Acoustic Guitars

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The other night we rehearsed without the laptop or amplification, just an acoustic guitar and 4 ladies singing.

I know it's like the lamest, lamest cliche in the world, but I think I need an acoustic guitar for unplugged performances. So make reccomendations, please.

I prefer metal strings to nylon/gut ones. The only acoustics I've ever owned or played were an Ovation and a Gibson. Both 12-strings. I think I want something with better action that doesn't kill my fingers. (Though the Ovation wasn't bad, it was just the 12-stringness of it. And the silly half-shell back.)

Win A Lie-Down, Mrs. Davies (kate), Friday, 19 August 2005 07:58 (seventeen years ago) link

Sigh. This board truly is dead. What a shame.

Last night, I saw a friend's band do an acoustic show and their guitarist was playing a DOBRO. I think I might want one.

I Dream Of Sleep (kate), Monday, 22 August 2005 08:25 (seventeen years ago) link

Hello. Dobro's are cool, but sort of limiting in their scope, and also a COMPLETE PAIN IN THE ASS to set up most of the time. Great for slide though...

I still tend to pimp for Washburn guitars as being my choice of electric-acoustics. D10SCE ($300 USD) if you want to stay on the cheap, J28SCEDL if you want a Jumbo and are in the midline (about $600 USD), and the DG52SCE if yer willing to spend a bit more (approx $810 USD).

So yeah. That's what I think.

John Justen (johnjusten), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 01:05 (seventeen years ago) link

Sigh. This board truly is dead. What a shame

I peek in every so often.

I used to have an Epiphone acoustic - I forget which model but it was just a basic 6-stringer. Good guitar, but for the thread I would suggest just going to a store that has a LOT of acoustics and just comparison shop - there still seems to be enough variation in the $200 - $600 range that you can find something good at a good price without blowing the bucks on a $$$$ Martin or Guild.

Elvis Telecom (Chris Barrus), Tuesday, 23 August 2005 07:06 (seventeen years ago) link

Elvis OTM. The days in which you could dismiss a chinese-made guitar in favor of the US big 4 (Martin, Taylor, Gibson, Guild) are long over. My store dropped all of our US acoustic brands a few years ago, and I've never regretted it...and for gods sake, stay away from the $600-$1000 USA guitars, because you are trading the status symbol of US production for poor-quality materials.

John Justen (johnjusten), Wednesday, 24 August 2005 15:27 (seventeen years ago) link

I bought an oddity last month, which might be of interest - a "cittern guitar", from this guy on the borders:

it's the little teardrop bodied instrument in the picture on the front page. It's an absolutely delightful little thing as well. It has a standard guiatr width neck, but it's a couple of frets shorter. The tone is surprisingly deep & full, considering its size, plus it projects really well, plus the sound is very transparent. Under 100 quid, incl delivery! I spoke the guy on the phone, and he was pleasant & helpful too.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 26 August 2005 13:02 (seventeen years ago) link

NB also that this guy's site has lots of interesting stuff in it & linked from it - check this out...

...for instance.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Friday, 26 August 2005 13:14 (seventeen years ago) link

I've got one of those low end Washburns and I'm pretty happy with it. It sounds really good and the action doesn't seem too bad- it's relatively easy to play a barre chord, although what do I really know, I'm only a lowly bass player.

k/l (Ken L), Monday, 5 September 2005 22:35 (seventeen years ago) link


NOIZE DUDE, Thursday, 8 September 2005 13:40 (seventeen years ago) link

I bought an oddity last month, which might be of interest - a "cittern guitar"

hey, thanks for this pashmina. i went on david's site, emailed him cos i'm a lefty and was wondering, and he's sent me one cheap - it's a bit of a weird conversion. it's still ace though, a really nice instrument. slightly resonator-y sound from a floating bridge. played it last night at a friend's housewarming while i was pished, good fun.

angle of dateh (angle of dateh), Saturday, 17 September 2005 10:04 (seventeen years ago) link

ten months pass...
I dig an Epiphone PR-6.

