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  • Question for Acoustic guitarists

    I'm not much of a "gear head".  Really don't pay attention or care about what I play as long as it sounds good.

    However, I'm in the market for a new acoustic guitar.  I've been playing acoustic gigs with a $250 ovation with **** action and I'm sick of it.

    So...  I'm seeing a lot of the "name" guitar manufacturers are making models with a solid wood top, but laminate sides and/or back.  Seems kind of crappy to me.  Anyone have any experience with them?  

    Also, I can get a Taylor 310CE at a pretty good price used (I know the guy who is selling it).  I'm thinking that's the route I might go, but if anyone has any advice, I'm all ears.  I'm trying to stay around the $1,000 range.

    ****************

    Jason
    My band: http://www.facebook.com/thetrickydickies

    "Do or do not. There is no try" - Yoda

  • #2

    TrickyBoy wrote:

    I'm not much of a "gear head".  Really don't pay attention or care about what I play as long as it sounds good.

    However, I'm in the market for a new acoustic guitar.  I've been playing acoustic gigs with a $250 ovation with **** action and I'm sick of it.

    So...  I'm seeing a lot of the "name" guitar manufacturers are making models with a solid wood top, but laminate sides and/or back.  Seems kind of crappy to me.  Anyone have any experience with them?  

    Also, I can get a Taylor 310CE at a pretty good price used (I know the guy who is selling it).  I'm thinking that's the route I might go, but if anyone has any advice, I'm all ears.  I'm trying to stay around the $1,000 range.


    Tricky.  A ton of guys down here use Takamine guitars.   Why?   they sound  good plugged in and are pretty bullet proof.   right around a thousand dollars.   Keys are my main instrument but i do play guitar and the thing i notice is that many times guitars that are amazing totally acoustic dont tend to sound as good when  plugged in , and guitars that sound great plugged in dont sound all that great totally acoustic in many cases.   Since its for live shows , you want somthing that really sounds great plugged in.  

    "you mess with him and you mess with the whole trailer park"

    Comment


    • #3

      Seriously... The only option for what you're looking to spend, and even more, is the Martin DCX1E. Everyone is going to tell you different but you will not get better value for the money. I'm serious when I can say with certainty that any other guitar in that price range will be a mistake. I spent months looking for a guitar in the $500-$1000 range and ended up with this before I bought my Taylor.

      The amount of compliments I got on that guitar from musicians and sound guys was insane. I probably put 450 gigs on that thing in three years and it never disappointed. 

      I would normally never purchase aguitar online without playing but I'd order this one at $350 without question.

      http://www.guitarcenter.com/In-Store-Used-USED-MARTIN-DCX1E-109527059-i3411086.gc

      Good luck and go play one!

      Comment


      • tlbonehead
        tlbonehead commented
        Editing a comment

        how about spending $100 on a good setup if the current guitar sounds fine?


    • #4
      I'll ditto Potts here. I'm a Taylor (814ce) and Gibson (Hummingbird) kinda guy who hated his Takamine (lower end model), but Martin is putting out some amazing products at relatively good prices. I'm currently Jonesing for a Martin OMCPA5 which is made of HPF but is rugged, durable and sounds great plugged in. I'd love to get one and not risk taking $2500+ guitars into smokey bars anymore. Plus, as I'm more used to playing electric lately the slim body seems more comfortable for the acoustic gigs.

      I'd also be remiss not to mention the Epiphone Master Built series. For ~$500 they can't be beat.

      Comment


      • Howie22
        Howie22 commented
        Editing a comment

        jcpatte2 wrote:

        I'd also be remiss not to mention the Epiphone Master Built series. For ~$500 they can't be beat.

         

        They do sound fantastic, and are all solid woods. You can find them used in the $300 range. Do they still make them anymore? Seems like the only ones I ever see new are the cutaway dreads with the dual pickup system. I haven't seen any other model Masterbilt new in quite some time.

        Like the Blueridge, Eastman, and Guild GAD models, the Masterbilts are manufactured overseas. That may or not matter to you. I have personally not had good luck with guitars from overseas. Again, that's just my personal experience. Lots of folks love these instruments.The Yamaha 16 series is also all solid and can be had for less than a grand.

        None of the major North American manufacturers really produce a true solid wood guitar for less than a grand anymore. The Taylor 100 and 200 series are laminate, as are all of the Martin X series guitars. I guess Martin does make those new DRS1 and DRS2 that come in around $750. They are solid wood bodies with stratabond necks, and have a very low end Fishman pickup.

