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Ultimate Garage Band

Acoustic Guitars

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Doug    12

I think these days you can get really good value in inexpensive Asian guitars in and around the $350 mark. I think if that you are in this price range you should not consider cheaper models of the better brands like Martin or Taylor. I think Taylors are beautiful and high quality guitars but I would never buy a Baby Taylor. You are just paying for the name, in my opinion. They strike me as extremely poor value when compared with the myriad of Asian brands that compete in that price range. Once you go up to the 1500-2000$ range, it is a different story. Best bet (as everyone has said before) is to go to music stores and try out the guitars that you can afford (and don't forget to consider used). You'll find the one that wants you to take it home.

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carol m    64

Just about the price, TashSt - Doug is talking about Canadian and USA prices. Guitars here often cost about double. When I bought my first steel string I ran my thumb over the strings of all the guitars in my price range (and a few a bit above it) where they were hanging or in stands and listened to the sound. If you concentrate on what you hear, you'll hear big differences in tone. That cut the possibles from maybe 60 to 4. You should have already thought about whether you really want onboard electrics or not, or don't care. Then I played each of the four. This cut it down to 2 and I really found it hard to decide.

After a coffee break next door, I went back and bought the one I preferred for tone, looks and how easy it felt to play, and didn't worry that it was $300 more. I've never regretted it. The chosen one was a Takamine cedar top that cost $1200 a few years ago. I wouldn't sell it ever. It took about 3 hours to make the purchase. So don't let anyone rush you and don't go when there are lots of people milling around and playing other guitars - you need to be able to hear properly and to be left alone long enough really think it through.

I did try a couple of guitars a lot more than my price range but couldn't hear any difference (at my skill level) which was useful to know. In years to come, the price you pay (within reason) won't matter one bit if you get the one you want. If you only buy the one you think you can afford, you may regret for years - or buy another one later which will cost more in the end. Think of it as an investment - that always helps me to decide! And they last a lot longer than a computer.

Long live GAS. Goodluck. :)

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TashSt    0

That's great advice carol m, thank you!.. I am going into the city on sunday to have another look (and possibly buy) will keep everything in mind. Here's hoping I have a new baby soon..

(you know the nice ones that don't cry)

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As earlier mentioned, acoustic guitars can be broken down into 2 distinct groups, steel string and nylon string. Let’s look at them in greater detail.

Steel string acoustics are, by far, the most commonly played acoustic guitars. What’s funny is most actually use a bronze alloy string but they’re called ‘steel’ string anyway. There are several different kinds of steel string guitars and they are probably best described by the name given to the body style. The most common are:

The Dreadnought

The Jumbo

The Grand Auditorium

The OM

The 000

The 00

The 0

The Folk

The Parlor

And many, MANY others some being copies or variations of the above.

Now, for the sake of this thread, in order to not overwhelm with too much data, let’s sort of group these into 3 categories we can generally call, big, medium, and small. There is going to be a bit of overlapping but in very general terms, the dreadnought, the jumbo, the grand auditorium and the OM could be called ‘big’ guitars. They generally have large bodies, the necks join the bodies at the 14th fret, and they are ‘full scale’ guitars coming in somewhere around 25 inches in very broad terms. The dreadnought and Jumbo are the biggest of that group and by far and away the most popular steel string body style sold is the dreadnought. It a very large, loud guitar made for solid rhythm strumming and is best played standing up. It’s very commonly used in Rock, Country, and Bluegrass.

In the medium group we could have the Grand Auditorium, the OM, the 000 and the Folk. These guitars will handle rhythm strumming but are probably best suited for finger picking. Many in this group do not have a pickguard. These guitars are also typically full scale and usually have the neck join at the 14th fret. They are more comfortable to play sitting down than a larger guitar and are often found in Rock, Country, Blues, and ‘fingerstyle’ jazz.

In the small group we have the 00, the 0, and the parlor. Another type of guitar we could put in this group are ‘scaled’ guitars such as a ¾ size dreadnought. Small guitars usually feature a shorter scale, the body and neck join at the 12th fret, there’s usually no pickguard, and these guitars are best suited for finger picking and they are incredibly comfortable to hold and play sitting down. They are typically found in Blues and some fingerstyle jazz.

