#1
Hey guys, I was hoping to get some recommendations on my first intermediate level acoustic guitar. I made a list of specs I look for and I'd like to know what guitars you'd suggest I look into. Below are the specifications I look for

  • Folk or orchestra body shape
  • Warm and mellow sound - I love the sound of cedar top guitars but the wood isn't too important as long as my ears and I like the sound
  • Acoustic-Electric - not too important a factor because I can always install a pickup/preamp in a regular acoustic but it would be nice if the guitar came with one already
  • Pinless Bridge is a very high preference but not mandatory
  • Non-Cutaway. Idk about you guys but I tend to notice a difference in sound and I usually hate the sound of cutaway acoustic guitars
  • I have a budget of $300 - $700


I know going out and trying them out is the best way but the only guitar place near me is my local Guitar Center and they don't have much of a variety outside of dreadnought guitars. I'm a petite woman at 5'1" and I'd really like something smaller. not 3/4 or 1/2 sized but OM/Folk sized as mentioned before.
#3
Update: I still need help. I was playing around at guitar center today and came across the Epiphone EJ200 and loved how it felt but the sound is less than desirable in my opinion. I wanted to know between the Takamine GN20 and the Yamaha FS820, which would have the most similar neck dimensions to the EJ200? Any other recommendations are welcome btw. 
#4
Cranky loves his EJ200s and talks about them frequently. Plus, Epiphone has a pretty great reputation for a "bargain" brand.  I'm pretty sure you can get one of those Epiphone "Mastercraft" instruments for about $500, and I've heard lots of people talk about them positively.  The Yamaha APX-500 has a wonderful neck and built in electronics. I've liked the ones I played, but some people don't like the sound quality on them. Also, consider some of Ovation's models.  They have some models in your pricerange and Ovation is famous for their friendly, playable necks. Plus...Taylor has very playable guitars. 
#6
Quote by salpi.r.kertechian
Update: I still need help. I was playing around at guitar center today and came across the Epiphone EJ200 and loved how it felt but the sound is less than desirable in my opinion. I wanted to know between the Takamine GN20 and the Yamaha FS820, which would have the most similar neck dimensions to the EJ200? Any other recommendations are welcome btw. 

Then test a different Epiphone EJ200. Guitars are made of wood, an organic material. If you can tell the difference in sound between a cutaway and non-cutaway guitar, then you should be able to detect the difference between two different examples of the same make and model, especially at the low price end, where the range of variability is higher. 
#7
I think I'll go ahead and test out the EJ200 then. I wasn't aware that two of the same guitars can sound different. I also have had my eye on the Martin 000-17 which I've played and also really liked. It's out of my price range but I'm willing to make an exception. BTW I won't be buying for quite some time. I plan on getting a tattoo removed and then after my last session I want to reward myself with a guitar, but I still wanted to hear recommendations/suggestions. My priorities in order btw are 1. Playability and then 2. Sound and 3. Sunburst finishes are my favorite but I'm not too picky with looks in the slightest
#8
Quote by Tony Done
FWIW, pinless bridges are a minus for me on a steel string, since the bridge is only held on by glue against the string tension. - They look like an accident waiting to happen to me.

Exception regarding Breedlove, which I was going to recommend the OP try in any case. I don't know that I've seen one with a cedar top, though. I'm a cedar guy myself. The mahogany Pursuit Concert might check the right boxes.
#9
Quote by FrogstarWorldA
Exception regarding Breedlove, which I was going to recommend the OP try in any case. I don't know that I've seen one with a cedar top, though. I'm a cedar guy myself. The mahogany Pursuit Concert might check the right boxes.

Breadlove gets away with a pinless system because of the rod that runs from the bridge to the butt of the the guitar.  The extra rod adds stability to the bridge and gets rid of the need for pins.  
Not taking any online orders.
#10
FrogstarWorldA You can get a Breedlove pursuit concert size with a cedar top. I have one. It's a really nice guitar. It doesn't play as easy as my yamaha, nut action feels a little high. The breedlove pursuit has a cutout. Personally, I've never been able to hear a difference between cutout and non-cutout.
#11
I second the Breedlove guys. Own a Passport OM-MMe (probably out of production) which really has the mellow sound you've described. A lot of wood charachter that guitar has. The only thing is, again, it has a pin bridge. What are your reasons not to want pin bridges anyway? salpi.r.kertechian 
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#12
Quote by CorduroyEW
Breadlove gets away with a pinless system because of the rod that runs from the bridge to the butt of the the guitar.  The extra rod adds stability to the bridge and gets rid of the need for pins.  

I'm familiar with it, I owned one
I was just specifying they were an exception to the bridge being glue-only.
Quote by hotrodney71
FrogstarWorldA You can get a Breedlove pursuit concert size with a cedar top. I have one. It's a really nice guitar. It doesn't play as easy as my yamaha, nut action feels a little high. The breedlove pursuit has a cutout. Personally, I've never been able to hear a difference between cutout and non-cutout.

