#1
Hello everyone!
I am going to buy my first western guitar.
My budget is not very high so I won't be able to buy any of those very expensive guitars, albeit I'd like to say that not always the most expensive is accordingly also the best.

So, I am struggeling with my taking a decision.
I would like to have a cutaway model.
Which of the following three guitars would you buy and why?

http://www.belfastmusic.co.uk/cort--mr-600f-nat-2145-p.asp
http://www.thomann.de/gb/takamine_gd11mcens.htm
http://www.thomann.de/gb/ibanez_aw65ece_lg.htm?ref=search_rslt_Ibanez+AW+65+ECE-Lg_326852_0

Thank you in advance for your kind help!
#2
Well, the Cort with its solid spruce top would be the most traditionally "western" sounding of the bunch.

The Ibanez with its solid cedar top, would likely be the most mellow.


And the Tak with its "mahogany" top, could either be a dog, or the best of the bunch.

The specs say, "mahogany top'. Typically, when the ad doesn't say "solid top", the guitar has a laminated top. If the guitar is a solid top, and the specs are at fault, I would check at Takamine's home site to find out what's what, then get back to us.

Short answer, solid mahogany top, yay! Laminated mahogany top, meh.
#4
Of those, the Cort, mostly because of the solid spruce top. Cedar is IMO good for fingerpickers (eg, like me), but can be boomy for flatpickers and strummers, and it often lacks the headroom of spruce.

I could find plent of references to the tak, but no mention of a solid top, so I would assume it is laminated and risks being a clunker.
Last edited by Tony Done at Apr 13, 2016,
#5
This "Takamine GD11MCENS" is an "11" which means its part of the 10-series (the introductory tier - so - laminated). The G20 and G30 series are solid (cedar and spruce respectively) - and they say so in the spec. If it's solid, it will say solid. (All the G series have laminated back and sides, but that's much less important.)

Save your bucks for just a little longer and go solid top Takamine (20 or 30 series) or choose one of the others with a solid top. You'll be glad you did!
#8
Very beautiful but no cutaway
I'm looking for a cutaway.
So which one of the three I mentioned would you buy? I take it the Takamine is anyhow not more to be considered because of the not solid top.
Or any other suggestions?

Sorry guys, I don't want to bother you.
Last edited by mattuschber at Apr 14, 2016,
#9
Well, I found this Cort that I like at Thomann's:
http://www.thomann.de/gb/cort_sfx1.htm


I'm more partial to guitars with waists as opposed to dreadnopughts.

That said, I've never even heard a Cort, nor played one...

Somebody else will have to tag in on the brand in general.

Of the 3 you posted, again I'd go with the Cort. I've had enough of Ibanez with the 2 clunkers I own, and the Takamine doesn't seen like a good value. Best insight I've got.
#10
I'd go with the Cort too. All the ones I've played have been good. Whether you go for a dreadnought or other shape is entirely up to you.
#11
Thanks everybody!
A big dilemma has just appeared.
You all seem to know Thomann store, so I take it you also know they have their own brand "Harley Benton".
Now one thing I am struggeling with is the following:
According to the details of the ad, these two guitars here have exactly the same features, speaking of quality of wood etc. but the one, the Fender - which is a known name- costs almost double as much as the Harley Benton one.
Now, I do not know you, but I am not the person who thinke the more expensive the better. Of course quality costs more but we need to know what quality is and not simply rely on the price. This phenomenon is well known as quality bias. In fact there are big well known company who make profit exactly in this way.
So, leaving the price by site, we cannot overlook the fact that both these two guitars allegedly have the same quality. So now, what would you do?
At best would be to have both in your hands and compare them.
This dilemma has blocked me because I do not know what to buy

http://www.thomann.de/gb/harley_benton_custom_line_cld_15mce.htm?ref=search_rslt_Harley+Benton+Custom+Line+CLD-15MCE_333968_0

