#1
Hey all,

So, this may be the first time I've ever posted in the acoustic forum! . I'm mainly an electric player, but have been making changes/upgrades to almost all of my rig. The one area I haven't addressed in years? My acoustic guitar.

My current acoustic is one of the first guitars I ever owned, a Honher HW-300G - So, a pretty entry level model (But far better than my first guitar). I'm debating selling it (even if it wouldn't net much), and trying to upgrade, if it's doable on a budget?

I would be going used to maximize my bang for the buck. Curious what some good acoustic models to look into for about $300-$350 might be? (Can push it a little bit, but would prefer to stay cheaper, as I don't play a lot of acoustic stuff). Would it be a significant upgrade over my current acoustic?

Looking for something pretty balanced overall. Nothing huge, but not something super slim either, with a nice, balanced tone, and medium neck thickness.

Thanks!
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
Last edited by FlightofIcarus at Nov 30, 2016,
#2
I'm not familiar with current new prices, but my first instinct is to haunt the pawn shops. If you have a guitar store locally that deals in used or consignment gear, check there too. I got a $800 Takamine for $325 with nice TKL case at a pawn shop. That's about a $100 - $150 case. One small blemish, I watched the sales lady do it, telling her not to try and take it off the rack sitting on a stool...BONGGGG...banged it against another guitar, took a chip out of the finish the size of a pea. Other than that, it's in great shape, plays and sounds excellent, I've had it about 15 years.

I always look at Takamine, Ibanez, Epiphone, Ovation, and missed a deal on an electric/acoustic Guild a few years ago I really wanted...payday it was gone...Some Martin guitars are nice but I was never a huge fan, Taylor is nice but too expensive, Blue Ridge guitars are nice, but I've only played one. Very nice though. Can't remember the price. We only have one music store here so my selection is pretty limited as far as new guitars, they carry Fender, I think Ibanez and a couple of off brands.

Watch for laminated tops. Always go for solid if you can get it. Look at the inside edge of the sound hole, if you see layers, it's laminated. Not as good as solid.

Pay attention to cedar tops. My Takamine is a cedar, I didn't know it till a year after I bought it, but the thing sounds great. Nice full sound, good sustain. I knew it was the one I wanted when I was playing it in the pawn shop and I suddenly realized a half dozen hunters had been there talking bows, guns and scopes, and I noticed I didn't hear a thing...looked around and everybody in the place was watching me...that's the guitar I want, picked it up and put it on layaway on the spot. Later found out the cedar top is a big part of that sound. I always find a guy or two listening to me, but it's rarely everybody in the place, employees included...When that happens, I know I have a good sounding guitar. That's why I wanted the Guild I missed, the girl who worked there had heard me play a dozen times, when I picked up that guitar she came over and told me I needed to take it home, nobody had ever made it sound so good. I told her I had to wait for payday, when my check came in it was long gone. They had an Ovation beside it that was nowhere close...This Takamine is probably better than both of them though.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#3
Seagull, Takamine, and Yamaha are all quality guitars that can be found at that price point used.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Dec 2, 2016,
#4
I'll add Recording King and Tanglewood, but there a lot of good acoustics out there these days. Just watch out for low neck angles and potential action height problems in used acoustics.
Last edited by Tony Done at Dec 2, 2016,
#5
Thanks for the info so far, folks!

Before I do a bit more model research of my own, and post some links to specific models for more insight on, I did have a couple more general acoustic related questions.

What about models with cutaways? I've considered looking for a model with a single cutaway design, for easier upper fret access. How much of an effect does this design have an effect on tone? I'm guessing you at least lose some volume with the slightly smaller body?

And acoustic electric vs. using an external pickup - what are the pros and cons of each approach if you wish to be louder?

Thanks!
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
#6
My Takamine is a cutaway, I've played several others, don't notice any difference except easier to reach above the octave fret.

