When Did Buying An Acoustic Become So Confusing???

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by colchar, May 18, 2019.

  1. colchar

    colchar Friend of Leo's

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    I can't play acoustic worth a damn (most, myself included, would say the same about my electric playing!), so I figured I should devote some effort into becoming better at it. I currently have a nice Yamaha LL6 acoustic, but I've decided that I want to get a higher end all solid wood acoustic. My thinking is that if I spend some money, not only will it encourage me to practice but I will also be getting myself a guitar which is a lifer before I have a reduced income in the fall due to impending surgery, and then have to devote funds to other things come the new year.

    I am considering Gibsons, Martins, and Taylors but had only been thinking about dreadnoughts. I can be somewhat stuck in my ways and, to my mind, a dread is what an acoustic should be. Earlier this week I started considering guitars with cutaways (this was a big step for me!), and today I stopped by my local guitar store to check out what they had in stock. I am friendly with one of their managers and he was giving me a hand. Since he is exclusively an acoustic player himself, he was the perfect guy to help me. The problem is, that he now has me thinking beyond dreadnoughts. He thinks that for what I will be doing a grand orchestra, a grand symphony, or grand auditorium would be a better choice - unfortunately I can't remember now which of those three he specifically recommended! That has opened up a whole new world of acoustics for me and it is confusing as hell! There are so many options out there that one could easily become overwhelmed, particularly when one starts considering the woods used!

    I liked some of the 300 series Taylors I checked out, but I want an all gloss body which is not available in the 300 series so I will have to look at the 400 series and above. I will also continue looking at Gibsons and Martins. I don't want electronics, but if they are included and are unobtrusive like in my Yamaha then who cares if they are there.

    Whichever guitar I choose I plan for it to be a lifer so I need to get this decision right, but man this is so confusing!!!!
     
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  2. PingGuo

    PingGuo Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    There sure are a lot of options out there!

    My personal recommendation... Go play as many as you can till you find one that really speaks to you, regardless of its body shape.
     
  3. markal

    markal Tele-Holic

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    I’m in the same boat, except I’m not looking quite as high end as you.

    I thought I wanted a traditional dreadnought but so far my favorite is a Taylor 214ce. Go figure.

    I’m trying to shop by sound and feel and not worry too much about what I’ve read and heard.

    For me the Taylor did not sound like a dread but it was just as good for what I want to do - mostly flat picking, mostly strumming, but not just open chords, and some lead/single note stuff.

    You might also look at Eastman. I tried a couple and thought they sounded great but didn’t like the high gloss neck.

    Good luck! And have fun!
     
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  4. colchar

    colchar Friend of Leo's

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    I wasn't originally looking at high end stuff, I just wanted an all solid wood guitar with a full gloss body. Turns out, you have to go higher end to get that unless you go for brands like Yamaha, Seagull, Simon & Patrick, etc. But once you get to the higher end stuff from Seagull and S&P, why not add some money and get a Gibson, Martin, or Taylor? As for the Yamahas, I've got one and would only have to add a couple of hundred dollars to get all solid wood and full gloss, but then why bother right? Might as well go higher end.
     
  5. PingGuo

    PingGuo Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Look at blue ridge then

     
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  6. PingGuo

    PingGuo Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Sorry, my last post didn’t make any sense.

    Time to call it a night I guess :confused:
     
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  7. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Exactly. i remember the 70s where an OM was a rarity as most of what was available were dreadnoughts, all laminates at that- unless you knew what to look for , and, if you could find it.
    I'm thankful that there are so many to choose from. Again, play as many as you can, the one that feels and sounds best has your name on it.
     
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  8. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Good luck in your quest - and the hunt itself is quite enjoyable!

    When I decided to buy my "lifer" acoustic guitar, I was compelled by the size, tone, and historical tradition of a Martin, specifically an OM-28 Vintage.

    I've been a lover of Martin guitars since I was a teenager beginning to play guitar in the mid sixties.

    I've had a number of dreadnaughts before (including a D-35 and a Taylor 410) and find the 000/OM size and shape to be "just right" for me. And the output of the OM-28 Vintage (longer scale and hence higher string tension than the 000 models) is potent, sweet, and rich.

    Martin's OM models have the same body size and shape, but a longer scale-length and a wider-nut, than the 000 models.

