1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Mitchell Acoustics: what am I missing?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Octorfunk, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. Octorfunk

    Octorfunk Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    564
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2014
    Location:
    Midwest
    I spent quite a while in GC today, playing everything in the sub-$700 range. Going into the store, I had my eye mainly on the Martin X series, as well as a couple Fender's I had never played before.

    Being a GC, there were a couple Mitchell's on the wall as well. I played 4-5 different Martin X's, 3-4 Mitchell's, as well as several Fender's & Alvarez's.

    My main takeaway on the Martin X series: they were heavy, and fairly dark sounding. Those aren't negatives to me btw, just what I thought. And holding a laminate guitar was weird. The feel, the balance, it was just very foreign to me. Also not negative.

    I kept coming back to a couple Mitchell's, a $499 T413 & a $279 T311. Admittedly I liked the looks, which is probably why I even bothered in the first place. But then after 90 minutes of constant A/B-ing between those and the Martins, the Mitchell's just kept sounding and feeling surprisingly good.

    I plugged into a Fishman amp they had there, since my main concern is being able to use it in a live setting through a PA. That's where the Mitchell's started to stick out even more. To be fair, the Martin's have a single tone knob, whereas the Mitchell's have a 3-band EQ to work with, so a competent sound guy could get more out of I'm sure. I'm not going to say that the Mitchell blew the Martin out of the water, because it didn't. Martin's have a distinct sound, and it's a good sound for sure. But the Mitchell just sounded very full & clear.

    So to my thread title: what am I missing with Mitchell guitars? As in, what am I sacrificing with a $279 guitar that plays & sounds great? The fit/finish was good, not high gloss or fancy, but that's a bonus for me. It seemed to hold tune just fine while I was playing as well.

    To give a little background, I've been playing for 20yrs, and up until about 3 weeks ago, every single one of those years was spent playing a 1978 Martin D35, so I'm no stranger to good acoustic guitar tone.

    I guess what I'm really asking is, am I going to seriously regret buying one of these down the road?
     
    old soul likes this.
  2. WhiskeyRebellio

    WhiskeyRebellio TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    65
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2015
    Location:
    St Cloud MN
    Eh, Your resale won't be as good with the Mitchell, but it is a better guitar. The Mitchell has a solid top with laminated back and sides, and better electronics. The X series is all laminate with that weird and heavy strata-bond neck. You are basically just paying more money for the Martin logo on your headstock. How important is that to you?
     
    Texicaster likes this.
  3. ale.istotle

    ale.istotle Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    547
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I think it is Guitar Center's house brand. Haven't played one in 10 years or more and it was ok but they seem to be getting better reviews in the past 3-4 years.
    If it feels good, sounds good and looks good for the money go with your gut.
     
  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    75
    Posts:
    4,772
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2018
    Location:
    Washington
    Never played one but there are some incredibly good bang for the buck guitars coming in from China right now. If you like what you hear there is no reason not to buy it. I'm personally pretty unimpressed by the cheaper Martins
     
  5. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    70
    Posts:
    3,858
    Joined:
    May 20, 2017
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I bought my #1 acoustic off the wall in a small mom and pop music shop. I'd never heard of the brand but I played it and couldn't put it down. It's a little upmarket from what you're looking at but I believe my experience still applies. The name on the head stock doesn't matter a dam. The guitar told me it should be mine.

    For what it's worth, I took a pre-loved Simon and Patrick Showcase Rosewood home with me. Adirondack Spruce over solid Rosewood for well under $1000.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
    ale.istotle likes this.
  6. Octorfunk

    Octorfunk Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    564
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2014
    Location:
    Midwest
    Yeah the brand name doesn't matter to me at all these days, I just figured Martin was a good benchmark to compare the other guitars with.

    Thanks for all the responses so far!
     
  7. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    75
    Posts:
    4,772
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2018
    Location:
    Washington
    IMHO Martin remains a benchmark in 18/28 series and up. Below that they are fighting to compete with price point guitars from other manufacturers, most of them coming from overseas.

    While you are shopping, try Eastman and Blueridge in the sizes and price range you are looking at.
     
