Another help me I'm lost in the sea of acoustic choices thread

Skanabanugan

Member
Messages
24
Hello all I'm planning on spending my return on a acoustic guitar that will be substantially better than my current big baby taylor. Guitars I have played and like are the martins d28 hd28, and taylor 814 816. I plan on strumming and finger picking 50/50. Stuff I want to play and am inspired by is John Mayer, coldplay, radiohead, Chris Cornell, the killers, The beatles, Led zepplin. I also play worship- tomlin hillsong etc.

I hear a lot of good recommendations in the taylor 514 but have yet to find one to play. I played a d35 and thought it was a tad unfocused and boomy although still nice. How are the d28v, om28v, taylor 714? Any other recommendations based in my musical likes. I need the ability to plug in and go through a sound system so that's why I was leaning towards a taylor. Is it hard to install a pickup on the martins? What are some pickup recommendations? And does it jack up the guitar like having to drill a bigger hole at the strap button for a 1/4 cable?

Thx for any help- Shane
 

gatornavy

Member
Messages
671
I checked out a HD-28V, wanted it bad. Unfortunetly, the guitar store would not give me anywhere near a reasonable price for the gear I wanted to trade in towards it, so I left. Ended up finding a beautiful sounding D-35 on CL. If you can try a few, you can likely find one the you like. Or, the D-28's/HD-28's/HD-28V's are all also nice. I much perfer Martins or Martin-like guiatrs as opposed to most any other brand. The tone is just "it" for me.
 

335guy

Member
Messages
5,228
Is it hard to install a pickup on the martins?
It depends on the pickup system and your skills. IMHO, UST pickups are the most difficult because the saddle must be trimmed down perfectly, and the bridge slot needs to be perfectly flat. So if you do choose a UST pickup, best to have an experienced guitar tech do it. I installed the K&K Trinity system in my Martin recently, and had no problems. I took my time and was done in about 2 hrs.

What are some pickup recommendations?
It depends on what you need the amplified guitar for. Soundhole mags and USTs are the most feedback resistant usually, but personally, I find them to sound the least like an acoustic guitar. But if you are to play in a louder band setting, then those maybe the best for you. Mag pickups are very easy to install however. I was trying to decide this myself recently, and choose the K&K Trinity system. IMHO, the pickup/mic combo get the best tone results, but feedback can be a problem. The preamp can help dial out the offending freqs.

And does it jack up the guitar like having to drill a bigger hole at the strap button for a 1/4 cable?
Not if you use the correct drill bit. A taper drill bit is best, but I couldn't find one locally, and ended up using a step drill bit. It worked fine on my Martin. Again, if you are not confident in your skills, hire a pro to do it.

Finally, and again, IMHO, most guitars that came from the factory with pickups already installed ( especially those with the box preamps ) do not sound quite as good acoustically as a guitar without the factory pickups. Pretty much most major acoustic manufacturers offer factory installed pickups, and I disliked all of them, for one reason or another. But the Martin Performing Artist series with the Aura system sounded best to me, but they are pricey. I choose a Martin D-16RGT and installed the K&K Trinity pickup system. I was looking for a Martin dread tone and a good pickup system without breaking the bank, and believe I've found it in my choice.
 

335guy

Member
Messages
5,228
Ended up finding a beautiful sounding D-35 on CL.
My 1st Martin was a D-35 I bought in 1971. It was a 1970 model that had been sitting around in a local music shop in SF, because one side had very minor cosmetic damage to it. Hardly noticeable. I bought it for $300.00 with the case and played that guitar for 25 yrs. It was a lovely guitar that I was sad to part with. My new D-16RGT looks and sounds similar, but not exactly the same.
 

royd

Member
Messages
2,039
Shane,

The guitars you've mentioned are very different... The Taylor sound is more simple and direct, some folk hear that as more bright. It cuts well in a band situation and doesn't conflict with other instruments. The particular model you mentioned - a 514 is a very versatile shape that works well for many different styles. The top is cedar which is warmer, faster, and more complex than the spruces but also can overdrive if played hard and scratches and scars easily because it is softer than spruce. The back and sides are mahogany - woody, bright, and focused with a strong mid range. The 800 series Taylors have been redesigned with a new bracing scheme so they sound different than the others in the Taylor lineup and are a bit less simple sounding. For solo playing, that would be great, for band playing less so.

