Acoustic recommendation for a new player - not crazy expensive

daacrusher2001

Silver Supporting Member
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6,244
Hi All, I have looked at similar threads and most are 5-10 years old...so...lets bring this up to 2020.

A work colleague asked me to recommend an acoustic for her son. He's in middle school.

I was going to suggest a Yamaha - although I'm not up to speed on their current models. Seagull was another brand I thought about suggesting.

I had a Yamaha as a first guitar and thought it was pretty playable.

I don't know if he'll want to amplify it at some point but it's easy enough to add a pickup if that's the case.

Suggestions?

[Note: I'm not asking for the cheapest, just a decent beginner acoustic that he won't have to fight with and get frustrated by]
 

Emigre

Member
Messages
4,116
I quite like the Epiphone “pro” acoustic guitars. They don’t sound half bad, and they are slightly short scale so easier to play.

However I wouldn’t get hung up on brands, as they all have good and bad examples. Just tell your friend to go to a store, play a bunch and buy the easiest playing.

Or buy his friend dinner and take him along to the guitar store :)
 

WordMan

Homo Logos
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,644
The low-end Martins and Taylor Academies in the $600-$750 range play great and are really well made. A 00 size would be a great choice for an 8th grader.
 

Jon C

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,645
Seagull S6 I had (before Eastman made acoustics) was nice for the price. My Eastman archtop (AR805CE) is outstanding.
 

hank57

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,812
Dollars to quality I’d buy a used Takamine off craigslist.
I’ve bought one a few years ago for $250 that had solid top and back and played very well.

I just gave it my niece who wanted to play.
 

Steadfastly

Member
Messages
2,865
Sorry to poo, poo your suggestion but Ibanez is very low on the totem pole for quality acoustics. Dollar for dollar, a person can do much better. I am sorry if I hurt your feelings. That was not my intention.

In alphabetical order I would look at these.

Alvarez but not the RD/RF models. Go with the AD/AF/AG or an MD60BG if your budget is in the $700.00 USD range.
Eastman
Washburn Heritage series
Yamaha
 
Last edited:

KevinD

Member
Messages
125
I have 2 Yamaha acoustics. One is a bargain basement FG 800 (I think) the other was a midrange APX500iiFM. Both are easy to play, sound decent, but above all for a beginner, they stay in tune. I havent picked up the FG in months, but I'd bet my next paycheck its still in tune. Either of these are my "campfire" guitars. The Taylor doesn't leave the studio, lol
 

Tony Done

Member
Messages
6,876
There are a lot of very good inexpensive guitars out there now, and I'll add Tanglewood and Recording King to the list. My experiences with Ibanez acoustics in my mate's shop haven't been good, so I also would not include them.

Whatever you choose, budget for a setup, regardless of make or price. - IMO playability is much more important than tone for a beginner. It is also worth remembering that he should want to pick it up and play it, so aesthetics and "street cred" (do they still use that term?) might be important.
 

jvin248

Member
Messages
5,985
.

First step is make sure the parent knows the kid wants an acoustic guitar ... Too many parents get a kid who wants an electric guitar an acoustic because the parent thinks acoustics are cheaper so if the kid quits it's not such a large expense and the parent fears a loud amp when they don't realize an electric can be played with headphones while an acoustic is loud all the time. So just make sure. I went through the disappointment of wanting an electric and get an acoustic as a gift so I've been there and see it a lot.

If the kid really wants an acoustic... Yamaha is about the best choice, Washburn is good, Epiphone and Fender are ok too. Get much higher on the price ladder than those and parents need to think their kid is really serious about playing and the parents are rarely that convinced.

.
 

daacrusher2001

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,244
Update: She went with a Yamaha FG830.

I asked her a lot of questions and this is probably as good a fit as any. In my experience, these Yamahas are very playable, sound pretty good, and seem consistent from a build perspective.

I gave her four recommendations - increasing in price and features but nothing super expensive. I was trying to steer towards a preowned Seagull S6, which is about the same price as the new Yamaha (maybe slightly more). There was/is a nice one on Reverb.

Next question was "what else do I need"...lol, wasn't really even thinking about that - picks, strings, stand, tuner, capo...I kept it minimal but suggested better stuff than what comes with those bundles GC and others advertise.

Kinda fun, actually...
 

Pure_Phase

Member
Messages
232
No matter what guitar you buy, if you want to ensure you won't have to fight it and get frustrated playing it, factor into your budget a proper set up by a reputable shop. Even brand new Martins and Gibsons need to be set up properly. Truss rod adjusted for proper relief, and many of these companies purposefully cut their nuts and saddles high to accommodate a wide range of players. Some actually like high action, but for many of us we like it somewhere in the middle or on the lower end, and it's much easier (and cheaper) to lower a saddle and file nut slots than it is to raise the action and nut slots. Budgeting in an additional $50-$100 to have whatever you buy set up properly, otherwise you'll hate life with a lot production, off the rack acoustics.
 

Jerry

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
669
Eastman PCH1, there are different models. They street for $279. Great sounding guitars. Some might need a setup
 

Beakertwang

Member
Messages
2,546
I'd definitely recommend Eastman. I've heard great things about Orangewood, but have no personal experience.

Yamaha, Seagull, and Blueridge are worth checking out.
 

Jimbo99

Senior Member
Messages
522
Applause/Celebrity by Ovation. Built like a tank. 10 inch fretboard radius for smaller hands. Plays like an electric. Super shallow bowl version feels like a 3/4 traveller, with the acoustic advantages of a full size side to side. Can be found sub $ 200 as pre-owned. The Lyrichord bowl is perfect for camping trips and other outdoor venues (beach or parks). Even as new, it's going to MSRP $ 350 for the Applause, sub $ 500 for Celebrity.
 

Jabberwocky

Member
Messages
1,043
Taylor GS Mini. The most fun I have ever had with an acoustic. I got the Mahogany.

First, it is affordable. Second, it is small and cute as a button; eminently portable. Follows you everywhere. Third, it really does sound big for its size. 4th: short scale length of 23.5" makes it very playable for beginners. He can grow into longer scale length guitars once he has the chord shapes under his fingers.

You must know something about me: I hate Taylor guitars. I bought a GS Mini for a friend because he wanted one. I liked it so much I got one for meself. I still hate Taylors but not the GS Mini.

PS Late to the party. I see she bought a Yamaha for her son. Good choice.
 




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