#1
Yup, so after using this "10 year old scaled down $200 Yamaha acoustic guitar" I'd figure its time to get a new one before university.

I'm heading down to the music store tomorrow and but I have no idea which guitars to start trying. I'm looking to spend around $700 .. or a little more on it but probably not more than $1000 for sure. I'm also considering buying used as well.

So if you guys have any particular models that you've first hand experienced are very nice, let me know.

In terms of sound, it'd be nice to get a guitar leaning towards the "brighter" side. I hear Taylors are known for that but I don't know how good their low-end stuff is.

As well, should I look for a guitar with no laminate sides at all ? I did some research and noticed that a lot of low brand Martins and Taylors are popular with laminate sides. Would full non-laminate guitar sound significantly better ?

Looks aren't really too much of a factor but they do matter. It'd be nice to have a cutaway but not having one wouldn't be the end of the world. But a dreadnought size is a must, if you think otherwise .. convince me

p.s.
I've been playing for about 5-6 yrs .. "semi-seriously" .. you could say.
#2
My worship pastor has a Taylor which is nice and bright. I think its the grand auditorium but im not sure.

I'd try out some takamine's as well (but not the G series)
#3
if you can find guilds, i suggest that the guild GAD-30, GAD-M20 and GAD-F20 are all solid wood guitars, well made, well finished, with a nice bright sound. the GAD-30 has probably the best sound of the three, although check out the GAD-25 if you like dreads - it sounds, looks and feels very nice, and is also all solid. i also suggest the yamaha L series - the ones with the 1 in them are all solid - for example, the LS16 is the solid version, the LS6 is laminate back and sides. and if you run across blueridge guitars, anything from the 140 and 160 up are all solid and sound great.

if you're going to a gc, you probably won't see the guilds., blueridge or the L series guitars, so check out seagulls. i actually prefer the s6, which is laminate back and sides, but any seagull with a round medal on the headstock that says SWS is all solid wood. i don't recommend the martin x series guitars as they're basically made of sawdust that's pressed together, and are more fragile as well as having less overtones. you might want to check out the taylor 100 series - i like the 114 best, although it's lam back and sides, but see what you think. and at the top end of your range, check out the breedlove americans. i've heard good things about them, and they're all solid. ah, and let's not forget epiphone masterbilts. they're all solid budget guitars, and the important thing is to check for lifting bridge and bulging belly if you decide you might want to buy them as this is an issue they seem to get.

i haven't been thrilled with the sound of most takamines under a grand, but it couldn't hurt to check 'em out.

if you're buying used, check out larrivee guitars. they don't make laminate back and sides guitars at all, and they're nicely made. i'd also suggest that if you want a taylor or martin, used is the way to go.
#4
If you want brightness, I'd say Martin all the way. To be honest, I don't have tons of experience with other brands of guitars, as I've only owned Martins... But when I play my friends' guitars, and I hear others, Martin always tops out.
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#5
that's odd. i've talked to literally hundreds of guitar players, and you're the only one who's ever said martins are bright. they're actually well known for having more bass than other brands of guitars.

Quote by BlueGreen
If you want brightness, I'd say Martin all the way. To be honest, I don't have tons of experience with other brands of guitars, as I've only owned Martins... But when I play my friends' guitars, and I hear others, Martin always tops out.
#6
I was just in your situation, and I finally found the guitar I was looking for. I played everything: gibsons, martins, tackamines, even some epiphones. Then I found my Taylor 110ce. For $800, it was the most bang for the buck. Has a sitka spruce top with bear claw grains (but not to much, just enough to make it unique), fishman electronics, and comes with a sweet gig bag. It has great action; feels like playing an electric. I play a dozen or more gigs a month, mostly in bars, so I wanted to get the most guitar for under $1000. I couldnt stand the thought of taking a brand new J-45 around a bunch of drunks. Don't buy a guitar without playing a Taylor first.
#7
If you want bright, then Taylor is probably the best. I would try to find a used Taylor 410ce or 414ce (I like the 414ce better). You might be able to track a used one down in the 800-1000 range.

Try everything under 2000 if buying used is an option. You may think you want one thing, and then be blown away and more inspired by something else.

I think a solid wood back and sides sound marginally better than laminate, but it seems like a guitar's bracing technique has a major effect on tone.
#8
Don't want to hijack your thread OP but I just have a quick question. How the hell are you supposed to know which guitars are solid vs laminate. For instance when I look at the specs of the LJ6 it doesn't say it's laminate back and sides. It just said rosewood.

Do they have to explicitly say 'solid xxxwood' or else it's laminate?
#9
Thanks for all the suggestions.

I went to the guitar store and mostly tried Taylors and Seagulls. I wasn't all that impressed the Seagulls, but I really liked the Taylors. I tried most of the 100 series and one guitar of the 200 series.

The Taylor 410ce or 414ce are way to expensive for me =( So that's a nono for me. They don't have many Guilds unfortunately. So I'm most likely going to get a Taylor. Have any suggestions that fit $700-1000 ?
#10
Quote by patticake
if you can find guilds, i suggest that the guild GAD-30, GAD-M20 and GAD-F20 are all solid wood guitars, well made, well finished, with a nice bright sound. the GAD-30 has probably the best sound of the three, although check out the GAD-25 if you like dreads - it sounds, looks and feels very nice, and is also all solid. i also suggest the yamaha L series - the ones with the 1 in them are all solid - for example, the LS16 is the solid version, the LS6 is laminate back and sides. and if you run across blueridge guitars, anything from the 140 and 160 up are all solid and sound great.

if you're going to a gc, you probably won't see the guilds., blueridge or the L series guitars, so check out seagulls. i actually prefer the s6, which is laminate back and sides, but any seagull with a round medal on the headstock that says SWS is all solid wood. i don't recommend the martin x series guitars as they're basically made of sawdust that's pressed together, and are more fragile as well as having less overtones. you might want to check out the taylor 100 series - i like the 114 best, although it's lam back and sides, but see what you think. and at the top end of your range, check out the breedlove americans. i've heard good things about them, and they're all solid. ah, and let's not forget epiphone masterbilts. they're all solid budget guitars, and the important thing is to check for lifting bridge and bulging belly if you decide you might want to buy them as this is an issue they seem to get.

i haven't been thrilled with the sound of most takamines under a grand, but it couldn't hurt to check 'em out.

if you're buying used, check out larrivee guitars. they don't make laminate back and sides guitars at all, and they're nicely made. i'd also suggest that if you want a taylor or martin, used is the way to go.


