#1
Okay, I've read the guide for choosing an acoustic and it still leaves me undecided. I am planning to purchase an acoustic as I have only had electric guitars for the past year or so and I find myself missing my acoustic.

I've previously owned an old Epiphone acoustic and a lower end Takamine Jasmine single cutaway. I would be using the acoustic guitar almost exclusively for songwriting and maybe very very rarely for performance at a songwriter's circle to demonstrate my work. The music I would be writing would be folk rock, with a little touch of fingerpicking going on.

I will be able to spend 300 - 400 dollars, but I would really prefer to try to get something for more like $200. This isn't going to be an instrument for gigging, and I don't need great tone on this - just tolerable. I want something that is going to be easy to play.

I've been gravitating towards Ovation and Applause, mainly because they seem to be pretty easy to play, and I enjoy them aesthetically. I don't have a problem buying used, and I've seen some good deals for these on eBay. I've also ran across an acoustic/electric in the same style that is branded Agile, but doesn't look like a rondo music instrument - is anyone familiar with this brand? Does anybody have any suggestions for me, or things to consider to help me make my decision?
#2
I'm not a huge fan of ovation, though for what you say you want to do I'm sure it would work just fine.

I would push you to get the Seagull Entourage Rustic though. It's by far the best acoustic I've played in and around it's price range.
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#3
I'll consider the Seagull Entourage Rustic - I did have a look at them and not the most aesthetically pleasing and just at the very top of what I'm willing to spend.

Anybody had any experience with some of the low/mid level Applause and Ovation guitars?
#4
Quote by katalyzt13
I'll consider the Seagull Entourage Rustic - I did have a look at them and not the most aesthetically pleasing and just at the very top of what I'm willing to spend.

Anybody had any experience with some of the low/mid level Applause and Ovation guitars?
My experience with guitars tends to run contrary to everyone else's.

With that out of the way, I wouldn't go near another Ovation guitar, Applause or otherwise.

I had an old Ovation "Matrix" 12 string, and I actually liked it. However, after a few years the soundboard cold checked so badly, I was sort of hanging around waiting for the bracing to come flying through it. OK, it was a twelve, it was cheap, and it was fun while it lasted. Back then, the "Matrix models actually had plastic necks. (Yes plastic, that wasn't a misprint)!

My other Ovation was an "Anniversary 1157", custom built, left handed. This was the dullest sounding turd imaginable. I had to use Dean Markley >> brass<< string sets to get any high end out of it..

Here's the "Anniversary: http://www.ovationguitars.com/archive/guitar/anniversary_1157

And here's the Matrix 12 : http://www.ebay.com/itm/12-String-Matrix-Ovation-Guitar-Model-1138-Made-USA-/220800513114

With any Ovation, you never hear what you're playing, and they slide off your lap. End of story. I will concede that they're usually very pretty.

A lot of members seem to be recommending Yamaha guitars in the lower price brackets.

It couldn't hurt to have a look at this sticky: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1233360

Happy shopping!
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 4, 2011,
#5
the low end ovations sound cardboardy and dead to me.

i'd suggest you check out a yamaha fg700s if you like a slender neck and a $200 guitar with good tone and nice finish. then take it to a tech and have the action lowered to suit you for 10's - that will put you close to electric in feel. or if you want to plug it in, and don't mind a brighter tone, check out the fender tim armstrong hellcat. i don't like bright guitars, but for some reason i still like the hellcat. good deal, somewhat smaller and more comfy body.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#7
Are there versions of the Yamaha FG700S or the Fender Hellcat that are single cutaway? I don't have to have the cutaway but they look a lot better to me than standard/dreadnought shape...
#8
Also, does anybody have any experience with the Yamaha APX series? Those seem like nice attractive acoustics, they seem like the electronics are pretty solid, and they are thinner bodied and look easy to play - any opinions on those?
#9
Ok.. first off... play as many guitars in and 15% over your price range as possible, find one that sings to you, then haggle the price down.

Next, I love Ovations. Honestly, I would avoid Applause. They are a good starter, but you can do better. Get a USA made Ovation if possible (used is good too). There is a HUGE difference in quality and sound. Keep in mind, Ovations are designed to project sound to your audience. So the player hears something a little different. You play it, then have a buddy play it and you listen. They play like an electric, sound good to great (YMMV), and tend to be more stable than most wood boxes. Plugged in, they sound even better.

As for Captaincranky's custom dull turd, EVERY company makes bad ones from time to time.
And please, enough with the "they slide off your lap" noise. They slide off YOUR lap, not mine.

