#1
Well, I've been playing guitar for about 4 1/2 years. I started on electric and I only own electric guitars. I recently decided that it was time to get an acoustic, but I'm confused on what to look for. I am kinda low on money lately, so I decided that the $300-$500 range would suffice.

So far, I have liked these two:
http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Ovation-GC057-Celebrity-Mid-Depth-Bowl-AcousticElectric?sku=513292#new

and

http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Ibanez-AEG20E-Flamed-Sycamore-Top-Acoustic-Electric-Guitar?sku=519756

I liked the Ovation because it kinda had the feel of an electric, but I liked the sound that I got from the Ibanez. Plus it had a thin body, thus making it easier for me to adapt. Would anyone recommend these, or something else entirely?

Thanks in advance.
#2
The Ibanez is actually pretty nice. I'd steer clear of Ovation, but this is preference - lots of people love their Ovations (though I'm still trying to understand why). Consider a Takamine as well. If you go with a Tak, know that you will want to lower the action on it since you're used to electrics. On my Tak, (EG440C) it proved to be a bit more of a challenge. The bridge pickups Takamine uses are kinda funky, in that the bridge actually fits INTO the pickup. Most Taks have shims underneath the pickup, but, in my case, the one shim under there did not drop the action noticably.

Long story short, I took out the Takamine pickup, and replaced it with a Fishman pickup, keeping the original Takamine onboard electronics. The action is nice and low, but the setup still allows for Drop C tunings without a problem; and the Fishman pickup is wonderfully clear. As a matter of fact, the Tak pickup seemed to clip on the treble side.
#3
Hmm... interesting. Yeah, I noticed that the action was a little high on the Ovation, but it seemed low enough on the Ibanez. I do like the look of the Tak though. I think I might try one of those out this weekend.
#4
I would get neither one of those. Ibanez acoustics are to be avoided. Poor build quality and bad sound (really. I'm serious.) are the biggest problems with them. Yes, they do look nice, but acoustics are more about sound than they are looks. The Ovation will have a very thin sound. Rather than getting an acoustic that feels like an electric that has a thin body, I'd suggest getting a full sized acoustic that sounds good and just getting used to it. Are those the only guitars you tried?

I'd try out Takamine, Seagull, Alvarez, Epiphone, and Yamaha in this price range. They sound great and have fantastic build quality.

Now, as far as what you need to look for:

SOLID TOP
What's a solid top you ask? A solid top is a soundboard (the board on top with the soundhole, hence the name "top) made of, you guessed it, solid wood.

What else would it be made of though? Laminate. Thin pieces of wood glued together in a cross-grain manner. Laminate is quite durable, but it greatly restricts the tone of your guitar because solid wood resonates better than the glue in the laminate.

How can you tell if its solid or laminate? General rule of thumb is that if the product description doesn't say SOLID top then its a laminate. For example:

Top Wood- Solid Spruce (solid in the description=solid top)
Top Wood- Premium Select Pressure Tested Flamed Maple (no solid=laminate top, no matter how much they try to pretty it up in the description)

So what's the big deal about solid tops then? Well, because the wood vibrates better, the guitar will have a much more natural and full sound. Its kind of like the differnence between a solid state and tube amp. SS can sound good, but it has nothing on the sound of tubes.

Solid wood in the highest amounts possible is preferred, but not necessary. The most important part of the guitar to have solid (and the part that should ALWAYS be solid no matter what) is the top.

TONE
The tone of your acoustic is the most important thing to find after you've gathered a nice collection of guitars with AT LEAST solid tops. Maybe you like a darker, warmer tone like that of a Martin? Or the bright, chimey tone of a Taylor? Well, guitars will inherantly have qualities and characteristics of their manufaturer (for instance, Taylors and Takamines, no matter what they're made of, tend to be bright, chimey, and a little bit twangy), but you can fine tune your tastes with your selection of tonewoods. Cedar or spruce tops, mahogany, rosewood, maple, koa, cherry....the combinations are almost endless. If you have a decent knowledge of tonewoods and their characteristics, you'll be able to narrow down your search even more. Remember though, keep an open mind. Try some tonewood combinations you think wouldn't suit you to see what you think. You never know, you might end up finding something you fall in love with.

FEEL
As an electric player, this will probably be the hardest thing for you to find your fancy for. Acoustics are big, sometimes uncomfortable beasts to play. The necks are big, the strings are harder to press down, and there's nothing ergonomical about the bodies. When you're looking for a guitar, just remember that an adaptation of feel will come with an adaptation to the acoustic guitar in general. So, for now, pick something that's as comfortable as you can get without sacrificing tone (i.e. thin bodies, Ovations (which is of course my opinion)). It may not be the most comfortable thing in the world for now, but you will adapt.

This is basically the beginner's guide to buying an acoustic guitar. Hope it helps!
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#5
If you had to choose between the two, I would take the Ovation. I would also avoid the Ibanez completely. They look fancy and all, but when it comes down to it, they just aren't made with good materials or even much care. Especially the Art wood and Exotic wood series guitars. In my opinion, there are many better brands for this price range such as Art & Lutherie, Norman, and Takamine.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

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#6
As mentioned earlier, I almost suggested Seagull. I've played a few, and been quite surprised by them.
#7
Alright, after much consideration, I decided to spring for a Martin 000x1. I like it! The thin body makes it more adaptable to an electric player like me. Thanks to everyone who posted, especially Natrone.