#1
Hi all and please help,

I've gotten to that point in my life where I'd really like to have a nice sweet acoustic to grow old with. Yes, I'm ready to settle down. The problem is, I just haven't played the field enough to know what it is I'm after. Oh sure, I've been around the block a few times but I've never been a truely serious player. Plus, I'm left-handed and can't just walk into any shop (not even one shop, in my town) and try them out. But I'm 52 years old and damn it, I want to settle down.

I'm hoping that by providing a little background info, you kind folks here could help me make my decision.

Background info is this: I don't generally use a pick. I'm not great at finger style but I like it and prefer to pick chords or strum with fingers/thumb. I figure that makes some difference for what type of guitar I should be looking for although I expect I'd get a dreadnought. But I'm open. As far as price goes, I know I've got to go at least $2k but want to keep it under $3k. A shop dealer has told me he'll give me a break on a Huss & Dalton (just under $2500). I cold get a Martin D28 (from the same guy) for just a little less. I've read a bit about what folks have to say about H&Ds and while I've never heard them slammed, I've never gotten the impression that anyone thinks great things of them either. In fact, I haven't heard anyone take them over say, Collings.

So I don't know... am I looking for a dreadnought and if so, is a H&D worth the few extra bucks that I would pay for a Martin D28 or should I save up for an even higher-end maker? Or should I even be looking at dreadnoughts?

I play at home for me, my wife and friends. Mainly me. I've been told to not get a cutaway unless I absolutely need one - I do not. I don't pick or strum hard and don't need volume (or electrics). And it doesn't seem like expensive guitars are easier to play in any meaningful sense. It's all about the sound. I'm not even sure that I would notice athe improved tonal characteristics of a high-end guitar, given my level of ability. But if it would, I sure would like to know.

Many thanks,
Mike
#2
You've got a great price range to work in.

I've played a few Collings and from every experience I've had with them, I'd say that they are probably even better built than most Martins. However, at this price point, you're getting some pretty top notch stuff anyway. With the proper care, any guitar will last you the rest of your lifetime(and maybe even your kid's lives as well).

The best advice I can give you is just to go out and play what you can. If possible, get out of town and find a bigger store that you know will carry some lefty guitars(or can order some in for you to try). Make it a whole day kinda thing. Since you're spending this kinda dough, you're going to have to really see which guitar suits you. Don't rush your purchase and take your time.

In regards to the body shape, you're going to have to determine that for yourself as well. The dreadnought is more prone to being bassy while smaller bodied guitars are more "balanced" across the spectrum.

Most things in regards to buying a guitar for yourself is really just personal preference. Shape, sound, tonewoods, brands(somewhat), cutaway, electronics, etc.
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

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#3
My advice would be, since you don't strum particularly hard and will be playing mostly around the house, to go with a smaller bodied guitar like a OOO, OM, or something similar. Do you have any small, personal music shops in your area? I'm sure the employees would love to have you try all sorts of different options for woods, body shapes, and whatnot. Plus, if you end up buying from them, you'll be supporting a local business which always feels good.

Really, all we can suggest is that you go out, take your time, do lots of browsing, and pick what you like the most. I'd suggest staying away from famous brands (mainly because unknown companies tend to make some pretty unique stuff), but if that's what moves you, by all means go for it. Happy hunting!
Last edited by GC Shred Off at Jul 20, 2009,
#4
huss & daltons are incredible guitars - really! i've only played 2 of 'em, but they were both the kind of guitars you remember for a long time afterwards. very special. everyone has their own preferences but i'd take a huss & dalton or a goodall over almost any dread made.

btw, if you happen to ever get to the l.a. area, go to mccabe's in santa monica. they have a small wall of lefty guitars - taylors, i think martins and some other brands.
#5
I would recommend looking for a unique and different brand to custom build your guitar. One notable company is Maton who made the guitars that Tommy Emmanuel and Gareth Pearson uses.
#6
I'm hearing a lot of very positive feedback on Collings. My testing is going to be limited, being a lefty, so I want to make it count. Given that, I've played dreadnoughts but not much of anything else (in the acoustic realm). Do you have any non-dread Collings models that would help me kickstart this search?
#7
Check out Breedloves. Brilliant guitars, especially around the $2000+
will someone carry me across ten thousand miles under the silence
#8
http://www.collingsguitars.com/om-series.html

The OM series is just superb. I played one about 3 weeks ago, and let's just say that it was one of those guitars that just left me speechless and wanting to play it some more for days afterward. I didn't take a good look at the exact model, but it was an OM for sure.

I'm not sure if you can actually get a Collings for under $3,000USD. Each one I played was about $3700+CAD. You may have to look for a used one on sites like ebay or kijiji.
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

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#9
Quote by ItsTheMatthias
I would recommend looking for a unique and different brand to custom build your guitar. One notable company is Maton who made the guitars that Tommy Emmanuel and Gareth Pearson uses.

Maton is pretty much the Martin or Taylor of Australia. I don't know that I would consider Maton to be "unique and different" at all. Definitely high quality, great guitars. I just wanted to make sure you weren't under the impression that they were some small, custom-built guitar operation.

Mike... It is probably going to be hard for you to find guitars to try before you buy. Most stores do not carry high-end, left-handed acoustics. Most stores simply don't sell very many high-end guitars anyway, much left left-handed models. It's too expensive to keep guitars like this in inventory for such long periods of time.

This being the case, don't give up on trying before you buy. You definitely can. You are simply going to have to put forth a lot more effort and likely spend a good deal more time in order to do so. The Collings OM series is an excellent option, though I think you might have trouble finding one for under $3000. I'm not an expert on the brand, but I don't recall ever seeing one for under $3000. Some other great brands to look at that I know have offerings in your wheelhouse are Martin, Bourgeois, Taylor, Larrivee, Breedlove, Guild, and Gibson. You can probably also find some used Lowdens near the top of your price range. The few Lowdens that I have had the pleasure of playing were among the absolute best sounding and balanced guitars that I've ever played.
#10
Quote by jimtaka
Maton is pretty much the Martin or Taylor of Australia. I don't know that I would consider Maton to be "unique and different" at all. Definitely high quality, great guitars. I just wanted to make sure you weren't under the impression that they were some small, custom-built guitar operation.


Well I listed them under the impression that they build quality guitars and are family owned. They openly offer custom built services and I haven't heard of Martin or Taylor custom building guitars openly for every single customer that requests it. Of course I could be wrong since I've never really checked if Martin and Taylor actually provide custom guitar building services for everyone.
#11
To add to what Jim said, also think about Avalon, which is a sister company of Lowden that does the more production side of the spectrum. A lot of people use Avalon guitars including Andy Mckee. If I'm not mistaken, they're a little bit cheaper than Lowden but sound just as good.
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

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.