When Did Buying An Acoustic Become So Confusing???

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by colchar, May 18, 2019.

  1. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    That would actually be an excellent way to select an acoustic. At least for me... I have to confess that oftentimes I let my eyes influence my buying, whether consciously or subconsciously.
    It would be very interesting to have a room with a dozen or two guitars of potential candidates, sit down blindfolded, and have someone hand you each one. First round, pick the top 5, second round, the top 3, etc, until the big reveal...
    (And hope you don’t end up with the pink hello kitty model in your hands in the end!)
     
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  2. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

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    It would be great comedy for the blindfold to be removed and it was some £49 Stagg made of cheap ply and covered in a few mm of poly
     
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  3. oatsoda

    oatsoda Tele-Meister

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    Just want to say best of luck with the upcoming surgery, whatever it is, and that a quick, and full recovery come out of it. Guitars are awesome, but if you don't have your health...

    That being said, I'm in the Martin 00 and 000 camp, ecstatically and firmly.
     
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  4. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Starting out on electrics puts players at a huge disadvantage. Some never get past the acoustic hump. Glad you're doing it!

    First comment: You missed two obvious brands: Guild USA and Larivee. They're great guitars, and they don't charge as much for mystique.

    Second, what about a used guitar? You know enough to recognize a bowed neck or a crack or a lifting bridge when you see it.

    About sound: Plugged in, all acoustics sound the same. Unplugged, I doubt that blindfolded you can tell a cutaway from a non-cutaway. And you already play electric, so you're alrady having all the up-the-neck fun you need. So cutaway-versus-non might not be a very important critereon.

    But you can tell the difference between an unplugged dread and anything smaller. Dreads and jumbos can be cannons. Smaller guitars can be magical, but you'll be sacrificing some volume and depth. Since unplugged is what acoustics are about, size matters.

    It especially matters at jams and parties. If you like playing with others, it's worth keeping in mind. My old Martin dread dominated jams, and the Guild dread I play now likewise can take charge of any situation. That's why bluegrassers play dreads: to be heard over the fiddle and banjo. Remember, you can make a dread quieter, but you can't make an OM louder.

    And a word on neck length, just to give you something else to confound you: Some players care. (I don't.) Most Gibsons' necks are shorter than most Martins, so there's slightly less tension, so you can bend Gibson strings a little more easily. Martins' longer necks make them a little louder. Likewise, Martin 0M necks are longer than Martin 000s'. So if you're into lots of bluesy bends, your guy probably recommended a 000. If you lean toward bluegrass, he probably mentioned 0Ms.

    But if you're titll wondering which small guitar your guy mentioned, just call him up. I'm sure he'll be glad to repeat himself. Most of us do.

    I'm surprised (and glad) that you aren't in a tone wood quandry, too. But just in case you have been scratching your folicles over mahogany versue rosewood, here's my humble: There's much too much tone opinion that just comes down to what people have been lucky with. Mythology is good for storytelling but bad for guitar shopping. Any wood can sound great, and no wood guarantees a good sound. Let you're ears be your guide.

    And that brings us around to the most important thing, which has already been mentioned above: Don't judge by brand. Judge by how it feels, sounds, and looks. It's going to be your guitar. Get the one that really is your guitar!
     
  5. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

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    Great advice.
     
  6. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    At least the matte and satin finished acoustics don’t need to add to the confusion. They can all be discounted with their scratchy, rubbing noises they make ruining every recording you make.

    What do they even exist? Save some money in manufacturers and making it a feature?
    Lancaster Uni did that exact study to determine if experienced players could detect back and side tonewood differences from identically engineered acoustic guitars... you can guess the results.
     
  7. raysachs

    raysachs Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Don’t over think it. Buying acoustics is really pretty simple. You just have to play a bunch of them and one or two will let you know what you like and you may have to go back and forth between a couple of them a few times before you make up your mind, but the guitar will tell you. I’ve done that three times over the past 40 years, twice I came home with a Martin, once a Taylor.

    Now I play a carbon fiber Emerald which I had to take a chance on because they’re only sold direct, and it took me buying and selling a couple new ones and one used one to get it right but now I have a great guitar I can leave out in all conditions, don’t have to worry about keeping humidified in winter, etc. Buying carbon fiber is more like buying an electric - you need to know which model you want, but within a given model, they’re all gonna sound and play basically the same...

