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Best *low action* acoustic under $500?

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  • Best *low action* acoustic under $500?

    I've heard that Taylor guitars have very low action for acoustics. Is that true? I've seen some "Fat Baby Taylors" that you can find on ebay for $200-350 used and I'm very tempted to buy one.

    Are there any other low action acoustics under $500? I'd also prefer one that is acoustic/electric, but regular acoustic is fine if the guitar is worth it.

    I'm not limited to any particular style. I dig everything from Ovation, to Carvin, to Martin. However, the guitar HAS to have a good nut and high quality tuners.

    I've only owned one acoustic in my life and that was an Ibaneze P5 I bought new for like $200. What a terrible guitar! The action is set so high I can only stand it for finger practice. My eletric (a Korean LP copy) is just so much easier to jam with. Its time for me to buy an acoustic that I can comfortably play with.

  • #2
    Alvarez guitars probably have the best action of any low cost acoustics out there.
    My guitars hanging around(updated)
    My signature

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    • #3
      The same guitar can come from the store/factory with different setup. Adjust the truss rod to a straight neck, and file down the bridge until string height on 12th fret is 3/32" at low E and 2/32" at the high E

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Bajazz
        The same guitar can come from the store/factory with different setup. Adjust the truss rod to a straight neck, and file down the bridge until string height on 12th fret is 3/32" at low E and 2/32" at the high E
        Not quite straight---with the low E string fretted at the first and last frets, there should be enough space at the 10th fret to slide a business card between the string and the fret. If the neck is dead straight (no relief), you'll have fret-buzz problems

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        • #5
          Given your criteria, IMO, there's only one choice.......can you guess?

          Washburn.

          For WELL under $500, you can get a Washburn D10SCE (A/E with a cutaway, solid spruce top) complete with HSC, strap, guitar stand and tuner for WELL under $500.

          You might also consider a Washburn WD18SW. It's been getting alot of good press and some rave reviews. Another great sub-$500 instrument.

          By the way, FWIW, Acoustic Guitar Magazine rates the Washburn D10S as the worlds best selling sub-$500 guitar.

          Good luck!
          Martin D16RGT
          Washburn D10SCEB
          Ovation Celebrity GC 057M
          Applause AE 128
          Epiphone LP Std. Plus Top
          Guild Pilot Bass
          Squier VM Fretless Jazz Bass
          Frankensquier P-Bass
          Michael Kelly Dragonfly 4-string fretless A/E Bass

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          • #6
            Originally posted by WashburnGuy
            Given your criteria, IMO, there's only one choice.......can you guess?

            Washburn.

            For WELL under $500, you can get a Washburn D10SCE (A/E with a cutaway, solid spruce top) complete with HSC, strap, guitar stand and tuner for WELL under $500.

            You might also consider a Washburn WD18SW. It's been getting alot of good press and some rave reviews. Another great sub-$500 instrument.

            By the way, FWIW, Acoustic Guitar Magazine rates the Washburn D10S as the worlds best selling sub-$500 guitar.

            Good luck!


            Agree re: Washburn.

            Also I would check out vintage Ovations they have shims under the saddle and you can get an electric type low action on them. Like Washburns they have nice comfortable necks that also help for fast licks.

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            • #7
              You don't want to file down the bridge. It's the saddle you want to lower.

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              • #8
                I'll third the Washburn.

                I bought a Washburn d20s (sloped shouldered dread) in 1993 and it was (and still is) great. The tuners are wonderful (better than my Martin D-16RGT) and the action is low with absolutly no buzzing.

                The d20s I have is unusual. Most were built with spruce tops and mahog (or rosewood) sides I think. My top is Cedar and the sides/back are birdseye maple.

                Look at a Washburn. I guess I lucked out. I had no idea of what to buy at the time, but for less than $300, it is great. Mine is a great guitar from top to bottom.

                Broktun
                Broktun

                Martin D-16RGT
                Washburn D-30s
                Simon & Patrick SP12
                Fender strat 40th Anniversary Re-issue
                Fender Blues Deville 212

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                • #9
                  I second the suggestion of Alvarez--every one I have tried has had a really low action, and the ones I have tried (mostly the 'folk' size) have sounded decent.

                  For what it's worth

                  Tom

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                  • #10
                    I think you mean Big Baby Taylors. BTW, Washburns are nice. I have a WD44S that I got for $239. Its nice, for the price.
                    '98 Very Sweet Wife
                    '00 Very Cute Daughter
                    '04 Larrivee D50
                    '04 Martin D15 Spruce/Rosewood (on the way)
                    '04 Ovation 1778T
                    '04 Seagull S12+
                    "04 Seagull S6+

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                    • #11
                      The Baby Taylors a cool, simple little guitars, but I've yet to play one with low action. I'm sure one could be set up that way, but mine sure wasn't. I mentioned getting shims from Taylor in another thread... my action was 3/16ths of an inch measuring from the top of the 12th fret to the string. I just put in a new shim tonight and it's a little better. I'm thinking I might lower the saddle ever so slightly, and now that I look at it the truss rod could use a tiny bit of tightening to lessen the relief.

                      I'd try Carvin - I've seen a couple go on eBay for decent prices, and if their electrics are any indication, their acoustics should have great string action.

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                      • #12
                        Well I ended up buying an Alvarez AD70S on ebay for $190 shipped. It's brand new, not used. I figured that was a good deal since they seem to be going for $289 + shipping at most online Alvarez dealers.

                        I just hope the guitar doesn't suck. I have a feeling I should have saved for a better one.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ben-_-Ben
                          I just hope the guitar doesn't suck. I have a feeling I should have saved for a better one.


                          I'm sure you'll be fine... IMO almost any guitar can be set up to play nicely (obviously some are better than others) and it sounds like you've picked a good starting point

                          I have a friend who does his own guitar tech stuff. If you closed your eyes and played some of the stuff he tinkers with you'd think you had a custom shop strat in your hands, then when you open them its a marlin sidewinder. Same goes for acoustics too I guess.

                          I really must read that Dan Erlewine guitar setup book one of these days...

                          Peace and tolerance


                          J
                          For Sale:
                          -----------

                          Ibanez AEJ70 Semi Acoustic 'f' hole jazz guitar w/HSC, as new. £200 exc. shipping
                          Dean Edge Q4 Bass Guitar, as new. £240 exc. shipping
                          Yamaha Pacifica 712 w/Seymour Duncan and Dimarzio pups. Good condition. £190 exc. shipping

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