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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Buy new vs old acoustics

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by uriah1, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. sbpark

    sbpark Friend of Leo's

    Feb 10, 2009
    The West
    Haha! Pretty opinionated advice there. sounds like you're stating what works for YOU, but this is not a general rule or the gospel, although I will agree with you to some degree, but wouldn't say this advice is the be all, end all regarding acoustics. Some may just like more modern conveniences like a neck that doesn't need a reset and just requires a shim, better intonation, different construction, etc. personally I don't like "modern" sounding acoustics (without naming specific brands to avoid starting a heated debate), but for others this may be just what they are looking for.

    I've been looking for a decent acoustic the last few years. Owned a few "newer" Martins and Gibsons, and have only been impressed with one of two of them. My Gibson AJ is the best acoustic I've owned, and currently have a 2011 HD-28 that I'm on the fence about, and have a Waterloo WL-K that's hopefully going to be delivered today, and I'm currently selling an SJ-200 and a Eastman E20SS, and some may know about the **** show I'm dealing with regarding Martin refusing to reset a neck on a 000-15M that's less than 3 years old. Given these experiences from this point on it's going to be used, possibly "vintage" acoustics for me from now on. New guitars just don't have that broken in feel and I don't mind dents dings or a guitar needing basic maintenance or repairs, coupled with the fact that martin wont even warranty a new guitar that needs a neck reset, so to me there's no sense in buying anything new from them if the warranty is crap.

    Hoping this Waterloo scratches an itch that I've been trying to scratch for a while now. I also played one of the Waterloo Jumbo Kings, and it was killer!
     

  2. Route67

    Route67 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    51
    368
    Jan 14, 2017
    Canada
    Interesting to read about your experiences, sbpark. No doubt your Gibson AJ is an absolute killer guitar. I often read about folks with rosewood dreadnoughts who feel ambivalent about them. My feeling is that they are 'jealous' instruments that do best with hundreds of hours of practice to come alive, and can fall asleep in the case. Many great guitars around, not enough time in the day to lavish the attention. Just my 2 cents.
     

  3. sbpark

    sbpark Friend of Leo's

    Feb 10, 2009
    The West
    The AJ is a different beast. As you touched upon, ambivalent is probably an adjective I'd use for my HD-28. Great sounding guitar, warm, full and rich sound, but dare I say it's also a bit too "generic" sounding. Nothing about it jumps out and grabs you, but at the same time its still a very good guitar. In comparison the AJ has a very articulate low end, not mushy or fuzzy like many other rosewood dreads, but much bigger and warmer sounding than a mahogany dread. I tend to think a lot of J45's just sound like they are missing something. Maybe I just don't like the combination of Mahogany and short scale?
     

  4. Route67

    Route67 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    51
    368
    Jan 14, 2017
    Canada
    The J-45 can have a primitive sound, especially in the bass. Good for accompaniment or chicken-pickin. I think they remain popular because of the burst-finish old fashioned look, and especially because they disguise guitar playing mistakes well due to loose-toned scalloped bracing. I rented a couple of them at different points of time. One was a dud with orange peel nitro and department store tone, the other sounded professional with wide dynamic range and sweet voice. I've given up on short scale for my purposes of purely instrumental fiddling. Long scale mahogany will do for me like a D-18.
     
    sbpark likes this.

  5. stretford

    stretford TDPRI Member

    76
    Apr 16, 2010
    Florida
    Just moderately experienced on the topic after about a hundred vintage flat tops. I'm cheap and I didn't want to spend the big money but that's where most serious guys end up, with some kind of 1930's Martin(s). Don't be afraid of neck resets. Modern companies use that to scare customers into buying wacky built-in "innovations". Save some time, $$$, and aggravation and just start with a 1930's J-35 or 000-18.
     
    Bill likes this.

  6. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    Old frets make for comfortable playing? Worn frets are not a plus on any age of guitar. Just that much closer to a refret.

    I like to play a properly serviced / setup old one, but I prefer to buy them new or lightly used. I got my own problems, I don't need someone else's.
     

  7. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    72
    Dec 3, 2014
    Toowoomba, Australia
    I'm not afraid of resets, I would just factor them into the price and value of the guitar, but I'm very shy of guitars about which I don't have any info on resettability, eg epoxied neck joints. FWIW, I think the Martin-style dovetail is obsolete technology that, especially with the advent of CNC machining, has been superseded in the world of player's instruments. Stradivarius used three nails and a butt joint on his necks, and as fine a reputation as his instruments have, there is IMO no good reason to copy him.
     

