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Which one as my first ever acoustic guitar?

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I am about to buy my first acoustic guitar. I did a little research and found out, that solid top guitars are the way to go, so I've been looking for those and I found two guitars, that have solid tops and are within my budget. These are:
Fender CD-140S
Yamaha FG 800M
These two are the only ones I found in my country (Slovakia) in my budget. (200 - 250$)
Do you guys have any experience with these guitars? Which one is better in your opinion?
As I looked through the specs I noticed four differences.
1. The Fender has 25.3 inch scale length, while the Yamaha has 25". Which one is better?
2. The Fender has Graph Tech® NuBone nut and saddle, while the Yamaha has Urea.
3. The Fender has Dual action truss rod, while the yamaha has single. (I don't really know the difference)
4. The Fender has Mahagony back and sides, while the Yamaha has Nato.
Based on these differences I'm leaning towards the Fender, but I wan't to ask for your opinion as well, because I wan't the best "buck for the money" as they say. 

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You're somewhat splitting hairs to select between the two.  

Yahama has, for decades, dominated the student level guitar market.  The FG800 is new and it is the loudest $200 guitar I can remember ever playing.  It has replaced the FG700 which was a top seller for a decade.  If there are still 700's around, they should be discounted and there isn't enough difference between the new and the old model to warrant paying more IMO.  There are also pre-owned 700's available which should go for well under $150 USD.   Unless you can't find the older model, I'd certainly tell you the 700 is the better value and, at the price, is probably about 40% less expensive than the Fender.   That would, all things considered, tilt the scales toward the Yamaha.


I just purchased this Fender;  http://www.guitarcenter.com/Fender/GC-140SCE-Grand-Concert-Acoustic-Electric-Cutaway-Guitar.gc

And this is the review I wrote; Now done with dreadnaughts, I was looking for a smaller body with a cutaway for slide work. Having purchased several Gretsch products made in association with Fender, I felt the Fender QC and customer service were exceptional at any price. After auditioning every available cutaway under $2k in the GC showroom, the Fender was, IMO, particularly good at the price. My "4 star" rating is ONLY reflective of the fact this is a less expensive guitar to buy.

Sound quality is slightly midrange scooped (more Martin than Taylor), somewhat dark in the bass, not especially nuanced when held against the best and not loud but sweet and ringing with the OEM strings. Overall playability is quite good. Barre chords are not a problem at any fret. Thumb over chords and fingerstyle patterns are about average in playability. The neck is a comfortable fit for my medium sized hands and remains so up into the cutaway. Out of the box action was slightly high at the 12th fret but still intonated perfectly - ideal for slide. Now that the strings have settled in, it has held a tuning very well. For students, this Fender challenges Yamaha for quality control and sound though the Yamahas do have greater projection and more midrange "umph" than the Fender. For more accomplished players, this is a very decent, low cost secondary instrument. The OEM electronics are basic but useful for most purposes. At well under $500, Fender and their associated products are, IMO, consistently narrowing the selection process.


Here are a few comments I just made on another forum regarding the Yamaha FG700 (take this to be more or less interchagneable with the FG800; I've owned the FG-700 and it's a very nice, student level guitar. That's where Yamaha's bread and butter exists outside of Japan, the student level. 

The 700 is a well made guitar (you have to look close to see how they cut corners to save on cost) with few outstanding points beyond being one of the best values in its price range. It's just a well-made-for-the-price guitar that sounds decent and plays well. 

There are tons of 700's out there, which means there are tons of used 700's out there too. As first guitars go, its got the game plan down. You probably won't stick with a 700, but you'll remember it. Not sticking with a 700 also says, don't buy a new 700. 

It sounds pretty good (with no flaws and no great points either) for a $200 laminated B&S guitar and plays like you would want a student guitar to play. Nothing's difficult about playing the 700 and results are all you could expect from a student level instrument. 

Most shops order them by the pallet load so, if you decide to buy new and get a keen Yamaha box as a keepsake, ask to open several and choose the best of the lot. Generally, the Yamahas come with fairly lousy set ups and they will need adjustment, if not a full bore technician's assistance (about $50 worth) to get the best from the guitar. 

