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Lifetime Guitar

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by WrayGun, Apr 18, 2021.

  1. WrayGun

    WrayGun Friend of Leo's

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    Okay, I will be the first to admit that I don’t know a lot of about acoustic guitars. That’s why I’m here, in the company of generally knowledgeable comrades.

    So, due to some life-affecting changes that I am getting through, I am in a situation where I am going to unload a number of my electric guitars, and using the proceeds to fund a good acoustic, with a top price range of around $1,300 bucks, or maybe a little bit more. I do realize that’s not really a lot of money to buy a great acoustic with, but it’s what I have.

    So I need two recommendations: one, I am not really sure about getting a dreadnought or some other form factor; and two, not sure about what brand name and models to be looking at. Obviously, I want the best bang for the buck :)

    I’m really looking for a “rest of my life” guitar, capable of a little bit of everything: fingerstyle, strumming, maybe some slide ... you know, the perfect guitar! I know this is kind of a wide-ranging and maybe vague request, but I have nothing to lose by asking.

    Is that enough to go on? If not, ask me anything! Thanks friends.
     
  2. percy

    percy Tele-Meister

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    Will buy a pretty decent Martin Acoustic
    Good luck and I hope things work out
     
  3. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I've kept and keep coming back to my Taylor 814c bought in the mid 1990s and had a Fishman piezo added later. Very versatile guitar for just about anything but classical music. It's probably set up too low for slide, but that perhaps could be taken care of with a pencil or skewer or peach stick under the strings at the first fret. :) Probably any similar style and well set up acoustic could be like this. It doesn't do too well with loud amplification but okay for house concerts and lower volume restaurant gigs.
    (Edit: I mostly play anything from country blues and Beatles to classic rock on it, both fingerstyle and picked.)
     
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  4. RobRiggs

    RobRiggs Tele-Meister

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    Both Taylor and Martin make some really nice guitars in that price range. If you live near a Guitar Center they typically have an acoustic guitar room with a nice selection you can try.
     
  5. stephent2

    stephent2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Long time acoustic player here, smaller guitars are a blessing. Particularly as our shoulders and wrists age.

    My suggestion, an OM or smaller, I'm a 00 fan. Brand wise, it's hard to beat a Martin.
     
  6. sloppychops

    sloppychops Tele-Holic

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    If you're planning to keep it the rest of your life, I'll second the recommendation for an OM or smaller body guitar. I find dreadnoughts really uncomfortable to play for any length of time already. Can't imagine it getting any better as I get older.
     
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  7. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Friend of Leo's

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    Get your hands on several before you buy.

    Yamaha has great bang for the buck. Try them. Nice guitars.

    I have heard some Seagull and Luna guitars that can compete with the big name guitars as well.

    Good luck on your quest.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
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  8. Oakville Dave

    Oakville Dave Friend of Leo's

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    If you like dreadnoughts then you like big sounding guitars. If that were my budget I’d buy a used Taylor, something like a 310 or 410 (10 is the designation for dreadnoughts in Taylor lines) or a 316 or 416 series (Grand Symphony body style). Plus the Taylor neck construction allows for quick and economical neck adjustments down the road. Throw in a K&K Mini pickup and you’ve got a great solid top and body guitar that’ll last many many years.
     

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  9. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

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    Ok here's what I got. In 2020 I bought a Martin DSS-17 new for about $1500. I think the model is a sleeper and I could not have done better.
    I started stalking the model online after hearing a ridiculously good sounding demo (I don't even believe in listening to online gear demos, but...), and I was planning on trying one in person after the pandemic stuff was over.
    Then I heard an interview with Mark Stutman (Folkway Music, vintage Gibson expert) who was asked if any new guitars excited him. I was shocked he answered with this guitar, and he said "I absolutely love this guitar". He never even said "for the price". This guy is surrounded by the best acoustic guitars made from 100 years ago to today. I ordered one 5 minutes later, then waited 5 months for it. It sounds wonderful. It sounds like the kind of guitar I decided years ago I just couldn't afford. I want for nothing.

    This was the first demo I heard:
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
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  10. Old Smokey

    Old Smokey Tele-Meister

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    Martin is the obvious choice, IMO, but it’s very easy to try out a lot of acoustics in a short amount of time. I don’t think the specs and prices are that important. I would take a comfortable, nice sounding, middle of the road guitar over one with a high status brand name and premium tonewoods but doesn’t quite have the feel and tone I enjoy.

    The last time I was in a guitar store, I picked up a few expensive guitars to try, but the one that felt the best and had a nice mellow tone was a Guild M240e Troubadour (under $500).
     
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  11. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Lets divide my answer into two parts. A long time ago I bought a Martin dreadnaught, but sometime later realized that I didn't like the size. I prefer smaller guitars, I think they are more versatile and they are more pleasant for me to play. You can play fingerstyle and slide on a dread, but it would not be my choice (those are styles that I play). By the same token, don't go too small in size - my ideal do everything size is an OM or 000 or what some manufacturers call an auditorium size. But you need to play a lot of different sizes to decide what you like.