The Martin sound is the quintessential "American" sound - big and boomy with a scooped midrange in the larger guitars. The D35 is a dreadnought shape which tends to have a deeper bass and those scooped mids. The bracing in the 35 emphasizes that even more. Indian rosewood also emphasizes that a little and is a bit more complex sounding b/s than mahogany. Sitka spruce (the 35's top) is a great do just about everything top wood... slower and less elegant sounding than cedar but doesn't overdrive when strummed hard and still works for fingerstyle and fairly tough wood. The D28 & HD28 are the same woods but different bracing schemes so sound a bit different with the HD being more scooped with a huge bottom end and the plain D being more balanced and less lively.

Of the D35 vs. 514, I would prefer the Taylor, that model is my favorite Taylor, although the 314 is far and away the best bang for the buck in the Taylor line. If you go with a Taylor another piece to consider is that they are gradually changing to a new pickup technology that is very different from the one in last year's guitars. From what I've heard, it sounds very, very good, but it is intrusive in the guitar and would be difficult to replace with anything else 10 years from now when it dies (that is also true with the older ES system). Different models have different pickup systems in them this year.

That said, neither Taylor or Martin would be my first choice. In other factory built guitars you should try to play a Larrivee and a Guild as well and perhaps a few of the Chinese built guitars - Eastman, Epiphone Masterbuilt, Guild GAD. Any one of those companies might float your boat. I would strongly recommend you try to play a few small shop guitars. They'll cost more but I think you get a lot more for your money - Lowden, Santa Cruz, Huss & Dalton, Avalon, Bourgeois, Collings. And don't be afraid of used, especially if you are leaving out pickup systems. There really isn't a lot to go wrong with a guitar so used can be a wise move.

Adding a pickup to any guitar is certainly doable and, I think in general is the better choice than buying a guitar with a factory system. Which one... is another thread altogether.
 

BigPapiFan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,573
In my experience the newer D-35s are uniformly very nice. Great singer / songwrier guitar. If you haven't tried mahogany bodied guitars might want to try the "new" Martin D-18, Gibson J-35 and J-45, and the Guild D40.
 

Skanabanugan

Member
Messages
24
Thanks for the help guys. So I've tried a few guitars out over the last week and found the ones I really like are the taylor814ce and 816ce slightly more , martin d-18(not sure what year it was), martin hd-28 but my favorite was the martin hd28v. The descriptions people have given it "smokey", "woody", "vintage sounding" are true. Although the hd28 had more bass and was louder the hd28v had just a little something more-like it was less scooped and was more full sonically in the lower mids. Wasn't able to directly compare a taylor 814ce to the hd28v. I did however with a 914ce and felt that the taylor was easier to play and would cut probably better in a band especially with finger picking but didn't have the bass I was craving and I felt that although the martin was quieter with fingerpicking I ever so slightly preferred its more, rounded,blurry (muddy to some) notes to the sharper notes on the taylor. I think the best option is to have someone on a martin accompanied with a taylor because they fill each others sonic gaps. So Pretty set on ordering me the martin just have to figure out from who... the used one I bought I returned due to a crack:(
 
Messages
657
Myfavoriteguitars.com has good deals and a good reputation for new martins. Have you tried one of those models with an adirondack top? Those are my favorites. That said I've got a 000 Martin, but preferred Huss and Dalton for a dreadnought considering similar pricing.
 

Skanabanugan

Member
Messages
24
I have not tried the Adirondack ones but ill be on the lookout. I'll also check out my favorite guitars. Never bought from maurys guitars but read good things. Who do you think is the better distributor? Thx
 




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