#1
Long story short: went to the guitar shop, tried out the Yamahas FS720, LS6 and the A&L Folk Cedar. Will probably get the A&L.

Since i'm a beginner and i've been practicing for about a year on a nylon-string classical, i wanted a small-bodied guitar with a solid top for about 300 euro. Since i play only with my fingers and will be practicing mostly fingerstyle, i wanted fairly wide string spacing.

So i went to the shop to try the Yamaha FS-720: solid spruce top, small (but fairly deep) body, 299 euro. It sounded nice, maybe a bit too bright for my taste. The nut is 43mm wide (1-11/16) with very tight string spacing at the saddle, IMO noticeably tighter than other guitars with the same nut width. To test a guitar to see if i can fingerstyle comfortably, i usually play the fingerstyle part of "Fade to Black", because it does a nice run alternating all 6 strings. After doing that test i was a bit disappointed, the string spacing at the saddle is too tight for my taste.

Then i picked up the Yamaha LS6, which is advertised as a fingerstyle guitar, and i was not disappointed, nice nut width (1-3/4) and string spacing, beautiful sound and felt overall great, but it's about 440 euro on the cheapest online shop, that's over a 100 euro more than i wanted to spend.

Then i had a very nice surprise with the Art & Lutherie Folk Cedar Antique Burst. Solid cedar top for 319 euro. The sound was more mellow than bright (which i liked), the nut is officially 1.72", but with fairly wide string spacing at the saddle. It felt great, and i'm seriously thinking about getting this one. Since i'm not a big fan of the antique burst look, i would get the Folk Cedar black. As far as i can tell, they're the same guitar:

A&L Folk Cedar Antique Burst: http://www.artandlutherieguitars.com/folkcedarantiqueburst.html

A&L Folk Cedar Black: http://www.artandlutherieguitars.com/folkcedarblack.html



At first i was a bit put off by the semi-gloss varnish finish, but on second thought it enhances how well-crafted the guitar is, it looks like a piece of art.

Does anybody have experience with this guitar? All reviews i've found are very positive.
#2
you know, a string change to silk and steels would cut the brightness on the yamaha, although i'm surprised you felt it was bright. it didn't seem particularly bright to me when i tried it. perhaps it's partly because you're used to nylon strings?

i find the colored a&l's sound very flat to me, so i also recommend trying one in person.
#3
I have an art and luthrie that is pretty similar to that, its a wild cherry, and I think its the same finish, black but not a glossy finish. Wasn't that expensive but sounds and looks great for folk music. Best looking headstock of any acoustic imo.
#4
Also, most 'affordable' companies (read: under about 900 Euros) use uglier and sometimes knottier wood on solid colour finishes. It's unlikely that you'll get one with bad wood unless it's a beginner's guitar, but you probably won't get one with great wood.

Cherry and mahogany don't take nearly as long as rosewood or maple to break in. I'd ask the guy how long the guitar has been there. We have a Guild GAD F40 (basically a mini J200) at the store that sounded like crap when we first got it, but after a few weeks of being played, now sounds amazing. The mahogany F30 sounded loads better the first couple weeks, but now sounds much worse - at least to my ears.

Generally any 'full' sounding wood takes longer to break in, while a mid-heavy wood like mahogany sounds good right away.
#5
Thanx for the feedback guys.

I was actually (unfortunately) expecting someone to touch the issue about the color finish. I'm no expert but i figured that the finish (natural, burst or solid color) and the gloss (high- or semi-) would indeed have an impact on the sound. I didn't find any information about it, though. I read somewhere that high-gloss is not necessarily good for the sound.

Is there a thread about this that i missed?

Concerning the A&L Folk Cedar, I only tried out the Antique Burst finish, i'll have to go back to the shop and ask if they have the black one. I'll also ask how long has that guitar been there.

I must say, i wasn't a fan of the antique burst, it would look great as a finish on a piece of antique-looking furniture, but as a guitar finish i'm not so sure:

#6
Thanks for the recommendation. I did check the Seagull Coastline Cedar Folk (several of the Godin companies seem to have a Cedar Folk model), but it's 409 euros at the cheapest online shop (a bit over my budget), plus i'm not sure if they have it at the guitar shop where i try them out, but i'll ask next time.
#7
i have found that seagulls do sound better than a&l's, but i can't imagine why. they seem to use the same woods and finishes...

carlosesteban - i'd go for the wider nut ahead of the sound quality. i find the 1.72 nut on my parlor is a bit too narrow to do a few maneuvers easily, and after an hour, the entire neck feels a bit thin in my hand. i understand that the seagull 1.72 nut has the same string spacing as a 1 11/16, but i don't know for sure if that's true. still, it's very hard to find wider nuts on less expensive guitars - i don't know why that is...
Last edited by patticake at Nov 13, 2009,
#8
Thanx for the feedback guys.

I was actually (unfortunately) expecting someone to touch the issue about the color finish. I'm no expert but i figured that the finish (natural, burst or solid color) and the gloss (high- or semi-) would indeed have an impact on the sound. I didn't find any information about it, though. I read somewhere that high-gloss is not necessarily good for the sound.


Paint/Colour has essentially no effect on the sound. There may not even be a measurable difference, let alone and audible one.

As for gloss, it does have a measurable and extremely slight audible effect. If gloss is done right, the audible difference is basically nothing. High gloss finishes(the thick, shiny ones) done properly, are generally about 2 to 5 micrometers thick. A micrometre is 1/1000th of a millimetre.
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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