Happy Hunting!
--- Joe ---
77 Bradley LPC || 07 PRS CE22 || 11 PRS MC58 Artist || 95/02 Fender Strat || 99 Gibson LP DC Std Lite
06 Ovation Elite-T || 12 Martin GPCPA4
Boss GT100 || Peavey Stereo Chorus 400 || Peavey Bandit 75 || Roland JC77
Last edited by Auriemma at Oct 5, 2011,
#10
Quote by Auriemma

Next, I love Ovations. Honestly, I would avoid Applause. They are a good starter, but you can do better. Get a USA made Ovation if possible (used is good too). There is a HUGE difference in quality and sound. Keep in mind, Ovations are designed to project sound to your audience. So the player hears something a little different. You play it, then have a buddy play it and you listen. They play like an electric, sound good to great (YMMV), and tend to be more stable than most wood boxes. Plugged in, they sound even better.!
First of all, there simply aren't any good USA produced Ovations anywhere near our OP's projected budget. So it would indeed, be used or nothing.

Buying an instrument ostensibly to practice with, which needs to be played by someone else so you can hear it properly seems like folly to me.

It's pretty much stating the obvious to say Ovation guitars sound better plugged, since they're mostly designed as performance instruments anyway. They do indeed work well for that, and yes, there are many fine guitarists that choose them for live concerts.

As to them playing like an electric, well yeah, with the action bottomed out and extra light strings, maybe. Well that, and there's the extremely shallow bowl models Ovation offers as "lead instruments". The minimal interior volume doesn't present as much energy back into the soundboard and strings as might a jumbo Gibson. Obviously, that makes the strings easier to fret.

Ergo, the reason they "play like an electric guitar", is that for all intents a purposes, they pretty much are electric guitars.
Quote by Auriemma

And please, enough with the "they slide off your lap" noise. They slide off YOUR lap, not mine.
Next time I buy an Ovation, I'm going to put velcro on all my pants legs....
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 5, 2011,
#11
Quote by Captaincranky
First of all, there simply aren't any good USA produced Ovations anywhere near our OP's projected budget. So it would indeed, be used or nothing.
I just picked up a very nice 79 Ovation Glen Campbell Artist for $300. So they can be used found easily.

Quote by Captaincranky
Buying an instrument ostensibly to practice with, which needs to be played by someone else so you can hear it properly seems like folly to me.
Not really, two sets of ears are better than one and another player can give his opinion as well. There are many O's out there that sound great acoustically.

Quote by Captaincranky
It's pretty much stating the obvious to say Ovation guitars sound better plugged, since they're mostly designed as performance instruments anyway. They do indeed work well for that, and yes, there are many fine guitarists that choose them for live concerts.
3 of my 4 Ovations sound great to me unplugged. (my Celebrity being the oddball) They all sound better plugged in. Is that so bad?

Quote by Captaincranky
As to them playing like an electric, well yeah, with the action bottomed out and extra light strings, maybe. Well that, and there's the extremely shallow bowl models Ovation offers as "lead instruments". The minimal interior volume doesn't present as much energy back into the soundboard and strings as might a jumbo Gibson. Obviously, that makes the strings easier to fret.

Ergo, the reason they "play like an electric guitar", is that for all intents a purposes, they pretty much are electric guitars.
No you don't need to bottom out the action or use super light strings. I use 10s and know of others who perfer even heavier. Ovations are designed to be easy playing. Its that simple.

Quote by Captaincranky
Next time I buy an Ovation, I'm going to put velcro on all my pants legs....
Velcro? You do what you need to do.
--- Joe ---
77 Bradley LPC || 07 PRS CE22 || 11 PRS MC58 Artist || 95/02 Fender Strat || 99 Gibson LP DC Std Lite
06 Ovation Elite-T || 12 Martin GPCPA4
Boss GT100 || Peavey Stereo Chorus 400 || Peavey Bandit 75 || Roland JC77
#12
Quote by Auriemma
3 of my 4 Ovations sound great to me unplugged. (my Celebrity being the oddball)
That's the one made in China, right?
Quote by Auriemma
They all sound better plugged in. Is that so bad?
Now you're just being silly and defensive, most everything sounds better plugged in.

Quote by Auriemma
No you don't need to bottom out the action or use super light strings. I use 10s and know of others who perfer even heavier. Ovations are designed to be easy playing. Its that simple.
Gosh, I hope they still don't shoot the messenger, because I have some bad news for you! A 10 to .47 gauge string set is the lightest acoustic string set commonly available. If you'd like to rant on to the tune of, "see, I told you so, they're only "extra light" and not, "super light"', be my guest. I've never actually seen an acoustic string set sold as, "super light", it was really just a figure of speech.

As a small and humble contribution to the cause of public literacy, I feel obligated to inform you that, "Prefer" is the "preferred" spelling of "Prefer". Granted that your spelling, "perfer" does possess a certain rustic charm, and to pinch a phrase, I suppose "you do what you have to do"....
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 5, 2011,
#13
Okay, I've heard people who play primarily acoustics hate these, but I'm gonna ask anyway. What does everyone think about the Ibanez Talman series? Again, I'm using this for songwriting and songwriting circles, and basically just need the tone to be good enough to not hurt my ears and want it to be easy to play. Opinions?
#14
Lol fender FG700s. I think you mean Yamaha.

Anyway yeah that's a pretty good guitar. I'd get the thing done up though because the action sucks sometimes.
G(g)od was like: "Make you an ark of gopher wood; rooms shall you make in the ark, and shall pitch it within and without with pitch."