http://www.thomann.de/gb/fender_cd_140sce_all_mahogany.htm?ref=search_rslt_Fender+CD-140SCE+All+Mahogany_322896_1
#12
The gloss finish might add to the cost of the Fender. Given the good reputation of Thomann, I would likely go with the HB if I wanted a playr and wasn't too worried about the name on the headstock. Unfortunately there's no substitute for try it and see, though a decent return policy helps.
#13
Quote by mattuschber
Thanks everybody!
A big dilemma has just appeared.
You all seem to know Thomann store, so I take it you also know they have their own brand "Harley Benton".
Now one thing I am struggeling with is the following:
According to the details of the ad, these two guitars here have exactly the same features, speaking of quality of wood etc. but the one, the Fender - which is a known name- costs almost double as much as the Harley Benton one.
Now, I do not know you, but I am not the person who thinke the more expensive the better. Of course quality costs more but we need to know what quality is and not simply rely on the price. This phenomenon is well known as quality bias. In fact there are big well known company who make profit exactly in this way.
So, leaving the price by site, we cannot overlook the fact that both these two guitars allegedly have the same quality. So now, what would you do?
At best would be to have both in your hands and compare them.
This dilemma has blocked me because I do not know what to buy...[ ]....
I don't think it's entirely necessary for you to lecture us about "brand names". Most of us are all too aware of what the name on the head stock is worth.

As for your dilemma, the truth is, Fender guitars haven't been a "good bang for the buck item" as of late. Epiphone is quite a bit better in that respect, but Thomann doesn't really stock them.

So, there does at least exist the possibility the Harley Benton and that Fender came out of the same OEM factory. Perhaps more likely, the HB is a dead ringer, designed to fill the same niche as the Fender.

OEM makers build what they are told. There are a bunch of therm in Indonesia. If Ibanez hands them specs which turn out to be junk, it's not Samick or anyone but Ibanez' fault.

Conversely, if they're handed a good design, what they put out is a good value product. That particular Fender is quite popular, and one would expect for good reason.

As for the finish, as Tony pointed out, matte finishes, along with different materials, (paints), can mean savings. This is the way Taylor saves money on their Mexican made guitars. They use varnish instead of polyurethane on those guitars, and pass the savings along to their customers.

As this is your first acoustic, I'm kind of doubtful if you have the ear "finesse", to be able to establish the "finer points" of sonic perfection. (Some have been doing so for years and claim to be "experts", often cheat by reading the name on the head stock anyway).

With all of that said, this Epiphone: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/epiphone-pr-150-acoustic-guitar is a laminated top intro model. These used to be $100.00. I've heard people rave about these and keep them for years and years.

I can't help but think that solid mahogany top Harley Benton has to be a big step up from one of these.

This is your first acoustic, it likely won't be your last, why not take a chance, and grab the HB?
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 14, 2016,
#14
Many many thanks for your reply! I truly appreaciated it a lot. Sorry, I didn't mean to be wanting to lecture anyone of you about brand names etc. I was just trying to explain my dilemma
So you got the point.
Yes, I am also considering going for the HB but because I want to solve the dilemma, I will maybe order both and then send one back

Actually, there is another model whose ads sonds the same as the HB and the Fender. So I do not know which one should I order and compare with the HB.

http://www.thomann.de/de/ibanez_aw54ce_opn.htm


And back to the question concernig the wood, would you buy spruce or mahahoni?
Last edited by mattuschber at Apr 15, 2016,
#15
Quote by mattuschber
. . . According to the details of the ad, these two guitars here have exactly the same features, speaking of quality of wood etc. but the one, the Fender - which is a known name- costs almost double as much as the Harley Benton one. . . . .


Yeah. This happens a lot - you can pay an awful lot of money for a "famous name" and not get a comensurate increase in the quality of the guitar.

However, the only way to test this is to check out and play both guitars.
#16
I own the Fender CD60CE, a "lesser" version of the one you posted above, and I'm extremely pleased with it. I doubt you'll actually go far wrong with any of these, and your concern is probably largely unwarranted.

For reference, I own this one.

http://www.thomann.de/gb/fender_cd_60_ce_all_mahogany.htm
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#17
Quote by TomInReno
Those Hellcats are cool and seem pretty universally liked.


They are pretty guitars. That being said I strongly dislike Fender, my first "quality" guitar was a Fender California Series back in '85 (cost me $379 new, which was a lot back then), and that thing ended up being an expensive piece of crap. Plastic bridge pins, pretty sure the nut and bridge were some sort of plastic as well, plus the fretboard paint job was crap and looked like I'd been playing it for ten years after the first 3 months. It was a beautiful guitar, just a piece of crap inside and out. Didn't help that I was (and am) a terrible guitar player with bad technique. Somebody stole that guitar from me, and the only thing I miss is the very nice hardshell case that came with it.

I hope Fender has improved the quality of their acoustics. From what I've hearing about the Hellcat, they have.
Last edited by TobusRex at Apr 15, 2016,
#18
@Arby, interesting to hear that you have a similar modell and you are satisfied.
@TobusRex you are though of the opinion the Fender is not good.

