Budgeting for an Acoustic - help me articulate to my spouse

jsytsma

Member
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1,963
Been a guitar player for nearly 20 years in various contexts, where more recently the acoustic guitars I was using (a great Stonebridge grand auditorium) were owned by the church I was working for.

I had an old Yamaha acoustic I owned, but because of the higher quality instruments I was using, I didn't really need it and ended up donating it to someone who wanted to learn.

So I need to purchase something.

I'm currently borrowing my brother's 3/4 body Takamine and it is "fine for now" until I'm able to purchase something on my own. My wife said to me, "Ok, so let's set aside $400/$500 (USD) for a new one" and my heart kinda sunk as I considered the quality of acoustic I could get for that amount. I did my best to communicate to her that one would be hard pressed to find something quality in that price range, and so she bumped it up to $800-$1000 USD

I'm not trying to be that guy that tries to convince my wife that I "need" something entirely ostentatious like a Taylor 914CE, but I also want something that is going to sound good, play well, and last a long time.

So I guess I have a few questions:

1) For a musician who makes his money from both playing and teaching music, am I being unreasonable in my request for us to save more (I'm willing to wait longer for the guitar I want rather than settle for something lesser)? She's basically said she doesn't want me spending any more than $1200 USD no matter what.

2) Are there some guitars within that price range that will be of good quality? Where's the quality threshold?

I could concede on buying an $800ish guitar with the thought that at some point in the next few years we will upgrade it.

3) If you believe it would be prudent to raise the budget, what rationale would you give? I know a solid wood guitar without laminate is basically impossible in the price range, but I also know that some of the laminates have really upped the ante in terms of quality, so I don't want to focus entirely on the "wood vs laminate" debate

4) I'm nervous about the possibility of buying used - should I be? I know I could get a better guitar for the price.
 

Jeff Scott

Member
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1,659
We don't know you or your spouse, so you're on your own.
GL. :)

BTW, if you need us to help with this (and your spouse) you may have the wrong spouse, just sayin'.
 

jsytsma

Member
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1,963
We don't know you or your spouse, so you're on your own.
GL. :)

BTW, if you need us to help with this (and your spouse) you may have the wrong spouse, just sayin'.
Thanks for the marriage advice. Doing just fine 10 years in :)

I'm looking for some input that would help me bolster my case, so to speak. OR for someone to tell me I'm being unreasonable and that I could find a great acoustic in the price range.
 

Bob T.

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2,684
I did my best to communicate to her that one would be hard pressed to find something quality in that price range, and so she bumped it up to $800-$1000 USD

She's basically said she doesn't want me spending any more than $1200 USD no matter what.

2) Are there some guitars within that price range that will be of good quality? Where's the quality threshold?
Guild gets my #1 vote. Plenty of body size and wood choices, laminate or solid (I much prefer solid), new, used.... and even VINTAGE can be found well within your budget. I absolutely love Guild acoustics. I find each one unique, great playing, great sounding, and fit for just about anything.
 

jsytsma

Member
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1,963
Guild gets my #1 vote. Plenty of body size and wood choices, laminate or solid (I much prefer solid), new, used.... and even VINTAGE can be found well within your budget. I absolutely love Guild acoustics. I find each one unique, great playing, great sounding, and fit for just about anything.
Thanks Bob, unfamiliar to me! And uncertain how readily available they are in Canada, but I'll look into it for sure.
 

willie k

Silver Supporting Member
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2,171
Maybe take her along to the store and let her hear the difference. It worked for me.

Don't fear a used instrument. Just check it out first or make sure you can return it. I just bought a 1999 acoustic on Reverb and couldn't be happier. Mine is a premium guitar, but as stated above, there are Guilds from the 60s-70s that are relative bargains.
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
Silver Supporting Member
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19,084
If you are a musician by trade, you should be able to get a tax advantage for buying "tools" like a guitar. At least that's the way it would work here in the States.

There are two issues that really separate an $800 guitar from a $2,000 guitar, in my opinion.
  1. The better guitar is going to mature and provide a more pleasing tone over the years where the cheaper instrument likely will sound worse over time.
  2. The resale value of the better guitar will be far higher, both in dollar terms and as a percentage of the price you pay upfront, so if you want or need to sell or trade it later, you'll take less of a loss than you would on a cheap guitar.
As far as buying used, I think it's a wise choice. I'd shop with reputable dealers only who can give you an in-hand assessment of any instrument and ensure that it is free of excess wear or defects. An acoustic is more likely to have expensive repair issues than almost any solid-body electric.
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
Silver Supporting Member
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FWIW I think it's both fair and wise to involve your spouse in the budgeting for this purchase but not in the actual purchase itself. You don't want to be permanently attached to a guitar because she picked it out.

Also be prepared for her wanting to spend a similar amount on something that's especially for her. It's human nature. Just count on it and you won't be surprised.
 

Shadowfox007

Member
Messages
41
I think it's hard for non-musicians to understand it. I think you should say it is an investment that is upfront in cost. To her any guitar still sounds like a guitar. She needs to be educated and her ear taught things to show the difference. So is it better to spend $800/$1000 now and upgrade in a few years or just have it all upfront for a better guitar that will only increase in price new as years go on?

