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Posted: 8/16/2004 2:28:34 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/17/2004 10:05:32 AM EST by corwin1968]
I'm thinking about purchasing an acoustic guitar in the very near future and need some advice.

I'll probably be going to Guitar Center and I'm looking for a good beginner acoustic for less than $500. I have fairly short fingers so a thin neck is a must and I prefer a narrower body but would come down on the side of better tone if I had to make a choice. From the guitars I've played with, I think I prefer a lighter action. I tend to prefer picking over strumming but want to learn both.

Any suggestions for me to keep in mind as I go shopping? Any particular brands to avoid?
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 2:34:23 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/16/2004 5:11:53 PM EST by benbob]
Yamaha is a good one to check out.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 2:37:11 PM EST
If it's a beginner guitar or your first guitar, you don't need to spend a bunch of money on an expensive Martin or Ovation. Just go down to your local Guitar Center (if you don't mind Guitar Centers. I personally don't like them, but they have the largest selections) and try out various models in the acoustic room. Get a feel for how the neck feels in your hand and how the guitar feels when you're holding it. I wish I could afford to support my GAS (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome - VERY similar to Black Rifle Disease).
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 2:39:33 PM EST
Personally, I think it's hard to beat a nice Ovation for sound quality and price.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 2:41:54 PM EST
Get a Martin DXM for a little less than $500. It's their low end, but blows away all others it that price range. I went to do the same thing and played a couple different ones, then played the Martin. At least pick one up and play it a little while your there.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 2:43:59 PM EST
buy a yamaha in a pawn shop. wanna buy mine?
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 2:44:16 PM EST
Alverez has a really nice package, guitar w/ case it has electronics already in it for ~$290, I almost bought one, but I need another guitar like I need another hole in my head, and it plays and sounds really nice,

other than that, I really like Ovations
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 2:44:39 PM EST

Originally Posted By Spitfire75:
I wish I could afford to support my GAS (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome - VERY similar to Black Rifle Disease).



That's the truth. Thats why I don't really have any guns, have too many guitars (7).

I wouldn't recommend Yamaha, every one I've played has had terrible action. Ibanez makes good guitars acoustics. Nice tone and good action, and pretty thin necks. They offer a beginners package, comes with a gig-bag, tuner, and all sorts of basic stuff to get you started. Fender also makes pretty nice acoustics. I have two, but the action is less than desireable, its too high for my preference, trussrod adjustments help, but its still too high. And you can find any of the brands I mentioned for well under $500. You can actually get a really nice acoustic for that. Hope it helps.

Brian
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 2:45:08 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 2:47:12 PM EST
Take my advice, buy a good guitar from the get go! Don't buy a POS just cause you say "Im a beginner" Playing the guitar goes in tandum with how it sounds/feels.


Believe me those bargain basement guitars aint worth it. You want to accustom your ear to a fine sounding instrument. You will appreciate this as you get better at playing.


Now. What kind of guitar shape do you like? Classical or Dreadnaught?


Classical guitars generally have nylon strings giving it a softer sound.


Most guitars are steel string.



My advice to you since you have a budget is to go to a pawn shop or an antique store and see what they have.


I have found gems in those types of places for under $200 cause the seller had no idea what they had.

I bought a $40 Japanese Hand made guitar. Its a S. Yairi made in 1972. Mahogony wood. Polished steel machine heads. Shes a beauty. This guitar sounds and plays better than most of the guitars Sam Ash has going for $700 - $1300.

Stay away from Carlo Robelli and other plywood guitars.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 2:50:42 PM EST

Originally Posted By StariVojnik:
Take my advice, buy a good guitar from the get go! Don't buy a POS just cause you say "Im a beginner" Playing the guitar goes in tandum with how it sounds/feels.


Believe me those bargain basement guitars aint worth it. You want to accustom your ear to a fine sounding instrument. You will appreciate this as you get better at playing.



Definately a lot of validity to that. My first electric I got (after 6 months of playing) was a Gibson Explorer. And its my most played guitar, my "workhorse" as I refer to it.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:00:36 PM EST
Try Seagull guitars and Taylor's "Big Baby". I bought one a month ago for $350, pretty nice.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:01:17 PM EST

Originally Posted By JHaines:
Personally, I think it's hard to beat a nice Ovation for sound quality and price.