        If you shop around online, you can find a new Larrivee 03 series for right at a grand, but it won't have a pickup. 

         

        To summarize. . .if it were me, I'd look for a used, North American built, solid wood guitar with no pickup installed. Ideally, I like to buy used from someplace that has a 30 day money back guarantee, and then have my luthier give it a good once over. I'd leave enough money in my budget for a good setup from a competent luthier (maybe $60), plus enough to select my own pickup system and have it installed. 

         

        Happy hunting!


    • #5
      Potts, isn't that Martin model a formica guitar? Not saying it wasn't a great instrument, but the OP said he wasn't crazy about laminates.

      For less than $1,000, I'd go used Martin 15 or 16 series, or maybe a Larrivee 03 series. All are solid wood and well under a grand used. You can probably find solid Taylors in that range.

      For a little less, Eastman and Blueridge are well regarded and have all solid wood lines, though they are produced overseas. The Guild GAD line falls in there, too.

      Comment


      • Potts
        Potts commented
        Editing a comment

        Howie22 wrote:
        Potts, isn't that Martin model a formica guitar? Not saying it wasn't a great instrument, but the OP said he wasn't crazy about laminates.

        For less than $1,000, I'd go used Martin 15 or 16 series, or maybe a Larrivee 03 series. All are solid wood and well under a grand used. You can probably find solid Taylors in that range.

        For a little less, Eastman and Blueridge are well regarded and have all solid wood lines, though they are produced overseas. The Guild GAD line falls in there, too.

         

        Sorry OP and thanks for clearing that up Howie! Thank God this wasn't homework! I've never misread a post so badly before! So...with that being said I'd listen to someone that was actually paying attention. 

        $1000 is a great price point for a top-notch guitar. My Taylor 410CE was $1000 new. I'm a huge Martin fan as well but I'd gab with Howie more - appartently he's pretty knowledgable. The only thing that concerns me a little with the Taylor 310 is the pickup system. If it's the actual expression system you're ok. The on that the have in the 210 and lower is junk IMO. Maybe someone can chime in and answer that as well.

         


    • #6
      Only the higher end seagulls are solid wood. I forgot them, they are a good option, too. Made in Canada and even their high end models are a very good value.

      Comment


      • Opus Antics
        Opus Antics commented
        Editing a comment

        I just picked up a Seagull a couple months ago.  I'm happy with it.


    • #7

      TrickyBoy wrote:

      So...  I'm seeing a lot of the "name" guitar manufacturers are making models with a solid wood top, but laminate sides and/or back.  Seems kind of crappy to me.  Anyone have any experience with them? 


      For what it's worth, what the sides of an acoustic guitar are made of makes almost no difference in how the instrument sounds. They're mostly structural. Some luthiers will argue that lamanate sides are better because they are stronger at a given thickness than solid wood.

      The back material contributes some to the sound, but only a fraction as much as the top. The back is mainly a hard surface to reflect the sound back towards the soundhole.

      Comment


      • #8

        Go with the Taylor, I have one of the low-end Taylor 310's ($600) with a built-in pickup and it sounds and plays great. You can't go wrong with that if you want a "real" sounding big-bodied acoustic guitar. Personally, from my experience I just don't care for the smaller acoustic/electric guitars or the ovation guitars.

         

         

        Check my band: SoulPlay - > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TH9-e4FmaE
        Key Rig: Alesis Fusion 8HD; Roland A-800 Pro; Toshiba i7 laptop running Cantabile VST host with IK Multimedia Total Workstation Bundle, NI Vintage Organs, Tyrell N6, Sylenth1, XLN Addictive Keys, NI FM8; Tascam US-1641 USB MIDI/Audio Interface; 2 x RCF Art 310-A MK III series monitors.

        Comment


        • Potts
          Potts commented
          Editing a comment

          Tullsterx wrote:

          Go with the Taylor, I have one of the low-end Taylor 310's ($600) with a built-in pickup and it sounds and plays great. You can't go wrong with that if you want a "real" sounding big-bodied acoustic guitar. Personally, from my experience I just don't care for the smaller acoustic/electric guitars or the ovation guitars.

           

           


           

          Where did you get a 310 for $600?