There is another category of steel string acoustic and that would be the jazz guitar, either a ‘gypsy’ jazz or an archtop. These models typically exceed the entry level price point of a first time player so I’m not going to address them.

The nylon string guitar is basically placed into 2 groups, the classical guitar and the flamenco guitar. There is not near the selection of body styles and sizes. Typically there is a full size and a scaled size as in a ¾ classical. There are some other models out there such as 2 models of Parlor sized bodies from the Godin company, but the focus is really on the full size models.

I’ll use this opportunity to highlight some major differences between steel string and nylon string guitars. As I mentioned in the other thread, to just identify them by string type is shortsighted.

Most nylon string guitars do not have an adjustable truss rod because the necks are under so much less tension from the nylon strings. This is one of the most attractive reasons many new players opt for a nylon string; they are much easier on the fingers in the beginning. The necks are wider and flatter than steel string guitars. They are played with the fingers not a pick. The guitar is held over the left leg and the left foot is usually on a footstool. They are never played standing up. They always join the body to the neck at the 12th fret. They often do not have as many side position dot markers and never have dot markers on the fretboard itself. The construction method is different than a steel string typically using a ‘fan brace’ method as opposed to the ‘X’ brace method of steel string acoustics. The strings tie onto the bridge whereas steel string guitars use a ball end string with bridge pins. Can you see how different these guitars are from steel strings? Here’s another remarkable difference.

In the classical guitar market there is really no middle ground of models and prices. There are basically 2 groups; student models and performer models. Understand that in this realm, a $2000 guitar is still considered a ‘student’ model! Any classical guitar by a major guitar company like Washburn, Fender, Ibanez, etc. would be considered a student model. 99% of student models sell from $100-$1000. A serious performance instrument begins at around $4000. In the lower end of product offerings, nylon string guitars are not as loud as steel string guitars.

Things to look for in ANY acoustic guitar:

A solid top will have a more pleasing tone and a louder tone than a laminate top. Guitar companies do many things to make the unobservant purchaser think they are purchasing a solid top guitar when the top is actually a laminate. For instance:

All spruce top

100% spruce top

Vintage toned spruce top

Beautiful spruce top

Spruce top

All of the above are LAMINATE tops! Unless the word ‘solid’ is next to the word ‘top’, it’s a laminate top. ‘Solid spruce top’ is a solid top. Anything else is a laminate. In an entry level instrument, expect to purchase a guitar with a laminate back and a laminate body/sides. I’m also not inferring that a laminate top does not have a place in the guitar world. They are more durable for kids that tend to knock them around a bit more, they hold up better to abuse/knicks when camping, etc. They fight feedback better when used in a louder, amplified environment. If your first guitar has a solid top, you’ll probably keep it longer. The longer you keep a guitar, the more value it imparts to you.

Thanks for taking the time do write this up. It is exactly what I was looking for in the way of explanation and advise. I am looking for an acoustic guitar and, based on other posts, was thinking nylon. After reading your post however, I am now thinking steel. I played an electric some 45 years a go and want to get back into more of a folk mode.

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eddiez152    129

David,

I do think that is a better overall choice. Besides there are a number of different string sizes to choose from as well. From extra lights to heavy dependent on the choice of guitar. Also acoustic electric models, but those are also available on the nylon. Various neck configurations including nut widths.

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warntha    0

Hello,

I'm new both to this forum and to learning to play a guitar in general. I'm not sure if the question I have belongs here or not so please forgive me if it doesn't. I have an unusual question to ask.

Can anyone tell me the measurement length in inches of the Taylor GS Mini from the NUT to the 11th fret? The reason of this is because I'm interested in buying a guitar that will work with Travis Perry's Chord Buddy and he says that it works on most any guitar that meets a specific measurement requirement of 12" (give or take .25").

Thanks for your help.

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eddiez152    129

That little Taylor is an impressive guitar for its price. Its scale length is 23.5" as compared to 25.5" on a normal GS like the one I have. I also have a Baby Taylor which has a 22.75 scale length.

I'm gonna keep the numbers simple

On a Normal GS to the 11th Fret 11 7/8" and 1 3/4 nut width

On a Mini GS to the 11th Fret 11 3/16" and 1 11/16 nut width

Not quite 5/8" difference.

