#1
I'm a fairly new acoustic player, however not a new guitar player. I've played electric for about 8 years now and I'm starting to branch out in my style of playing again. I've been delving into acoustic fingerstyle playing, however with a more funk element to it too (I.e. Adam Miller, John Mayer's live version of "Neon"). I recently took a trip to Nashville for a college visit and stopped in a couple guitar shops in my free time. A guy at "Corner Music" was very helpful in exposing me to acoustics and how to pick out one for my particular style. My favorite guitar I played was a boutique guitar, so obviously it had no way I could research it. I really enjoyed the feel it had in terms of its size and neck feel. It was slightly smaller than most acoustics and the only specs I could be made aware of was that it had a "soft c" profile for it's neck. These aspects of it were very important to me in deciding what I want. However, I am almost completely ignorant on the anatomy of acoustics (and even electrics for that matter). I'm looking for input on how maybe some of the specs I did feel confident about, could be paralleled into a brand I could research. I have no preferences on wood type, however I am looking for my low and mid range tones to ring out more than my highs. I'm more concerned with walking bass lines and voicing mid range chords. I'm also trying to keep this purchase under $2000, and actually as far away from that as possible. Thanks guys!
#2
What was the boutique one you liked?

That's a lot of $ for first acoustic, so you have plenty of choice. What kind of look do you like? Big, small, sunburst, bling? What kind of playing style? Flatpick, strum, fingerpick?

The geometry of many acoustics deteriorates with age due to string tension, so I would only buy something with a resettable neck to fix this. All the US-made makes (not their importer brands) qualify in this respect, plus a few of the Asian makes - Recording King, Eastman and Blueridge. In any event I wouldn't buy any, new or used, that didn't have a good neck angle to start with, that is plenty of saddle left showing when the action has been set low. The exception is Taylor, whose necks are bolt-on, and very easily resettable, so it doesn't much matter where they start. Boutique makes with bolt-on necks are Bourgeois and Collings.

Taylor first got a foothold in the market because the necks felt comfortable to electric players, but most makes and most price points have slim neck profiles these days. I would be looking at Taylor, Gibson, Larrivee and Martin, more or less in that order. My personal choice as a blues/folk fingerpicker would be something like a used Gibson J-45, but I would want to check it out before buying.
#3
I wouldn't suggest going in the $2000 range. It's not because you're new or anything, I just don't think guitars in the $2000-$3000 range are worth it.

Great guitars can be had between $500 and $1000 (BLUERIDGE, BREEDLOVE, EPI-MASTERBILT, TAYLOR, MARTIN, SEAGULL), and even better upwards of $1250.

IMO, guitars in the 2-3 grand range you're paying for the bells and whistles or a rare tone wood. Spend 750 or a grand and you'll have a solid, beautiful wood guitar built like a tank with miles of tone.

Spend $4000 or more for a true boutique, where you custom design it with the luthier. If you have the money cool, but you wont know enough about what you want in a guitar and tone to make it worth it.

I own an epi masterbilt and a blueridge, each cost me in the range of $700, and my friends with Martins, Taylors, and Gibsons twice or three times the price are shocked when I play with them. They simply sound and look good.
#4
I have an old ('67) Martin D35 and a newish Taylor 814ce - both expensive guitars.
As Buzzard points out, however, the "expensive" part isn't all that necessary.

The Martin is a typical dread -- it's a bit boomy and a little muddy in the bottom end. Its a very traditional sound, and I love it to death, and you may find it fits your sound profile at first. But the boominess can get tiresome, especially if you're recording. The 814ce has a more narrow waist, so it's actually a bit more comfortable to play if you're not a big guy. Its bottom end is tighter, the mids are better defined, and the more you play it, the more it grows on you. Reduce that first number by several notches (214, 314) and you still have most of the sound and comfort attributes at a lot lower pricetag, though the pickup setup may not please you as much if you need an acoustic/electric.

Other acoustics will have similar characteristics, but you may want to try the top of the line first, and then try to find cheaper guitars that retain those characteristics while reducing the price tag. In short, find the sound first, then find a guitar with a pricetag that still produces that.
#5
Quote by BUZZARD__
I wouldn't suggest going in the $2000 range. It's not because you're new or anything, I just don't think guitars in the $2000-$3000 range are worth it.

Great guitars can be had between $500 and $1000 (BLUERIDGE, BREEDLOVE, EPI-MASTERBILT, TAYLOR, MARTIN, SEAGULL), and even better upwards of $1250.

IMO, guitars in the 2-3 grand range you're paying for the bells and whistles or a rare tone wood. Spend 750 or a grand and you'll have a solid, beautiful wood guitar built like a tank with miles of tone.

Spend $4000 or more for a true boutique, where you custom design it with the luthier. If you have the money cool, but you wont know enough about what you want in a guitar and tone to make it worth it.

I own an epi masterbilt and a blueridge, each cost me in the range of $700, and my friends with Martins, Taylors, and Gibsons twice or three times the price are shocked when I play with them. They simply sound and look good.


FWIW, I wouldn't spend anything like that kind of $ on a first acoustic either, and I've never seen any useful relationship between price and tone in factory guitars. If you want to spend that much fine, but you are mostly buying mojo and a resettable neck - if you choose carefully - not tone or playability. I'm waiting for the day when the Chinese start doing bolt-on necks.
#6
Quote by noahsirlouis
I have no preferences on wood type, however I am looking for my low and mid range tones to ring out more than my highs. I'm more concerned with walking bass lines and voicing mid range chords. I'm also trying to keep this purchase under $2000, and actually as far away from that as possible. Thanks guys!


Dreadnoughts will usually give you better lows. Martins are known for their low ranges so I recommend playing a few of those.

In your price range, I think you should be looking at an all solid wood guitar. As for the top, the standard is usually spruce, but many finger pickers like cedar. For the body, try some rosewoods, they tend to have better low ranges.

In general, try a lot of different sizes and wood options to see what you like... Tone and playability sound like your most important factors so getting the guitar in your hands and listening to it is really important. If you find a guitar you really like the tone of, but the neck it too big, look at the manufacturers site to see if they can ship one with a different neck shape. You do run a risk in doing that though cause two guitars of the same make/model will not necessarily sound the exact same.

Good luck with your search!