced_concert_5807/how_ladder_braced_concert_5807.php
http://www.dreamguitars.com/preowned/hussdalton/hussdalton_00_custom_1986/hussdalton_00_custom_1986.php

slashnstrings
02-04-2010, 01:53 PM
I set out to buy the best acoustic I could get, I wanted a Taylor after crossing out many horrible expensive Gibson's and Martin's(which broke my heart) It's true when you say a guitar speaks to you, considering for the first time in my life i started playing the most expensive guitar first and worked my way down to the cheaper ones. After three days of being at the music store i couldn't believe that I was not buying the 6000$ guitar I thought i would be getting, but I actually kept going back the the Taylor 314CE at only 1400$, there were so many models but this one felt the best and sounded just right. it was a toss up between the 314CE and the GS the only thing that tipped the 314ce was it had a bit of a rounder sound and had the electronics. anyway thats my acoustic shopping experience. oh and I also bought a Taylor 114CE the same day for a campfire guitar :) i think it was 900$ and sounded ok, but no where near any of the other Taylors

enigma
02-04-2010, 02:18 PM
I'm going to check out the 00 size guitar.

I agree about 314CE - that's one of my favorites.