#1
Hi all,

I've been playing guitar for about 10 weeks so am very much a beginner. I started with an electric because I'm into rock and metal, but have surprised myself because I've really developed an interest in acoustic and would rather play that instead for the time being. So now I need to choose one to buy. I have a 1960 Hofner Archtop which is lovely, although it's not set up particularly well and isn't that easy to play. I'd just like a regular acoustic which sounds decent and is great to play.

My budget is around £170-£250. I want a solid top guitar, and am not fussed about it being electro-acoustic. The guitar I've seen praised over and over again as the 'ultimate beginner's guitar' is the FG700. I went guitar shopping yesterday and gave it a good playtest, and I quite like it; the sound is great. A local shop has an FG700MS for £170 - to be honest I'd rather have the glossy FG700S but for some reason it's around £50-60 more expensive in the UK. For around the same price I can get an FG720S from that shop, which I know in theory shouldn't sound much different, but me and two non-guitarists I had with me at the time all agreed that we slightly preferred the sound of it over the FG700MS - maybe just down to slight manufacturing differences in individual guitars. I also much prefer the appearance.

My main issue with all of the Yamahas, however, is that I have been surprised by the action, which I've found to be consistently higher than all other similar guitars in the price range - and I tried two FG700 and two FG720. It's hardly sky-high, but after all the praise they get for their action and being super-easy to play, I found this a bit disappointing.

I tried an Epiphone and a Tanglewood TW28, and the action on both of these was really nice and low all the way down to the base of the neck. These were in a different shop which was very busy at the time so I couldn't hear them perfectly, but I don't think I liked the sound on these as much as the Yamahas. I'm not sure how to describe it, but the strings also seemed a bit 'looser' and didn't feel quite so firm to strum.

Right at the end of the day I returned to the first shop just before it was closing, however, and I spotted an Ibanez AW70ECE. I haven't heard overly good things about Ibanez acoustics, and particularly not cheaper Ibanez electro-acoustics, but in the short amount of time I played it I really liked it. I liked the design, the action was good (lower than the Yamahas), and to my untrained ears the sound was great - perhaps a little less bass and volume than the Yamahas, but nice and mellow-sounding. The two non-guitarists I was with actually preferred the sound to the Yamahas, in their (novice, subjective) opinions.

I'm going to be going back to this shop over the next couple of days and will try this Ibanez more. They also have some Washburns and a Fender Sonoran within budget which I didn't get chance to try. I'd really appreciate it if some people with a lot more experience than me could give their opinions on my findings, and the guitars I've looked at so far as well as Washburns and the Fender. Thanks in advance guys.
#2
Don't worry about action height, because you should budget for a good set up anyway.

There is a huge choice of decent inexpensive guitars these days, so just get one that appeals to you enough in looks and tone that you will want to pick it up and play it. Here's a list of some of my prime candidates:

Blueridge
Eastman
Recording King

All those have resettable necks

Yamaha - the old standby
Tanglewood - interesting models and mostly good to very good tone.

And I recently tried a couple of Arias that I thought were very good.
#3
One bit of advice I give for anyone who is fairly new to playing the guitar is when you go and try some guitars out, don`t be afraid to ask the guy who works there to play a 5 or 6 guitars for you with the name covered up.

Many new players spend a lot of time reading about which guitar is a great bargain and which guitar is suitable. Honestly, don`t bother reading about guitars, just go and try a load out, try not to look at the brand, just play them,

Find one you like the feel of.
Find one you like the sound of when playing.
Find one you like the sound of when listening to someone else play

Those three factors will help you get the ideal guitar without too much fuss.
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#4
Quote by RSGuitarTuition
. . . . Many new players spend a lot of time reading about which guitar is a great bargain and which guitar is suitable. Honestly, don`t bother reading about guitars, just go and try a load out, try not to look at the brand, just play them,

Find one you like the feel of.
Find one you like the sound of when playing.
Find one you like the sound of when listening to someone else play

Those three factors will help you get the ideal guitar without too much fuss.


You can't give better advice than this ^ ^ ^ ^
#5
Low end Ibanez guitars are great looking but sound like a cardboard box, I couldn't recommend them less. Same goes for fenders. The best low end guitars to be found are in the Yamaha and Sigma range.

Don't go looking for an acoustic that feels like an electric. You'll eventually end up disappointed with your pick. However if the Yamaha isn't floating your boat, try out a few sigmas. I own one and love it more than some of my other guitars that were triple the cost.
#6
There's so many decent guitars in that price range these days. It's information overload. Just trust your own ears and own hands and get the one that feels the nicest to play and sounds best to your ears and don't worry too much about brand. At least you have the luxury of having some shops with good selections where you live so take advantage and try them all. I would highly advise that you test every note on each guitar you play to make sure there are no dead spots or buzzing/high frets on the fretboard.

As for the action, I can understand a beginner wanting one that's set up well right out of the box and not have to spend more money on a set-up. If it's just the bridge end that's high, that's a real easy fix by sanding or just replacing the saddle. Maybe you can negotiate a free set-up from the store if the action is high on the guitar you like.

I don't own any of the specific models you are looking at but I do own acoustic guitars from Ibanez, Washburn and Yamaha and I'm happy with all 3. The washburn I have is the wd7s which is in your price range and I'd encourage you to give it a try along with the wd10 which I think is still within your price. You won't find a more beautiful guitar than the washburn harvest series. The light colored Alaskan Sitka spruce top with it's reddish grains and high gloss finish looks more like piece of art, than a guitar. LOL The sound is also beautiful. However I did have a few issues when I first got it. The nut action was high and that takes quite a bit of tedious work with some nut files and feeler gages, probably not something a beginner would want to try. It also had a buzz on just 1 string on 1 fret but thankfully that went away after I adjusted the truss rod but still, not a perfect fret job. That's why I say to test every single note on guiitars in this price range.
#7
*LOLOLOL*

100% agree about the ibanez, although i find some of the solid top fenders a step above that.

Quote by Battery Chicken
Low end Ibanez guitars are great looking but sound like a cardboard box, I couldn't recommend them less. Same goes for fenders.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!