#1
Hey all,

On Christmas day, a clever burglar figured that it would be the ideal moment to go and break into a few student dorms. Consequently, I no longer own an acoustic guitar. Now, I want to replace it, but I don't know where to start looking.

Basically, I don't know my way around Acousticland... and this is why I'm posting here. I need your knowledge, that you'll hopefully helpfully share with me, so that I can buy the right acoustic guitar.

My budget is 400 euros max. For simplicity, let's say this corresponds to 400 dollars, or 400 British pounds. Now here's what I need to know:

- First of all, acoustic vs. acoustic/electric? Does the extra electric element make much difference sound-wise, or price-wise? Seeing as I don't have an amp (yet), I probably won't be using the electric features a lot (yet), so it's probably better to just get a plain acoustic if the sound or price is affected by the electric elements a lot. If not, I might as well get an acoustic/electric, "just in case", right?

- Secondly, cutaway or not? I don't know if a cutaway causes a big difference in sound. I'd prefer having a cutaway, but not if it really makes a significant sound difference.

- Thirdly, what are the trustworthy brands and the brands-to-avoid in acoustics? Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking to buy an acoustic based on a cool brand name. I just have no clue which brands are known for delivering quality guitars in Acousticland, and which are notorious for building shoddy acoustics.

- And lastly, any specific recommendations? Like I said, my budget is 400 euros (or dollars, or pounds) max. I prefer an acoustic/electric if it doesn't make a difference price- or sound-wise, else I'll just have a regular acoustic. Cutaway is preferred if there's not too much of a tonal difference.

Thanks in advance for reading this wall of text, and helping me out!.

Cheers!
#2
Quote by ZeGuitarist
- First of all, acoustic vs. acoustic/electric? Does the extra electric element make much difference sound-wise, or price-wise? Seeing as I don't have an amp (yet), I probably won't be using the electric features a lot (yet), so it's probably better to just get a plain acoustic if the sound or price is affected by the electric elements a lot. If not, I might as well get an acoustic/electric, "just in case", right?


Price wise, yes. Sound wise, Depends. The electronics them self won't make a difference really but it will in the fact that an acoustic electric vs an acoustic of the same price, the acoustic will probably have better tone. I find it better to just have the money spent on a good acoustic and you can always mic it or install a pickup into the guitar later.

Quote by ZeGuitarist
- Secondly, cutaway or not? I don't know if a cutaway causes a big difference in sound. I'd prefer having a cutaway, but not if it really makes a significant sound difference.

Cutaways are going to add to the price. Last time I checked, they won't really cause any noticeable difference in sound.

Quote by ZeGuitarist
- Thirdly, what are the trustworthy brands and the brands-to-avoid in acoustics? Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking to buy an acoustic based on a cool brand name. I just have no clue which brands are known for delivering quality guitars in Acousticland, and which are notorious for building shoddy acoustics.

Yamaha, Seagull, Marten, Taylor are all good. Ones to avoid: Ibanez, Rogue.
Ovation I have to put inbetween for this one. An Ovation guitar might be right up your alley. The tone seems to be a love hate for people here. Your best to just try it out.

I'd recommend a Seagull S6. There is also the Yamaha FG730S.
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#3
i'd avoid those lower cost ovations unless you REALLY love one. also avoid dean.

any seagull is a good thing. the original s6 has a wider neck, which i find a joy for fingerpicking. the s6 slim is good if you don't want a neck that wide. the yamaha fg700s, fg720s or fg730s are all worth checking out. i think martin and taylor will be out of your range new, as i would not recommend a little martin or baby taylor. if you run across a blueridge, all of them have good sound.

Quote by Chaos Nil
Yamaha, Seagull, Marten, Taylor are all good. Ones to avoid: Ibanez, Rogue.
Ovation I have to put inbetween for this one. An Ovation guitar might be right up your alley. The tone seems to be a love hate for people here. Your best to just try it out.

I'd recommend a Seagull S6. There is also the Yamaha FG730S.
#4
Quote by Chaos Nil
Price wise, yes. Sound wise, Depends. The electronics them self won't make a difference really but it will in the fact that an acoustic electric vs an acoustic of the same price, the acoustic will probably have better tone. I find it better to just have the money spent on a good acoustic and you can always mic it or install a pickup into the guitar later.
Thanks, that's what I was thinking. That settles it for me then, I'll go for a plain acoustic.

Quote by Chaos Nil
Cutaways are going to add to the price. Last time I checked, they won't really cause any noticeable difference in sound.
Ok, thanks.

Quote by Chaos Nil
Yamaha, Seagull, Marten, Taylor are all good. Ones to avoid: Ibanez, Rogue.
Ovation I have to put inbetween for this one. An Ovation guitar might be right up your alley. The tone seems to be a love hate for people here. Your best to just try it out.

