Best flat top acoustics these days

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by Luca1979, Dec 5, 2019.

  1. Luca1979

    Luca1979 Supporting Member

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    I’m considering buying a D-28 Authentic 1937, but I’m open to suggestions for alternatives.

    Not necessarily dreadnought style, what’s the best out there?

    I would consider vintage examples but unfortunately don’t have 70k for a 1940 D-28 :)

    Thanks!
     
  2. Vic Interceptor

    Vic Interceptor Member

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    let me preface by saying I am not an acoustic fan or player, although I gigged almost exclusively with them for about 10 years.

    #1 - Martin is the most overrated and underperforming brand of guitars I've ever seen. I've never been impressed with a single one, not vintage or new.

    #2 - Gibson has been much more impressive for the money.

    #3 - I'm not a brand snob when it comes to acoustics, if it sounds good - it is good - period. With that said, the best sounding acoustic I've ever heard in my life was a japanese copy bought in a pawnshop 30 years ago for $100. Big, warm, rich, complex, it had it all.

    #4 - Acoustics are super sensitive to everything. Strings, pick, technique, weather...and especially the room. So don't just try it out in their 'listening' room. It's a trap!

    #5 - Jack Pearson on a $100 Washburn will sound better than anybody else on a $50k Martin. Don't turn your nose up to Washburn/Alvarez/etc.
     
  3. SDH

    SDH Member

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    For all solid wood sub $1,000.00 Alvarez Masterworks and Eastmans are hard to beat. On the expensive end I hear a lot of good things about Boucher and Collings. I really liked a D18 I played recently but the D28 I played right before it was not as warm sounding to me. It could come down to your playing style and taste in tone.
     
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  4. Frozen Rat

    Frozen Rat Gold Supporting Member

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    If you like that kind of guitar and want the best that I think kind of keeps within that genre—and that isn't a Martin—then maybe you are a candidate for a Collings. I'm not even a Collings fan, it's just what came to mind from reading your post and I'm not even sure why I came up with that, because I'm making this recommendation based on some very scant information given by you. You don't mention what kind of music you'll be playing, or what kind of style you prefer (fingerpicking, flat picking, travis picking, hybrid, no pick at all for anything, slide); you also don't mention if it will be purely acoustic, played through a mic, or a pickup. You don't mention what other sizes other than a dread you would consider.

    Do you prefer rosewood-backed guitars? Or do you want the dryer mahogany-backed tone? Do you want a big bass in your face (and who doesn't really), or a more balanced sound? Do you want a v-neck or a c-shape. Short scale, long scale, super long scale, featherweight, heavy weight or welter weight. Do you prefer peanut butter or almond butter? Ok, enough of that, just seeing if you're paying attention.

    Help us out. We're not clairvoyant and last time I looked, there's literally thousands of makes and models to choose from. Oh, and I see you're not ready to plunk down 70k, but tell us how much you are willing plunk down.

    On second thought, go buy a Martin HD-28. It's what you'll end up with anyway I assume. Hardly anyone who starts out looking for a Martin ends up not buying one.
     
  5. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    Larrivee is a well designed and built, solid wood alternative. A lot of guitar for what you spend. I really like the L-series(L-03W) for what it sonically brings to the table. They make many models, in many woods.

    https://www.larrivee.com/series
     
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  6. Emigre

    Emigre Member

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    My experience is the exact opposite.

    LOVE my Martin, and I’ve recently ran the racks on Gibson acoustics and thought they were nowhere near.

    Just goes to show that everyone’s ears and fingers are different :)
     
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  7. Swami Asango

    Swami Asango Member

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    ^^100% useless advice
     
  8. jens5

    jens5 Silver Supporting Member

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  9. Bluzeboy

    Bluzeboy Gold Supporting Member

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    now everyone starts naming their favorite... go!

    as @Frozen Rat said what are you using it for and what price point?
    There are literally dozens of makers out there besides the big three ( Martin, Collings, Gibson) all with pluses and minuses. Goodall, Larrivee, Bourgeois, Eastman, Huss and Dalton, Santa Cruz and on and on.
     
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  10. clarkram

    clarkram Member

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    go to a store or preferably stores where you can demo as wide a range of guitars as possible. Its pretty common to go shopping with a particular make/model in mind and end up with something that wasn't on your radar.

    A few months ago I went out to buy a Huss and Dalton I've been watching on the internet. I went in with the usual anticipation of finding the guitar I had been looking for.
    After spending hours playing a wide variety of guitars including Taylor, Martin, Santa Cruz, I learned the H and D wasn't for me.