           

          So my original question was answered. The 310 does have the Expression System. I bet you'd love it.


      • #9
        Glad you found something. I'm personally no fan of those Fishman UST systems, but many love them. Hard to go wrong with a Taylor, especially if you got a good deal.

        Comment


        • #10
          Yup, works that way sometimes. I bought a used Simon and Patrick laminate B&S guitar that sounds and plays great. Nothing special about it, but I love it

          Comment


          • TIMKEYS
            TIMKEYS commented
            Editing a comment
            When I went to buy my first good acoustic I went way off the beaten path. I used to live in kalamazoo. I went to a little hole in the wall shop owned by one of the old Gibson custom shop guy. He started out there as a kid hand sanding, worked his way up. He said , buy a martin kit guitar and I will build it up. Saved me a ton of labor, and the braces all have his magic worked on them. I ended up with two of those. One I bought from an estate sale and put an under the saddle pick up in it... and the other is pure acoustic.

            I will sell the one with the pickup. top is has some checks in the finish which is just cosmetic/ it has ebony fret board , no dots on the face but has the ones on the side. shaller tuners hard case. comes with a hard case. Its a good guitar.

            There are lots better pickups that could be put in it. If it sounds interesting drop me a pm. It would make a good workhorse guitar. Its basically a D18 kit. Custom guitars don't hold their cash value, so tis a lot of bang for the buck.

        • #11

          I'm way late to the party, but I swear up and down by Guild. When our guitarist was looking for guitars in the $1000 range, the Guild was the one that made every single one of us take notice, not the Martins or Taylors or anything else.. It was a spruce top with padauk sides.  When I needed to upgrade from my plywood Epiphone, I jumped at a spruce/mahogany Guild that I picked up used for $550.   The bang for the buck comes in the GAD series for older models or the D1xx series for current models.

          BUT, once you plug a guitar in, all bets are off. So make sure to do that.

          Free prog-related metal from Michigan.

          http://www.silentlapse.com

          Comment


          • #12
            Also, I like the Recording King acoustics a lot for the price. Just FYI.

            Comment


            • guido61
              guido61 commented
              Editing a comment

              Offering a different perspective on it:

              as a keyboard playing 2nd-guitarist (even though I do all the acoustic stuff in the band) I'm afraid to play anything too nice because I'm invariably going to bang it up.   It's going to get banged into the keyboards, or the drummers cymbals or just fall off the strap and hit the floor. 

              I have a cheapy Takamine that sounds good and plays decently.  And it's got a lot of scars and bruises but takes a licking and keeps on ticking.   As much as I'd love to be playing a killer Martin or Taylor, I'd simply just be afraid to.

              Play the best guitar you can afford, but make sure to consider the type of band you're in.  If you're crammed into tight spaces and/or move around a lot with the guitar on, it's a whole different deal from sitting or standing in one place all night with it.


          • #13

            Get yourself a nice electric guitar and install a Graph Tech Ghost system. You get a pretty convincing acoustic that way, if you route the acoustic signal to the PA or acoustic amp. Then you can switch between acoustic and electric with a switch on your guitar or blend the tones, how cool is that?

            I have a nice Martin D16 with a LR Baggs piezo installed but it just isn't worth the hassle. The guitar case takes up to much space and I only use it on a couple of songs. Also the blending of the Ghost is very nice, as it sounds like you have two guitar players, one electric and one acoustic, instead of just you. 

            Comment


            • #14
              Great thread. BTW, I have access to some wonderful guitars, several top of the line Taylors, Larivees, a perfect 60s Gibson... but sometimes I prefer my kid's 400 dollar mini Martin. Like the one Ed Sheeran plays. That little guy is just right so often,
              __________
              Ain't no sacrilege to call Elvis king
              Dad is great and all but he never could sing -
              Jesus

              Comment


              • Potts
                Potts commented
                Editing a comment

                Lee Knight wrote:
                Great thread. BTW, I have access to some wonderful guitars, several top of the line Taylors, Larivees, a perfect 60s Gibson... but sometimes I prefer my kid's 400 dollar mini Martin. Like the one Ed Sheeran plays. That little guy is just right so often,

                 

                OK Jealous... I have a mini martin too. I seldom play it though. I should bust it out.


            • #15
              The best part of an acoustic is sitting down and playing an acoustic.
              Free prog-related metal from Michigan.

              http://www.silentlapse.com

              Comment













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