#1
Don't worry, I've read the stickies and the faqs here in the forum for newbies like myself trying to buy a guitar.
So I'm most likely going to buy an acoustic at my local guitar store and since my price range limit is $300, there's basically only this brand called Art & Lutherie. Almost all the guitars in my price range are from that brand (or is it a company?).
I'm definitely going to try out several guitars before I pick one, but I just wanted to see what people thought of the company/brand before I went in. Is it good quality? Do its guitars generally produce a fuller and darker tone? I'm looking for a full and dark tone, instead of a bright one.
The same questions above go for the Martin brand. I didn't see any review about its guitars.

Also, I've heard that strings should be replaced every 3~5 months for a more-than-frequent player. I probably won't be playing that much, but is this true? Any brands or specific types of strings that are generally good for dark tones?

Here's a link to the site. The guitars are obviously sorted by price
http://www.herbdavidguitarstudio.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=137&sort=3a&filter_id=
Thanks!
Last edited by wicked.sike at Dec 15, 2009,
#2
Well, out of all those guitars in your price range, I'd go with the Art & Lutherie Almond Dreadnought. It's on page two.

It's got a larger body cavity which for the most part means darker, bassier tones and more potential for volume.

And yes, change your strings every 4 months or so. (3 times a year.)
Gear:
Agile Septor Pro 727 EB Nat Ash
ESP/LTD Deluxe MH-1000NT
Epiphone Les Paul Standard
Line 6 Spider Valve HD100 Head
Vox 4x12 Cabinet
#3
are there any other stores you can get to? having mostly a single brand to choose from isn't a good way to find the guitar you love. a&l is owned by godin, the same folks who make seagull among other brands. while the a&l's seem to have good build quality, i've never liked their sound all that much - it's got less "life" than other brands. it would be nice if you could get to a place where you could check out at least some yamahas as there are 3 in your price range, and imo have a more lively sound than the a&l's. the martins in your price range on that site are little martins, which are small (child-sized or travel-sized) guitars unlikely to please an adult looking for a main axe.

a lot of players i know change their strings every week to two weeks, those who play less frequently often change their strings monthly. 3 to 5 months is very infrequently, and unless you're using coated strings, your strings will be dead for most of the time you play them.
#4
In the end, you don't *have* to change your strings until one breaks. Most people change their strings when they start to sound "Dead". This is when the strings get stretched out and loose a lot of their clarity and sound a little muted. You will be able to see for yourself when you have a set on for a while and change them and your like "Woah, sounds totally different."

Some factors that make those strings go dead faster are sweaty hands, the amount of acid in your sweat, whether you wipe down your strings after you play, what brand/type of strings you have, how hard you strum on the strings, and how often you play.

If you do any of those things "More" or have "More" of any of those, then they will die faster. Wiping down the strings though makes them last longer.

Phosphor bronze strings will last longer than the 80/20 type strings. Coated Phosphor Bronze strings last even longer than Phosphor Bronze.

In the end, you have to be the judge of when you want to change those strings. Some people change them every week, or few weeks. Others just change them every month. Some change them every few months. Some don't change them until they break, others change them whenever they feel like changing them.