    985plowboy likes this.
  8. old soul

    old soul Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    449
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2015
    Location:
    terra firma
    I've played a Mitchell in the past, and really liked it, but the only one the store had was banged up from a fall, so I passed, and I already had a takaminie I was going to get.
    I've got a buddy with a martin x series that I like too. Actually it's my favorite guitar to play slide on and I never knew why until I read your post. I think its because it's a fairly dark sounding acoustic- thanks for mentioning that
     
  9. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    12,601
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    northwest
    One thing I realized, when i happened on a deal for an old Gibson LG-2 a couple years back I bought it. Now every time I pick it up I'm struck with just how feather light it is. It's just an amazing guitar to play and hear. I dont know what the relationship is to the weight, but it's all solid wood and very toneful.
     
  10. Crows

    Crows TDPRI Member

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    4
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2020
    Location:
    UK
    The small body 15’s take some beating for finger picked blues.
     
  11. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,316
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2019
    Location:
    Wyoming panhandle
    Used to be, "name" guitars were the way to get a well-built, lightweight, great sounding and playing acoustic guitar. Today, most all acoustics are made the same way with pretty much the same quality woods, brand name be damned. Which means you can get a pretty amazing guitar for not too much money.
     
  12. ataylor

    ataylor Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    360
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Location:
    PNW
    My favorite guitars in the “cheaper” Guitar Center room over the past several years have consistently been the Yamaha FG800 and FG830. You’re not going to quite confuse one for a D-18 or D-28, but after playing one, you might look at the price tag and wonder how they make a guitar that looks, plays, and sounds that good for such a comparatively small amount of money.
     
    howardlo and 985plowboy like this.
  13. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    55
    Posts:
    2,015
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2018
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    Did you try the Yamaha A1 series? About $600, really good.
     
    Jakedog likes this.
  14. carpenter

    carpenter Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    654
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2018
    Location:
    Naugatuck, Connecticut
    I have FG800 I love the sound and play ability .
     
  15. Octorfunk

    Octorfunk Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    564
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2014
    Location:
    Midwest
    Thanks again for all the positive feedback. I tried to ignore the pricetag as much as possible and just grab them off the wall. That's kinda how I settled on the $279 model vs the $499 model, it just straight up sounded better.

    It was very strange to do back-to-back comparisons like that, I don't think I ever realized the fairly extreme differences between acoustic guitar tone. Especially between the Martin's and everything else. Martin's has such a distinct sound, it was like nothing else in the room.

    I also realized that after 20 straight years of playing a dreadnought, I just can't really get used to the sound of smaller-bodied guitars. There are definitely a lot of nice parlor/concert/orchestra models out there, but I've just got that big, deep, full-bodied sound in my head and can't get it out!

    I purposefully walked out without buying just to sleep on for at least one night, but unless I'm feeling drastically different tomorrow I'm headed back there to bring it home. Fingers crossed that tomorrow is a NGD...
     
  16. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,321
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2012
    Location:
    South Louisiana
    A few years back we went through the process of picking out a “first guitar” in the $300 range for my youngest son.
    We looked hard at Mitchell.
    We bought a Yamaha.
     
  17. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,254
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    For inexpensive acoustics, try Blueridge / Yamaha / Eastman / Takamine. Or just completely ignore the name and listen carefully while you play. The selection of acoustics in GC is usually abysmal too - try a different shop or two if possible.
     
  18. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,138
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2017
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    Don't make uneducated and false statements. The vast majority of X Series guitars have solid sitka tops. Only the very bottom of the line ones have composite tops. And all new X Series guitars also now have solid wood necks, not Stratabond ones. So, next time do some research before making inaccurate statements.
     
  19. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,138
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2017
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    Way back in the late 70s or early 80s I got a Mitchell D45 looking dread with abalone trim and block inlays, and laminated (?) gorgeous Brazilian looking back and sides. I was originally drawn to it in the store because of its looks, but it was a great sounding guitar for $300. I wish I still had it.
     
  20. WhiskeyRebellio

    WhiskeyRebellio TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    65
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2015
    Location:
    St Cloud MN
    Wow, you really must have a need to let the world know how special you think you are or something buddy. I was commenting based off of personal experience having played both. I guess I wasn't aware that Martin revamped the X series line. Either way itwas possible to point that out without being an jerk.
     
    old soul and Mike SS like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.