On a Baby Taylor to the 11th Fret 10.5" and 1 11/16 nut width

Although I do not have a mini GS here here are my calculations. Hope that gives you some idea.

And welcome to the forum.

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eddiez152    129

Another way to look at it is.

TAYLOR GS6 25.5 scale /2 = 12.75 at the 12th

TAYLOR MINI 23.5 scale /2 = 11.75 at the 12th thus only 11 3/16 at the 11th.

BABY TAYLOR 22.75 scale /2 = 11.375 at the 12th

My H&D has a 25.4 scale / = 12.7 at the 12th

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Amber Wood    0

Sheehans Music in Leicester, UK have a really helpful and comprehensive guide to choosing your first acoustic guitar (and you can always ring/email them for any info you'll need if the guide isn't enough!).

www.sheehans.com/choosing-acoustic-guitar

It is VERY, VERY IMPORTANT that your first guitar is properly set up!! Otherwise, there is not much point in purchasing one!

Sheehans set up all their guitars prior to sale so every guitar plays like a dream. Take a look at their set-up page and video:

http://www.sheehans.com/acoustic-guitar-set-ups.php

There is also a beginner guitar section in their acoustic guitar line-up:

http://www.sheehans.com/category/beginners-guitars

I have found their website to be mega helpful and got myself a Veelah V1D acoustic guitar for my first guitar a couple of years back! Absolutely love that guitar and would recommend to all as a starter acoustic. :yes:

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Atavar    3

I am a beginner and I'm looking for an acoustic guitar. I have my sights set on a Yamaha 730s. Any opinions on the Yamaha brand? I don't want the cheapest guitar, but I don't want to spend over $300 on it either. What would be my best choice between Takamine, Ibanez, Washburn or Yamaha (under $300). Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Kris

Kris,

I am a rank beginner and I picked my first guitar with no education at all by picking up and strumming everything in the shop. I would suggest you do the same, you will find something that sings to you. As you are playing the guitars pay attention to your mouth. Remember the ones that you smile while you are playing with them.

What I ended up with is a Guild AD3-ce Dreadnaught sith a solid spruce top and laminated mahogany sides and arched back. It does have a pickup and a tuner built in. I just really liked the presence and tone of this guitar compared to the others in my price range. This guitar lists way over your price range at $1099.99 but you can actually find them in the real world for pretty darn close to your price range

http://www.worldmusicsupply.com/guild-ad-3ce-acoustic-electric-guitar-arched-back-and-solid-spruce-top/ $479.95

Bear in mind that this guitar comes with a first rate polyfoam case that is really quite impressive, so if you make an allowance for the case it is really darn close to your price.

It could be that I might have made better decisions but so far I am really quite happy with this.

Advice I got over and over was that as a beginner you need the absolutely best guitar you can afford. Better guitars will play easier and sound better and both of these will let you play more. i am sure others will chime in but this is my 2 cents worth.

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KendoSurf    1

I lucked out when I got my Yamaha FG-350W. I jokingly said FG stood for Field Guitar aka A Beater! I bought it for $100 used, from a friend who INSISTED that I had to own this guitar. Finally I relented. I used nickel-steel rounds .046-.012. This guitar has GREAT tone. Other players have been spellbound by its sound (in a good way). Never regretted this purchase!

I contacted Yamaha to find out more. They told me mine was made in 1978 and was a middle-of-the-line product, which retailed for a list price of $250.

Moral of story: In guitar land, sometimes "a bargain" really is "A BARGAIN" !!! :clap:

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KendoSurf    1

I lucked out when I got my Yamaha FG-350W. I jokingly said FG stood for Field Guitar aka A Beater! I bought it for $100 used, from a friend who INSISTED that I had to own this guitar. Finally I relented. I used nickel-steel rounds .046-.012. This guitar has GREAT tone. Other players have been spellbound by its sound (in a good way). Never regretted this purchase!

I contacted Yamaha to find out more. They told me mine was made in 1978 and was a middle-of-the-line product, which retailed for a list price of $250.

Moral of story: In guitar land, sometimes "a bargain" really is "A BARGAIN" !!! :clap:

:D Here's a ten buck what-the-heck auction buy...

http://video.pbs.org/video/2365337665/

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