I'd recommend a Seagull S6. There is also the Yamaha FG730S.

Quote by patticake
i'd avoid those lower cost ovations unless you REALLY love one. also avoid dean.

any seagull is a good thing. the original s6 has a wider neck, which i find a joy for fingerpicking. the s6 slim is good if you don't want a neck that wide. the yamaha fg700s, fg720s or fg730s are all worth checking out. i think martin and taylor will be out of your range new, as i would not recommend a little martin or baby taylor. if you run across a blueridge, all of them have good sound.
Right, that's some very useful recommendations there. I've checked out the Martin and Taylor websites, since all I know about acoustics is that those 2 brands are kinda like the Fender and Gibson of acoustics; and indeed, they're way out of my range. The Yamaha and Seagull you both recommended look nice, but like I said, I'd prefer a cutaway model (although this isn't a must). So, are there any models comparable to the ones you guys suggested, but with cutaways?
#5
^ Thanks! Handy to know that cutaways and electronics usually come as a package. I'm gonna check out Yamaha and Seagull electro-acoustic models then...

Unfortunately, both Seagulls you suggested are a bit out of my price range. The Yamaha FGX720SCA does look really nice, though. Any idea how the FJC720SC compares, though? It has a "medium-jumbo body". Being an acoustic newfag, I have no idea how this different body shape would affect tone, or price.
#6
Okay, No-one has mentioned Cort and Parkwood. Parkwoods may be just out of budget but great guitars. Cort acoustics are brilliant value and you'll certainly get an electro with cutaway (and Fishman elecronics) within budget.
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#7
Quote by Lurcher
Okay, No-one has mentioned Cort and Parkwood. Parkwoods may be just out of budget but great guitars. Cort acoustics are brilliant value and you'll certainly get an electro with cutaway (and Fishman elecronics) within budget.
Going out of budget = no can do. Sorry, but the budget I've set really is the maximum amount I'm spending here, simply because I don't have more money. I'll check out Cort, though. Thanks!
#8
Quote by patticake
also avoid dean.


I would like to comment on this small part. I went out acoustic shopping during the summer and was looking at Taylors but couldn't afford them. Then he had a Dean there and that is the last guitar I would ever think to buy when it comes to acoustic. But I have to admit, for the cost and the sound I was going for it was a nice fit. Could I get a better one? Yes if I had a bigger budget at the time, but for $300 and the sound I was shooting for it works. Down the road I can see myself selling it for a better sounding acoustic but it really doesn't have that muddy sound I was getting from my Yamaha that was half the cost of a the Dean.
#9
To answer your initial questions first...
Quote by ZeGuitarist

- First of all, acoustic vs. acoustic/electric? Does the extra electric element make much difference sound-wise, or price-wise? Seeing as I don't have an amp (yet), I probably won't be using the electric features a lot (yet), so it's probably better to just get a plain acoustic if the sound or price is affected by the electric elements a lot. If not, I might as well get an acoustic/electric, "just in case", right?

It shouldn't make any audible difference when you play it acoustically. Price-wise, it'll add at least $75 to the cost of the guitar. I would generally advise that if you don't use it often, don't buy it. There are plenty of aftermarket options that you could explore. It'll cost you, of course, but later on when you may have more money. Also, aftermarket options can be superior to onboard options for less money in the end.

- Secondly, cutaway or not? I don't know if a cutaway causes a big difference in sound. I'd prefer having a cutaway, but not if it really makes a significant sound difference.

Basically, you'll pretty much only find a cutaway on guitars with onboard electronics. If you have a cutaway, 99% of the time you'll have electronics. If you have electronics, you'll have a cutaway about 90% of the time. It does in fact make an audible difference in the sound of the guitar, but nothing significant.

- Thirdly, what are the trustworthy brands and the brands-to-avoid in acoustics? Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking to buy an acoustic based on a cool brand name. I just have no clue which brands are known for delivering quality guitars in Acousticland, and which are notorious for building shoddy acoustics.

Notorious are Dean, Ibanez, Fender(they're okay, but not great), Luna, and low end Ovations.

- And lastly, any specific recommendations? Like I said, my budget is 400 euros (or dollars, or pounds) max. I prefer an acoustic/electric if it doesn't make a difference price- or sound-wise, else I'll just have a regular acoustic. Cutaway is preferred if there's not too much of a tonal difference.

Thanks in advance for reading this wall of text, and helping me out!.

Cheers!



