Most Acoustics Suck

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by thepilgrimsdream, Apr 15, 2019 at 9:35 AM.

  1. thepilgrimsdream

    thepilgrimsdream Member

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    There. I said it.

    But really though. Walk into a guitar store, play the 10th fret of a B string. Usually it will sound tingy and thin. Every once in a while you may find a $3000+ Martin that just sings. There are many functional instruments from $700+, but usually none inspiring. (Some vintage Guilds are a great value)

    New Gibsons = Decent for strumming big bassy chords
    New Taylors = Okay for fingerpicking. Harsh for strumming and single notes are thin
    New Martin's = Probably the best instruments in a larger chain, but you have to shelf out a lot of $$ to get something stunning.

    I picked up a Gibson LG-0 at a guitar store(a friend bought it), I was blown away at the musicallity of the thing all up and down the fretboard. I also played an LG-1 that was similar. These weren't the most high end instrument of the 60's, but could blow away almost everything even high end today. It makes me sad that we can't produce inspiring acoustic instrument for beginners, intermediate or even budget minded professional players.

    Anyone else feel like this?
     
  2. nmiller

    nmiller Drowning in lap steels Gold Supporting Member

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    No.
     
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  3. TCMx3

    TCMx3 Supporting Member

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    I mean I actually agree that most (acoustic) guitars suck.

    But I don't really think it always comes down to price (and rarely to age). There are good guitars out there that have genuine value above replacement. They take effort and time to find and you have to go through a bunch before you get one, IMO. Unless you are going super high end to someone who is spending a lot of time making sure every guitar is good.
     
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  4. OM Flyer

    OM Flyer Member

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    If you want "stunning," you're going to pay more for it. I think the blanket generalizations of the three manufacturers you named are just that: blanket generalizations.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019 at 11:03 AM
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  5. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Member

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    I don’t agree.
    I do think you need to play them in some, and dead strings impact the sound much more than on an electric guitar.
    Different woods and scale lengths, bracing patterns and body sizes also really effect if it’s a sound that you like, if it’ll ever have the attack, brightness or warmth that YOU like.

    Certain guitars do certain things better than others, and if you can figure it out and use it you can find happiness in old, new, cheap* or expensive.
    YMMV ;)
     
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  6. musicman1

    musicman1 Member

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    If it wasn't for the electric gtr, Id have never played gtr...I'm not an acoustic fan and haven't owned one for many years.
     
  7. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Member

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    No ... but what's yer point? Putting this here can only be viewed as trolling. Are the fish biting?
     
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  8. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for Silver Supporting Member

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    I kinda agree, although I don't single out any manufacturers or eras for it, because taste is personal. And I hear it more in the D and A strings, but it's happening everywhere. I think of the qualities as "body" and "breathiness". Breathiness is hard to describe (I wish it was as universally understood as, say "brown sound"), but it's a certain evolving harmonic complexity when the string sounds. Body is just a strong, clear fundamental.

    A lot of Martins, especially older Martins, have great body, but lack sufficient breathiness. They cross from dark to muddy. And a lot of "modern" guitars like Breedloves and Taylors will have breathiness, but lack body.

    The vast majority of affordable mass-production guitars these days, though, have a nasty glaring brightness that is trying to pass as breathiness, and fails. They're just shrill. And body? Forget it, most cheap guitars don't have solid fundamentals at all. Notes immediately disintegrate into the glaring mess.

    I'm lucky enough to own two six strings and one 12 string that sound truly great. Of the two six strings, one leans more toward body, and the other leads more toward breathiness, but they both cover all that ground. The body-leaning one (a custom Running Dog) has a string-by-string clarity that just begs for snappy, high-dynamics playing. The breathy one (Mossman) is fuller and warmer, blending the notes more and compressing everything a bit.

    It's hard to even play acoustics in the store at this point. I'm so spoiled by my good ones that most other guitars just sound like crap to me.
     
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  9. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Member

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  10. Bluzeboy

    Bluzeboy Gold Supporting Member

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    So there you have it.
    Why are you in the acoustic forum anyway?
    Bored with the pub?
     
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  11. thepilgrimsdream

    thepilgrimsdream Member

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    It does come across as a negative/troll post....

    My frustration is that at sub $700 you can get an absolutely stellar electric. To be fair, there is a lot less complexity and variables in build.

    Gibson as well as other manufacturers made wonderfully sounding "student models". No frills, just balanced, harmonically rich, resonant. Not to say there were no duds. But I wish models like this were easily accessible without looking for a needle in a haystack.

    I've owned a Yamaha that was surprising for the price, I've played guitars that have surprised me, but with $1500, I don't have confidence in finding a gem when I walk into a music store....