The Mad Puffin (The Mad Puffin), Monday, 24 July 2006 23:36 (sixteen years ago) link

three years pass...

can someone recommend the best way to lower a movable bridge (i guess sanding is the only option) or a place to order a one in a different size?

am0n, Saturday, 5 September 2009 22:37 (thirteen years ago) link

You can go at it from the other way and shim the neck.

oing oing oing (╓abies), Sunday, 6 September 2009 15:43 (thirteen years ago) link

Oh wait on an acoustic guitar uh I guess probably not....

oing oing oing (╓abies), Sunday, 6 September 2009 15:44 (thirteen years ago) link

i ended filing it down a bit and putting ultra light strings on it which helped. i found that if i lowered the action to a normal height it buzzed really bad on the 13th fret and up, which i guess means the neck needs setting. unfortunately i aint a goddamn luthier

am0n, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 17:29 (thirteen years ago) link

its playable with the high ass action using ul strings so whatever

am0n, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 17:31 (thirteen years ago) link

six years pass...

My 20-year old shitty epiphone acoustic guitar is on its last legs, and I need to get something new. Unfortunately, it seems like going into a store and trying out a bunch of guitars is not really the standard way of finding a good new guitar anymore - stores are gone, and the ones that are left have limited inventories and so much seems to be done online.

But I really know next to nothing about acoustics beyond simple things like Martins are highly regarded and super-expensive. Any recs as far as brands and models go? I want a steel string, something I can finger-pick but not too huge or wide a neck. Having pickups/electronics is not important or desired. Prefer something that just sounds purty that I can play country and folk stuff with.

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 23 September 2015 18:55 (seven years ago) link

also something that's not a million dollars - a grand is probably my upper limit

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 23 September 2015 19:01 (seven years ago) link

ugh I'm going to have to go to Haight Ashbury Music if I want to try anything out, it looks like

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 23 September 2015 19:09 (seven years ago) link


The Starry-Eyed Messenger Service (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 24 September 2015 03:04 (seven years ago) link

I didnt mean i was going today! My free time is limited.

Οὖτις, Thursday, 24 September 2015 03:07 (seven years ago) link

I was hoping to be able to tell you "you can get a low-end Larrivee for a grand," but I checked, you can't. they start right around 1250, which is pretty expensive, still, in my mind. you can get a Taylor in that range (like, pushing right up againt a grand), a lot of people really like Taylors, I have never connected with one. whereas Larrivee makes incredible guitars imo. honestly though my favorite playing guitars, the ones I play around the house or take into a studio, were not costly -- they're old, sometimes beat-up, things I bought online. it's a risk! but, like -- this 1970 Guild here -- it's rebuilt, doesn't have the original neck, so collectors don't have much use for it, but I'd wager it plays beautifully. The video linked from the listing sounds great, those early 70s Guilds are just some of my favorite guitars in the world (and are really expensive when they're all-original), I play one almost daily here in the house -- they are wonderful to have around and to play for my kids.

You might also cast around online for parlor-sized Gibsons of the 50s, which play RAD as hell and sound incredible but aren't the big-monster Gibsons (or super-early ones) that command the giant prices. I think I got my LG-1 for under 1k, that was 10 years ago and the Gibson market's always going up but the parlor ones aren't as loved I don't think.

tremendous crime wave and killing wave (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Thursday, 24 September 2015 03:20 (seven years ago) link

God damn it I'm kinda not buying guitars now, I had a sickness about it for a while before I had all kinds of havin' kids expenses, but this thread caused me to look at a listing for a 1963 Epiphone Cortez which I kind of really want and can't justify

tremendous crime wave and killing wave (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Thursday, 24 September 2015 03:24 (seven years ago) link

thx for the tips I hadn't considered Guilds

guitar collectors are the weirdest

Οὖτις, Thursday, 24 September 2015 22:45 (seven years ago) link

The guitarist in my band sometimes used a guild acoustic and I thought it was a fantastic sounding guitar.

