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"Mid-priced" acoustic electric brands? What do you like?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Flat6Driver, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    I have a yamaha acoustic electric I have have about 18 or 19 years. I know I paid about $400 for it. It has volume, bass and treble dials. No on board tuner or real EQ. I have played it a lot, the frets are worn and the body is dinged up (or reliced) as you say here.

    I've never had it set up and some of the the fret buzz is finally getting to me. Discussed it with the shop owner and he said for these mid-priced guitars, refretting isn't worth it. Just buy a new guitar.


    I like the guitar Ok. The sound is OK for me. I'm a rock and roller, no finger picking. I looked at what the shop had on the wall and they have a lot of Dean guitars for around $450. I always thought Takmines were nice looking guitars...never played one much. Don't know what they cost. Don't know many other brands..there is a lot of new stuff out there.

    What are some other mid-priced guitars to check out? Is this even considered mid-price? Theres $150 Christmas/student specials and expensive fancy guitars....I don't even know quite what to look for. Thoughts?
     
  2. Tommyd55

    Tommyd55 Tele-Holic

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    Last edited: Oct 5, 2013
  3. Ian

    Ian Tele-Afflicted

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    Hard to beat Yamaha....

    Also check out;
    Seagull
    Simon & Patrick
    And oddly enough....Fender!
    Fenders acoustics have been actually pretty good as of late at your price point.
     
  4. grandstick

    grandstick Tele-Holic

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    While I own several Seagull acoustics, none of them have pickups installed. I have two Breedlove Atlas series guitars (AC-25 SM, and an AN-250 CR nylon string). I absolutely love both of those guitars. I love their playability, comfort, acoustic AND amplified tones.

    I also have an Ovation Pinnacle Deluxe, with a solid Sitka spruce top (Ovations have been discussed recently in this forum), that has great action, and sounds OK acoustically, but sounds great when plugged in.
     
  5. krisls

    krisls Tele-Holic

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    Hmm there's a whole lot of decent guitars in the $500 - 800 range which is I guess mid priced. I use as my stage guitar a G series Takamine. Solid top laminated sides which is probably the way to go. Good sound with a bit of ruggedness.

    As for brands, most these days are reasonably good quality but it can vary here n there.

    So Tak, Yamaha, Epiphone, Seagull, a lot like Breedlove but I don't really see them. Some of the Alvarez, Lags, Corts are decent too.

    Just decide on general spec and look you like and then go try a few. Hard to go seriously wrong. Of course you could get your old Yammy a tune up by a luthier, might be all that's required though the electrics might be a bit dated. Lived in oldies have a certain charm after all.

    Kristina
     
  6. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    OK I'm at least in the ball park money wise. Maybe I could just take it in and see what they say about tuning it up. I just replaced the stings this afternoon and I have the brash sound of new strings so I'm a little on the fence about do I still like the unplugged sound. I still do like the plugged in sound. But lately it's only been plugged in at home. I like my well earned patina. :)

    I will have to say, the one I tried at the store...the strings...jeez. It's always so nasty playing the ones in the store. What kinda dirty people touched it first?
     
  7. Greg.Coal

    Greg.Coal Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I don't have one, but recently played a friend's Alvarez AD60CE and it just blew me away. This is their mid-level series - anything starting with "A". Look at their propaganda on youtube: they say they put all their effort into making incredible sound come out of their guitars now. And, it is true. This one just sang and was a breeze to play.

    Try one, you'll like it.

    Greg
     
  8. Ron C

    Ron C Tele-Holic

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    If the plugged in sound is important to you, consider getting a used Japanese made Takamine. They can be found any day for $400-$800, sometimes less.

    They use a fundamentally different type of under saddle pickup (looks like 6 pistons set into a metal casing --google "palathetic pickup") and excellent preamps that produce great results without a lot of fuss and fiddling. Those electronics plus excellent build quality are why Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Eagles, and about a zillion country artists show up on stage with Taks.

    I'm stunned how often I hear bad sounding plugged in acoustics from both top acts and weekend warriors, but never from someone performing with a Tak.

    Look for anything with a model # that starts with EF, EAN, or ETN. There are some others that fit the bill but these are the easiest to spot. Stay away from the G series models--they may be nice instruments but don't have the same quality electronics.

    Some of these MIJ Taks can be a little dead sounding when unplugged while others have an excellent acoustic tone. All are fantastic gigging guitars.

    Enjoy the search!
     
  9. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    Went to GC today. What a disappointment. They have 400 $199 starter guitars and in the back $4000 Martins. They had about 4 of the type I'm looking for. A nice Ibanez, a nice Yamaha (dent and scratch sale for $600) and a Takamine. You can't get a feel for anything in that room. They all played about the same as my guitar. Hmm, maybe I should just look into getting mine looked over....it's got character.

    Can you upgrade the electronics on one of these? I'm not sure how it could be done with mine except for some cutting in the side. Not that electronics are the issue I'm looking to fix...
     
  10. Ian

    Ian Tele-Afflicted

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    I use K&K pickups for almost all my Acoustic instruments ( my Yamaha nylon string and Kala U-Bass came with pickups installed) and with a Feedback buster sound hole cover, my Larrivee is seeing TONS of Stage time now. No batteries or cutting into the guitar either!
    I've never found a better,more natural Acoustic instrument pickup than K&K.
     
  11. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Sure, a good luthier can install just about anything in there you like and if the guitar plays well and sounds good acoustically that may be all you need. Strings can be a much bigger factor with acoustics too.

    I just spend an afternoon looking at quite a few A/Es in the $500-$1500 range and I found that my Breedlove held up well against any of them in that price range as far as acoustic tone and playability went. The main differences were in the preamps in the pricier $1500 models.