Now, to sum up, as I said, I am about to order two guitars, the one which has a name and the one which is producec by Thomann (HArley Benton) in order to solve this dilemma.

So, this one (the cheaper one but which allegedly has the same quality of the Fender and the Ibanez, according to the ad)

http://www.thomann.de/de/harley_benton_custom_line_cld_15mce.htm

AND

either the Fender

http://www.thomann.de/de/fender_cd_140sce_all_mahogany.htm

or the Ibanez

http://www.thomann.de/de/ibanez_aw54ce_opn.htm


I will then compare and post here the results.
But the problem is now, which one should I order together with the HB, the FENDER or the IBANEZ? I won't order all three!!

So what is your opinion?
#19
@mattuschber:

Don't let my experience from 30 years ago put you off on Fender. As I said maybe they've improved their instruments. I've heard nothing bad about the Hellcat or the C-60, quite contrary I've heard good things about them.

I hope you enjoy whatever model you get. I'd recommend playing some of the Epiphones in your pricerange as well. I played a PR-150 a couple weeks ago that knocked my socks off, but I strongly suspect it had been setup at the store. I think you can get them new for under $200.
#20
Quote by TobusRex
@mattuschber:

..[...]... I'd recommend playing some of the Epiphones in your pricerange as well. I played a PR-150 a couple weeks ago that knocked my socks off, but I strongly suspect it had been setup at the store. I think you can get them new for under $200.



Albeit the top is not solid?!

Anyway, I would be interested in knowing your opinion and of the others here about my last question..Today I will order.
#21
I'd try the Fender over the Ibanez. Ibanez acoustics in this range have underwhelmed me - conversely, I've been impressed lately with Fender's offerings. I played quite a few of them about two weeks ago when I was in the market for a back-up guitar. All of the Fender stuff over $275+ (US) seemed worth buying. The Ibanez's all sounded like lifeless logs.
#22
Quote by mattuschber
Albeit the top is not solid?!

Anyway, I would be interested in knowing your opinion and of the others here about my last question..Today I will order.


I'm sorry, I couldn't say if the PR-150 has a solid wood top. I'd guess it probably isn't judging by the price. That being said I really liked the way it sounded and played, it was way better than any other low price Epiphones I've played.

I've not played the Cort, Takamine, or Fender guitars you mentioned, sorry. I've heard Cort makes some pretty good guitars for the money. I've played the C-60 Fender, a notch or two down from what you want, and it seemed okay for a beginner guitar.

I wouldn't put too much stock in solid wood tops. I've heard laminated guitars that sounded fantastic. I've heard solid wood top guitars that sounded like crap. That being said solid wood tops generally sound better. My favorite guitar doesn't have any wood at all, actually, it's made of carbon fiber.
#23
Thank you both!
I've made up my mind. I will order the Fender and the HB and compare them one day long and then I will decide which one is best and send back the other one.
I will report the results of the test/comparison here im forum
#24
Quote by TobusRex
I'm sorry, I couldn't say if the PR-150 has a solid wood top. I'd guess it probably isn't judging by the price. That being said I really liked the way it sounded and played, it was way better than any other low price Epiphones I've played. .
Oddly, (?), I've heard many people rave about low end Epiphones. I think it was the PR-100, which is absolutely, positively, a laminate top. Some say QC is a bit spotty, but I suppose that's to be expected at that price point. I think, (but I'm not completely certain), the PR-150 is the PR-100's replacement. The price is up as well.

In any case, Epiphone has an unusual marketing strategy, which would be helpful to be aware of.

The same body, and even the same name model, can be laminate or solid, depending on whether or not it has electronics. Oftentimes the all acoustic laminate top models can be tagged, "artist", while the A/E model will be named "Pro", and have a solid top.

The Fender CD-60 you mention is all laminate. I believe the "sweet spot of their line (ATM anyway), are the CD-100 (spruce) & CD-160 (mahogany), models. But, with Fender on the head stock, they likely don't have as much, "bang for the buck" as the Cort or Recording King mid-line offerings. (Which I am unable to swear to, being left handed-handi-sort of capable).

At the current $430.00 MAP, the Epiphone EJ-200-SCE is a way nicer looking, appointed, and sounding guitar than the comparably priced Fender "Sonoran". which has a lot of kitsch factor jacking up the price needlessly. I stand little, to less than no chance of being able to live test any of the other lefty Fenders, and IIRC, Cort has but one left handed acoustic in their fairly expansive line.

