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  • Lost: Help finding a Beginner Acoustic Guitar

    Hi!

    I recently started looking for my first acoustic guitar. I am going into this knowing very little as I've probably played someone else's guitar only once and that was just messing around with the strings. I actually have a tight budget on this - my logic being that I want to get started on it and see how far the interest goes. I know I'm looking at recreational use at best so I'm not really looking to spend a lot of money. All that being said, my budget can be stretched at most to $150 (just the guitar itself). After researching about what to look for, I went into a music store and found a Oscar Schmidt OG1 for $130. Since I have small fingers (and a girl - if that actually matters in this buying process), I really liked the feel of the guitar itself (not to mention the lightweight feel) and to my untrained ears, the sounds seemed pretty good. I'm still debating if I should go for this guitar or consider getting one for the same price that is used on craig's list or kijiji. I hesitate with buying these used guitars if they are actually good or not or how long they will last while I have them. The two I found on craig's list that I am partial towards are Yamaha F310 and a Beaver Creek acoustic (http://toronto.en.craigslist.ca/mss/msg/3717125625.html) - not much detail is provided on the latter.

    Also I came across these Academy guitars, I'm not sure how good they are or not but they sell them at $89 - does anyone know if these are any good at all?

    I feel like I packed in a lot of information but I am a little lost. Are any of these good? Should I be considering others?


  • #2

    I wouldn't necessarilly ask for a Beginner Guitar but instead I'd ask for the best guitar I can get for little money. For acoustic guitars at that price you really have to play everyone till you find one that was luckily constructed propperly. Go for solid top always and look youtube videos with someone playing the guitar you are thinking about buying. But yet again, make sure you play a lot of acoustics so that you can tell what a good one sounds like. I've heard Jasmine acoustics to be overall good, as well with Seaguls. If you search this forums at the top right I'm sure you can find alot of people talking about the same subject. 

    Hope that helps

    Comment


    • #3

      Personally, i'm not big on 'beginner' guitars. The way i see it, you can buy a more decent guitar, enjoy playing more so you'll likely get better, and not have to deal with a cheap guitar and then replace it with a better one. But there's also the risk you don't enjoy the decent guitar, and then you're down $300+ instead of just $150. It all comes down to how much you want to/think you're going to play. Some people agree with that, others think beginner guitars are the way to go. Your call!

      The OG1 according to the Oscar Schmidt page. I'm assuming you don't now a lot of the technical terms, so i'll go into detail on them. 3/4 size means it's scalled down to a smaller size (which you said you liked, so a plus there) and dreadnought is the body style. Dreadnoughts are really popular, and although i'm not a giant fan of them a lot of people enjoy them, and the shape and size of them usually makes for good tone, volume and projection. Spruce tops are very popular and have a nice sound, but i'm guessing the catalpa is a cheaper wood on the back and sides. Rosewood fingerboard and bridge is what a lot of guitars use, and same with the mahogany neck. Adjustable truss rod means the neck can have maintenance done on it, which is good because if it warps a bit you can adjust it and fix the shape. Site lists it at $199

      Overall, seems like a nice little guitar. Other than the Catalpa sides (which i know nothing about, never heard of the wood for guitars before) it seems like very decent quality, and getting one for $130 would probably be a deal.

      The craigslist page wont load for me, but i know a LOT of people here speak highly of Yamaha acoustics. But personally i wouldn't buy a used instrument without at least seeing a lot of detailed pictures of it and getting all the info. And if you don't know a lot about guitars it's possible something could slip past you unnoticed. And, what's really important, is that you like the feel and tone of the guitar, which you can't tell from the internet.

      Looking on Musician's Friend, at your price range there aren't a whole lot of 3/4 sized or small body guitars. There's a bunch of Luna Guitars, which look really pretty, but i'm not sure about palyability. There is a All Mahogany Luna, and personally i think small guitars with mahogany have an excellent sound. Same guitar with a Spruce top, if that's the sound you like. It should be noted those don't have mention of an adjustable truss rod. And then you've got a 3/4 Yamaha Folk. Again, lots of people speak highly of Yamaha and it's got nice materials, but also no mention of a truss rod. Judging by the pictures those guitars have no truss rod covers, so probablly dont have neck adjustment capabilities.