I recently accidentally came by one of those cheap starter Jasmine acoustics and I actually think it sounds pretty good for $100 or whatever it retails for. I tend to like "thinner" sounding acoustics over "fuller" sounding acoustics.

on entre O.K. on sort K.O. (man alive), Friday, 25 September 2015 01:12 (seven years ago) link

Encountered a guy playing a Guild this past Saturday and it seemed pretty nice.

Out 1: Lispector (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 25 September 2015 01:13 (seven years ago) link

don't tell me his name was tom

on entre O.K. on sort K.O. (man alive), Friday, 25 September 2015 02:31 (seven years ago) link

Eh, no. Does that guy even play acoustic?

Out 1: Lispector (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 25 September 2015 12:37 (seven years ago) link

I went to Haight Ashbury Music Center on Saturday and man that was just depressing. Rows and rows of Yamahas, Ibanez, and Taylors, almost everything with crappy built-in electronics (why do people even bother with these, I have never understood it, much less heard them make a decent sound). A lot of Martins as well, but no Gibsons and no Guilds, and none of the Martin models I was particularly interested in. These guys have an inventory/space at least as big as Guitar Center, so this doesn't bode well...

looks like I may have to resort to the internet/ebay after all

Οὖτις, Monday, 28 September 2015 21:07 (seven years ago) link
If price were no object:

Three Word Username, Monday, 28 September 2015 21:12 (seven years ago) link

Bad news wrt the hopes that Gibson parlors might be cheap - the parlor guitar market is exploding right now. I sell 3 times more parlors than dreadnaughts right now. It's crazy.

a strawman stuffed with their collection of 12 cds (jjjusten), Monday, 28 September 2015 21:20 (seven years ago) link

Keep an eye out for guitars made under the name "The Loar" and also for the "Recording King" models. They do a torrefied top model that is crazy good and sells for $500. Both of those (which are actually from the same parent company) are the best thing going for under $1000 right now in my opinion.

a strawman stuffed with their collection of 12 cds (jjjusten), Monday, 28 September 2015 21:22 (seven years ago) link

ahh appreciate the pro tips here jjjusten. I think I can probably go as high as $1,500 - but it does seem weird to me how at first glance there appears to be very little mid-range between a few hundred dollar models and the several thousand dollar models.

Οὖτις, Monday, 28 September 2015 21:24 (seven years ago) link

how do people feel about these Blueridge guitars - I've never played one, they had a few at HA

Οὖτις, Monday, 28 September 2015 21:30 (seven years ago) link

jjusten speaks wisdom. I have a Recording King in the 000 style, I think they call it an RO 06 - a good $500ish guitar. It plays very nicely fingerstyle or not; it has gigged reliably and has yet to be damaged by curious toddlers, drunks, or drunk toddlers. I would not exalt it to the ages, but it suits my needs fine and its existence protects a beloved very old guitar from the rigors of daily use.

The missing mid-range between affordable instruments and the serious boutique stuff seems explicable to me. At this point, it seems like mass-produced instruments can be made pretty consistently and are mostly pretty good. Certainly light-years beyond the entry-level instruments of my own Cretaceous childhood. I speak not of jokey untunable sub-$100 toy-store things, but the ubiquitous offerings with respectable names on the headstock that are affordable to mortals.

A $5,000 guitar is better than a $500 guitar but it is not ten times as good. And what difference there is may only be discernible to a professional, expert, or hypersensitive crank.

If I had $100 I would not buy a guitar with it. If I had $500 I could probably be satisfied with any of dozen different more-or-less-indistinguishable choices by the usual suspects (Epiphone, Yamaha, Ibanez, a few others I'm not thinking of right now). If I had $1,500 I might be tempted toward a new Martin or Gibson, but would also check out high-quality used instruments.

forbidden fruitarian (Ye Mad Puffin), Saturday, 10 October 2015 02:54 (seven years ago) link

I'm kinda impressed by the Martin X series. I got turned onto them by a hippy bluegrass player around here that goes down to Costa Rica a few months a year. He said first time he went down there the humidity completely screwed up an acoustic he had but those laminate necks on these Martins did fine.