    I am quite curious if others feel the same, or if there is significant reasoningy for lesser quality instruments....
     
  12. themannamedbones

    themannamedbones Member

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    I worked 10+ years in music shops.
    You are right, but it’s not the guitar
    The strings are dead
     
  13. Irving Pye

    Irving Pye Member

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    Take that acoustic at the big box shop with the "tingy and thin" string and ask for new strings....bet it sounds like a new acoustic...even if it's a cheaply made acoustic;)
     
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  14. Bryan T

    Bryan T guitar owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Most acoustics aren’t great, but that doesn’t mean they suck ...
     
  15. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for Silver Supporting Member

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    You have to consider the effect of aging. You mentioned the Gibson LG0/LG1 models. In my social circles, there's a beautiful-sounding 1950s (maybe 1940s) LG0 and a not-as-beautiful-but-still-good LG1. But did those guitars sound as good back then as they do now? And will some of those middling-quality guitars made today have classic tone 50 years from now? I firmly believe that aging (and break-in) matters a great deal with acoustic guitars.

    Maybe the problem is just that they're new. I've only played one really breathtaking new guitar lately - a very expensive Martin 1939 vintage retro or whatever they call it. Glorious. But that's a torrefied top and the best wood Martin has around. I played another of the same model and it was really good, but not breathtaking.
     
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  16. davess23

    davess23 Member

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    No. Most acoustics don't suck. Some of them sure do. But plenty don't.

    Don't know how old the OP is, but I'm an old geezer, and take my word for it, most of the lower-priced guitars in stores today suck about 500% less than the lower-priced stuff did when I was coming up.

    As for the higher end of the market, there are makers out there who are putting out some really great instruments. I'd put the dogs/gems ratio of companies like Collings and Santa Cruz (just naming two personal favorites) up against Martin and Gibson in the old days, any time.
     
  17. Frozen Rat

    Frozen Rat Gold Supporting Member

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    Saying most acoustics suck is a problem right from the start. The word "suck" is too general, with everyone reading the word having a different set of parameters for what sucks and what doesn't. So your thread is a non-starter intellectually and can only serve to stir up nasty comments and epithets.

    If your'e going to lament on some certain aspect of the current guitar industry, acoustics specifically, put a little more thought into how you present your argument and try to understand your audience at least a little bit before you start pouring out words of contention that don't have even a very fuzzy focus of attention. As another poster put it, "what's your point?" Why are you making this statement? I don't mind putting my thoughts in on a subject like this, but the subject is so scattershot here that I don't even know what more to say other than to reprimand you for creating what amounts to a junk food post full of empty calories.
     
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  18. Mr Fingers

    Mr Fingers Member

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    Strongly disagree. From guitars to kazoos, most instruments produced are of course non-musician, amateur grade. That being said, there are more very good low-cost acoustics being made today than ever before. By far. I even disagree with your Gibson example. Unless you're talking about true vintage Gibsons -- I have a '36 L-00 -- that maker's acoustic guitars from the 70s through much of what they are making today are hardly a benchmark. I have had the good fortune to have played, and sometimes to own, incredible vintage acoustics, yet my view is that current production of midpriced, accessible guitars is at a historic high in terms of quality. That's just another opinion -- mine -- but it's 180 degrees from yours. But that's why we have a forum.
     
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  19. zombywoof

    zombywoof Member

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    I also disagree. The day I cannot have a blast playing anything with 6 or 12 strings is the day I will hang it up because I would have forgotten what it is all about. I am also guessing the OP does not have a whole lot of years of playing under his belt because if he did he would remember the days when a "cheap" guitar meant one that was ladder braced with a thick top and one on which not a whole lot of care had been taken regarding the neck joint and angle. Many of us are envious when we see the quality of today's "cheap" guitars. So even though I only play old guitars I do believe we have long since entered a second golden age. In my opinion we have not seen the quality of guitars available to use since the 1930s. But if you think about it even in the 1930s Gibson and I am sure others already figured out you could not build them like they used to. While extremely light builds were great for sound they were not the best thing for survival leading Gibson to 1934 start to almost yearly bulk up tops, braces and bridge plates.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 10:33 AM
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  20. s2y

    s2y Member

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    There's more to acoustics than Gibson, Taylor, and Martin.

    That being said, most stuff in stores could use a setup and strings. I'll admit that I initially gravitated towards Taylor since they were the easiest to dial in. It's unfortunate that it costs more to get a nice acoustic. Stores also carry what they can sell reasonably quickly. That usually means inexpensive stuff, which simply can't compete with a well made acoustic.
     

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