Returning to acoustic - advice on what to check out?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by Thinkin4D, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. Thinkin4D

    Thinkin4D Member

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    Hey everyone! I’m fairly new to TGP and would love some advice on acoustics I should check out!
    I’ve been focusing mostly on my electric rig for the last few years, but it looks like in the coming months I’ll be needing my acoustic more often. I’ve got a red Takamine that I bought about a decade ago – sounds alright unplugged but I’m not at all thrilled with how it sounds through the house. Plus, picking a red acoustic was a rather impulsive silly high-school move that I’m now heavily regretting.
    Anyway, so after spending so much time ignoring acoustics, I’d love some advice on what models I ought to consider as I’m shopping around. The Taylor _14’s are the ideal body size, and thus far I’ve loved the Gibson Songwriter neck and tone better than anything else I’ve played. For now, my price range would be 900-1200 so the Songwriter’s a bit out of my reach. I’ve got no problems with going used or hunting on Craigslist so hit me with what I should try out!
     
  2. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

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    Taylors are awesome. Higher-end Seagulls are way cool, too.
     
  3. Thinkin4D

    Thinkin4D Member

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    Awesome, thanks! Totally forgot about Seagull, I had one of their entry level guitars before the Takamine and absolutely loved it.
     
  4. Barnzy

    Barnzy Member

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    Budget means alot and playing/hearing the actual guitar means everything here. Having said that, there is no better quality, mass produced guitar right now than Taylor. Just play a few models and pick the one that sounds best to you, because they all sound different from eachother. Not hard to find a winner though. Be careful with electronics though, because some like the ES (Expression system) and some don't. I don't.
    Barnzy
     
  5. vibrasonic

    vibrasonic Member

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    Barely used martin D18's would be in your price range. Hard to beat the newer martins in quality IMO.

    I bought a newD 28 last year and was floored by the sound and playability.

    I sold my Santa Cruz DPW shortly afterwards
     
  6. jmontgomery

    jmontgomery Supporting Member

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    You should be able to find a nice 414ce in your budget if you watch the bay. I bought a mint 816 for not much over your budget.
     
  7. royd

    royd Member

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    yes... look at used and you'll be surprised at the possibilities out there. I've even seen a few Lowdens go in your price range on e-bay lately. You certainly could find a variety of Taylor, Martin, or Gibson models.

    there are soooo many great guitars being built now... what kind of playing will it be used for? And will you be doing gigs? If so, what kind? Do you need/want factory added electronics or are you open to aftermarket? If you're going to be playing with a loud electric band, you'll actually want something that is not as responsive so it feeds back less. If you be playing only in your lving room then you can look for whatever strikes your fancy and wallet.

    Realize that the acoustic market is a little more complicated than the electric. Acoustic guitars are more labor intensive and less forgiving.

    There are factory companies that range from very good to not so good and often put out 500-1000 guitars a week. Taylor, Martin, Gibson, Tak, Eastman, Larrivee, Epiphone Masterbuilt are good choices, each building guitars that are among the best factory guitars ever produced. There are a few Chinese built factory guitar companies that are great bang for the buck. The better companies are very consistent but rarely do they build a guitar that is amazing, they just can't give individual attention to the instrument to get that level. There are some videos on youtube of the Taylor factory and you see that it really is an assembly line. One machine cuts the braces and another cuts the tops, a worker grabs a top and a pile of braces, puts the glue on, places them according to a precise pattern and they are held in place via a vacuum press and off it goes to wait for the glue to dry... The workers could be attaching widgets for all they know or care and they don't need to know anything about wood or about guitars.

    Then there are small shops that build 500-1000 a year - Collings, Santa Cruz, Lowden... These tend to retail a bit more than factory guitars but receive significantly more personal attention in the building process. This level strikes me as the best bang for the buck level in the market. You get some of the economies of scale of a factory and the consistency that comes from individuals who really know a single task well but you also get personal attention where the builders can look at a piece of wood and match it with another, adjust how something is carved etc. that could never happen in a factory. The workers have to know wood and likely know guitars. Taylor tried to get into this market with the R Taylor guitars but couldn't sustain it. Martin may approach this style of building with their highest end guitars.

    Finally, there are the individual builders or individuals with one or two helpers. These folk sometimes build as few as 15 guitars a year. Prices often reflect that. You get some folk who build one design and do it really well and others who never build the same thing twice. You also get a wide range of ability that isn't always connected to price. There are some hobby builders who build amazing guitars and change relatively small prices and some who are full time, early in their careers who are also very reasonably priced for what you're getting. Then, some of the builders with the best reputations have base prices over $20K. You have the potential to get the very best guitar here but expect to pay a lot for it and to really have to do your homework to find the builder who is right for you. I have also payed a few individually built guitars that were very ordinary.
     
  8. Thinkin4D

    Thinkin4D Member

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    The vast majority of the time I'm going to be using it for Sunday worship at church - everything goes through the PA so I really need something that can shine when being pumped through the mix. The rest of the band is fairly loud, too - we generally have 2 electric players on and everyone in the rotation is stinkin' loud so controlling feedback may be an issue.
    I don't have a preference on installed electronics - if a particular brand doesn't include a great pickup system stock I'd rather look for a non-electric version and drop 200 bucks into a decent pickup installation. Whatever sounds the best.
     
  9. Thinkin4D

    Thinkin4D Member

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    So after playing around more, I found myself loving the Songwriter Deluxe more and more, so I checked on Craigslist and found a gentleman who wanted a LP in trade for one in pretty good shape. Had a LP I've been feeling very 'meh' about, so made the swap! Thanks again everyone for the advice!
     
  10. RobbyRobinson

    RobbyRobinson Member

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    Taylors sound compressed to me, but electric players love 'em because their necks are so fast. Check out some Eastmans if your looking for solid wood, historically-steeped specs, and a more traditional sound.
     
  11. AcousticDude

    AcousticDude Member

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    Great to hear you found a good deal. Like you I lead worship each Sunday with an acoustic and often have to battle a lot of other instruments. My Taylor has a bigger sound (410CE) than my Martin when there is a lot of volume in general, but what really helps is to use an OD pedal as a boost when doing lead runs.
     
  12. Provny

    Provny Member

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    Congratulations. Sounds like the stars aligned just right for you, and it should be a great guitar!

    Let us know what you think of the new guitar after you get some time with it!
     

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