#1
Since it's really personal preference there probably isn't a correct answer, but there are a few things that hold true. With a solid top guitar the resonance and projection is usually going to be better. What would complicate this is the size of the body between the laminate and the solid top. If the laminate body is larger it could be a wash. All things being equal the solid top has the edge. Construction techniques with solid top guitars has lowered the price allowing better quality at a lower cost (which is a good thing) however, polymer technology has also improved affording greater tonal quality for laminates and improved long term durability. Solid top guitars are more effected my environment and temp/humidity change then laminate top guitars. If you live in a dry area or the heat gets turned on at your house and the humidity is allowed to drop below 35% for any length of time you probably just screwed your solid top guitar by drying it out. The laminate top guitar will with stand greater variations in temp/humidity so "accidents" may not be so costly . Laminate top guitars are also more durable if they get banged around and are less prone to dents and scratches. Ageing is another factor. As the solid top guitar ages it's tone changes and enhances resonance and projection where the laminate top guitar will remain more consistent to the sound it had when originally purchased. Again this is going to be a personal thing I've played on solid top guitars that were 30 years old and didn't care for them any more then brand new solid tops one way or the other. The biggest differences i see is not so much solid top vs laminate, but price. When I play an $1800 solid top Taylor i'm certainly hooked, but comparison in the $200 to $400 range the issue becomes much more blurred. You may never find anything you like better then the one you play right now be it laminate or solid in that price range. It's your ear that decides. Acoustic vs Acoustic/Electric? that's a whole nother thread.
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#2
I have to disagree her with you. The 30 year old solid top guitar... well, that guitar may not have sounded good to you in the first place... It's more an issue of if you buy a solid top guitar that you like the sound of, chances are you will like the sound more after a few years of playing it as the wood vibrates more freely.

ypur argument is valid about durability. laminate tops probably will be more durable. and they are much cheaper to replace if you completely stuff a laminate top guitar.

I have played a few guitars that are solid top that I cannot stand. But I have never played a laminate top guitar that i have liked except for when i first started playing and couldn't tell the difference. There are a couple of solid top guitars around (cheap models I'm talking about) that have sounded no better than a laminate top guitar. but thats only happened twice to me.

If you are happy with laminate top guitars thats cool. But I would never recommend for anyone to buy one and personally really dislike how cold and harsh most laminate top guitars sound. Also most of them are much lower build quality and don't play as well either.

Acoustic Electrics on the other hand.... I think they are fine if you need one/can afford one. but if you have a small budget and WANT one, but don't need one, then usually your not getting very good value for money. In any price range an acoustic electric is going to cost more to get than the equivalent normal acoustic guitar. Just after you reach a certain price its alot easier to get a decent guitar with electronics as the price of the electronics doesn't cut too much into the quality of components and build quality of the guitar itself, which is an issue you find in the lower end regularly. Of course this is another one of those things that you have to decide for yourself, but for me in my financial situation, I look for the best value for money. Also I have no need for electronics and don't see the point of plugging in my acoustics. One of the many things that attracted me more to acoustics than to electrics was that you don't need electricity, you can play anywhere. They are also so, well pure I guess. The sound comes entirely from the guitar and it is so full and clean. In my opinion nothing can compete with the clean, pure sound of an unplugged, good quality acoustic guitar. You can have good cleans from your electric guitar and amp, and then you have your acoustic guitar. It's just on an entirely different level for me.
#3
My point is buy what you like. All laminate top guitars aren't created equal either. And i did say the $200 to $400 range. Once you get above that I agree with you completely, but with lower end beginner guitars I don't think so. Our opinion also differs on acoustic/electric. I can't say I'd buy anything but (again in that price range). Get up to $1000+ there are certainly several straight acoustics I'd purchase, but if your on a budget you can't beat the versatility of the electronics. For instance. If i'm playing Malaguena Rumba I like a guitar with a bit brighter sound, if i'm playing dogs and butterfly I want something with a slightly deeper tone. To do this all i have to do is turn a dial on my PA slightly. No way I could do that otherwise without several guitars that would vastly exceed the money I have in my equipment. Frankly this entire post is based on personal preference and as I've said there really isn't a correct answer I'm just surprised at how many people are willing to limit themselves based on a spec sheet especially with a limited budget.
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#4
I disagree wholeheartedly.

If you only have 200 or 300 dollars to spend, why would you want to waste half of the value on awful stock electronics?

You will always be better off with a tonally better guitar, since you can get much better electronics for $100 later when you need it. Using an EQ to change how your acoustic sounds kind of takes away from what an acoustic guitar should be...

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Partscaster/Tele into a bunch of pedals, a Maz 18 head, and a Z Best cab.
#5
I can't address the electronics as well as I'd like to as I haven't tried a wide enough range yet, but for those that I have ($300 guitars and above) I haven't plugged one in I though that was crap. There are some i like better then others and you can tell the difference in response. if your talking about something on a $150 guitar I don't know. When i go to a store i rarely pick up anything cheaper then about $300. As far as the guitars i'm around, a group of us (5) get together every other week end or so between us we have about 40 guitars. 9 of those are acoustic/electric, 2 are straight acoustic. And there mostly different brands and I wouldn't consider any of them not worth buying. You could ask 100 people which one they like better and they can certainly give you an answer, but there may not be a clear winner. My guitar is the newest of the bunch (other then the used dobro 1 guy just bought) and that gives it the edge over some of them. Good Piezo Pickup, and it has a buffer pre-amp w/ built-in Tuner. I only gave $400 for it and it has a laminate top and sounds great. It's just a matter of taste and you should let ear your ear decide. You pick up something you really like it shouldn't matter what the specs say.
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