I think you should ask her what are you paid $200 a month for a trainer or such, that money would add up fast. Good luck in the talk and helping her understand the quality of the instrument and materials goes up a lot as the price increases.
 

quilsaw

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1,126
As noted in another recent thread, if I were looking for the best instrument in the $1000-$1200 range, I'd probably be looking hard at some of the 3-series Larrivees (used). They can be hard to find in order to try them out, but with care I'd consider something on-line, so long as it could be returned. I've also had a nice Eastman OM10 well below that price range (also used) that proved to be well worth the investment, even if it was sold off.

For justification with your wife, the truth (for me) is that there is little question that - up to a point (maybe $2500 or a bit more) every dollar is likely to have a dramatic correlation with quality, however you might define it: playability, sound, resale value, etc.
 

Bob T.

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2,684
Thanks Bob, unfamiliar to me! And uncertain how readily available they are in Canada, but I'll look into it for sure.
Canada, you say?

You should also look into Seagull guitars. They offer solid top guitars as well as all solid wood dreadnought and mini jumbo guitars. Fantastic, and well below your price point.
 

Tony Done

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5,681
I've been playing acoustics for over 55 years, and I see very little correlation between price and performance in factory guitars. What I pay extra for mostly is mojo, not sound.

There are plenty of good guitars to be had in mid-100s price range, but you have to trust your ears, not names and price tags, and a good setup is a very worthwhile investment. I would not be spending the kind of money you are talking about, in the face of your wife's opinion, unless it was a specific guitar that really grabbed me. Some of the makes I would be looking at are Yamaha, Recording King, Epiphone, Seagull and Tanglewood, but those aren't the only good ones by any means.
 
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T Dizz

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20,775
Guild gets my #1 vote. Plenty of body size and wood choices, laminate or solid (I much prefer solid), new, used.... and even VINTAGE can be found well within your budget. I absolutely love Guild acoustics. I find each one unique, great playing, great sounding, and fit for just about anything.
I tried a bunch of acoustics when I was shopping for one, looking to spend up to 1000, and ended up with a $500 Guild. It was the best sounding guitar I played at 4 different stores.
 

redir

Member
Messages
149
You can get a professional guitar for $1000 bucks. I do agree that a bit more then that gets you into a better field of guitars but still.

I know relationships are different for every one but my wife and I trade off on the bills and then anything after that is ours individually. We do talk about making big purchases to some extent but if we can pay the bills, save for retirement, and so on then anything after that is open.

Having said that, you may be able to do the same thing if for example you have some things that you can sell on ebay or Craigs List and so on or perhaps doing something to earn a bit of money on the side for yourself maybe?

At the $1000 level I would consider looking back at some Yamaha offerings.
 

mccreadyisgod

Member
Messages
420
Alvarez, Yamaha, and Breedlove make some pretty good instruments in that price range. In Canada, I'd be looking at the Godin brands (Norman, Simon & Patrick, Seagull, Art & Lutherie). There is no real reason you can't find a worthy, performance-ready instrument for $800-1000.

I definitely advocate for looking at used gear. As long as it's been reasonably cared for, used guitars are an absolute bargain. You can pretty easily find a $1500 instrument that's a few years on for $1000. If you're willing to accept cosmetic damage, you can really save a ton, although it can be hard to know if cosmetic damage isn't structural damage. But especially since you seem like you want to upgrade the instrument in a few years, you would be better off buying a used instrument that won't depreciate very much before upgrading. If you buy a $1,000 guitar brand new, then three years later it will be worth $600. But if you buy a $1000 used guitar, it might be worth $850-1100 in three years. Used instruments require a lot more diligence, patience, and weeding through to find the right one, but they are absolutely worth it when trying to stretch a budget.
 

Bluedano1

Member
Messages
7,043
I would think that your household budget ( cash flow) and your wife's comfort zone on the ' guitar buying issue' are much more important than rationalizing ( ' re-sale' value', ' all-solid woods) buying a guitar you cannot afford. Or appeasing your spouse by getting something for him/her so you can justify getting something for yourself.
Be honest, get what you can really afford, that keeps peace with your spouse.
You can find very nice guitars
( I'm a minority here, but a big Blueridge fan and owner) in the $500-$800 range.
 

Goldie Glocks

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Messages
962
Taylor 314CE. Solid wood and can be had for $1000 used. Less if you are patient. Laminate doesn't always mean poor sound/quality either. I have a Taylor 214CE and it has awesome clarity and sound distribution.
 

veinbuster

Member
Messages
615
In Canada, I'd be looking at the Godin brands (Norman, Simon & Patrick, Seagull, Art & Lutherie). There is no real reason you can't find a worthy, performance-ready instrument for $800-1000.
Yes, these are all good guitars and good value in the price range. I had to pay a lot more to find a guitar I liked better than my Norman.

Larivee are great guitars, but I’m not sure how much of their line fits in this budget - some can certainly be had for US1,200.
Taylor 3xx are good guitars and should fit in the budget.
 




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