I've been playing for awhile and am looking to upgrade my beat up Seagul acoustic. Since I play every day and enjoy it, the fact that I'm not the best player doesn't really matter to me right now. I've set my budget high because I'm not a fan of "working up", I want a guitar that makes me want to pick it up every time I walk by and one that will be suitable for years down the road.

I'm not sure about you, but when I walk into a room of guitars or check out a webpage from a manufacturer, the first thing that grabs me is the look. I want a beautiful guitar.

As for music, I play classic rock, country, and folk. Favourite artists include Eagles, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Gordon Lightfoot, Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson. I don't really care about how a guitar sounds plugged in, I want killer unplugged acoustic tone.

I'm interested in both flatpicking and fingerpicking, and since I'm quite comfortable with folk sized guitars, I figure I'll stick to that.

Here's what I'm looking at:

Takamine EF508KC

I have no allegiance to any brand, but this one caught my eye because it has an appropriate body style, the price is seriously marked down all over the net (should I be worried?), Takamine's are associated with Garth Brooks and the Eagles (not that that really matters but nevertheless...) and damn, what a sexy guitar!

Any opinions? My only concerns are that I'm paying too much for the guitar because it has great electronics, which don't matter to me right now. I've heard Takamines are known for superior plugged in sound.

I hope to try one if I can. Is this a suitable choice? Any similairly priced alternatives?

If you can afford it, check out a Martin, like a D-28 is a less expensive one (but still like 2300 USD). Its not really fancy looking but damn it sounds nice. Or a D-45 is more interesting, something like 900 pieces of inlay. I know for a fact Neil Young plays a couple Martins.
I've heard alot of good things about takamine but I don't have much first hand experience.
You might look at a Gibson J-45, it's what I'm saving up for and they make them without electronics which is a plus for me as well. They're about 2 grand but you said you set your budget high so I figured I'd mention it.
I've had this guitar for about 3 years now and still love it.
Very good unplugged as well as amplified. I tend to like the bigger body guitars, to me the sounds seems to be more articulate. When you go shopping at least try it out.
Just my 2 pennies
Ibanez AF75
Takamine EG550
Digitech gnx3
Peavey Classic 50
Strangely it sounds like you are experiencing exactly what I went through 4 months ago. I was upgrading a Seagull S6+ with something very nice and very long lasting acoustic. I play mostly folky strummy stuff with fingerpicking and lead lines mixed in. I was also VERY focused on getting a guitar that looks GOOD. What is did was went out with nothing in mind and sat in guitar stores and played. I played all types of models and even stuff I would never expect to like. I would take down guitars that caught my eye and keep going until I found one that was: 1. Very Pretty. I wanted a guitar that was pretty and simple. I wanted no abalone or fancy glimmery inlays. 2. It needed to have a fast action neck, preferably not gloss finish, as that appears to get sticky under my hands. 3. And finally, it had to sound good. I didnt know exactly what sound I was looking for, but I had a cedar top Seagull that I loved so I was probably leaning towards warmer tones. 4. It needed a cut-away. All that said, had barely gotten into the first store when I found my guitar. I played everything in the store, but one guitar really stuck with me. It met all my requirements, apart from being maybe just a bit warmer than I wanted at the time. It was a Taylor 714-CE, Cedar top, Rosewood sides, stain finish neck, koa rosette, ebony fretboard, it was very slick. I knew I wanted it finally found in in my price range a few days later at a different store after I looked at a few other stores. Down to $2300 from $2900. That was 4 months ago. 1 month ago I spent around $1400 on a Amp/P.A. setup for playing plugged in with a vocal mic. What I love about my Taylor is that it sounds great, although a bit quiet unplugged and takes on a whole new life when its plugged in. It sounds great. Right now I am adding some pedals and such to the mix. I just bought a cry-baby wah this afternoon, and a digitech looper a week and a half ago. I love both of them, the looper is particularly great (hours of fun). This is the guitar that worked for me, it may not be what you are looking for, but you probably dont know what that even is yet. I would reccomend you go out and spend a hours at every guitar store in town and go figure it out. Good luck, feel free to send me an email message or anything if you have questions.

Here is a link to my guitar.
(Mine looks a fair bit darker/redder on the top than the one pictured.

Thanks for the info, I've checked out all those guitars and am still looking around. Anyone with specific experiance on that, or similar Takamines? I am having a hard time finding reviews for that guitar.