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Conn f20 for a new guy?


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  • Conn f20 for a new guy?

    Hi all,

    I'm new to the forum and I don't play guitar but It has been a hankering and I dabbled a little several years ago - bought an older Yamaha FG-140 from a pawn shop and still own it but left it back on the east coast. I recently moved into a new apartment and one of my neighbors has been playing for years. It seems he is amenable to showing me a few things and I thought of picking up a "beater" to learn on.

    On a recent pawn shop visit, I happend upon a Conn f20 built in Japan and they are asking $165 which I feel is a bit strong. After poking around online, it seems the going price is in the $50-$100 range and I was thinking of maybe offering $70-$75 for it. Overall, it doesn't seem abused but it I noticed that one of the tuner heads had been removed with the base rotated and screwed into a different position leaving the previous holes exposed.  I'm assuming the old screw holes were stripped out. There are also a couple of prominent scuffs and one noticeable gouge on the body below the bridge which doesn't concern me much. Serial number suggests a 1973 build date.

    I thought it had pretty bright tones, at least to my novice ears!! I'm assuming the guitar is likely of similar quality to the Yamaha FG series? In so far as the reviews online go, it seems some don't care for them and others adore them. Is it worth grabbing?

    Thanks for the help!


  • #2

    Welcome aboard CounterCulture.

    What you're talking about sounds like a "project" guitar to me. If you're looking for something decent to play instead of something to work on, and don't have a lot of money to spend, this would be a very nice one to start out with.


    There was a time when a guy could get some pretty good deals on used guitars at the pawn shops. I think those days went away with the advent of the Internet. I haven't found a "deal" in a pawn shop for about 15 years.......don't even look for 'em anymore.

    There are, however, some great deals on guitars on Craigslist if you know what to look for and how to evaluate a potential purchase. If you don't know how to properly check out a guitar, you can end up with something that would cost more to repair it than it's worth. Caveat Emptor......


    Three Dreads......2 Martins and 1 YamahaA fiddle, a mando, a uke, eight harmonicas, a Zoom H2, a Panasonic recorder, coupla penny whistles, an Italian made Titano accordion, three handguns, at least a dozen chess sets, more power tools than Bob Vila, and one old Westclox "Big Ben" wind-up alarm clock that still works! Oh, BTW, I forgot to mention my ocarina and maracas.


    • #3
      I honestly wouldn't risk it. Old guitars tend to be a pain to play. However, you can get a new Yamaha or Epiphone acoustic for under $150, and you'll be better off.


      • #4

        I appreciate the help guys. I get the impression used guitars are best left to someone who knows what they are doing! I'll look for something newer. Any opinions on the Seagull - I think they are/were Canadian made and I remember looking at them some years ago and thinking they were nice looking guitars. They were, i think, in the $400 - $500 range at the time.

        Thanks again.


        • pszy22
          pszy22 commented
          Editing a comment

          I purchased an Epiphone AJ-200s several months ago and have been very happy with it.  I think it's a great value -



        • DeepEnd
          DeepEnd commented
          Editing a comment

          CounterCulture wrote:

          I appreciate the help guys. I get the impression used guitars are best left to someone who knows what they are doing! I'll look for something newer. . . .

          As long as you're looking at something in dedent condition with no serious issues, you'll be fine. That Conn, while it was a nice guitar in its day (I remember when the Conn line was introduced at the music store in my home town, back in the early 70's), is 40 years old and probably has its share of issues. Find a good shop and take a knowledgeable friend along and you'll be fine. Seagulls are nice guitars but not everyone's cup of tea. As guildfire mentioned, $400-500 will buy a reasonably nice guitar.

        • FretFiend.
          FretFiend. commented
          Editing a comment

          If you don't know what you're doing, or can't find a friend who does to help you, stay away from used guitars.

          Strange. The standard boilerplate reply to this sort of question around here is get a Yamaha FG700S. In your case it sounds even more apt. If you like the brightness of the older laminates, you'll like the Yammie FG7xx series. Starts at $199 online or at any big box guitar store.

      • #5
        Used guitars are great, but pawn shops just don't do deals anymore. There's plenty of great guitars on Craigslist, and the recession has been great for gear-buyers with disposable income. On the other hand, building techniques are at a point where cheap new guitars are often great players. We're living in the golden age of cheap guitars--don't settle for some busted pawn shop deal.

        Oh, and Seagulls are a pretty good bet for the money.
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        • guildfire
          guildfire commented
          Editing a comment

          If you're looking in the $400 - 500 range you have a lot of options.  I personally don't like Seagulls, but try them out and others too in that range.