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Old 03-18-2015, 03:08 AM   #1
dannyalcatraz
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Small acoustic guitar

OK, Mom- a former music teacher (voice/piano)- is considering getting back into playing guitar. She hasn't played since the mid-1980s, and back then, she had a GREAT sounding guitar. Don't know what brand it was.

Well, today, while I was shopping, she noticed some of the short-scale acoustic guitars, and it re-ignited her interest in the instrument. With her age and hand/grip issues, she feels that she'd feel most comfortable with something like that as opposed to something full scale.

I've looked at Martins, Taylors, Breedloves, and a few others in person, plus used ones like the Tacoma Papooses online. She does not like the feel of Ovations. She liked the sound, feel & weight of the full sized Rainsongs, so a graphite or carbon fiber guitar the right size might float her boat. I know McPherson, Cargo, and Alpaca are out there, but I'm sure I've forgotten some.

Priorities:

Short scale: 19-22.75"
Feel
Sound quality
Build quality
Price: $200-1000. She might go higher, but if so, it would have to be justified for substantive reasons, and she'd probably want to try it out in person.

We live in the USA, and I'm willing to shop for a good used guitar.

So, any suggestions I haven't thought of?

(Thanks in advance!)
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Last edited by dannyalcatraz : 03-18-2015 at 03:14 AM.
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Old 03-18-2015, 05:30 AM   #2
the_bi99man
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For that situation, I basically cannot recommend the Taylor GS Mini enough. It's a great guitar, super easy to play, perfect with people with reach and/or grip issues. Just a tad longer scale than what you specified, at 23.5". I've played tons of them, and the build and sound quality are just about as good as it gets for less than $1000. All the models have solid tops, and good quality laminate back and sides. If she likes a darker tone, there's a mahogany top model, as well. And if there's any chance she'd be interested in ever amplifying it, there's a special pickup Taylor makes that's designed the clip right into the GS Mini. Or, there's the GS Mini-E model, which actually comes with the same built in pickup system they use on the 100 and 200 series models.

Should be easy to find one to try out. Pretty much any shop that stocks Taylors will probably have at least of every GS Mini model in stock.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:32 AM   #3
Bikewer
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I've had my GS for about 3 years now and love it as well. There are a lot of small "parlor" guitars avaialble currently, sort of a fad for them.
Guys over at the Acoustic Guitar Forum have reviewed several.... some of the less-expensive models don't seem to fare too well, while some of the very expensive ones do.....
The Mini is a mere 500 bucks.
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:11 PM   #4
patticake
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the taylor GS mini sounds better than any other sub-$750 guitar in its extra short scale group, and i've tried a LOT of 21 to 24" scale guitars. the papoose and others in its scale need to be tuned higher than normal guitars - i play the 21.25" scale yamahas at standard, but the papoose and guitalele just suck without being tuned up a bit, and then they don't sound like normal guitars.

she may also want to try the blueridge BR-341 if she can find one - it's got a wider nut, an all solid body and a little more oomph.

when it comes to carbon fiber, i prefer composite acoustics to rainsong, and the composite acoustics cargo might be just the thing - it's got tons more volume and tone than other guitars in its size. also the weird looking blackbird ryder sounds super nice.
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Old 03-19-2015, 01:31 AM   #5
Tony Done
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The GS mini also gets my vote, in particular the all-mahogany version.

IMO, it is also worth thinking about a more standard sized guitar, and using a capo if you want less reach. - That is what the flamenco players do. It will allow more choice.
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Old 03-19-2015, 01:51 AM   #6
dannyalcatraz
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It isn't just the scale length, it is also about the body size, so the capo idea- while good- won't help her out.

I couldn't remember the Blackbird- thanks, Patticake! Unfortunately, part of what makes it so very good probably disqualifies it- surprisingly, they're 24.5" scale. IOW, they're still just a little bigger than what my Mom is looking for. (Not cheap, either!) Still, I'll keep my eyes open to see if I can find one around here for her to try out. With that body style, it could still be comfy enough for her.

It seems though, that the Taylor GS Mini is the "Best in Show". It may have even been the one that appealed to her the most while I was shopping. (She doesn't recall, and I was...well, shopping.)

So I have confidence about it, but I wouldn't call the issue settled. I'll happily investigate any ideas that people come up with!

Thanks to everyone!
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Old 03-19-2015, 02:43 PM   #7
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Old 03-24-2015, 10:03 PM   #8
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I like waffles
sorry that's all I have to add...
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Old 03-25-2015, 11:03 PM   #9
dannyalcatraz
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With or without butter?

Maple syrup? Or more exotic toppings?
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Old 03-25-2015, 11:13 PM   #10
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I think he likes them with phosphor bronze flavored syrup.
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Old 03-26-2015, 09:49 AM   #11
boxio78e5
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Another GS Mini recomendation here. It really is a fantastic little guitar.
For the price it really can't be beaten.
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Old 03-26-2015, 12:22 PM   #12
JBailey23
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I'm gonna jump on the bandwagon. I contemplated buying a GS Mini the other day actually. Really really liked it.
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Old 03-26-2015, 12:40 PM   #13
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Old 03-28-2015, 01:47 AM   #14
patticake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyalcatraz
With or without butter?

Maple syrup? Or more exotic toppings?


**bursts out laughing and spits coffee all over the keyboard**
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Old 03-28-2015, 03:51 AM   #15
dannyalcatraz
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I'm liking both the Cort and the Taylor, but, of course, MY ears don't matter as much as hers.
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Old 03-28-2015, 03:57 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyalcatraz
I'm liking both the Cort and the Taylor, but, of course, MY ears don't matter as much as hers.
Nothing says a good son, can't be a good salesman as well. If you get where I'm going with this.
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Old 03-28-2015, 04:14 AM   #17
dannyalcatraz
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I think I do. But this woman IS a trained musician with a baby grand in her house. And when I was 10, she bought me my first instrument- a pro-level cello that cost $ 2000...in 1977.

IOW, she won't buy a bad instrument.

But the bottom line is that it has to fit HER hands, feel comfy against her body, and sound good to her ears.
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Old 03-28-2015, 05:50 AM   #18
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I will certainly grant you that a baby grand is a hard act to follow sonically. You play a piano like that for a while, and just about any guitar you pick up, will sound like a ten dollar ukulele.
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Old 03-28-2015, 12:26 PM   #19
dannyalcatraz
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Her ear is still pretty good- as I recall, in the few minutes of impulse shopping that set her down the road, the two in the store she liked most were a Martin and a Taylor. There was a "bargain" brand that caught her eye, but she didn't like it after a couple of strums.
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