For my experience with the EJ-200 model alone, it has been updated with a cutaway and solid top. From any review I've seen comparing the earlier non-cutaway laminate offering, the newer model blows them away. (That assumes you can believe anything on the web).
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 17, 2016,
#25
That EJ-200 IS a great guitar for the money. I wonder if OP meant first acoustic overall though or just first "western" acoustic, which is sort of nebulous. I'd be hesitant to point someone toward such a monstrous body for their first acoustic. Even going from elect to D can be a shock to the system. I am, admittedly, convinced that every acoustic should be an O, so for what that's all worth.
Last edited by TomInReno at Apr 17, 2016,
#26
Quote by TomInReno
That EJ-200 IS a great guitar for the money. I wonder if OP meant first acoustic overall though or just first "western" acoustic, which is sort of nebulous. I'd be hesitant to point someone toward such a monstrous body for their first acoustic. Even going from elect to D can be a shock to the system. I am, admittedly, convinced that every acoustic should be an O, so for what that's all worth.


Actually, "western guitars" is how Thomann categorizes steel string acoustics...

In the same vein, they also refer to plug-me-ins as "electro-acoustics", while we here in the colonies call them, "acoustic electrics".

I agree about the body size of an EJ-200. I suppose it depends on the size of the player. Townshend seems to make the jump from Les Paul or Strat to his SJ-200'a easily, but IIRC, he is at least 6' tall.

OTOH, Emmy Lou Harris used to play J-200's, but I believe Gibson created something with the same spirit, but with a somewhat smaller body for her.

I had a similar discussion about Ian Anderson's very tiny custom made guitars elsewhere. My conclusion was that, well first in performance they're plugged in, the small bodies wouldn't be as prone to feedback, and Anderson likes a sort of "tinkle-y sound", which lulls you into a relaxed state, just in time for the bombast which will certainly follow.

Our TS can't really try or buy an EJ-200 from what I could see from his sources.
Thus, if this were a serious discussion about a newcomer actually buying something in that size range, I definitely would advise them of the caveats involved.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 17, 2016,
#27
Quote by Captaincranky
. . . . .In the same vein, they also refer to plug-me-ins as "electro-acoustics", while we here in the colonies call them, "acoustic electrics". . . .


I don't see the logic in calling them "acoustic electrics" - I visualalize some sort of mutant stratocaster

But WTH? - you have Trump too
#28
That acoustic-electric, electro-acoustic nomenclature has always bothered me. It's an acoustic guitar and it happens to have a pickup in it. I don't even think about my pickup until I'm plugging in for a show. It's an acoustic guitar. pfft.
#29
Quote by Garthman
...[ ]....But WTH? - you have Trump too
Not to mention what's left of Bernie Sanders....
#30
if you like a full mahagony instrument you should consider Sigma. i played the dmc1 at the Frankfurt Music fair last week and was surprised how good it was. to be honest it was way closer to the Martin original than the price difference would make you expect...
#31
Wow! A couple of days away and already such a mess here? *Joking* :-)
Interesting discussion.
So, as I promised I'd like to present the results of the comparison.
I received both guitars yesterday.
Both guitar have a beautiful colour, though the HB is mat, which I prefer.
So, to cut a long story short, I checked both the guitars at depth...I made and invented lots of tests for checking the sound.
They are both almost the same. I could not notice any big difference. I even had the impression that the HB has a slightly stronger sound but I'm not very sure about it.
As a matter of fact the main difference is the price, indeed!
So, I love my HB already and I have just sent back the Fender and saved a lot of money! :-)
Last edited by mattuschber at Apr 19, 2016,
#32
Quote by TomInReno
That acoustic-electric, electro-acoustic nomenclature has always bothered me. It's an acoustic guitar and it happens to have a pickup in it. I don't even think about my pickup until I'm plugging in for a show. It's an acoustic guitar. pfft.
Well, it doesn't mean anything to you, since it's information you're already aware of. OTOH, tens of thousands of other people would like to avoid the surprise of getting it home and saying to themselves, "wow, this thing can be plugged into an amp"! Or perhaps conversely, oh shit, I wanted something I could plug in". With that in mind, the possibility of use as an amplified instrumemjt needs to be documented in some manner, and the E/A or A/E nomenclature works perfectly for that.

It's really not all about you Tom. I know that sounded a tad harsh. Sorry.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 19, 2016,
#33
Quote by Garthman
But WTH? - you have Trump too
Imagine how I felt when we elected the mentally defective George "Dubbya" Bush, who promptly made Tony Blair his bitch.