Quote by fingerguy
I would like to comment on this small part. I went out acoustic shopping during the summer and was looking at Taylors but couldn't afford them. Then he had a Dean there and that is the last guitar I would ever think to buy when it comes to acoustic. But I have to admit, for the cost and the sound I was going for it was a nice fit. Could I get a better one? Yes if I had a bigger budget at the time, but for $300 and the sound I was shooting for it works. Down the road I can see myself selling it for a better sounding acoustic but it really doesn't have that muddy sound I was getting from my Yamaha that was half the cost of a the Dean.


I'll disagree with you here. Deans, Lunas, Ibanez... they all try to do the same thing. They look good but are built quite badly. I've played a few and they've all had glue all over the joints inside the body, bad paint jobs in certain areas, etc. They're almost all laminate top as well.


Anyway, ZeG, have you taken a look at this thread? https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1233360 There are quite a few helpful tips in there. As for the models of yamahas you pointed out, they should be quite good.

You could also look at the Takamines. I was thinking of the EG340SC in particular. http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Takamine-G-Series-EG340SC-Dreadnought-Cutaway-AcousticElectric-Guitar?sku=512207

I'm not completely sure if it'll be in your price range since UK prices are very different, but a solid top Takamine would suit your needs quite well. Their electronics are top notch.
Equipment:
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- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

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#10
Yes yes, i forgot Dean, I didn't care for their acoustics. Fender was another. Maybe its just the ones I played but I also was working with a friends and I didn't care for it a lot. Something about it just doesn't resonate well enough for me. It feels like the top isn't wood and is a sheet of plastic. Just feels like a very unnatural tone to me.
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#11
I've got a Dean in spalted maple and it sounds good to me both acoustic and electric. However many Dean's are just plywood and thus sound like crap.
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#12
Yeah, keep in mind when we warn you against certain brands we are warning you that you are going to find a lot more bad then good. You might find a good one, and then good for you. Kinda like how low end ovations have a bad name but high end ones are typically with a better reputation. If you end up finding one you like that's you. Everyone has that tone they are looking for, which is usually different.
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#13
You just need to find a good guitar shop and play everything in your price range. You will then find the guitar that looks, plays and sounds right for you.
#14
Quote by ext1jdh
I've got a Dean in spalted maple and it sounds good to me both acoustic and electric. However many Dean's are just plywood and thus sound like crap.

Not to be a debbie-downer, but your spalted maple is also laminated.

For TS, my best advice is to try out tons of instruments and look for those without built-in electronics. Amplification can always be sorted out later, if you find you really need it. Seagull makes great stuff, but they're not the only worthwhile manufacturer in that range. The price limit you've set is a good one for used instruments too, if you're wiling to look into those.

Also, I generally try to avoid Cort guitars after seeing a documentary about their mistreatment of Korean employees.
Last edited by GC Shred Off at Dec 28, 2009,
#15
Thanks for the tremendously helpful replies guys!
Quote by captivate
Anyway, ZeG, have you taken a look at this thread? https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1233360 There are quite a few helpful tips in there.
I did, yes. It made me ask all these questions.

Quote by captivate
As for the models of yamahas you pointed out, they should be quite good.

You could also look at the Takamines. I was thinking of the EG340SC in particular. http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Takamine-G-Series-EG340SC-Dreadnought-Cutaway-AcousticElectric-Guitar?sku=512207

I'm not completely sure if it'll be in your price range since UK prices are very different, but a solid top Takamine would suit your needs quite well. Their electronics are top notch.
Sadly, the model you suggested is indeed out of my range. But I'll look for comparable, cheaper Takamine models, and see how these compare to the Yamaha models I listed. Thanks man!

Quote by darkhorizon
You just need to find a good guitar shop and play everything in your price range. You will then find the guitar that looks, plays and sounds right for you.
This is indeed what I'm intending to do. But I'd like to walk into that store with at least a vague idea of what I'm looking for, instead of going in there completely clueless.

@others: Right, so I should be wary of Dean, Ibanez, Luna, Rogue, Fender and Ovation (and maybe Cort, for political and moral reasons ). I'll look out for Yamaha, Takamine and Seagull guitars then. Thanks a bunch everyone!
#16
Quote by GC Shred Off
Not to be a debbie-downer, but your spalted maple is also laminated.


Yeah, I know it is. It's got a DI out onboard which is nice for me. I'm also not a professional, and I'm not a highly technical player so spending more than a few hundred dollars doesnt make much sense for me. I'm not going to spend $2500 on a Rainsong or a Taylor no matter how much I like the way they sound, because I'm not going to be earning any money with that guitar. If it was irreparably damaged I'd probably not replace it with the same model but it would still be replaced (probably by a Seagull). I still like the way my Dean sounds. That's what it's really all about anyway.

You need to set your budget then find all the guitars that are in that price range and play them all. If they're A/E then you should play them both acoustic and plugged in using equipment that you have or normally play through, or it's equivalent.
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