Help me pick out an acoustic

johmica

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I'm going to get myself a nice, mid-range acoustic for Christmas. Being a lefty, my options are somewhat limited, although my budget is "flexible." I like "classic" brands, like Guild, Gibson, and Martin. So while Taylor makes incredible guitars, and most of their catalogue is offered left-handed, I have an irrational aversion to dropping serious cash on one. I know that this is silly, but I also know myself well enough to know that it's just not what I want.

I started by looking at the Martin D-12E. It's at the right price point, but the fretboard and bridge are Richlite, and I can't see dropping $1300 on a cardboard fretboard.

So from there, I went to the Martin DSS-17. But that's creeping up into Gibson territory. I get pretty close to J-45 territory at $1,600. But then, I go full-slippery slope. If I'm going to spend close to $2k for a J-45, why not drop a couple hundred more and get the Hummingbird studio? But by this point, I've doubled the amount I'm spending (which isn't necessarily a deal-breaker, but I'm not sure that the Hummingbird is twice the guitar, compared to the D-12E).

I'm curious to hear your thoughts and suggestions. But please keep in mind that it has to be lefty. I'd have so many more affordable options, if I had access to something comparable to the right-handed market.
 

Jakedog

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Don’t let the richlite be a deal breaker. I had a 000 16 GT that had a richlite board and bridge and it was one of the best guitars I’ve ever had. Really, playing it, I couldn’t tell the difference between that and Ebony. It works wonderfully.

My current gig and recording acoustic is made entirely out of non-traditional woods, cost $2500, and is hands down the best I’ve ever had.

That said, I understand irrational hang ups. I’ve got plenty of my own! Lol!
 

JL_LI

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Take your time, go where you can play the model you are interested in, all accustics sound a little different. If you are buying a nice pro level instrument play it first!!
I’ve never given this any thought before but I can’t recall any guitar store where I’ve seen a new lefty guitar on display. I occasionally see one on the used wall at GC but they’re electric. It must be challenging to find a left handed guitar to play before making a purchase.
 

johmica

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I’ve never given this any thought before but I can’t recall any guitar store where I’ve seen a new lefty guitar on display. I occasionally see one on the used wall at GC but they’re electric. It must be challenging to find a left handed guitar to play before making a purchase.

Yep. I always take this kind of advice in stride, because I think that it's well-intentioned, and right-handers just have no idea what it's like being a lefty player.

I can go to Guitar Center in Lexington, and they'll have hundreds of guitars hanging on the wall, from Squires to Custom Shop masterpieces. But left-handed, they'll have a black Player's strat. That's it. They don't even keep the entirety of Fender's lefty stock handy, because they just don't sell enough of them to make it worth the wall space.

The current herd is up to 14ish, and I didn't play a single one of them before purchasing them. It's just not feasible.
 

schmee

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Unless you need a cutaway, a righty could work fine. New nut>> done!
You have to play an acoustic IMO though when buying. Or a sister guitar.

Remember the Martin fretboards are very flat. Some dont like that.

Do you really need a BIG acoustic like the J-45 etc?
Modern Guilds get pretty good press. Some are US made. Do they do lefty?

Some Vintage Guilds can be a bargain. Westerly Guilds (the USA Westerly) are killer for me.

I have an great appreciation for Gibson acoustics. There are some great old ones at reasonable prices.

ONE EXAMPLE: Nice vintage Guild Dreadnaught: $1300 asking
https://reverb.com/item/46054844-gu...0.250RQqWlhpcrgLkzD04xMz_PCmj9limGd2G1avi0jJ0
 

KC

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northernguitar

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Don’t let the richlite be a deal breaker. I had a 000 16 GT that had a richlite board and bridge and it was one of the best guitars I’ve ever had. Really, playing it, I couldn’t tell the difference between that and Ebony. It works wonderfully.

My current gig and recording acoustic is made entirely out of non-traditional woods, cost $2500, and is hands down the best I’ve ever had.