    -Ray
     
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  8. nocastermike

    nocastermike Tele-Meister

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    Nothing beats a martin dread. The d28 is your meat and potato's guitar. The age well and cover everything.
     
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  9. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Doing your own setups puts you at an advantage when buying a acoustic.
    I mentioned I had to play 5 or 6 of the same model to get a good one. Mine was setup with a uncomfortably high action too but I recognised that it was capable of being setup to my preferred action. It sounded the best too. I press the wound e string down to the height I like in front of the saddle and sight down the neck to be sure everything will work once I have adjusted to my preference by sanding the saddle. The other guitars were not capable of a low action due to the neck angle or whatever was responsible for the bridges being slightly higher with less string clearance. You need a good amount of wiggle room and a high saddle to begin with. Then the obvious straight neck, fret check and nut etc.
     
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  10. telel6s

    telel6s Tele-Afflicted

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    I can say it was just as confusing in 2001-02 when I hunted for my acoustic.

    Play lots of guitars to hear what you want. One brand's grand auditorium might sound like another brand's mini-jumbo. It's the sound you should key in on, not the shape or wood.

    Listen to other people play the guitars you are interested in. What the player hears is not the same as what an audience or microphone hears.

    Don't get too hung up on those three brands. They make great guitars but so do lots of other lesser known brands. If you all you wanted was a Martin I'd say OK. But Martin, Taylor & Gibson are already so different from each other I don't think you should block out others.

    If you want a dread, don't get all seduced by the thirteen other shapes hanging on the shop wall. There's a reason you see so many dreadnoughts - that shape makes for a mighty fine guitar. Don't be different just for the sake of being different.

    And in the end, two years down the road the lifer guitar you bought might not be the lifer. And that's OK. Tastes change. So don't stress too much about your choice.

    P. S. I bought my '98 Gibson CL-30 new off the wall of a Gibson dealer in 2002. I love it more now than the day I bought it. It has never disappointed me.
     
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  11. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    I'll add to the chorus that says, just play a ton, don't overly worry about brand names or body sizes.
    You like Taylors, so you might tend to prefer the smaller body sizes then. My acoustic is an OM from Larrivee. Rich, loads of overtone, bright but not overwhelmingly so. Not as loud and bassy as a Jumbo or a dread, but that's fine as well.

    I wouldn't worry so much about back and side wood either, or even - gasp - all solid or lam. The top is what does the real work. Just play a million of them and take home the one you like best. I am still kicking myself that I didn't impulse buy a weird looking Blueridge dread that I played in a store not too long ago - that thing had the exact dry, woody, rich tone I am after, played great, and cost less than $800.
     
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  12. Deathray

    Deathray Tele-Meister

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    I know you have a Yamaha LL6, and you Probably think of yammys as nice entry level guitars, but don’t count them out.
    I played many guitars, not worrying about the name on the headstock, and found that Yamaha makes some great solid wood guitars for just under $1000. They hold their own against US built guitars costing 3 times as much. They also have %100 hand crafted guitars, from their Japanese facility. These get a bit pricey.

    I ended up with a Yamaha LJ16BC. It is not a dread, but a medium jumbo.
    Solid rosewood body, and 5 pc RW neck with mahogany skunk stripes, solid Englemann spruce top, maple binding, and abalone inlays. It sounds better to me than anything I played, and I played a lot before deciding. I couldn’t find a regular LJ16, so I had bought the Billy Corgan sig model Which has added Gotoh vintage open tuners, brass bridge pins, and Tusq nut and saddle- $999. The tone, and volume of this guitar blows me away. Don’t count out Yamaha.
    79A90D23-3200-439E-96CF-1BB274ED9792.jpeg
    750BD829-8617-4C49-90B9-48CC3740993F.jpeg
     
  13. burtf51

    burtf51 Tele-Meister

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    jmo being you just getting started into acousticville I wouldn't go out and spent a fortune and you can easily. I have to keep telling myself "you don't need to even think about getting a Preston Thompson and spending 8-10K.