    I ended up buying a Boucher OM, a builder I didn't know existed.

    keep an open mind and demo as many as you can, good luck on the hunt.
     
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  11. jklotz

    jklotz Member

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    Like Clark, I went on a year long hunt for the perfect OM a while back. I ended up with a Huss and Dalton TOM-R. I had only heard the name in passing before I played it. It wasn't even on my radar before I picked one up. All anybody can tell you is what they like, and it's so subjective. Go play em all and enjoy the hunt!
     
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  12. Jerrod

    Jerrod Silver Supporting Member

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    Find the best two or three (or one) stores where you can play at least 20 different guitars, including different brands, styles and models. Apologetically explain to the store staff that you want to find the best acoustic guitar for you. Let them help you by sharing their thoughts. Then file away their opinions and spend 2-3 hours playing them all. Be respectful to the staff, because you're going to annoy the **** out of them. ;) Make a few notes. Have a nice lunch. Go home. Do it again next weekend. At some point, your answer will become clear.

    P.S. Budget is important at some point, but be open to guitars at all price points. I've played some nice Eastwood guitars and other budget brands that were quite good. If the worst thing that happened is that a nice $400 guitar served your purpose for a few years and became a gateway drug to a different/better guitar down the road, well... that's not too bad. That's better (IMO) than overspending now and maybe getting the wrong guitar. And as always, "buy used and play for free" if you can.
     
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  13. Losov

    Losov Member

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    OP, now you know there is no best anything, and if there were it would vary depending on your needs. So, what are your needs? Are you gigging stadiums with a rock band, playing with a local acoustic group, playing in your living room for your own enjoyment . . . . I would have a different answer for each of these situations.
     
  14. Jerrod

    Jerrod Silver Supporting Member

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    Something else... are you a banger, a gentle strummer, an accomplished finger stylist, or do you not even know? That might matter. Or I could be completely wrong. :rolleyes:
     
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  15. BEACHBUM

    BEACHBUM Member

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    Forget brand names and know that best = best specs divided by dollars invested period.
     
  16. Frozen Rat

    Frozen Rat Gold Supporting Member

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    I'm sitting here wondering if we'll ever hear from the OP again. These one-sided threads kind of lumber around like a lost child on the highway when the OP doesn't come back and provide feedback.
     
  17. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    It has taken me a number of years to hone my preferences. After owning 11-12 acoustics, here's what I've learned to look for:
    • Mahogany back and sides
    • Short scale
    • Less-than-D body depth
    • 1-3/4's nut width
    The first guitar I had that checked all these boxes was a Martin 00-18V which I enjoyed for several years. I eventually came to hate the fat neck carve, and swapped to my current Collings OM1-ESS (Englemann, short scale).

    Dreadnaughts just aren't as comfortable for me. Much of my playing time happens around the house, sitting in a chair or on the coach, or walking from room to room. Playing a D always felt like I was in a wrestling match. I love smaller guitars now.
     
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  18. Tony Done

    Tony Done Member

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    How do you want to define "best"? IMO, Taylor are the best for construction among factory guitars, and tone is very much a matter of personal preference. I doubt that a D-28 37 Authentic would qualify as "best" in my case, but it really is about try it and see, and being focused on what you want in a guitar. What style(s), genre(s) do you play?
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
  19. ToneProspector

    ToneProspector Supporting Member

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    In my experience, build and brand can only take you so far. As others have said, you absolutely need to play a bunch of different guitars to first narrow down and learn an approximation of what you’re looking for. Then play a whole bunch of those especially several of the same guitar because acoustics vary wildly in feel and stellar vs average examples of the same guitar. This is why I never buy an acoustic without first demo’ing. Much less forgiving for consistency than electrics.

    With that said, I like Martins a lot but have played duds as well as shining stars. Collings is my favorite acoustic brand. I love the feel, the punch, and I have never played one that didn’t sound stellar. Just too expensive for me to afford...best bang for buck is Yamaha. Some great sounds to be had for fair money. Eastman is a close 2nd but you will pay a bit more.
     
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  20. Luca1979

    Luca1979 Supporting Member

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    OP here, don’t worry I’m alive.
    Thanks for the suggestions so far.

    I would describe my “best” as the equivalent to a good old Tele strummed wide open for some rock rythm.
    Full, deep, sparkly chords, with possibly a sweeter side for fingerpicking and arpeggios.

    As for budget, if the guitar is really good I can stretch it within sanity levels.

    Good observation about the size, I agree that sometimes the classic dreadnought format can be a little uncomfortable to play, so I’m open to smaller sized alternatives.
     
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