That said, I understand irrational hang ups. I’ve got plenty of my own! Lol!
Ditto. My Godin Metropolis has a richlite board and it feels fantastic. That guitar will never have fret sprout.
 

tarheelbob

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You are looking at some great guitars. But, in that $1200-$1500 range, please put your hands on one of the new Grand Pacific Taylors. It's a different animal. They are an old-school slope shoulder dreadnought shape, and are playing much more in the traditional Gibson, and even Martin, territory in sound projection and vibe.

I played a bunch of acoustics in that range several months ago, and surprised myself ending up with a Taylor AD17 Grand Pacific. Don't rule them out until you play a few.

- Bob
 

GGardner

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I like "classic" brands, like Guild, Gibson, and Martin. So while Taylor makes incredible guitars, and most of their catalogue is offered left-handed, I have an irrational aversion to dropping serious cash on one. I know that this is silly, but I also know myself well enough to know that it's just not what I want.

It might not kill you to try playing a Taylor before ruling them out completely. I find the necks to be very comfortable. But I get your "irrational aversion" to a certain brand thing--I could never imagine myself buying a PRS.
 

ndcaster

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Use your ears. Try them all. Close your eyes. Play towards a wall so you can hear better.

What feels and sounds right is right.

Happy hunting!
 

Peegoo

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I started by looking at the Martin D-12E. It's at the right price point, but the fretboard and bridge are Richlite, and I can't see dropping $1300 on a cardboard fretboard.

Richlite is a fantastic material for fretboards and bridges. Unlike solid wood, it is a unifomly-hard material throughout. It does not react to changes in humidity like rosewood and ebony. It won't dry out and split. You'll never have fret sprout.

It polishes up and feels like unfinished ebony, it stays cleaner than solid wood, and it's easy to clean when it does get gunky.

You will not hear a difference between solid wood and Richlite.

Is it cheaper than solid woods? Yes...but it has several distinct advantages. And it's an environmentally responsible use of wood.
 

hnryclay

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Honestly if you are up for it, and I dont know where you live but a trip to Nashville, if you live on the east coast or eastern midwest would be worth it. Call ahead and work with the stores, let them know what you are interested in purchasing.
 

telleutelleme

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I own 2 OM Taylors, a Gibson J200, a Martin D-1 and a Breedlove. Like everyone says close your eyes and listen. Pick a note and see how long it sustains. You may be surprised what you end up picking. That assumes the strings are fresh.
 

JamesAM

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I’d ask what kind of guitar you’re after and what you’re playing. Solo vocal accompaniment? Bluegrass flatpickimg? Fingerstyle/folk?

to me, the Martin 15 series are the best value out there in acoustics. I had an 00-15m and it was a phenomenal guitar, with a nice dark woody voice. The guild m-20 is the same.

the dss-17 is long scale (25.5”), big, and loud. Actually quite good for flatpicking and bluegrass.

Gibsons are generally big bodied and (mostly) short scale, so they don’t have the snap and punch of equivalent martins. They’re great for vocal accompaniment though, and the walnut backed ones are excellent guitars for the price.

also, once you get your philosophy of use sorted out, don’t discount Yamaha or takamine, or yairi. Excellent value guitars, you just need to sort what you’ll be using them for to let them guide your decision.

acoustics vary between individual guitars a LOT. One d-18 might speak to you while another one that’s in all other ways identical may sound dead to you. Play them before you buy one! You never know which one will be THE one.
 

StevesBoogie

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Honestly if you are up for it, and I dont know where you live but a trip to Nashville, if you live on the east coast or eastern midwest would be worth it. Call ahead and work with the stores, let them know what you are interested in purchasing.
+1 for this. I just mapped it out, the OP is 3 hours from Nashville. A nice daytrip over to the Mecca. If I was in OPs shoes that is absolutely what I'd do. It's on my bucket list anyway, LOL.
 

telepraise

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I don't know if scale length is an issue for you. I think most Gibsons are short scale while the others you mentioned are ~25.4".

After wrestling with lesser acoustics for a long time, I bit the bullet and bought a D-18 this summer (actually a Custom Shop 18). Likely out of your budget range, but worth saving for. Deep, resonant, powerful and full of some of the same articulation I love in a tele.
 




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