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Lifetime Guitar

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

  1. runstendt

    runstendt Tele-Meister

    Feb 21, 2011
    Bloomsburg PA
    Why not try every acoustic that you can, and pick that one that sounds and feels right? Also, if you're looking for a road trip, the Martin factory is about 4.5 hours from you. The factory tour is pretty amazing.
    howardlo likes this.
  2. Oakville Dave

    Oakville Dave Friend of Leo's

    Jan 24, 2010
    Oakville, Ontario, Canada
    C02C6E85-2864-4243-B5AA-C5778B2CF286.jpeg B7FAFC24-4B75-494E-987B-CB416CC00C09.jpeg BTW, my lifetime guitar is my 2011 Taylor GS8 that I bought in 2015. Less than 50% of a new one and a killer guitar! It does it all, from finger style to heavy strumming. I call it The Beast! And with the K&K Mini pickup it sounds fantastic through an amp or PA.
    Toadtele, envirodat and JL_LI like this.
  3. Dukex

    Dukex Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 8, 2012
    Strumming and fingerstyle.

    I'd look for something between a 000/OM size and a Dreadnought.

    A Slope Dread (with a 1.75 nut) would be an excellent choice (has a narrower waist than a Dread and is more comfortable).

    A Grand Auditorium size is a great all-around guitar, so is the Larrivee "L" model).

    Larrivee "L" model: L-03, L-40
    Larrivee Slope D: SD40

    Taylor Grand Auditorium: 314, 324
    Taylor Grand Pacific (basically a Slope D): 317

    Martin Slope D: DSS-15M, DSS-17
    Martin 0000.
    Martin GP.

    I own/love Martin, Taylor, and Larrivee. All fine guitars. IMO, Larrivee offers the best value because of their quality/price ratio (I've owned four).
    Greggorios and Cali Dude like this.
  4. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 11, 2019
    Between the Raindrops
    There are so many great choices in addition to the brands already mentioned.

    Neck size/carve is important to a lot of players.

    If you like chunky necks, check out Seagull; the S6 model is smaller than a dread.

    If used is in your plans, find a Gibson J45 in nice condition.
    El Marin likes this.
  5. Bryan A

    Bryan A Tele-Meister

    Sep 17, 2020
    In that price range, I’d be looking at a Larivee or a high end used Alvarez or Guild. I love Martins, and I have several, but at that price point you’d be looking at a lower end Martin. And while some people love them, I’ve yet to play one that I thought was great...definitely better options at that price point, IMO. For example, I’ve got a D16 that I bought used from a pawn shop for about $700. For that price, ok. But thats about the model of Martin you’d be looking at new or slightly used, and IMO you could do much better for $1300. If you could get a used 000-28 or D28 or D18 in that range, go for it. But that’s gonna be a hard find. You probably COULD do a good Larivee, Guild, or Alvarez in that range and all 3 are underrated IMO. And Guild, I mean a used American model, not a new Asian model.
  6. ScottJPatrick

    ScottJPatrick Friend of Leo's

    May 12, 2011
    Stirling, Scotland.
    You really need to get into an acoustic room somewhere and play as many as you can, that's the only way to really find what you're lookng for.
    Deathray likes this.
  7. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 26, 2003
    Augusta, Maine
    Yes, that's enough to go on. Here's what I've found, after playing acoustic guitar for over fifty years:

    1. The classics are classics for a reason.

    You'll hear lots about the joys of all kinds of cool imports. Remember that they all imitate the designs of the great guitars for a reason: because they're good guitars. Get you hands on a few Gibsons, Guilds, and Martins, and read up on them.

    2. Used is good.

    If you don't feel confident about making a decision, find a more experienced friend who's willing to help you check out a guitar before you buy it. Folks who love guitars enjoy helping friends with the search. The inspection questions are similar to looking at an electric. Are there cracks? Is the bridge stable? Is the neck straight? Is the action good? How are the tuners?

    3. Kind of playing:

    A good acoustic is as versatile as you are. Most opinions about what's good for fingerstyle versus driving rhythm versus flatpicking are just that: opinions. The right guitar will do whatever you want it to do. Remember: The guitar isn't playing you. You're playing the guitar.

    You can certainly find a Rhode Island Guild within your range, and there are Gibsons and Martins out there for not much more.

    4. What design is right for you?

    Dread or OM? Rosewood or mahogany? You won't know till you've really sat down and played some. I can give you dozens of reasons why I like what I like, but that's not what you need to know.

    Try different sizes and styles. Again, the classic designs will probably hold your affection a lot longer than an interesting modern design. I avoid barndoor electronics and cutaways and peculiar bridges and artistic headstocks because I know I'll get tired of looking at them in no time.

    5. Upgrades:

    There's a lot to be said for things like bone saddles and K&K pickups and Waverly tuners and fresh frets. But you can do all that over time.

    So put as much money as you can into getting the best instrument you can swing. Focus on the guitar itself, and hotrod it to your heart's content in the fullness of time.

    6. Don't rush.

    You want a guitar that looks, feels, and sounds good — to you. The right guitar will be the one that comes alive in your hands.

    Happy hunting!
    sad99, bbetancourt and ImprovGuru like this.
  8. Texicaster

    Texicaster Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2018
    It Varies.....
    I'd bank the $1300 and add to it.

    I've never seen a killer deal on a solid wood guitar for that little BUT have seen great deals when you get up ~$2000.

    ~8 years ago I found a hardly played Martin D-28 Marquis which was a sort of "golden age" inspired Martin for $2100. Solid Adirondack top with solid RW back and sides.

    Point is there is someone tired of a great guitar out there!

    I've played many acoustics and I could never make friends with a smaller than dreadnought. They all sounded thin to my ears. Even the high end. Never found even one that impressed me. You may be different but a dread is simply more versatile and if you're looking for lifetime guitar....