The Pursuit Concert CE does indeed have cedar and cutaway, hadn't spotted that one. I forgot they do a lot of wacky things with their naming conventions... I was referring to the Pursuit Concert E, which is mahogany (well, sapele) and non-cutaway.
I'm with you in that I haven't personally noted a difference myself.
#13
I was at guitar center again today and came across the Breedlove solo concert guitar, which is the only cedar top steel string acoustic they have in the acoustic room at my local GC and despite the fact that it has a cutaway, I actually liked the sound of it and I put it on my list of guitars I'm considering when the time comes to buy one. I guess I shouldn't rule out cutaways just because most of the guitars I've heard with them didn't sound pleasant. I mean maybe it isn't the cutaway that I'm less than fond of but then again I don't really know.
#14
Quote by salpi.r.kertechian
I guess I shouldn't rule out cutaways just because most of the guitars I've heard with them didn't sound pleasant. I mean maybe it isn't the cutaway that I'm less than fond of but then again I don't really know.

Most of what I know about the sound of guitars comes from hearing other people play them. It's not that I don't hang out at guitar stores and try stuff from off the shelf, I do. But no matter how much anyone tries out the guitars hanging on the walls at various music stores, you're going to hear other guitarists playing a lot more often. 

One thing I've observed from watching videos and TV performances by guitar players is that often they use different guitars, but they usually sound like themselves. Throw in the fact that you're looking for an acoustic-electric, which means the kind of transducer or pickup will make a HUGE difference in sound, as will the EQ settings on the instrument, and the amp's EQ settings and parameters, and it gets even murkier. Then consider the the acoustics of the venue, and what kind of pick you're using, and the relative humidity, and what song you're playing at the moment, and how much you might have been drinking. 

Bottom line? There are lots of really, really good guitars out there. But there is no such thing as a single "best" guitar. 
#15
If you can find an overall difference between cutaway and non-cutaway guitars, your tonal perceptions are very different to mine. I've never been able to hear any difference, even within similar models that couldn't be put down to random variation between individual guitars. There might, however, be an argument for thinking that structural stability is different, but I have no idea which would be the more stable. If I had to guess I would say the cutaway.

gerdner 

Your arguments are the reason I don't try and judge guitars on the basis of recordings. And I agree that there are a lot more good guitars than bad ones these days.
#16
Quote by Tony Done
FWIW, pinless bridges are a minus for me on a steel string, since the bridge is only held on by glue against the string tension. - They look like an accident waiting to happen to me.

Quite a few makers use a bolted bridge for their straight-through, pinless bridges. Ovation certainly do so. I wouldn't consider going pinless without a bolted bridge - I agree with you about the risk of a mere glued bridge. 
#17
Best idea yet, from....disregard your "price point" and get something you actually want. Instead of "settling". 
#18
I ended up ordering a Jasmine S35. I know I said I wanted something more intermediate but I figured despite the fact that I've been playing almost 4 years, I'm not quite at a level where I feel comfortable spending too generous an amount on a guitar. I'm unsure whether to call myself beginner or intermediate, but all I know is, I didn't want to spend too much after giving my budget some more thought, especially considering the fact that I'm solely a hobbyist and I don't intend on gigging anytime soon. 
#19
It's pretty far removed from your original specs. - Dread, non-cutaway, pin bridge, no electronics.

I would also invest in a setup if you don't do your own. While any new guitar might benefit from a setup, there is more chance that one is really needed in an inexpensive model.
#20
Oh yeah I was definitely going to get it set up properly. I don't trust myself so I'm gonna try to find the nearest luthier to me. Also, yeah I know it's different than what I specified I wanted but I really missed owning a steel string guitar. I currently own a nylon string 1/2 size yamaha and a squier affinity strat but steel string acoustics are my favorites. Basically I got impatient and bought the cheapest that has good reviews. 
#21
Congrats! A guitar is a guitar. A person that can play well will make a $50 guitar sound much better than so-so player can make a $5000 Martin sound. Have fun...practice, practice, practice! 
#22
Thanks :-) but change of plan. I received the guitar and it turned out to be too big and uncomfortable for me so I'm gonna let my boyfriend have it. On the bright side though, I did find a Washburn EA15A at Guitar Center that I absolutely fell in love with. It may not have a cedar top but it sounds great so I'm gonna pick it up next time I go there. I just wish I had found it sooner so I wouldn't have bought the Jasmine, but oh well. I think I've learned my lesson about never buying a guitar online unless you know exactly what you are getting and I didn't. Anyway, I can't wait to get the Washburn soon!! Thanks guys for all the help and suggestions and whatnot. I'm sure I'll be happy with the Washburn once I get it :-) 
#23
Update: I ended up ordering the Washburn from Sweetwater instead just a few minutes ago. Guitar Center didn't have the Iced Tea Burst finish which I really prefer over the Tobacco Sunburst finish. Can't wait for it to be delivered :-) 
#24
Update 2: I cancelled my Sweetwater order due to the fact that the guitar isn't in stock and I am impatient. I will be buying it from my local Guitar Center later today. The color isn't too important anyway and I'd really rather just have it as soon as I can.