      If you were willing to spend more, i personally think the Loar Small bodies look great, although i have no experience with them. And then there's the Taylor GS Mini, which is an absolutely excellent guitar. I've got one of Mahogany and i never get tired of palying it. But those cost $400 and $500 respectively. Also note: A 3/4 size means the body and neck are both scaled down. On a small body like the Loar, the body is smaller but the neck is still a full 25.5 inches, and on the Taylors the body is smaller, and the neck is reduced to 23.5 inches, which is still a bit longer than the 3/4 sizes.

       

      Long story short: That OG1 seems like a good deal, and if you like the sound and feel of it that's really what matters. I'd be careful of buying off craigslit id you're not very experience with guitars. There are other guitars in your price range if you decide you want different materials or design, and if you're willing to pay more there are some GREAT smally bodies available.

      Hope that helps! Good luck in your search, and come back with pictures when you buy one!

      Comment


      • #4

        First of all..........welcome to the forum. Glad to have you aboard.

        With your $150 budget, you're almost going to have to buy a used guitar to get anything playable with decent sound. But, buying used is not a bad thing......it's a good thing because your dollar goes a lot further and if you have to sell the guitar in a year or so, you could probably sell it for what you paid for it.

        In your price range, the Yamaha guitars pretty much reign supreme. If I were you, I'd be looking for a used Yamaha FG700S. Solid spruce top and laminated back and sides. Nice guitar. I'm sure you're gonna get this same suggestion from others here. I've seen them for as low as $100.......and you can get a new one for only $200! Get  someone who knows how to play and evaluate a guitar to go with you when you find one.

        Having said this, the Yamaha 310 you mentioned could make a very nice guitar to learn on, although it doesn't have a solid top. It's an all laminated wood guitar, but I've played them and they sound pretty good. In a used model of it, I wouldn't expect to pay more than about $90 for one and that's if it's in very fine condition.

        I know what it's like to want a guitar and not have a lot to spend on one. We've all been there at one time or another. For your budget, and for a "first" guitar, stick with Yamaha. You'll get more bang for the buck than just about any other brand on the market. Hope you find one you like..........good luck.

        Edit, to add: BTW, if you can find a Yamaha FG700S, it's not considered to be a "beginner's" guitar. It's got the low price of one, but you'll find a lot of very experienced guitar players, who also own some very expensive guitars, who also own an FG700S simply because of how good it is for the money. I bought an FG730S that costs more, but it's basically the same guitar with a little more "bling". I love my Yamaha. You'll love one too! Try to scrape up another $50..........check out the FG700S here...

         http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/yamaha-fg700s-folk-acoustic-guitar

        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.

        Comment


        • The EAKLE
          The EAKLE commented
          Editing a comment

          Opa John wrote:

          First of all..........welcome to the forum. Glad to have you aboard.

          With your $150 budget, you're almost going to have to buy a used guitar to get anything playable with decent sound. But, buying used is not a bad thing......it's a good thing because your dollar goes a lot further and if you have to sell the guitar in a year or so, you could probably sell it for what you paid for it.

          In your price range, the Yamaha guitars pretty much reign supreme. If I were you, I'd be looking for a used Yamaha FG700S. Solid spruce top and laminated back and sides. Nice guitar. I'm sure you're gonna get this same suggestion from others here. I've seen them for as low as $100.......and you can get a new one for only $199! Get  someone who knows how to play and evaluate a guitar to go with you when you find one.

          Having said this, the Yamaha 310 you mentioned could make a very nice guitar to learn on, although it doesn't have a solid top. It's an all laminated wood guitar, but I've played them and they sound pretty good. In a used model of it, I wouldn't expect to pay more than about $90 for one and that's if it's in very fine condition.

          I know what it's like to want a guitar and not have a lot to spend on one. We've all been there at one time or another. For your budget, and for a "first" guitar, stick with Yamaha. You'll get more bang for the buck than just about any other brand on the market. Hope you find one you like..........good luck.  


          This guy definitely has WAY more experience with both used guitars and Yamahas than me (i know because i have no experience with either :P) so you should definitely think about his advice. The only thing i have to stress is that you try the guitars before you buy them. In the past i've gotten away with buying online, and many people do, but you mentioned your hands are small and you like the smaller guitars. If you're buying online and you consider a full size, you should definitely go to the store and try out some similar size and shape guitars so you know what they're gonna feel like.

          The thing is, i know girls that play full sized Dreadnoughts. I'm a guy with faily large hands, and i enjoy small scales. To some people it's more about personal preferance than hand size, and most people couldt probably learn to paly either. If you havent yet, you definitely should check out a full size and see how it feels.

          But Yamaha makes 3/4 sizes too, so if you decide to go with them that shouldn't be an issue!



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