Jump to content
Totsie

Trying to thin down the choice of acoustics

Recommended Posts

Totsie    5

Hi,

I've been reading Ultimate Garage Bands threads on the different types of acoustic guitars which has been a great source of information and very well delivered.

I was aware of the various types but still had some questions which this has answered admirably. Cheers.

I will be on the look out for a folk guitar. I like folk, a bit country and easy listening music and have deducted that a six string steel acoustic is what I should be looking at. However, in order to whittle the vast selection down a bit, I thought I would throw in a few facts and hopefully someone may chip in with some initial recommendations for be to take note of and perhaps demo when I visit my guitar dealer. I reckon that If I go in with an informed feel to my visit, they may not be quite so inclined to push what they want to sell. I'm not suggesting all are the same with this attitude but I will be going it alone as I don't have anyone to take along.

I am about five foot seven. Small hands and ........ A bit of a belly. Not huge but I ain't no ballet dancer. I suffer from arthritis so do get joint pains at times but these don't tend to effect my fingers, although they can swell slightly from time to time.

I will be playing for my own enjoyment mostly but may come out of my shell at some point. I have a rough budget of about £ 1000.00 for a guitar alone with " stuff " being bought separate. That budget is flexible if it was to secure a guitar that would offer a definite advantage in either build, tonal or comfort quality but I don't want to throw it away for the sake of it.

I would like to buy a quality instrument that I will bond with and not want to change after 6 months or a year. I feel that it would only set my learning back by having to adopt to the " feel " of another instrument. I work away from home Monday to Friday so as well as having other interests when at home ( photography being one ) the guitar would be my main night time activity.

I've been looking at different models but easily forget which is which ( I should write them down ) but would like to draw up a list of say 4 guitars with which to go along to my dealer with to try out. Obviously they should be able to be fairly compared with one another on a price / quality basis.

So far I have been looking at Fender, Gibson, Martin, Taylor and Ibanez.

If anyone can come up with an informed decision for a short list based on the above, I'm all ears. One thing that stands out for me is possibly a narrow neck as my fingers are quite short.

All suggestions welcome and appreciated.

Totsie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
carol m    64

Hi Totsie, when I bought my first decent guitar, I went to a shop with a big selection and first of all I went around all those in my cost bracket and just ran my thumb across the strings as they were hanging or parked on their stands and listened to the sound (not tuned to make a chord, but the sound is the same as when you play chords. I then picked on 4 that to me sounded 'good' to my ears. Then I got the guy in the shop to play all 4 one after the other while I listened.

This narrowed them down to 2 on sound alone within my price range. I then went for a coffee to think about them - and to rest my ears from listening to sounds. Then I went back and got the guy to play both for me again. Then played a few chords myself to see how they 'felt' to me.

I have since found that these days I can now tell within minutes when I find any guitar that I find 'easy' to play - or not, and if I like its sound or not. My favourite acoustic guitar has become a Tanglewood ebay cedar top that was $500 and half the price of most 'good' guitars. It's a bit smaller than most, and it just felt comfortable and sounded 'right' immediately.

Some guitars I've bought (it's a long story) have had nothing wrong with them but they just never 'felt' great to play, and this affected my enthusiasm for playing them.

It's difficult when you don't know what you want in a guitar. Some people decide to get an intermediate priced guitar to start with until you have a better idea of what you like - size, neck width, sound and the special 'something' which makes a particular guitar a favourite. Then you can invest in an upmarket guitar after a few months of playing experience.

Another option is to hire a guitar for a couple of months - guitar teachers and shops sometimes have guitars for hire - and then buy your definitive guitar once you know what you want.

Other things to consider are: it's a good idea to get an a guitar that is acoustic/electric, not just acoustic. Before long you will want to record your acoustic efforts on your computer and having a guitar with electrics on-board makes that easy - with a chord out and some sound card interface/device which are not expensive that will connect it to your computer. An acoustic-electric is still an acoustic sound even when 'plugged in', but you can record with them, or play through an amp without bothering with microphones etc.

Other things to consider: do you want a guitar with a solid pine top or a solid cedar top? Most guitars are pine tops but I prefer the cedar tops because to me, the sound is warmer and with a richer tone. That is a personal preference, but try to get to listen to both types in the shop so you can decide which sound you prefer. Also some guitars are not 'solid tops' but are laminate tops. It can be tricky to tell just by looking. Always go for a solid top if you can afford it - better sound and tone. Look for the word 'solid' anywhere in the description and they are OK.