    FWIW there just wasn't all that much tonal difference between the $500-$1000 models. There were some nice models from several manufacturers including Yamaha, Takamine and the Breedlove Atlas series. I some cases the only real difference was a fancier look and somewhat better electronics.

    It wasn't until I got into the higher end models at $2000-$3000 and up that you heard very noticeable differences in them acoustically and of course the electronics in those where much better. A good preamp with an internal mic and better eq might make a big difference in your older Yamaha.
     
  12. Oakville Dave

    Oakville Dave Friend of Leo's

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    GODIN. Pick up a used one for around $400
    Look for Acousticaster, A6 and A12, there are a bunch of nylon stringed ones as well.
     
  13. Lowbassnotes

    Lowbassnotes Friend of Leo's

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    I agree, I have a K&K stuck on my Uke and my buddy has a K&K and their preamp on one of his acoustics, great sounding and they don't break the bank either.
     
  14. bingy

    bingy Friend of Leo's

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  15. twintwelve

    twintwelve Tele-Afflicted

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  16. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    Maybe that's part of the issue. The tone on this guitar, aside from the fret buzzing is pleasing to me. I play hard and not very accurately, so finding a multi-thousand $ guitar wouldn't be worth it to me. Plus, I'm not exactly in a quiet enviroment, ever, until the kids grow up so I don't think I would benefit from a really nice guitar.

    I don't really gig much, so when it's plugged in, I'm usually at the mercy of whoever supplied the board so it's not that I need super nice electronics. But the guitar has some mojo now that I'd hate to set it in a corner while I play a new one. (but who doesn't like new, shiny stuff, with fancier look and inlays...LOL).

    I'll have to take a photo of the controls on this thing, it's a little odd. Most guitars have a nice square control panel with an EQ, lights and tuners. Mine is the telecaster of Acoustic/Electric guitars. I have three pots that pop out and I can adjust Volume, Treble and Bass. There is literally three circular holes where these pots fit. They had to cut it up to put in modern controls. It's like a weird prototype or something, I can't find and photos online.
     
  17. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Three posts in this thread have included links to pics or vids, but I think we need pics in this thread itself.

    I relate in a way to both sides of the dilemma faced by the OP. It looks like as this thread is progressing, he's weighing out the pros and cons of buying a new acoustic/electric versus investing in his old faithful.

    So, as to the original question, I cast another vote for Breedlove, preferably something from their Atlas series. I bought one being discontinued 5 years ago (they have since essentially re-introduced the model, but with some changes). My AD25/SM (Atlas series, deep bodied dreadnaught, cutaway, on-board Fishman electronics, solid spruce top, solid mahogany back, laminate mahogany sides) originally went for $800, IIRC, but its discontinued price in August of 2008 was $550.

    In the last 5 years, that is the guitar that I've gigged the most. I've played more than 500 gigs with my Breedlove. She needs a little TLC after all that, but she's a trooper.

    Okay, enough talk. Here are a couple of pics of my Breedlove. The first is a partial family shot in my living room, about a month after I got her. She's on the left of the pic, in my right hand. (In the middle is my first Logan Custom Tele, and on the right, in my left hand, is my beloved Hohner G-940. More on that one in a bit.)

    [​IMG]

    The second pic, taken the same day, is a little closer view "action" shot of my Breedlove...

    [​IMG]

    Now that I've added my recommendation of a Breedlove, I will acknowledge and echo what Kristina said. It's not too hard to find a decent midrange a/e guitar these days. I know Breedlove best, but I've played Takamines, Yamahas, Epiphones and Alvarez a/e guitars that I could live with as well. And I'll also second twintwelve's recommendation of a Martin X series. Decent midrange a/e guitar, and a Martin, at that.

    Now, about that aforementioned Hohner of mine, she's my old faithful, a 1983 vintage Japanese made acoustic, a Hohner G-940 from their Arbor series, patterned after a Martin D-45, I think. In many ways, I'd like to perform with just that guitar. I relate to the line about liking "my well earned patina." :D Thirty years of patina and little nicks and dings here and there are character marks, as far as I'm concerned. And 30 years of playing her makes her feel so natural in my hands. She plays like butter and sounds sweet and mellow. Here's another pic of her...

    [​IMG]

    But she's an acoustic, not an acoustic/electric. I've debated putting in a K&K system in her and gigging her exclusively. (Ian, I've read so many comments like yours, just nothing but good about K&K). Like I said, she already has nicks and dings (I'm a real klutz :oops:), so I could live with other such minor blemishes she might get while being gigged/played out. But I'd be inconsolably heartbroken if the she were stolen or damaged beyond repair. Probably wouldn't happen, but just the thought of that risk has given me pause.

    But I digress. Anyway, if you don't have the same issues of sentimentality attached to your old Yamaha, the familiarity of how it plays and feels might make it worthwhile for you to spring for a re-fret.
     
  18. Ian

    Ian Tele-Afflicted

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    If the Breedlove Acoustic is even half as good as my Breedlove Mandolin, yer laughin'!!
     
  19. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    You mean because of the bargain price I got it for? Yeah, it was a great deal. For an a/e with a solid top and a solid back, it was a great price. It came with a nice Breedlove gig bag, but I very quickly decided to spring for a HSC. I've definitely gotten my money's worth, and then some.
     
  20. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    Indeed. While I cant say it has the mileage on it that some guys have on their guitars, this has been played from everywhere from bars to churches. Been with me for a while.

    Here's some photos of this bizarre setup I described. And the well reliced case. I think the silver tape's been on there for more than 10 years.
     

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