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Who's making the best acoustic guitars these days?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Cali Dude, Mar 24, 2021.

  1. Manothemtns

    Manothemtns Tele-Meister

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  2. rmsurve

    rmsurve TDPRI Member

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    GUILD D55 - You need not look any further - Read the reviews and history on this guitar - Arguably, the Best built and best sounding guitar but I'll let the history of the Guild D-55 speak for itself!
     

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  3. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Tele-Afflicted

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    I love my Larrivee too.
     
  4. turfdoc

    turfdoc Tele-Meister

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    Lowden, Collings.
     
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  5. turfdoc

    turfdoc Tele-Meister

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    I have an O32C which is far and above the best acoustic Ive ever heard or played.
     
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  6. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah, I do love my '94 Larrivee L-09 as well. I don't know that it is a better guitar than Martin, Gibson, or Taylor. However, I do love it.
     
  7. timbgtr

    timbgtr TDPRI Member

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    This probably isn’t helpful but it’s a good excuse for a story. When I was in college, around 1971, I talked a guy down the hall into selling me his Gibson J-50ADJ. I wanted it because it had exactly the same neck as my SG Special, which I’d gotten a couple of years before. I loved the guitar, despite some cracks in the finish, but for one problem—this horrible adjustable bridge (hence the “ADJ”) like an electric, but with a soft wood volume killer saddle.

    Fast forward about 40 years and a few acoustics later. I got on the Internet one day to learn more abut that weird old Gibson, and discovered that people had gotten the bridge replaced. That never occurred to me, so I took it to Appalachian Bluegrass in Catonsville, MD. They said they could do it, but it wouldn’t be cheap. I figured I could afford it, so I told them to go ahead.

    A couple of weeks later they called me to pick it up. Because the top was so old, they couldn’t fit a new bridge on it. Instead, they cut out an oval piece from the rosewood bridge that held the adjustable one, and fit in new piece with a bone saddle. I know they did it and I can barely see the line between the old bridge and the insert. Maybe the best $275 I’ve ever spent on guitar stuff. The tone is great, and the volume is now there. You have to not be put off by a thin electric neck, but it’s awesome.

    Now in the news you can use department, maybe: Of all the guitars I have, a GS Mini, one of the early spruce/layered sapele ones, gets played way more than the others because it sounds good and it’s just so easy to pick up. I’ve toyed with getting a Taylor GT Urban Ash as a sustainable upgrade with a (much) better pickup system.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2021
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  8. Twelvefrets

    Twelvefrets Tele-Meister

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    The “best” acoustic guitar I ever played was a Bastogne walnut Froggy Bottom guitar made in Vermont. This was in a room full of serious contenders: Collings, Bourgeois, Huss & Dalton. But this was serious money, north of 6k then (And that was 15 years ago.) Same guitar today? 10-12k easily. Was it worth it? It was the best in that room to my ears. But was it twice as good as a 3-4K Collings? No. When you start climbing that “best” ladder the percentages get smaller as you go up, 10%, 6%, 3%, for greater & greater amounts of cash. So you may end up with a spectacular, magnificient guitar in every way, sound, looks, Calton case-a guitar that costs as much as a new car. A guitar you don’t want to even take out of the house, or drill for a neck strap or pickup. A guitar that gets more valuable every year. But you wanted the best right? If bragging rights are what you are after-head on. Otherwise just find a guitar that feels good, makes you smile and warms your heart. That’s another kind of best.
     
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  9. OneOcean

    OneOcean TDPRI Member

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    Some makers off the top of my head in random order: Boucher, Huss & Dalton, McPherson, Collins, Santa Cruz, The more expensive Martins or Taylors (they both have their share of mediocre models)
     
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  10. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I’m trying to get over this, even though I have the same hang up. It’s the era I grew up in. Nice guitars had one piece necks, cheap guitars had multi piece necks. That’s what we were taught.

    It gave me a monster of a mental block that it’s really taking a lot of work to get past. But I have to break it down in my head and remind myself-

    Yes, one piece necks are more expensive. Because it takes a really good sized chunk of wood to make a neck with an acoustic heel and an angled headstock. And most of it ends up on the floor of the shop and swept into the garbage bin.

    However multi-piece necks, if well made, are generally stronger and more stable. You really don’t see heel or headstock cracks on a well made three piece neck. It’s a good way to do things. Should it cost the same as a one piece neck? I don’t know, I don’t build guitars. I know it makes more economical use of the wood stock, but I don’t know if it’s more or less labor intensive.

    I am convinced now that a three piece neck does not make a lesser quality guitar if it’s a well executed design, and that’s what I had to get past. Honestly I’m still working on it.

    My current main acoustic is helping me deal with it. Here’s the headstock joint on my Cole Clark. I’ve actually grown to like it.

    EF162C0C-F936-461B-8A4A-711EBFCA5766.jpeg B21D815E-A054-4B90-B3E4-6BC4B2C9137B.jpeg 8D0FD0B3-0E95-4F2B-8B5A-C49DE36957A1.jpeg C0F56C9E-9E44-4CDF-83E5-ED9747659D9E.jpeg 0AF114F9-7A63-4A1D-BC8F-2629409A4FA9.jpeg
     
  11. dreamsinger

    dreamsinger TDPRI Member

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    Best production guitar? For consistency, reliability, best warranty and overall value I'd have to say Taylor. If you're talking custom made, Roy McAlister is gifted with an ability to build *your* guitar.
     