Hey Patticake, have you ever personally tried out a Guild GAD-50? I'm looking into getting myself a new guitar, and that model looks pretty promising. Unfortunately I live somewhere that would never allow me to actually try any Guilds. I've played an older Guild before while I was on vacation this summer, and I loved it. I just don't know about the newer ones. I'm curious if the GAD-50 would be a good investment.

Sorry TS, don't mean to hijack your thread.
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#11
i can't play dreads for long - shoulder injury - but i did try a GAD-50, and i really liked the way it sounded and felt. i haven't played an older GAD-50 to compare it to, however, and i tend to prefer newer guitars, but guild GADs are excellent values.

Quote by Chance125
Hey Patticake, have you ever personally tried out a Guild GAD-50? I'm looking into getting myself a new guitar, and that model looks pretty promising. Unfortunately I live somewhere that would never allow me to actually try any Guilds. I've played an older Guild before while I was on vacation this summer, and I loved it. I just don't know about the newer ones. I'm curious if the GAD-50 would be a good investment.

Sorry TS, don't mean to hijack your thread.
#12
If you like Taylors, I'd recommend trying to get a used DN3. It's a very popular dreadnought in their lowerish range. There is nothing wrong with the 210 or the 110 either -- they have laminate woods on the back and sides but they still sound good. In my opinion the 100 and 200 series sounds a lot better with the dreadnought shape than the GA shape.

I think you get more bang for your buck though with a DN3. It doesn't have a cutaway, if that's something you're willing to overlook. I personally have always hated the cutaway look with a dreadnought, but to each his own. Good luck on your hunt and take your time!
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#13
Quote by silver8ack
Don't want to hijack your thread OP but I just have a quick question. How the hell are you supposed to know which guitars are solid vs laminate. For instance when I look at the specs of the LJ6 it doesn't say it's laminate back and sides. It just said rosewood.

Do they have to explicitly say 'solid xxxwood' or else it's laminate?


Yup.

When you look at the specs, a typical low end guitar might say:

Spruce Top
Nato back
Nato sides

This is all laminate/NATO.

A Mid range guitar might say:

Solid Spruce Top
Mahogany Sides
Mahogany Back.

So, laminate "Mahogany Type" back and sides with a solid Spruce top, that isn't good enough to be named.

And something like the Faith Venus that I have, would say.

Solid Englemann Spruce Top
Solid Rosewood Back
Solid Rosewood sides

It doesn't specify the origin of the Rosewood, like more expensive guitars wood.
It does specify that it has an Indonesian Mahogany neck and Macassar Ebony fingerboard etc. Not exactly sure what Indonesian Mahogany is, because there is only one REAL Mahogany, but it will be a similar Genus, just grown elsewhere, in different soil etc.

So if it doesn't say Solid, then it is laminated. Then you have to suss out the quality of the laminate.
If it has a good solid top, then a laminated back and sides isn't so bad, and may be better with regards to durability and resisting damage.

But all solid, is superior, but more fragile.
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Last edited by Skeet UK at Aug 1, 2010,
#14
Look at Blueridge guitars. Made on the forward shifted Martin model. You can compare at Maurysmusic.com. They are at least the equal if not the better of the two. You can do real well if you are willing to buy used. Market isn't all that good so you should do well on the unofficial Blueridge guitar forum or e-bay. I bought a BR-240 on E-Bay a couple years ago for $525 which is an excellent deal.
#15
Awesome man. Thanks the very informative post.

Quote by Skeet UK
Yup.

When you look at the specs, a typical low end guitar might say:

Spruce Top
Nato back
Nato sides

This is all laminate/NATO.

A Mid range guitar might say:

Solid Spruce Top
Mahogany Sides
Mahogany Back.

So, laminate "Mahogany Type" back and sides with a solid Spruce top, that isn't good enough to be named.

And something like the Faith Venus that I have, would say.

Solid Englemann Spruce Top
Solid Rosewood Back
Solid Rosewood sides

It doesn't specify the origin of the Rosewood, like more expensive guitars wood.
It does specify that it has an Indonesian Mahogany neck and Macassar Ebony fingerboard etc. Not exactly sure what Indonesian Mahogany is, because there is only one REAL Mahogany, but it will be a similar Genus, just grown elsewhere, in different soil etc.

So if it doesn't say Solid, then it is laminated. Then you have to suss out the quality of the laminate.
If it has a good solid top, then a laminated back and sides isn't so bad, and may be better with regards to durability and resisting damage.

But all solid, is superior, but more fragile.
#17
Quote by sunnywinter
tanglewood all the way


That's what I used to think.

Still do if it is under £450 you want to spend.
Quote by Cal UK

...that's what Skeet always says anyway and he's a sex god.


Member of the official GB&C "Who to Listen to" list


I support Shay van Fani
I can supply WD Music, ABM and AllParts products to UK builders at DISCOUNTED prices!