For years - decades really - Yamaha has simply dominated this market and the 700 only made the point more obvious to other manufacturers in this price range. 

Change out the OEM strings; Martin strings if you want a warmer, more "Martin-ish" sound or Elixirs if you want a brighter, more "Taylor=esque" tone and play your heart out. Stick with 12's for any strings you buy. 

Just don't ever loan a 700 to a "so called friend" who promises to pay you on Tuesday for a guitar to play today. The dirty rotten SOB will up and move out of town and you won't ever see them or your guitar or your cash again. Not that you'd want to see them again. Trust me, I know from personal experience. (Insert the seven words you are not allowed to say on a forum here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyBH5oNQOS0) 

700's are now discontinued and available stock should be discounted. Better yet, buy a used 700 for well under $150. The replacement 800 is in stock and it is the loudest $200 guitar I've ever played. 

Buy either and you'll have a very good student level guitar.  You will probably need to put some additional money into a set up (with new strings) for the Yamaha.  The Fenders I've played are really good right out of the box.  That should narrow the difference in cost between the two guitars.  Different strings will, I think, also change the overall character of the Fender and can make a large difference in its warmer overall tonal character.  I'm not a big fan of coated strings and that's OEM on the Fender.  

Otherwise, the small differences you've noted are not that important to the playability of either guitar.

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Hi Tomi, are you buying the guitar online without being able to play it before buying?  If so, I expect that either of these guitars will be fine.  If you can play them in a store before buying, I recommend it, but if not, it's better to get any guitar than no guitar at all. 

If you can see and play either or both guitars before buying, for me, the most important things to look for are solid top (always if you can), how the guitar feels to play in your hands (even if you can't play yet) and the sound. How the guitar feels in the hands depends on several factors including the actual size of the guitar (jumbo, standard or parlour i.e. smaller), the width of the fretboard - narrower fretboards make it easier to reach the strings but harder to hit only one string - and the curvature of the fretboard - some 'feel' nicer or better than others - but that is a personal factor.

However, if you are a beginner, whatever guitar you first learn on, that one will be the one you will get to know, and hopefully love.  Also you won't have any experience of other guitars to compare it against, so it will be what you know, and therefore perfect for you.

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Thank you all for the replies. Yes, I can try these out, as a matter of fact, I just went and did today. Both of these guitars feel and sound very good to me, although I don't really have reference to compare them to. As I was in the store I discovered another solid top guitar, that fits my budget, it's the Ibanez AW70 Artwood. Do you guys think is it better than the other two?
Some of it's specs:
Solid Sitka Spruce top
Sapele back and sides
25.5" scale length
1.69" nut
Ibanez Ivorex II nut and saddle material.


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The only advice I can give you is to buy the one that says "take me home". I have a Yamaha 12 string and a Taylor acoustic. Both sound great and play great. The Taylor cost about 20 times more than the Yamaha. Price is not always the only factor. Your choice should be based on the best quality you can buy within your budget and buy the guitar that asks you to take it home.


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The better guitar is the one that feels and sounds better to you.  Solid top guitars usually sound better than laminates, but this is not always true.  A solid top might mature and produce a warmer, fuller sound with age, or it might not change at all, but don't buy a guitar for what it might sound like in the future.  Some don't change much and some seem to change a lot.  The tone of a guitar is a very subjective matter.  Solid woods are much more susceptible to cracks than laminates.  I still recommend, in most cases, solid woods, but you need to use a little extra care with solid woods.  Laminates are hard to crack.

So, although there are some objective features, like how well the action is set and if the neck is straight, a lot of "better" is very subjective. 

Most new guitars need a setup.  If the neck is straight and at the right angle, any guitar can be made to play well.  Even the 1 Martin guitar I bought new needed the action lowered, but Martin ships a little high because your climate, choice of string gauges, and playing style will change the setup.  Its easier to lower the action than to raise it.

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