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  12. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yeah, I wish I’d bought the Lowden I had a crush on back in ‘95. It was between two and three thousand if I remember right. Brand new. At that time I could imagine ever spending that much on a guitar, or that anyone would even need to. It seemed a crazy price to pay for an acoustic. But back in those days I think a new D28 was about a thousand bucks.
     
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  13. 3CardMonty

    3CardMonty TDPRI Member

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    I believe Boucher Guitars is making the best acoustics available nowadays. Check out JP Cormier here:
     
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  14. oregomike

    oregomike Tele-Meister

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    Martin is also doing good things with their D-18 traditional reissues.
     
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  15. nickmew

    nickmew TDPRI Member

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    The best guitar debate for me always comes down to - it depends. The most accurate yet imprecise answer you can give.
    I've got - and had - a fair few nice guitars, and I've still got a variety for different uses -
    For a good strum my '68 Gibson Dove.
    For fingerpicking, my Martin CEO-7.
    For old school woodiness I was lucky to find a 1932 Kalamazoo KG-11.
    A 300 Euro Flamenco I bought from the guy who built it (Bartolome Lozano) in a backstreet in Madrid to me was better than anything I'd tried previously - at least up to the £1000 limit I'd set myself (this was a good 20 years ago).
    I had a Lowden S32, which I bought when looking for something completely different - I was amazed at it's resonance and projection - but a week later I realised it just wasn't what I wanted, and traded it for the Martin (also tried the Waterloo by Collings and a Gibson L-00 Vintage custom shop at the same time). Still would quite like a Lowden now, but couldn't afford to keep them both at the time.
    I've got a Taylor 355 12 string, because I wanted a 12 and found it at a great price, but it wouldn't be my forever guitar as I don't use 12s much.
    Taylors generally for me are incredibly well built and thought out, but just don't float my boat in terms of sound or particularly neck feel. The Dove was found in a dusty corner of a shop when I was contemplating a Taylor 814 and not really sold on it. Picked up the somewhat battered Dove, one strum and I knew it was coming home with me.
    I've tried lots of guitars over the years, and I've found some that had a special magic, and some that just don't (a particularly poor brand new Gibson SJ-200 I tried once still gives me the shivers - going for £4K but sounding and playing like a bag of nails).
    Buying a particular brand or name may give you more guarantee of consistency / quality, but there's no substitute for just trying loads....
     
  16. jageya

    jageya Tele-Holic

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    i went to gc not long ago-within last year and just played like 95% of what they had in thier humid room..from $100- 10k or more..i forget....and the one i liked was an alverez...go figure huh?? I go in blind not really caring what the brand is-i act like they are all blank in my mind. Sure i know once i go into the highend room its highend but jump around and sometimes wonder who buys a 2-20k acoustic that just plays on the couch at home.lol
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2021
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  17. Twang Deluxe

    Twang Deluxe Tele-Holic

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    I love my Martins
     
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  18. kingofdogs1950

    kingofdogs1950 Tele-Afflicted

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    I've owned two guitars by Roy McAlister.
    Concert 12fret 42 style in Brazilian/Adirondack
    Traditional 12fret 000 in 225 year old mahogany and Adirondack
    Both were excellent guitars but I have long since gone back to my first love - currently a Gibson J-50 (2002).
    My first good acoustic was a cherryburst J-45adj (unknown age) I bought used in 1970. I was heartbroken when some drunk sat on it and crunched the top. Sigh... the keggers were fun though.
    My all time favorite guitar was a Martin 12fret 000-28GE from 1996.
    Sadly sold to pay bills.
    As to the question at hand of what is the best acoustic, I say play what you like.
    My J-50 takes me back to the late '60s when I was hooked on the blues after seeing Lightnin' Hopkins in Houston. Doesn't get any better.

    Mark
     
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  19. mrmtele

    mrmtele TDPRI Member

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    I have a Martin HD28 made in 2010 that I bought new from a local dealer that was going out of business for their cost. Since it was from a dealer I have the lifetime warranty. It's a canon and sounds as good as a most of the vintage Martin's I have heard. I had a LR Baggs pickup system with the individual transducers for each string installed when I got it as well. They pick up the sounds of the wood so it sounds about as good plugged in as on a mic. If you are looking for a more budget friendly acoustic I don't think anyone as mentioned Blueridge guitars. They are very close to the sound of Martin's at a fraction of the price. I have owned a few of them but sold them off when I got the HD28. Blueridge actually took some Martin's apart so they could duplicate the bracing for their guitars.
     
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  20. gridlock

    gridlock Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have not owned an acoustic guitar in years and still rarely play acoustic. I thought it would be nice to have an acoustic for an occasional (out of my home) jam secessions.

    My budget was $300-$600 and I actually bought and returned four different guitars before settling for this Breedlove.

    It has a nice Ebony neck, not too big, nice fit and finish, good low end, looks good, and sounds good.

    8AFEB08F-5A7E-4787-8043-6FA144BE09FC.jpeg
     
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