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Old 01-07-2014, 10:37 PM   #1
deekoop
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Heavy Strumming on Small Bodied Acoustics??

Okay so first I’ll pose my question then I’ll explain why I’m asking, then I’ll repose the question. Here goes:

Why do people say that small bodied acoustic guitars are not “recommended” for heavy strumming? Every time I hear this I hear “great for a delicate touch but you won’t want it for heavy strumming,” and I never really get an explanation for why you won't want it for heavy strumming.

Why I ask: I’m in the market for an acoustic guitar. I’m trying to keep it under $550. I’ve been going to various guitar stores in the NYC area for a few weekends now playing everything I can get my hands on.

I play some finger-style but I also do some heavy strumming and occasionally like to wail on the thing without it sounding brittle and rattling like hell. Every time I tell the sales guy or anyone else who seems to know a thing or two about guitars and I tell them what I want, they say “get a dreadnought, they’re made for people who like to do some strumming and some finger style.” But all the dreadnoughts I play in that price range either sound really cakey in the midrange, sound uncontrollably boomy in the bass, or they sound really brittle in the high end, or sometimes a combination of these. I’m talking about any of the Ibanez, Alvarez, Yamaha, Seagull, or Taylor guitars that you commonly see in like Guitar Center. (I think those are the main brands they carry.) I played the Taylor 110 which is supposed to be a decent dread for the money and thought it was really brittle and tinny sounding.

The thing is, I’ve found some guitars that I DO like but I feel as though I’m missing something because the guitars I like are supposedly strictly finger-style guitars. I like them though because I can play finger style on them but also when I strum them hard, they sound controllable and even. No crazy bumps and spikes that annoy the ear.

So far, the guitars that I like are:

Martin 000X1AE (I have no use the E part but it doesn’t come in just acoustic)
Taylor GS Mini
Taylor Big Baby

So I tell people this and they go “wait so you’re planning to wail on a Martin 000X1AE? Okayyy…..” and then I feel like I’m missing something. Soooo… can someone please help me out and enlighten me as to why small bodied acoustic guitars are not “recommended” for heavy strumming?

I know a lot of people will be tempted to say “hey if you like the guitar, then get it!” which I understand and probably will end up doing. This is not so much to help me buy a guitar; it’s more about helping me understand why people say what they say about small bodied acoustics. Because I kind of prefer the sound of strumming a small bodied acoustic. Is this uncommon?

About me: I’ve been playing for about 12 years (since I was in my mid-teens). I write music on the side and play casually and I’m looking for a guitar that sounds good in a variety of environments and arrangements.

Thanks! Sorry for the long post!
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:56 PM   #2
patticake
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depends on the guitar, but many smaller guitars (and some larger ones) distort or break up when strummed too hard, although body depth, bracing and top wood allows for a lot of variation. i find that the eastman E10P allows for very heavy strumming - possibly due to its adirondac top, and the santa cruz style 1 with its deeper body allows for heavier playing and has more bass.
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:23 AM   #3
stepchildusmc
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the GS mini is made for heavy strumming. it's a travel sized version of taylor's wildly popular Grand symphony body style guitars. it projects very well for a small-bodied guitar and doesn't "break down" under heavy strumming. if any salesperson tells you that it's not the guitar for strumming.... find a new salesperson, that one doesn't know what he's talking about.
sadly that happens often in larger chain type stores.
i do like that little martin but i find that it doesnt project as well as the taylor.
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Old 01-08-2014, 10:57 AM   #4
Bikewer
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I use mine all the time for heavy bluegrass-style flatpicking... Sounds great.
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