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___________________________________________________
#15
Quote by katalyzt13
Okay, I've heard people who play primarily acoustics hate these, but I'm gonna ask anyway. What does everyone think about the Ibanez Talman series? Again, I'm using this for songwriting and songwriting circles, and basically just need the tone to be good enough to not hurt my ears and want it to be easy to play. Opinions?
As long as you understand that the "Talmans" are basically electric guitars, that are supposed to sound acoustic when played through the PA. They're basically similar in concept to the Ovation (very) shallow bowl models, albeit at a much lower price point. Played acoustically, these guitars can't help but sound bright with a thin bottom end. So, you should most likely spring for a decent practice amp if you go this route. I keep recommending the Peavey "Vyper 15" modeling amp as a basic acoustic amp. This is provided that the volume is kept to a level that allows the amp to play cleanly through its clean amp models. It does have digital delay and chorus, which help out basic acoustic sound quite a bit..

As a conversation starter, it seems that you and Gibson have very different ideas as to what a, "singer / songwriter's" guitar, should look like!

Meet the "Jackson Browne Model A" ; http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/gibson-jackson-browne-model-a-acoustic-electric-guitar

The body is enormous and the neck joins with it at only the 12th fret..!

It could be yours for the bargain price of a paltry six grand! So, for immediate infantile gratification, and a lifetime of poor credit scores, just click, "add to cart".....
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 6, 2011,
#16
Quote by Captaincranky
That's the one made in China, right?
No. Korea. Its not a bad sounding unplugged, just thin on volume, unlike the others.

Quote by Captaincranky
Gosh, I hope they still don't shoot the messenger, because I have some bad news for you! A 10 to .47 gauge string set is the lightest acoustic string set commonly available. If you'd like to rant on to the tune of, "see, I told you so, they're only "extra light" and not, "super light"', be my guest. I've never actually seen an acoustic string set sold as, "super light", it was really just a figure of speech.
Got me there... I actually use DiAddario EXP16s - 11's

Quote by Captaincranky
As a small and humble contribution to the cause of public literacy, I feel obligated to inform you that, "Prefer" is the "preferred" spelling of "Prefer". Granted that your spelling, "perfer" does possess a certain rustic charm, and to pinch a phrase, I suppose "you do what you have to do"....
And you you can spell check too... Very talented.

--------------------------------------------

katalyzt13... I'm going back to the first thing I posted here and leaving at that.
Quote by Auriemma
... play as many guitars in and 15% over your price range as possible, find one that sings to you, then haggle the price down.
Use your own eyes, ears and fingers to decide on what suits you.
--- Joe ---
77 Bradley LPC || 07 PRS CE22 || 11 PRS MC58 Artist || 95/02 Fender Strat || 99 Gibson LP DC Std Lite
06 Ovation Elite-T || 12 Martin GPCPA4
Boss GT100 || Peavey Stereo Chorus 400 || Peavey Bandit 75 || Roland JC77
Last edited by Auriemma at Oct 6, 2011,
#17
Quote by katalyzt13
Also, does anybody have any experience with the Yamaha APX series? Those seem like nice attractive acoustics, they seem like the electronics are pretty solid, and they are thinner bodied and look easy to play - any opinions on those?


My fiancee really likes her APX700. They're nicely bright, and sound good plugged in. This video has the audio of us covering 'The District Sleeps Alone Tonight', and her playing is the left audio channel - it's a DI from her pickups.

Also, they're really easy to play neck-wise and the body is a comfy shape. It feels a bit small to me, but then I'm normally playing a jumbo
Last edited by beab at Oct 6, 2011,
#18
I had the cheap APX model, the 500. Laminate top. 300 bucks. Nice little guitar, really. Slick neck, good electrics. The acoustic tone was not stellar, but not bad either IMO. The somewhat-more-expensive solid top models should be better.
My kid (40 years old...) has one of the Ovation Applause models for years now. He had it set up and it is slick to play, though they can be a bit problematic if you sit a lot... Easy solution...Wear a strap.
#19
Quote by Captaincranky
As a conversation starter, it seems that you and Gibson have very different ideas as to what a, "singer / songwriter's" guitar, should look like!

Meet the "Jackson Browne Model A" ; http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/gibson-jackson-browne-model-a-acoustic-electric-guitar

The body is enormous and the neck joins with it at only the 12th fret..!

It could be yours for the bargain price of a paltry six grand! So, for immediate infantile gratification, and a lifetime of poor credit scores, just click, "add to cart".....


Ha! yeah, unfortunately that seems to be the consensus on what a songwriter's guitar should look like - my problem is I hate the feeling of a big acoustic, and I have to find something in a thinline or smaller bodied guitar that I can tolerate. Oh well, guess I'll have to drive like a 100+ mile trip to the closest guitar store with any kind of inventory and start trying them out. Maybe I can find something that works in my price range.


Thanks to everyone for the help/suggestions/advice!!!