  8. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    Really? That's incredible.
     

  9. Route67

    Route67 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    51
    368
    Jan 14, 2017
    Canada
    And worn frets. There's nothing good about them. There is a well respected luthier in my corner of the woods who says he can extend fret life for years with an annual fret dress to avoid re-fret work which can be traumatic to the instrument. For a multi $k vintage instrument, I imagine it's a delicate issue to deal with.
     

  10. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    72
    Dec 3, 2014
    Toowoomba, Australia
    :) Couldn't find a Strad, but this is a Del Gesu (Guaneri) from the same era:

    [​IMG]

    Most of these violins have new longer necks.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
    Route67 likes this.

  11. Tonetele

    Tonetele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    Best guitar I ever played was a country singers 1928 Gibson L-00.
    He never used it for shows ( used Gibson J-200s) but after talking he wanted to see my Epiphone Texan and said he had something to show me. This was at Uluru ( Ayers Rock) and when I played that Gibson it became the yardstick of how good a guitar should sound.

    Wood dries out in time, 20 years +, then crystallizes internally, which is why old instruments, not all, generally sound better. IMHO older IS better, but it depends on the woods.

    Trigger is a great example of old, rare and carefully selected woods some just not available anymore.

    That Gibson I mentioned was like something Robert Johnson would love. BTW it has been on many recordings. The guy carried it with him as he did not want to leave it in his home state for theft/insurance reasons. It was truly irreplaceable.

    Older is Better- like US!!;)
     
    uriah1 likes this.

  12. Tonetele

    Tonetele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    New or old good tone woods correctly cut and manufactured make a good guitars- ageing helps IMHO.
    I have a brand new Taylor that sounds better than a lot of Martins I have played.
    It has the evidence in the Silk Checking of the spruce top. See YouTube on this by Robert Taylor.
    It is new but a very good sounding guitar. ( No commercial affiliations).
     
    Route67 likes this.

  13. Route67

    Route67 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    51
    368
    Jan 14, 2017
    Canada
    I've come across a fair bit of criticism about Taylors online but don't think its representative of the guitar buying public. Sometimes I get the feeling when people talk about good tone online it's a matter of laziness, of sitting back and listening to something that's pleasing to the ear. These days I'd rather be able to hear precise note and chord articulation to practice better guitar, a quality of precision I think Taylors offer.
     
    Tonetele likes this.

  14. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    Oh, I see, he used tonenails... :oops::lol:
     

  15. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    Virginia, USA
    It honestly depends on what you want out of a guitar.

    My tastes run towards older acoustic tones. I play Blues and like that old timey sound. The acoustic I own and play a lot is a 2010 model, based on 30's model Gibsons. I bought it last year, off of the AGF emporium, from across the country. I lucked out, it's a great guitar that I really, really love.

    I work in a store that sells new and vintage guitars and I have yet to find a new model that makes me smile as much as those old ones. Well, other than my guitar :)

    I have yet to ever use a warranty on a new guitar. I haven't bought a new acoustic in 35 years... (and, I do still own that old Fender Dread). I have bought a few electrics new, but never had to deal with warranty stuff. So, honestly, I don't think that way.

    So, yeah, old stuff for me (when I can afford it)
     

  16. Route67

    Route67 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    51
    368
    Jan 14, 2017
    Canada
    Just wanted to add that the good J-45 described above had the slimmest profile neck I had ever seen on an acoustic. Other than that it was perfect.
     

  17. nrand

    nrand Friend of Leo's


    Happy update

    When I originally was discussing the guitar and asked the seller about the pickup operation, he ascertained that the unit inside did not need batteries.
    Long story short, on later inspection it does, with the battery pouch well hidden behind some bracing, and a new 9v was all it needed. So the purchase is back in the win column.
    The owner just did not know much about what he had.

    This used guitar can go back in the win column now :)
     
    uriah1 likes this.

  18. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    I'm sorry you are having a bad experience with your Martin. But I really wish you'd stop spreading this B.S. like it is common. I've now checked with a reputable Martin dealer who confirms it's complete bunk in their experience. The current Martins are as great and as consistent as they've ever been. And that Martin just went above-and-beyond on a borderline warranty repair, as they've always done. That company has worked too hard, too long, producing excellent product and service, to deserve otherwise.

    Back to regularly-scheduled programming, I currently have 3 acoustics, all used. One is very gently used (a Martin CEO7 - whoa baby!). The other two are vintage. The shop did neck resets before putting them on the floor. They are amazing too. And amazingly affordable for solid wood guitars.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017

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