Electric acoustics usually sound closer to acoustic than drop in pickup. The newer electric acoustics sound better then the older ones. THey've improved the electronics a great deal in the past 10 years or so.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#7
Hmm..interesting to hear!

My main concern on the whole acoustic-electric vs a drop-in pickup thing, is that I would assume you get a better guitar for your money buying a strictly acoustic guitar (because of the built in electronics on the electric-acoustic), and just buying a pickup later on for it (at least at my price level), but correct me if I'm wrong?
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
#8
FlightofIcarus

Yes, it costs a bit more for a pickup and preamp already installed, but it works out more expensive in the end to have one retrofitted. A lot of acoustic aficionados prefer to have just the pickup in the guitar, with an external preamp, though modern soundhole-style preamps are now a more attractive alternative to the obtrusive barndoor-style preamps. My preferred option for a while now has been magnetic soundhole pickups for there mellower sounds, though as PP says, piezo preamps have likely come a long way since I last used one. I had a revealing experience with this a couple of years back. I had a Maton with their good AP5 preamp retrofitted, and a basic UST piezo. I added a magnetic soundhole pickup with a blender that would do any mix of preamped piezo and magnetic. I took it down to my mate's store to let the techs and assistants have a look at it, and they all preferred the straight magnetic to the piezo, so since then I have removed the piezo system and gone to magnetic with tone and volume controls.

EDIT, in view of Cajundaddy's post. I also use a Baggs M1 active in one of my guitar, and it does need EQing to get it mellow enough. I put a simple passive treble bleed across the output on an on-on-on dpdt swich that has bypass and two small caps. You can see it in this pic, attached to the side of the pickup, it works fine:



I appreciate that not everyone wants to do this kind of thing, but it indicates some of the options available.
Last edited by Tony Done at Dec 2, 2016,
#9
Quote by FlightofIcarus
Thanks for the info so far, folks!

Before I do a bit more model research of my own, and post some links to specific models for more insight on, I did have a couple more general acoustic related questions.

What about models with cutaways? I've considered looking for a model with a single cutaway design, for easier upper fret access. How much of an effect does this design have an effect on tone? I'm guessing you at least lose some volume with the slightly smaller body?

And acoustic electric vs. using an external pickup - what are the pros and cons of each approach if you wish to be louder?

Thanks!


As a comparison, my Seagull is a cutaway A/E with onboard Baggs electronics. My Yamaha is a standard dread and I use an M1 sound hole PU with it for live work. Both are nice sounding guitars that play well but I generally prefer the Seagull both plugged-in and unplugged. The Yam with M1 requires quite a good bit of EQ to get it where I want, but the Seagull/Baggs combo is really nice with little or no EQ needed at the board.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis
#10
Well, I'm back with another post...except...my research has lead to me to an absolutely dizzying array of models - I feel almost as overwhelmed as I did when I started playing electric!

It seems like most of the models I'm finding in my price range that are cutaway designs just happen to be acoustic-electrics, so I have a feeling that's what I may end up with! Here are a few models that have caught my attention so far.

- Dean Exhibition models
- Epiphone Masterbilt DR500-MCE
- Takamine - Various higher numbered G-series models (I've read to avoid the cheaper/lower number models, but the higher numbered stuff is decent)
- Yamaha FGX 720SC

The Masterbilt is a bit more expensive than the other models I've found so far, but I've also noticed that is it all solid-wood construction, and not solid-top only. Would they be another good option in addition to the others? I don't know much about the Dean acoustic stuff, so any opinions on those would be welcome as well!
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
#12
I would forget the Dean, it looks all flash and no substance. My personal prejudices lead me to the Yamaha, followed by the Epi.