    Personally I think bang for the buck you can't beat an Eastman. The E1OM list for $575 and is a really nice guitar with a 1 3/4 inch nut which I personally prefer and a traditional C neck profile. Both their E1OM and E2OM are round the same price. Here's the info on both

    https://www.eastmanguitars.com/e1om

    https://www.eastmanguitars.com/e2om_2018_new
     
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  14. zombywoof

    zombywoof Friend of Leo's

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    The day companies like Gibson decided they needed to roll out 100 versions of the J45. When I started playing you had two choices - a J45 or if you did not want a burst a J50.

    One of the problems (if you want to call it that) today is you guys have too much information at your disposal. How many times do you see somebody post the question of what guitar should I buy. Or even better they pose the question which of two guitars would you prefer to which they will get responses naming 30 other "better" choices. Life was a lot easier when you just walked into a music store and picked the guitar you liked the best for what you could afford. The mind wobbles.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  15. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Loved my D-28 (a lot!), but it wasn't perfect for me. I can shake a lot more out of a Guild. The Martin tone is too balanced and not twangy enough for my style. Taylors have a different problem: too stiff and cold for how I play.

    Translating from electric to acoustic (a rough guide):

    Les Pauls = Martin acoustics: balanced, authoritative.
    SGs = Gibson acoustics: loud, emotional.
    PRS electrics = Taylor acoustics: raspy, generic, funny-looking.
    Strats = Larivee acoustics: sparkly, chimey, cool-looking.
    Teles = Guild acoustics: twangy, loud, emotional.

    (That's just to my ears, of course. That's how they usually sound when I play 'em.)
     
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  16. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Colchar, one more question: Do you care about where it was made?

    Since you mentioned Gibson, Martin, and Taylor, it's possible you're hoping for a US-made instrument. I mentioned Larivee and USA Guild above, and they would both fit that criterion.
     
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  17. rjtwangs

    rjtwangs Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Likewise, Martin 0M necks are longer than Martin 000s'. So if you're into lots of bluesy bends, your guy probably recommended a 000. If you lean toward bluegrass, he probably mentioned 0Ms.[/QUOTE]

    This is ridiculous!! OM's for bluegrass??? I've seen misleading statements like this way too often on these forums. OM's are for any style of music you like. Guy's like Eric Schoenberg, Roy Bookbinder, Rory Block all blues players all play OM's. Please do not fall into the stupid idea that a certain style can be played on only a certain size or shape...it's hogwash and it's not true! Geoff Muldaur plays a 12 fret 00, while his partner Jim Kweskin plays a D18. And I personally prefer 12 fret 00's. A 12 fret body is larger than a 14 fret body and a 12 fret body can easily keep up in volume with a D size guitar. The important thing is to find the size and shape that works best for YOU. Last, if I were looking for a life acoustic I would be looking for a used one. Do yourself a favor. Log into the UMGF and look in their buy and sell. Guitars there are for the most part being sold by knowledgeable people who will be honest and helpful. You can learn a lot on the UMGF( Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum ). Take your time, save up, and find your dream guitar. Any size and shape you like.


    RJ
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  18. bcorig

    bcorig Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I went through a similar exercise in 2017. Wanted an upgrade from my Ovation Legend for performing. Took my three months of subjecting a bunch of guitar shops, GC and Sam Ash to my playing, hemming and hawing.
    Price point $2200 MSRP.
    I thought I wanted a Martin or a Taylor but every one I played was nondescript, so-so workmanship. Actually my heart was set on a Martin, well, because, right?
    2017 NAMM came up. I went to all the booths and left with the same feeling about Martin and Taylor but very impressed and excited by the top of the line cutaway Seagull Artist dreadnaught although I became equally thrilled by the P7 DC Takamine in the ESP booth, the latter being way above my price point. $3999 at the time.
    Well, I found a Seagull dealer in SoCal and played that guitar unfettered for 45 minutes (poor guy) and discovered the nut was too wide for me. As I was leaving the dealer then drops my current guitar on me, Takamine CP4DC - OV and it just FIT. $1200 out the door. Never been happier.
    Check out Pro Series Takamine.
     

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    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  19. bcorig

    bcorig Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    You obviously know a great deal about guitars but that Avatar is hilarious
     
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  20. colchar

    colchar Friend of Leo's

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    I'm not sure they make any gloss finish guitars.

    Then again, even if they did I don't know that I could bring myself to buy one. They are a Canadian company, but a couple of years back they moved all production out of Canada and to the US. As a Canadian, I don't know that I can support a company that pulled out of the country.
     
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