+1
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:01:24 PM EST

Originally Posted By ipsilateral_7:
Alverez has a really nice package, guitar w/ case it has electronics already in it for ~$290, I almost bought one, but I need another guitar like I need another hole in my head, and it plays and sounds really nice,

other than that, I really like Ovations



I stared out with an Alvarez base model. Light action, stays in tune, good sound, and very good quality for a 200 dollar guitar. Save the other three hundred for that Martin or Taylor that you'll want to buy next- or another firearm!
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:06:38 PM EST
I haven't bought a Guitar in years. But I doubt the process has changed much. And I think your price range should buy you a quality guitar.

Best bet is to go with a friend who knows acoustic guitars to a large used guitar center. Hell, nothing worng with used. In your p rice range you can get a Martin or Guild (my preference) easily - I think. I have a Guild D40 that sounds as good as anything I have heard and the action is fine. I think. Haven't played in years now.

Good luck.

Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:09:51 PM EST
Another vote for buying a nice guitar, even for your first. After giving up on THREE cheap (sub $200) electric guitars, I spent about $350 for a japanese Strat. My playing, while still awesomely bad, improved noticeably.
At least to my ears.
As to acoustics, I like Ovations for their playability and the shape of their backs. Stay away from any Ovations that call for a battery. Again, my experience was with an electric Ovation.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:14:13 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/16/2004 3:20:14 PM EST by corwin1968]
Thanks for the advice.

I actually had a Seagull for a short while back in 1997 but practically gave it away due to unemployment. I really liked it but I was under the impression they went out of business.

I think I'll spend some time tomorrow at Guitar Center and maybe Lone Wolf Guitars to try and get some ideas about what's available in my price range.

edited to add:

I'm a large (euphemism for fat) individual so a large (thick bodied) guitar is somewhat hard to play. I would like to spend about $200 but I do believe in buying quality so that's why I've decided to go up to $500 to get something good. I'll have to pay particular attention to the Ovations.

Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:15:03 PM EST
Ovations suck unplugged.

They are durable and more tolerant to high swings in humidity than an all wood guitar though.

Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:15:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/16/2004 3:26:08 PM EST by bvmjethead]
Taylor.

Made in the USA by Americans.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:17:06 PM EST
Another way to get more guitar for your money: Buy used! If you have a guitar player friend who can give a used ax a good going over, you could end up with a much better sounding and playing guitar than you would for $500 new. It might not look as nice, but what the heck ... if you play it, it's going to pick up a few dings anyway.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:17:29 PM EST

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
Ovations suck unplugged.

They are durable and more tolerant to high swings in humidity than an all wood guitar though.




They most certainly do. So flat a response, you really have to strumm'em good to get some sort of gain out of them. Plastic.


Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:18:05 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/16/2004 3:19:48 PM EST by corwin1968]

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
Ovations suck unplugged.

They are durable and more tolerant to high swings in humidity than an all wood guitar though.





They most certainly do. So flat a response, you really have to strumm'em good to get some sort of gain out of them. Plastic.


Damn, I was leaning toward paying particular attention to Ovations but I dont' want a flat sounding guitar.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:21:03 PM EST

Originally Posted By corwin1968:

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
Ovations suck unplugged.

They are durable and more tolerant to high swings in humidity than an all wood guitar though.




Are Ovations the ones with metal on the front?





No, round plastic back, wood top.






Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:21:57 PM EST
Dude, this is going to confuse you as much if not more than going there and getting mind boggled in person.

If you are just learning, pick up something that you are comfortable with and focus your energy on technique.

Then,.....................

Martins, Taylors, Ovations, Gibsons, Alvarez, etc...............................
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:22:02 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/16/2004 3:23:22 PM EST by StariVojnik]
IT looks like a oil squirter from the back.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:22:37 PM EST
Try a Takamine. Several models between $500-$600. Acoustic-Electric. You'll like the Acoustic tone and the amplified sound is clean and bright. Necks are slim IMO. If you're serious about playing, you won't need to buy another for quite a while. If it turns out to be just a phase, you can get decent resale on it.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:23:51 PM EST
Takamine is good.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:24:42 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/16/2004 3:29:46 PM EST by ipsilateral_7]

Originally Posted By corwin1968:
Thanks for the advice.

I actually had a Seagull for a short while back in 1997 but practically gave it away due to unemployment. I really liked it but I was under the impression they went out of business.

I think I'll spend some time tomorrow at Guitar Center and maybe Lone Wolf Guitars to try and get some ideas about what's available in my price range.