In the end, I recommend every month to three months. I find 3 months to be about as long as mine last. Since I started trying coated strings, the sound actually lasts pretty nicely around 2-3 months, and then I start to feel the need to start changing them.
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#5
I had an Art & Lutherie for about a year before I got my Martin. As a beginner guitar, it's very well built and sounds alright for the price you're paying. Certainly better than a lot of others I tried in the same price range. They are made in Canada, so quality is not an issue.
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.
#6
I would look into the lower range Alvarez guitars too. The have good quality stuff. Or maybe try looking for a used guitar like a nicer Seagull or something. On the strings note someone metioned you don't have to change your strings till you break one. This is true but guitars in general sound so much better with newer strings, but this is a personal preference as well. Sound is always a personal preference. I play my guitar quite a bit so I usually change my strings around once a month. Usually sooner because I don't really play guitar I jst beat on it till I get the sound I want out and it tends to break strings often.
I do sure love me them Gibsons boy
#7
I have a pretty small hand and forgot to mention that I wanted a smaller-than-average neck. It looks like I can customize a guitar I want. Would it be possible to get a guitar with a smaller neck?
And how big of a difference does the nut part make? Does its quality make any difference?
#8
I don't think the nut is tremendously important to the sound on an acoustic. Different qualities are just differences in how likely it is to break. It's tough to break a nut unless you're using an unholy heavy gauge of string.
Gear:
Agile Septor Pro 727 EB Nat Ash
ESP/LTD Deluxe MH-1000NT
Epiphone Les Paul Standard
Line 6 Spider Valve HD100 Head
Vox 4x12 Cabinet
#9
Bone typically sounds better. Its not always a noticeable improvement though. If I remember right, it also improves sustain if you get it from better materials. For example, the 1st mod you would do to a seagull s6 is probably change the nut to bone. Lots of people like the sound of a bone nut on a seagull s6.
So one thing to keep in mind is you can always change the nut, but you can't change the neck.
I'd also not really worry too much about the neck. Try and see if you can work fine with a "standard" sized neck. Something that people don't always get used to very easily is learning to stretch their fingers where they want at will. I mean, if you were playing lets say a classical guitar, I can see easily why you would want a neck that was a little smaller, like the size of a normal acoustic. Just personal opinion.
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#10
I went and tried out the guitars today and was impressed only by the Seagull Entourage. The S6 line's tone just seemed to bright for me.
What does it mean if a guitar's Coastlined? Does it affect tone at all? The guy at the store couldn't answer specifically if it affected tone or not.
Also, are Seagull Entourages supposed to be smaller than normal? It looked a lot smaller than other dreadnought guitars.
#11
I actually didn't know the entourage had a smaller body. I always thought it was only the neck and finish. Now I have to compare >_<
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#12
Oooh ok so its just that their standard "Dreadnought" guitars have slightly smaller bodies than most. So the Original and Entourage both have the same size.
Looks like the entourage also doesn't have a pickguard. I never noticed that o_O'
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#13
Even though it is a little bit past the ball in this post, I'd like to mention that the nut material has much less effect on the overall tone of the guitar than the saddle does. If you were to replace one, I would definitely go with the saddle. For a great deal of your playing, the strings are fretted anyways, which reduces the tonal coloring of the nut.

Gear:
Partscaster/Tele into a bunch of pedals, a Maz 18 head, and a Z Best cab.
#14
Yeah, im pretty sure the entourage i tried had a pickguard.
i talked on the phone with a rep from another store and he said that they had seagull f-32 and f-34. and i tried googling it but got no results. anyone know what he meant by f-32? i just wanted to research a bit the models that they have at that store before i went in.
#15
Yeah, Never heard of them being called that. Maybe he was looking around at the serial number?
Strange how everyone has a pickguard on theirs but not on the main site. Weird. I guess the photographer snatched the guitar off the product line before it got that far :P
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#16
i have a seagull entourage s6. and its amazing. when i got them the strings were kinda dead. but it still soudned great. about 3 days ago i put in elixir nano coated strings and its brighter but less bassy. but love it. i strongly recomend it. the sound is amazing for its price. i had to pick between a breedlove and a 500 taylor. and i still picked the seagull. it also looks amazing if that counts for u. and has a bunch of crazy features like the tapered headstock and strauss rod thing. and it does havea pickgaurd. and if urs doesnt come with one they will send u one.

hope this helps.
#17
Alright, so I actually have narrowed down my choices to the Fender DG100 dreadnought, Takamine GS 330 and the Seagull Entourage I talked about before.
Looking at reviews of them online, they seem to be good.
I liked their sounds and quality. I'll probably be buying the guitar on tuesday, so any thoughts or concerns about any of them?
Thanks!
#18
long thread, i didn't read what other people said, but non-coated strings tend to last for about 30 hours worth of playing. they can last much longer if you take a few extra precautions like making sure your hands are not dirty, and wiping the strings afterwards.

these are things i don't really do, but i just play the guitar until i feel like it needs a string change.
Schecter Diamond Series C-1 Elite
Roland Cube 30x
Blueridge BR-143
#19
Well, I ended up getting a Fender DG 100. Don't worry, it wasn't for the brand name -_-
IMO, it's got a nice and full sound and just came on sale. I still wanted the Seagull Entourage really bad, but I think I'll get something of a higher scale and value guitar sometime next year.
Thanks to everyone who posted!