    This is my "lifer" acoustic guitar.
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  9. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Poster Extraordinaire

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    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  10. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    Beware buying by brand or model -- acoustics are very inconsistent, even within the same maker/model line. Unlike electrics, where you can compensate with pedals and amp settings, the acoustic has to do the job and there's not much you can do to revoice or improve the one you purchase. Much better to play as many as possible and then try to find the specific, individual instrument that works best for you. Yes, it requires effort and patience, which most people don't have, and so they settle for some mediocre equivalent of what they wished they had. That's not how real players end up with their go-to guitars. But if you don't care, you about a zillion decent guitars are available through online sources.
     
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  11. Twelvefrets

    Twelvefrets Tele-Meister

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    I think if you had a dreadnaught in mind, you should run with that idea as far you want to take it. As suggested, play a bunch-hear the diff between laminates and all solid wood, maybe it’s a big deal with you maybe not. However, what I would NOT do is let any particular makers’ complicated product line dictate your options. It’s easy to get “lost in the weeds” on this-say the diff between one maker’s 0000 size and another maker’s jumbo OM. Listening to sound bites on the internet will only add more complexity and questions. A dreadnaught is a completely respectable way to go-listen to your own ear.
     
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  12. Dave1234

    Dave1234 Tele-Afflicted

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    Just get a J45....Job done
     
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  13. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have 6 acoustics left after recently selling a couple. I have had from cheap to semi expensive solid wood martins and ended up preferring to play a lower priced Sigma d35 copy.
    I think you just have to play a lot and stick with the one that feels best and sounds best. Brand names don't really come into it other than some are beautiful looking guitars.

    For me it gets down to fret size, neck shape and how comfortable I can get the action. I prefer dreds. My sigma might be lower cost but it plays great and looks like a martin d35 which I like. It also lets me play nearly everything I can play on my electrics.
    I had to play 5 or 6 taken out of boxes at the wholesaler to get a good one though.
    It's like the classic vibe of the acoustic world.

    20190518_161409.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  14. Larmo63

    Larmo63 Tele-Afflicted

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    I will never own a cutaway acoustic. They just look wrong to me.

    The Martin OM-21, 000-18, 00-18....all great guitars if you know how to pick the best off the rack.
     
  15. kbold

    kbold Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Try out the different sizes - you'll find one that feels right and sounds right.

    Larrivee is another brand to consider. All their models use solid wood, and quality (from what I've read) is consistently good.
     
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  16. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I LOVE my James Goodall RCJC.
    They’re not cheap, but they’re worth their price.
     
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  17. Crafty Fox

    Crafty Fox Tele-Afflicted

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    Oh, so much choice!!! Happy days.
    I agree with the others that you try out as many as you can and get THE ONE that stands out.
    You could even commission a hand-built acoustic. Yes, it'll cost but it'll be special.
    I always wanted a one-off specially built for me........and ended up building my own.
    It's an OM size and gets played much more than my wonderful vintage Guild D55 dreadnought.
    Going by your Saltire avatar, I wonder if you are really in 'The Wee White North'? If so, The Guitar Workshop in Glasgow may be worth a visit.
    Let us know how you get on. Its a much more personal affair choosing an acoustic.
     
  18. wyclif

    wyclif Tele-Afflicted

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    I love the OM-28, it's also my fave Martin model. Great pics, too.
     
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  19. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

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    Put a blindfold on so price and appearance does not mislead you

    Take your time and be prepared to say no 100 times
     
  20. Buzzgrowl

    Buzzgrowl TDPRI Member

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    Problem is different gitars will have differnet strings and the strings will be in various states from new to rusty. Thats at least 30% of your impression trying an acoustic in a shop.

    It's really hit and miss below £1.5k with brilliant and mediocre stuff to be found. Even for a lot if money, there are duds - probably moreso than among electrics.

    Taylors are more playable because they have bolt on necks and thus can be or are shimmed.to get excellent neck geometry. Some people think they are too bright but then you can rebalance them towards "warmer" by using phosphor bronze instead of 80/20 strings.

    The biggest problem with acoustics is if the intonation is off, if they won't "tune" or if the action is dreadful, compared to a Fender electric it's very limited what you can do to fix it.

    I bought a Tanglewood parlour I am happy with, easy to play, good sound, and the setup out off the box was perfect. But it has that boxy sound as parlours do. Martin D-18 and D-28 I've played all sounded great but thier setups were extreme - bridge filed down almost to bridge plate, nut filed down too. I often play a friends Taylor 214. Its great but he had 2 luthiers tweek it before it played right with 012s.

    Its a journey.
     
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