Are you in OKC? If so you should also visit Granny's music if it's still open, they had a descent selection, but it's been 6 years since I've been there.

and I stand by my Alverez recommendation I own 6 guitars, (fender custom shop strat, squire strat, 70's vintage Ibanez Destroyer, 72 reissue tele thinline, Gibson flying V, and don't laugh but a Oscar Schmit acoustic but it is one of the best sounding acoustics I've ever played) and played on hundreds of different ones, here is my personal(and seems to be everyone elses observations)


The fenders are ok, they tend to have rough action, the finish is gerneally good

Talkamine are great accoustics, sound/finish/action, tend to be pricey though, there was a dealer in my hometown that had some descent prices on their lower end stuff

Alveraze IMHO are one of the best deals out there, the use a cheep binding on the neck that feels odd at first but once broken in it plays spectacular for the price

Ovation IMHO are good guitars, although I have no experience with their lower end stuff, I use to love playing a friends of mine's ovation

Martin, expensive, but very nice, probalby one of the most respected names in acoustics

Ibanez, a well put together guitar, often have good action and sound good from factory

Washburn in my experience can be hit or miss with their accoustics, but my Oscar schmit was actually assembled by washburn and I love mine

Johnson/austin/etc aviod, low end "begginer" grade

Gibson, I'm biased against gibson, I can't figure out why they thing a les paul is worth $1600, but they do have a good product and most of their stuff is american made (I believe this is still the case)


the best piece of advice is to set down with a several guitars within your price range and see which one fits you best and you like the feel and sound, because feel and sound are extremely subjective and what sounds good to me sounds like crap to someone else,

ohh and take a pick with you

Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:50:21 PM EST
I have two Taylors and I love em.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:51:43 PM EST

Originally Posted By ipsilateral_7:

Originally Posted By corwin1968:
Thanks for the advice.

I actually had a Seagull for a short while back in 1997 but practically gave it away due to unemployment. I really liked it but I was under the impression they went out of business.

I think I'll spend some time tomorrow at Guitar Center and maybe Lone Wolf Guitars to try and get some ideas about what's available in my price range.




Are you in OKC? If so you should also visit Granny's music if it's still open, they had a descent selection, but it's been 6 years since I've been there.

and I stand by my Alverez recommendation I own 6 guitars, (fender custom shop strat, squire strat, 70's vintage Ibanez Destroyer, 72 reissue tele thinline, Gibson flying V, and don't laugh but a Oscar Schmit acoustic but it is one of the best sounding acoustics I've ever played) and played on hundreds of different ones, here is my personal(and seems to be everyone elses observations)


The fenders are ok, they tend to have rough action, the finish is gerneally good

Talkamine are great accoustics, sound/finish/action, tend to be pricey though, there was a dealer in my hometown that had some descent prices on their lower end stuff

Alveraze IMHO are one of the best deals out there, the use a cheep binding on the neck that feels odd at first but once broken in it plays spectacular for the price

Ovation IMHO are good guitars, although I have no experience with their lower end stuff, I use to love playing a friends of mine's ovation

Martin, expensive, but very nice, probalby one of the most respected names in acoustics

Ibanez, a well put together guitar, often have good action and sound good from factory

Washburn in my experience can be hit or miss with their accoustics, but my Oscar schmit was actually assembled by washburn and I love mine

Johnson/austin/etc aviod, low end "begginer" grade

Gibson, I'm biased against gibson, I can't figure out why they thing a les paul is worth $1600, but they do have a good product and most of their stuff is american made (I believe this is still the case)


the best piece of advice is to set down with a several guitars within your price range and see which one fits you best and you like the feel and sound, because feel and sound are extremely subjective and what sounds good to me sounds like crap to someone else,

ohh and take a pick with you




Excellent summation of pros/cons of some of the brands mentioned. That in and of itself helps alot. I've never heard of Granny's Music. Where is/was it?

I've gotten on the guitar kick many times only to give it up after a short period of time but lately I've been on a good streak of sticking with things I start so I'm willing to take a chance.

I have a guitar a friend loaned me. It's an Ephiphone acoustic and it's not bad but I don't like the neck and I'm not inclined to spend much time playing it because of that.

I tend to like a "softer" sound and would like to play single-note melodies backed up by chords.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:53:41 PM EST
Martin DX-1 can be had for $430-475.

It's the best value in acoustic guitars today unless you stumble onto a deal at a pawn shop or local sale.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:57:46 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 3:59:33 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/16/2004 4:01:18 PM EST by SO-COM]

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
Buy a Seagull.


Check out these threads on the acoustic guitar usenet group:

groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&safe=off&q=beginner+guitar&meta=group%3Drec.music.makers.guitar.acoustic



I have a seagul, its a nice guitar. Definetely a guitar I'd keep playing. My first guitar was some cheap nylon acoustic that sounded horrible. My second guitar was a Gibson Les Paul which I still have and would NEVER sell.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 4:28:46 PM EST

Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
I build guitars for a living. I've been working on them and playing them since 1984.