That was a sad time for both our great lands...
#34
??? What about my thread?? A bit inappropriate that you are now just discussing here forgetting that it was about something else actually.
Well, there are always such people everwhere.
To those who followed me I want to say "thank you"
Ok, now it's time to play the guitar!!!!
#35
Quote by Captaincranky
Well, it doesn't mean anything to you, since it's information you're already aware of. OTOH, tens of thousands of other people would like to avoid the surprise of getting it home and saying to themselves, "wow, this thing can be plugged into an amp"! Or perhaps conversely, oh shit, I wanted something I could plug in". With that in mind, the possibility of use as an amplified instrumemjt needs to be documented in some manner, and the E/A or A/E nomenclature works perfectly for that.

It's really not all about you Tom. I know that sounded a tad harsh. Sorry.


HA! Yes it is! ..and, yeah I know, it's totally necessary but it's obnoxious it gets equal billing as the "acoustic" portion of listing which is oodles more important is all I was saying. Twas a totally irrelevant and unimportant comment - and for that I apologize.
#36
Quote by mattuschber
??? What about my thread?? A bit inappropriate that you are now just discussing here forgetting that it was about something else actually.
Well, there are always such people everwhere.
To those who followed me I want to say "thank you"
Ok, now it's time to play the guitar!!!!
To be forthright, we did go along with your topic. In fact, I spent a lot of time researching, pricing, and giving you the benefit of the little knowledge I've gained over some 40 years of being around guitars, and a few of forum crawling. For that matter, so have the others.

TBH, it seems as though my post about OEM vs. brand name, pretty much solidified the deal for you.

At some point it's time to buy, or get off the pot. I think the direction that the thread has taken, pretty much supports that.. Besides, what does it matter where the thread goes after after it's resolved?

And BTW, "you're welcome".
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 19, 2016,
#37
Quote by mattuschber
??? What about my thread?? A bit inappropriate that you are now just discussing here forgetting that it was about something else actually.
Well, there are always such people everwhere.
To those who followed me I want to say "thank you"
Ok, now it's time to play the guitar!!!!


Would I be right in thinking that you are relatively new to these fora? You should seen Usenet in it's heyday, these groups are like a Sunday school by comparison.

CC, while I know that common-sense is on your side, I'm sympathetic to Tom's view on this. I think there should be some way of distinguishing "hollow electrics" from "acoustics with pickups". - There a many guitars that look like acoustics that are designed for looks and plugging in (I had a J-160e way back), as opposed to guitars with good acoustic properties that can also be amplified.* Can a new chum be expected to appreciate this difference?

* Didn't you mention somewhere different tops on the same Epi model for acoustic and A/E versions?
Last edited by Tony Done at Apr 19, 2016,
#38
Quote by Tony Done


CC, while I know that common-sense is on your side, I'm sympathetic to Tom's view on this. I think there should be some way of distinguishing "hollow electrics" from "acoustics with pickups". - There a many guitars that look like acoustics that are designed for looks and plugging in (I had a J-160e way back), as opposed to guitars with good acoustic properties that can also be amplified.* Can a new chum be expected to appreciate this difference?
Wasn't that my point exactly?

Although, you just opened the biggest can of worms ever with that post.

There are plenty of terms around to distinguish, "semi-hollow", "thin body". "arch top" and whatnot.

OTOH, announcing a steel string flat top, AKA at this point, "western guitar", to be "electrified", does present the opportunity to discuss the means, methods, and logistics of electrification, along with what benefits it may or may not provide. << (Always a hot potato, that one )


Quote by Tony Done
Didn't you mention somewhere different tops on the same Epi model for acoustic and A/E versions?
Yes I did. Which is why we come here to educate newcomers to such quirks. Not to claim, "you turn acoustics upside and they all look alike".

But after the guitar is bought and played for, where the thread goes is pretty much fair game.

And I say that with respect, (sort of), to the forum rules. Help me buy a new guitar is one topic.

"I just bought a really cool new guitar", is quite another. Which means, if you want a bunch of sunshine blown up your butt about it, you start a "happy new guitar day", thread. Which must, BTW, include uploaded pictures and even possibly sound clips. So, another topic, another thread.

At least when we're off topic, we tend to be at least mildly entertaining.

OTOH, in this thread: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1699911 Gingerlocks has already bought the guitar, when another member comes along and announces unceremoniously, "I like Martins", with no rhyme, reason, justification or explanation whatsoever. Hell, you might as well bump a 7 year old thread for all the good that news does.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 19, 2016,