Another type of guitar are the semi-hollows. These guitars play as acoustic (with electronics for acoustic recording when you want to) and also a proper electric guitar all in the one guitar. They tend to be thinner, which you may prefer when you hold it to play. I don't know if there are any semi-hollows that are not quite expensive.

Hope this hasn't confused you further. Finding your perfect guitar can take years... :) ...or you may find it next week. Ebay is great for selling the ones that are good but turn out to be not exactly what you wanted. It's easier to sell cheap guitars on ebay than expensive ones, Good luck.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Totsie    5

Hi Carol,

Thanks for the above. I had wondered about acoustic electrics and sort of gathered that they gave you the option of using an amp. I just wasn't sure whether or not to follow that route. It could be worth considering.

I hear what you say about price. Initially I thought £ 500 or so but I keep reading the " get the best that you can afford " advice. It is very difficult but I have been here before with camera's and eventually, after much brain bending, made a purchase which turned out right for me so I hope I hit the same mark here. The " feel " is very important which is why I've given considerable thought to my physique and ailments ( arthritis ). I do believe that there is a bonding process with instruments, equipment, cars etc. Photographers say that your camera ends up an extension of your arm and it is quite true.

A guitar has to feel right and it's equally as important as the sound itself so I'll take my time when looking. I will try and narrow my choices a bit by looking for those with solid fronts and preferably narrow necks. What is the script with the acoustics that have the curved rear. A bit like a wok ?

I'll keep posted as to where my thoughts are taking me as I get nearer to the time for buying.

Meanwhile

Thanks again for your input

Totsie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mset3    158

Totsie,

Carol makes some good points when choosing a guitar. Since you don't play, you will have to rely on someone elses judgement and how it sounds to your ear. I have a Taylor acoustic and can recommend them. However, keep in mind selecting a guitar is a personal decision. What works for me may not work for you.

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Totsie    5

Hi Mike,

Taylor is one of a few manufacturers that I have been looking at. Some of their guitars I the £750 range offer solid top etc but it's hard to gauge the neck and action etc as well as general comfort etc until I sit down and hold one.

I'll be short listing a few to try out on my next foray to my local guitar dealer. I hope he has a supply of paracetamol with him ....... He'll need it. Ha ha.

I am looking down the road of an electric acoustic as well so we will see what is thrown into the mix. It will take me a wee bit to get my head around it all yet. It's just starting to sink in.

I'll keep the thread updated with any progress or experiences encountered in my quest for a suitable purchase.

Cheers for now

Totsie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
eddiez152    129

I have Huss Daltons,Taylors, Martins, Gibsons, Breedlove, Yamahas, Fender, and A Zagar. All fine instruments.

I have seen a lot of good reviews on the Yamaho A1R. The most important thing to remember is that the guitar fits you well. Small hand, 1 9/16 nut or 39.6mm is the smallest neck configuration at the nut then, 1 11/16 or 42.8mm next and finally 1 3/4 or 44.45mm Solid wood top most preferred. For that matter all solid wood components are the best choice.

Good luck with you new adventure. Some great points from the folks in the post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Totsie    5

Hi there,

That's one thing that drew my attention to it. It is all solid wood construction with the back and sides being Rosewood or Mahogany and the front spruce. I'll start looking through the reviews and see what is being said. I never noted the size of the nut but I'll check that out as well.

All being said, none of it matters as I could pick it up and it may just not feel right or sound right but at least ( prior to shopping ) it is good if these things are checked out to form some sort of initial opinion. .......... I think.

Thanks for your pits and you can be sure that I am listening to the advice given.

Cheers

Totsie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Totsie    5

Well so far the Yamahas are coming to the fore.

The FGX 730 SC and the A3R look good and are well spec'd. The later is all solid wood construction and the former is solid wood top with laminated rosewood rear and sides. Both are acoustic electric and the electronics are highly enough regarded.

The 730 has piezo fittings which I have read elsewhere have their problems but this model has an updated version which apparently smooths former issues out.

Anyway, the above is two models that I will add to the demo list, meanwhile it's on with the search for at least another couple for comparison.

I'll let you know what else is added as I carry on with my initial reviews.

Cheers

Totsie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Totsie    5

Ahhhhhh, it's yamahas that I am looking at the moment so come on ............ Spill the beans .......... What do you think of your new purchase ? You could do a review from a beginners point of view of how you are getting along with it so far, any issues, has it surpassed your expectations or are there any regrets or niggles. Don't keep it to yourself.

Hope it's what you expected and more.

Cheers

Totsie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×