Take my advice here: Check out everything else and then go find a Garrison dealer and try his least expensive model. (G10 or G20)

You'll buy the Garrison. I'm sure of it.

Their guitars absolutely kick the ass off of everything in their class.

NO to Taylor. NO to Martin. HELL NO to Ovation. Yes to Garrison.

I don't make a dime to say that. It's just the truth.


CJ



There are three dealers here so I will give them a look. I went to their website and they sound nice but no prices listed on the non-AG models. That scares me.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 4:48:48 PM EST
Garrisons have chunky necks, and I'm not sold on the fiberglass bracing.
I think the seagulls at the same price blow them away sound and feel.


Link Posted: 8/16/2004 5:23:12 PM EST
Personally I like Guild acoustics. Here is a link you might want to try. Not the best but a really good deal on some Washburns: www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/sid=040816192232066234195204953379/g=home/search/td=0/pi=515144X/pi=515300X/pi=515296X/pi=515297X/pi=515145X/pi=515929X/pi=515938X/pi=515325X/pi=515333X
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 5:52:30 PM EST

Originally Posted By ipsilateral_7:

Excellent summation of pros/cons of some of the brands mentioned. That in and of itself helps alot. I've never heard of Granny's Music. Where is/was it?

I've gotten on the guitar kick many times only to give it up after a short period of time but lately I've been on a good streak of sticking with things I start so I'm willing to take a chance.

I have a guitar a friend loaned me. It's an Ephiphone acoustic and it's not bad but I don't like the neck and I'm not inclined to spend much time playing it because of that.

I tend to like a "softer" sound and would like to play single-note melodies backed up by chords.




Granny's musics is at 5807 SW 5th Street I-40 & MacArthur Blvd Oklahoma City


Link Posted: 8/16/2004 5:57:08 PM EST

Originally Posted By ipsilateral_7:

Originally Posted By ipsilateral_7:

Excellent summation of pros/cons of some of the brands mentioned. That in and of itself helps alot. I've never heard of Granny's Music. Where is/was it?

I've gotten on the guitar kick many times only to give it up after a short period of time but lately I've been on a good streak of sticking with things I start so I'm willing to take a chance.

I have a guitar a friend loaned me. It's an Ephiphone acoustic and it's not bad but I don't like the neck and I'm not inclined to spend much time playing it because of that.

I tend to like a "softer" sound and would like to play single-note melodies backed up by chords.




Granny's musics is at 5807 SW 5th Street I-40 & MacArthur Blvd Oklahoma City





Thanks! I work fairly close to that area so I'll have to check it out tomorrow. They are listed on Seagull's website as a dealer.
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 6:01:06 PM EST
+1 for Martin
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 9:16:54 PM EST

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
Buy a Seagull.


Check out these threads on the acoustic guitar usenet group:

groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&safe=off&q=beginner+guitar&meta=group%3Drec.music.makers.guitar.acoustic

+1 . Seagull is your best bang for buck guitar right now . Stay away from used guitars if you don't know what to check out on them .
Link Posted: 8/17/2004 3:12:10 AM EST

Originally Posted By corwin1968:
I'm thinking about purchasing an acoustic guitar in the very near future and need some advice.

I'll probably be going to Guitar Center and I'm looking for a good beginner acoustic for less than $500. I have fairly short fingers so a thin neck is a must and I prefer a narrower body but would come down on the side of better tone if I had to make a choice. From the guitars I've played with, I think I prefer a lighter action. I tend to prefer picking over strumming but want to learn both.

Any suggestions for me to keep in mind as I go shopping? Any particular brands to avoid?



For less than 500 bucks, Alvarez makes some excellent sounding guitars.

Thing is that acoustic guitars are IMPOSSIBLE to reccomend without playing them.

Do this: Get a chair and face the wall. Then play the nicest guitars in the place. Find one that sounds perfect to you. Then find one in your price range that sounds as close as possible.

In my experience Taylor makes the most consistently fantastic guitars. Martins are spotty. Gibson makes consistently good acoustics.

Takamine makes consistently good sounding guitars. Tacoma also makes some good guitars. The occasional Fender acoustic has a good sound.

In the lower range, the Alvarez acoustics sound good.

I have played about every brand out there, from the el-cheapies to the 10,000 + dollar custom jobs. Overall Taylor is the most consistent maker out there. But almost every maker puts out some guitars that just sound wonderful.