    I'd focus on a used late model post 2012 D-18 Martin. Best bang for the buck!

    Have fun!
    Deathray and telepraise like this.
  9. Old Plank

    Old Plank Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Feb 16, 2017
    Maine USA
    Ditto on spending an afternoon if possible playing everything you can get your hands on in some shops; your personal preferences will unfold and narrow things right down. I was lucky to do that in 2002 and settled on a Martin D16GT that I still greatly enjoy to his day. Not sure if that model's still made but at the time it was ~ $900 I think, and gradually increased a bit over the years, maybe $1100-$1200 last time I noticed. I don't mind a dread at all but smaller bodies are inviting too!
    Greggorios likes this.
  10. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 22, 2018

    I have liked every Eastman that I've played, probably the only PacRim guitar that I would consider right now. This little OM belonged to a friend and spent some time at my house - I thought it was quite stunning


    Deathray, stormsedge, Martian and 6 others like this.
  11. OldDude2

    OldDude2 Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 27, 2018
    Nashville, TN
    I can only suggest that you try a few out and spend a few hours finding the right soul mate.

    I spent quite a bit of time before I found my avatar and glad that I pulled the trigger while prices were low.

    I played Martin after Martin and then before I took the plunge I tried one of the best Taylors and Gibsons in the shop. The salesman offered that Taylor's are bright and will chime over some singers and Gibson's will let the singer shine since they're midrange heavy.

    You did say forever so take your time and date around no two are exactly alike.
  12. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

    Feb 5, 2012
    South Louisiana
    I just went through a similar situation. Sold a bunch of gear.
    Did my research for several years.
    I bought a Martin HD-28V.

    I would suggest that you try the Martin line.
    OM or 000.
    18, 21 or 28 series.

    I would play everything I could get my hands on while continuing to save. Once you’ve decided on exactly what you want, start looking for a good used example to maximize your buying power.
  13. howardlo

    howardlo Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 16, 2011
    Hobart, IN
    I am on the opposite side of that. I have played primarily acoustics since 1957 and dreads are my least favorite size and sound. I find them too bass heavy (boomy) and by far the least comfortable to play. Smaller ones, even Auditoriums) have far better string to string balance and are far more comfortable to play.

    In the world of acoustic guitars dreads are a virtual newcomer. Only were designed once bluegrass music began so they could hold their own against banjo, fiddle and mandolin.

    I have 17 acoustics only three dreads and one of those is a 12 string. Only the 12 string gets much play time at all (and I have often wished I had bought a smaller bodied 12 string).

    A lot of people think that a dread is THE acoustic guitar and sound but of the Acoustic Guitar forum I am active in that is far from the case among those who play only or primarily acoustics. Over there smaller bodied guitars far out number dreads.
  14. LesTele

    LesTele Tele-Meister

    Jun 6, 2020
    Richmond, VA

    Martin’s are my all time favorite all around acoustics.
    stephent2 likes this.
  15. WrayGun

    WrayGun Friend of Leo's

    May 5, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Yeah, I’ve only ever owned dreadnoughts (and my little Recording King blues picker), so I’m not really familiar with what the different sizes and designations are. Is there a “guitar bodies for dummies” resource online somewhere?

    I’ll really be playing only in my house, or a friends house, most likely, so I probably don’t really need a big cannon.

    Anyway, thanks everyone for all the input; it really is helping me a lot!
  16. Frisco 57

    Frisco 57 Tele-Meister

    Jan 8, 2012
    Arlington WA
    Play lots of them, let your ears be your guide. I prefer big booming dreadnaughts IMHO.
  17. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Aug 12, 2008
    The good news is there are just tons of options. I love acoustics and my personal choice in your price range would be Yamaha, my A3R cost just under $500 and it is killer. I hear good things about Recording King as well. As far as lifetime goes I would look for a guitar that has already lived a bit. A 20-year-old Alvarez, Guild, or maybe even a Takamine. In today's market I think you need to add some funds for a quality Martin, Taylor, or Gibson. Best of luck in your search!
  18. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    +2 on Eastman, but ...

    You really need to play a lot of acoustics first. Martin, Taylor and Gibson are voiced differently. I put them in specific categories, but I don't want to sway you in any way possible. Play those three brands as they are the foundation for all other acoustics to compare. Play expensive ones to get the full effect.

    Now, the other issue is type of acoustic. This is just as important and has to do with projection, focus, bass plus a few other attributes. There are plenty of reasons to select one style over another, but in the end, you will need to play them to determine what you like. From dread to parlor and all shapes and sizes in between.

    The $1300 range puts you squarely into Eastman territory. To me these are the biggest bang for your buck in this price range with little competition. Again though, that will not be as important as the voicing and size that you like. I have a lifer $2800 resonator and a lifer $279 00 size "parlor" ... and a lifer 0 size Eastman parlor right in between. IOW, find what your ears like, not the price tag.

    Good luck and enjoy the adventure.
  19. perttime

    perttime Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 13, 2014
    There's lots of good brands out there. And I have no idea which guitar you would like.

    Personally, I recently found an awesome Breedlove OM on the used guitars market, and drove 2 hours to check it out and buy.

    I owned a dred a long time ago but the wide waist always felt awkward, especially sitting down. My old jumbo size guitar is more comfortable - for me. YMMV.
  20. d barham

    d barham Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 10, 2018
    Halfway, MO
    You need to play an Eastman E20 D before you make your final decision. I'm not primarily a guitar player but do use one often. I ran across a used Eastman for a good price and bought it. A couple of years in and I'm impressed with it every time I pick it up. Not just great guitars for the money, they're great guitars period.
    Cali Dude and Obsessed like this.
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