    (I'll add to that statement that I currently own guitars from single ought (parlor) to double and triple ought, OM and dread. I never play the dreads.

    Second, this is a good time to be buying a guitar - there are lots of choices. There are some great bang for the buck guitars coming from the PacRim (Eastman, Epi, Blueridge) but for a life time guitar I would stay with domestic builders. Martin is my hands down favorite, again coming back to the guitar that I bought in 1969 for $600 (that I don't play), its current value is around 2K. Taylor has a different sound and different following, I don't think they will appreciate like a Martin but they do have some things in their favor (the NT neck for one). I did own a GA sized Taylor and never bonded with it - again, you simply need to try everything you can.

    Lots of great choices out there, have fun decideing.
     
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  12. WrayGun

    WrayGun Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks all, keep it coming!!

    I’ve been hearing a lot about Eastman guitars being good for the money; would love to hear your thoughts on those.
     
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  13. stephent2

    stephent2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Eastman makes fine guitars. I've played a dozen Eastman's. I stand by my "Martin" comment. I've finally learned that phrase "good for the money" is a temporary fix when it comes to the important stuff.

    Add a grand and get a new 00-18 standard model (not VS).

    Or under budget with one of these. I've got a Martin custom model 00-15 I've had for almost 10 years. Great guitars.

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/0015--martin-00-15m-dark-mahogany
     
  14. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Man, just hit up all the shops in your area and play everything that catches your eye. That way at least you will figure out what style, size, and overall tone you are looking for. It's all up to the individual - Taylor makes really nice guitars, but I absolutely hate how they sound. I love old Guilds but they can be hit or miss with the quality.
    My only acoustic right now is actually a Blueridge, they made a limited run with adirondack tops and the sound on this.one.particular.guitar was just fantastic.

    PS I think the idea that you are buying a "lifetime" guitar makes it sound too high stakes. You are hoping to buy something and keep it forever, but you never know what life is going to throw at you. It's just a nice guitar you are looking for, that's all. Good luck!
     
  15. WrayGun

    WrayGun Friend of Leo's

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    thanks, I do plan on making the rounds to our local shops, such as they are :) Just to get a feel for different shapes and sizes and whatnot.

    As far as life throwing stuff, it’s already been thrown and stuck to the wall. At this point, I am really looking for something to outlast me, and be something that I can pass down to my son. Therefore ... something good with some “mojo” to it. And of course, comfortable, easy to play, and pretty ;-)
     
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  16. alnico357

    alnico357 Tele-Afflicted

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    I think a "lifetime guitar" is as much a mindset as it is a certain guitar. ANY guitar can do a little bit of everything. If one decides they must have a dreadnought for bluegrass and a small body for finger style, and a beater, and a couch guitar etc, that is their mindset, and nothing wrong with it.

    I got my lifetime acoustic in 1996. I could spend limitless hours on the internet looking & trying to convince myself I need a different guitar, but I really don't need one. That is my mindset.

    My only thought would be, a smaller body might end up being a good choice. Good luck!
     
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  17. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I found my acoustic guitar of a lifetime, a Simon and Patrick Showcase Rosewood, in a small mom and pop in Claremont, CA. I had been looking for a guitar to leave in California for when I visit the grandkids. I saw this on the wall, took it down, and couldn’t put it back up. Needless to say, it came right home to NY with me. Adirondack spruce over solid rosewood, gently used, for well under $1000. I’ve played other guitars I’ve liked as much but none I’ve liked better. S&P is a Godin brand, easy to come by in Canada but scarce in the states. I’m not saying buy this. Look with an open mind at new and used guitars in your price range. You’ll know you’ve found your guitar of a lifetime when you can’t walk out of the store without it. And if you find another guitar of a lifetime down the road, that’s how collections get started.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
  18. howardlo

    howardlo Tele-Afflicted

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    I’m with you on that OM or OOO guitars are my preference. Better balanced tone than larger and far more comfortable to play. OO’s are also nice. The smaller bodied guitars are also far easier to sing over without using a mic. Only time you need the volume of a dread is in a bluegrass setting where you are competing with banjo, fiddle and mandolin.

    I have 17 acoustics, three are dreads (one of them is a twelve string). Only the 12 string gets played much. I used to play mandolin in a bluegrass band. Sometimes played guitar at campfire jam sessions at the festivals. Only reason I got a couple dreads, but since then I haven’t played them much at all (and that’s been 25 years ago).
     
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  19. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

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    If $1,300 is your budget, I'd suggest looking at the used market. I've bought and sold many, many, MANY acoustics and electrics over the years. The one guitar I did not get that still haunts me was an Eastman E10D....Eastmans attempt at Martin D-18 woods. Theis particular guitar had a tone that captured me and the playability was amazing. A very inspiring guitar.

    Good luck with your search. Lot's of great suggestions already and I'm sure more to come.
     
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  20. Daddydex

    Daddydex Friend of Leo's

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    My Yamaha A5R is every bit the guitar my Martin D28 is. Don't make me choose. I bought both new. One cost over twice as much as the other...25 years ago. The Yamaha is in your budget.

    Dan
     
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