So when you shop, buy sound not brand. You will be much happier.
Link Posted: 8/17/2004 3:42:03 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/17/2004 3:52:05 AM EST
corwin1968, Check your IM

I use Harmony Central a lot.
Great site for reviews on damn near everything that has ever been sold!

Link Posted: 8/17/2004 4:10:55 AM EST
Hey CJ, where in Florida are you located? I have friends locally in the same business as you, and they're pretty much in line with your base pricing for their electrics. Their top end guitars are in the same price range as yours also. They've made a couple of LP's for customers as well, and the only way that you can tell them from the real thing is that theirs are better quality than anything that Gibson has made in the last 40 years.

I putz around making my own Strats and doing wiring and set-ups for friends. It's a fun hobby, but it's as bad a cash eater as owning guns....
Link Posted: 8/17/2004 4:52:11 AM EST

Originally Posted By macro:
corwin1968, Check your IM

I use Harmony Central a lot.
Great site for reviews on damn near everything that has ever been sold!





be wary of the reviews you find there ... very high concentration of 16 year olds who've been "playing for 25 years". not that there aren't guys who really know their stuff, there are lots of them, just watch out for the kiddies.

Link Posted: 8/17/2004 5:54:06 AM EST
somebody already posted, but I like my Ovation. It's inside your price range, comes with electric pickups, thin neck and comfortable to play. (got mine at Guitar Center in Phoenix for $499 with an airline approved hard case)

Pick up a few, and buy the one that is most comfortable, sounds right and fits your budget...or do the ARFcom thing and buy a few!
Link Posted: 8/17/2004 10:05:01 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/17/2004 10:07:13 AM EST by corwin1968]
Well, I did some preliminary shopping today.

First I went to Lone Wolf Guitars and he no longer sells Garrison so didn't get to look at those. The guy working there demonstrated an Alvarez and a Martin DX1 and they didn't really have the sound I'm looking for.

Went to Granny's and they didn't have much of anything.

Went to Guitar Center and the first guitar I picked up was an Ovation I can't even find on their website. It was a cedar top, cutaway, Baladeer that I'm certain was all steel strings. The only cedar top Baladeer on Ovations website is nylon stringed. Anyway, none of the guitars in my preferred price range even come close to the Ovation. Not in sound and not in my neck preference. That thing totally blew me away!! The only problem was the damn thing had a round back and was hard to keep against me. Guitar Center's asking price was either 699 or 799 with a retail of 1100. If I actually knew how to play I would have left with that one but I'm not willing to spend that kind of money when I may not stick with it.

I also checked out some Seagulls and although I remember loving the one I had back in '97 they couldn't compare to the Ovation. I also played around with a Seagull classical and I think a Yamaha classical and really liked both of them but not sure if that's the right route to go for a beginner.

Some things I learned today:

1) I definately want a cedar top

2) I prefer lighter strings with a lighter sound

3) I prefer a low action on the neck

4) I definately want a cut-away body

Link Posted: 8/17/2004 10:06:30 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/17/2004 10:07:31 AM EST by StykUrHedUp]
if youve got the cash...Martin and Taylor cant be beat...Ovations are great guitars too...and dont forget about the upper end of the Takamines. I myself play a Takamine G series electric/acous. and its sounds great. got it and a hard case from www.guitartrader.com for under $500..they have great prices.
Link Posted: 8/17/2004 10:25:56 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/17/2004 10:31:25 AM EST by Red_Beard]
Some things to consider:

A solid ceder top will sound better than the spruce now, but a solid spruce top will "open up" and improve in sound as it is played and ages. Not implying that the spruce would sound better after it ages, just that it will sound better than it does now. Ceder tops are softer and therefore more prone to dents and dings than spruce.

If you buy at guitar center, be sure to haggle. You can pretty much always talk them down from the marked price. At the minimum you can get them to match or beat prices you see advertised on a website (musicians friend for example ... owned by the same company as GC). I can usually get them to adjust my out the door after tax price to beat the price I'd get from musiciansfriend.com including shipping. Bring cash and don't be afraid to walk out and you can probably do even better.

Good luck.

Link Posted: 8/17/2004 10:32:19 AM EST

Originally Posted By corwin1968:

1) I definately want a cedar top
2) I prefer lighter strings with a lighter sound
3) I prefer a low action on the neck
4) I definately want a cut-away body




Sounds like a Taylor 514ce. Just don't pay Guitar Center's prices - there are places you can get quotes from to have them match it - you should be about to get about 38% off of list price.
Link Posted: 8/17/2004 3:36:16 PM EST
Who are you guys on HC? I bet you can't guess my user name there.......
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