Seagull and Blueridge also have good reputations. I've played a lot of Seagulls, and liked most of them.
#13
Blueridge guitars are good like others have said. I had a br140 for a long time, it was a pretty good guitar. Mine was not very loud but had a very warm, mellow, woody, sound. It had a strong midrange and and nice balanced trebles and lows. The only thing I don't like about them is the aging toner on top, but other than that it was a great guitar. I just happen to fall in love with my Larrivee and it got traded in.
#14
Popping back into this thread w/another question/updates!

Unfortunately, based on local store inventory, and peeking through classified, it looks like I'd have to go the online route for a Blueridge at this time. As I'm not as knowledgeable w/acoustics as electrics, I'm probably going to have to go try stuff out in person before buying anything.

Which comes to my next question - How are the pre-amps on the Yamaha FGX series guitars? They seem to offer rather attractive features for the money (solid spruce tops, cutaways, some models have neck and body binding, etc.). On paper, they seem to offer more bang for the buck than some similarly priced Takamines, Mitchells, and such - but please correct me if I'm wrong!
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
#15
Never played an FGX model. I suggest you focus on 3 brands that have features you like and then go play them. I find most Yamaha very playable.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis
#16
I don't know how good the piezo-preamp systems are in the FGZ, but the adjustable midrange control will be useful if you strum. - My Maton AP5 preamp has something similar.
#17
Quote by Tony Done
I don't know how good the piezo-preamp systems are in the FGZ, but the adjustable midrange control will be useful if you strum. - My Maton AP5 preamp has something similar.
There will be a mix of stumming, and single note/arpeggio type playing. I primarily play metal and hard rock on my electrics, but want to throw in some acoustic tunes as well, and/or some folk-y/softer parts in with the heavier sections of some stuff I'm working on.

I know I just mentioned the FGX series from Yamaha, but now I'm kind of eyeballing the FSX line - Basically the same product line as the FGX, but more of a folk/grand auditorium sized body, rather than a dreadnought. My current acoustic is a dreadnought style body, but personally, I find it a bit big for my liking.
- Gibson Flying V 120 #1 (White)
- Gibson Flying V 120 #2 (Cherry)
- Gibson SG Standard ('61 style)
- Jackson DK2M

- ENGL Fireball 60
- Avatar 4x12

- Many pedals, plus other stuff
#18
i didn't care for the FSX yamahas - the tone isn't as nice as the FGX line. the FSX models sound a bit boxy to my ears.

you might consider a recording king all-solid 000. it's a little smaller than a dread, and RK's 000 guitars are their best sounding size. my husband has one hanging on the bedroom wall. and while i'm a huge fan of blueridge, i think their dreads and parlors deliver better than their 000 models. if you can stretch your budget just a little, the RK 000 is a good guitar and a nice deal http://www.elderly.com/recording-king-ros-10-12-fret-000.htm or maybe you can get lucky and find one used.

if you like bright, maybe the fender hellcat, at the top of your price range, would work. it's pretty nice, although whether or not you'll like the decor is a personal thing. i think it's cool, and the sound isn't bad for a small body guitar, and to me ear, better than the FSX models.

another one if you want a smaller body is the epiphone EL 00. it sounds pretty good, and to my surprise sounds more or less like my husband's 1936 kalamazoo, which was an offshoot of gibson, and has the same body shape and style. the lower bout isn't as small as you might think, but the overall body is pretty compact.

and if you can find a used blueridge BR341, definitely try that out. it's small - they call it a parlor, but it's more the larger size of a martin size 0 guitar. all solid, surprisingly resonant and with better bass than any other guitar in its size and price range. i loved mine and only sold it because due to injury i was unable to play for quite some time.

if you want to go the easy route - and who could blame you? - wait of the next holiday sale at GC, because seagull takes part in those, and buy a seagull original S6 or S6 slim if you prefer a narrower neck. yes, they're dreads and they're above your budget, but you'll probably be able to get 15% off during the sale. the S6 is one of the very few lam back and sides guitars that can pass for all solid. beautiful tone, good bass and sparkling highs.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
Last edited by patticake at Dec 20, 2016,