Martin advertises them as "working man guitars" and they seem to me to kinda fit the bill. They are kinda loud like most Martin dreadnoughts and the stock electronics are not bad.

I think they are pretty good guitars for the money. Other things are to look for an older used Alvarez or some other acoustic made in Japan in the 80s.

earlnash, Tuesday, 13 October 2015 04:41 (seven years ago) link

I can't believe I waited so long to post here. Slipped my mind. I have a handful of nice enough electrics, but my acoustic is a beat up Seagull S6 which is fine for a starter - which it was when I started - but nothing remotely special. I've been shopping around for a new (old) acoustic for the better part of a year now, but the combination of price and variety has overwhelmed at stymied me. For a while I was aiming for a Martin D28 or D35 (this would be my forever guitar and a belated birthday present). but then part of me was thinking, hmm, Gibson J-45 is pretty classic, or even the J200. Then I heard a Martin jumbo, the J40, and it sounded pretty good, too. Latest thing that's caught my eye was a 1970 Gibson Southern Jumbo, which is going for not a terrible price; I've heard it's very similar if not identical to a J45. And then I've recently stumbled upon a late '60s Dixon Hummingbird, lawsuit-style Japanese rip of a Gibson Hummingbird, that many love, and which goes for a steal. And then, adding to the confusion, I've read that it's actually the southern jumbo and Hummingbird that are similar, if not identical.

Anyway, I have no idea what to do, and when faced with a room full of 300 guitars, have even less idea what to do.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 16 October 2015 19:11 (seven years ago) link

two months pass...

I ended up getting a Gibson Dove, arrived on Saturday. I had been trying to get a Hummingbird but just got priced out of various ebay bids. Can't say I'm disappointed, the thing is a beauty

Οὖτις, Monday, 11 January 2016 18:03 (six years ago) link

an old one or a recent one?

tremendous crime wave and killing wave (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Monday, 11 January 2016 18:33 (six years ago) link

I couldn't afford any that old, this one is from 2006

Οὖτις, Monday, 11 January 2016 18:38 (six years ago) link

two years pass...

actually apparently it's a puerto rican cuatro 10-string guitar. Anyone know what make? (longshot I realize)

Fedora Dostoyevsky (man alive), Friday, 1 June 2018 18:01 (four years ago) link

two years pass...

What if anything can anyone tell me about the Aria Japanese Gibson clones? There's a local dude selling a cheap lawsuit era '70s Aria J180 Everly Brothers jumbo and it looks pretty cool:

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 6 January 2021 14:58 (one year ago) link

idk about their acoustics but I have a generally favorable impression of Aria

my second bass was an Aria knockoff of the classic 80s Kramer strat type body with P/J pickups and a pointy head stock, still have it for sentimental reasons

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 6 January 2021 15:01 (one year ago) link

I just have had such a tough time pulling the trigger on any acoustic. I've got some nice electrics, but my only acoustic is my original Seagull starter, which has always been hard to play. There is just such a wide range of craft/sound/price to acoustics, and unlike electrics there's no easy way to, say, swap out the pickups.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 6 January 2021 15:10 (one year ago) link

i've got an aria 505 acoustic. great guitar, lovely and bright

kites aren't fun (NickB), Wednesday, 6 January 2021 16:14 (one year ago) link

I bought a 1971 yamaha acoustic from a consignment shop a decade ago and it's probably the best $100 I've ever spent, if that can be extrapolated to other 70s japanese acoustics. It sounds good and plays really well and was in great shape, but isn't as nice as my cousin's 90s Martin that I babysat for a while.

I didn't realize it at the time but it's a red label 'nippon gakki' model that people kind have a thing for; the cheapest one on reverb right now is $600 and is in much worse condition so I feel like I got a crazy score

joygoat, Wednesday, 6 January 2021 16:33 (one year ago) link

This one is I guess all maple, with a glued headstock repair. They're asking $390, which is a lot lower than the going rate (and this particular Everly one doesn't come up in many searches) but ... yeah, I dunno.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 6 January 2021 18:53 (one year ago) link

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