#1
Hi guys, I decided to follow the advice people gave me last time by trying out a number of guitars. I didn't like the sound of the larrivee guitars too much (sounded like a harp to me?), it was a little too mellow. I think it was the l-03 and l-05. I didn't like the sound of the dreadnoughts and rosewood tops (too much bass for me) much either.I like cedar and mahogany tops, cedar in particular is really nice.

I prefer a very energetic "alive" sound. I do like a darker sound, but it's not an absolute must for me to have that in a guitar.

I'm mainly interested in playing pop songs (playing along to 80's pop hits, mellow new age stuff, and flamenco). I realize it's never a good idea to go for a guitar that's a "jack of all trades, master of none"...but I'd like something that straddles an acoustic and electric sound (but leans more acoustic).

I want to play a wide range of stuff, and I'd rather not spring for several guitars (unless I have to), I want to have something that can be multi-purpose if possible.

For example something that can do this:

4:49-5:15 (spanish acoustic?)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuAi7DS7jCQ

and

0:02-0:19

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ti-dbZB_x7w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpVfRwtfrzI

Obviously I'm not looking for exact matches but something reasonably close if possible? My budget is around 2500 bucks. I'll be buying them on ebay so I imagine I'll get a decent discount. Most of the guitars I'm listing went for around 1800 bucks used.

After several weeks of research and listening to various clips on youtube, the models that have caught my attention were :

Taylor 514ce
Taylor 314ce
Martin D28
Gibson J45 (tied with Taylor 514ce for my favorite acoustic sound)

Taylor T5 custom Koa - (leaning towards this one since it's a hybrid)

My favorite electric I've heard was the 2007 Gibson LP Classic custom :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3kbRbeLZXY

So now my questions are:

1. Do you guys have better suggestions than the guitars I've listed?

2. Should I go for the T5 or just get a straight acoustic-electric (like the 514ce) and a nylon string guitar?

3. Should I go for an electric for the sake of versatility?

The amp I was thinking of using was the Roland cube 60 since apparently it's good for getting an acoustic sound and serves as a good practice amp. I'll be basically playing in my room (quietly).
Last edited by Sonny Crockett at Oct 13, 2009,
#2
Those are some expensive guitars you've listed. Any of them should suit you well. The brightness in tone that you seek comes largely from the bracing of the top and the quality of the build. The Martin D-28 is the benchmark that everyone seeks to equal or surpass. The HD-28 will have scalloped bracing, which is even lighter. This has made the HD-28 series very sought-after for about sixty years now.

The brightest, best sounding acoustic guitar I ever played was a Martin D-35. It was a masterpiece, but not surprisingly, it cost a fortune. If you are considering a Gibson, go with the Songwriter instead of the J-45. It's a great guitar; particularly the acoustic/electric version, but it will be at the high end of your $2500.00 budget.

You'll be better off with an acoustic/electric than with a straight acoustic. The electronics have come a long, long way in recent years, and they won't interfere with your tone. They also let you play amplified without having to manage a soundhole pickup, and most of them have a built-in tuner that comes in very handy.

Almost any high-end guitar you consider will have a traditional spruce top. The other tops are heavier, and are going to accentuate the bass response in your tone. Some people prefer these for strumming, but they aren't as bright when you pick single notes.

As for electric guitars, that's a whole other ballgame.
#3
Hi thanks for your reply. Have some questions for you:

I realize these choices are completely personal but would you take the songwriter over the hummingbird and D-28?

Would I still be able to play spanish acoustic stuff on these guitars or would you suggest springing for a cheap classical guitar in addition to the songwriter?

What amp would you suggest for the songwriter/hummingbird? I'm looking for something under 500 bucks if possible...

Do you prefer Martin and Gibson guitars to Taylor?

Thanks!
#4
I am partial to the top of the line Songwriters, but I think about 98% of guitarists would rather have the Martin D-28 or HD-28. They have been the industry standards for a very long time. They also hold their value extremely well, in case you ever decide to sell it. Gibsons hold their value, too, but they are not as desirable on the used market as a high-end Martin. I would not take the Hummingbird over a Martin D-28 or HD-28. The Hummingbird was Gibson't top of the line Dreadnought acoustic back in the sixties and seventies, but it is not the guitar that it used to be. It is a fine guitar, to be sure, but Gibson has moved it down a few notches; just as they have done with the Dove.

Martin is still the king of acoustic guitars, but there are others. If you can find someone in your area who sells Santa Cruz guitars, they are gorgeous and as good as Martin and Taylor (and just as expensive!). Taylors are first-rate, and they are the choice of many pros these days. Ditto the high-end, U.S.A.-made Breedlove guitars (though some people can't get used to their unusual look). The only Gibson acoustics I really like are the high-end Songwriters and the Super Jumbo SJ-200. By and large, though, I would not choose any Super Jumbo guitar. But that is just my preference. Pete Townshend loves his, and he is a much better guitarist than I will ever be.

Yes, you could play Spanish pieces on a steel-string guitar, but it would not be as easy as on a nylon-string acoustic. Classical and Flamenco guitars have wider, flatter fingerboards and a slightly wider string spacing in order to facilitate fingerstyle playing. Nylon strings also sound much softer than do steel strings. But in the end, a guitar is a guitar. I saw a Spanish guitarist (he really was from Spain) play a classical piece on a Fender Stratocaster just as he would play it on a nylon stringed acoustic guitar. It can be done.

Avoid the temptation to buy a cheap guitar "just to fill in." You will quickly grow dissatisfied with it, and it will have no resale value as you seek to trade up. Over the years, I have made that mistake and I still have a couple of inexpensive (but not bad) guitars lying around that I almost never use. Spend the money now and you'll save in the long run. Believe me, I know. When I first started learning to play the guitar, a 1959 Gibson Les Paul Cherry Sunburst could be had for $3500.00. Back then, that was a king's ransom for a guitar. Of course, they now routinely sell for over a quarter of a million dollars. Good guitars and basses go up in value.

If you want a good nylon stringed classical guitar, look at the Cordobas and the high-end Yamahas. They will serve you well without breaking the bank. If you want to splurge for an A-list classical guitar, look at the guitars made by Ramirez. They aren't cheap, but they are beautiful instruments.

As for an amplifier for an acoustic/electric, a lot of it depends on how big of a venue you plan to play; they tupe of music, and how many other people are in the band. Fishman makes some very good acoustic guitar amplifiers, and both Marshall and Carvin each make at least one. Most acoustic guitar amplifiers are aimed at the Coffehouse folk guitarist, rather than a full-on rock band. They're pretty loud, but they're not going to keep up with drums, bass and electric guitar.

Good luck, and try as many instruments and amplifiers as you can get your hands on. In the end, all that matters is what looks, sounds and feels good to you.