#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.