#1
Hey everybody, I'm feeling like I might be ready to move up from my lower end guitar (a Martin DX-1 that I bought a year or a bit longer ago) to something that will last me as long as I want it to.

I'm kind of of the feeling that I really enjoy playing the guitar, and if I can find something that really just sounds more or less perfect to me when playing it, that would let me enjoy it all the more and is probably worth the one time investment.

I went into guitar center today and messed around for a bit, and could definitely tell the difference between the sound of my guitar (and the DX-1 and some of the other lower end guitars they had in stock there) and some of the higher end guitars (in the $1-2k+ range), mostly in that the sound just sounded, more, I don't know, solid? and the intonation seemed spot on, as opposed to good, but still leaving me with a feeling that something was slightly off every once in a while (I played violin for many many years, and think I have a decent ear from that, and something sounding "off" just bugs me).

So I guess what my question would be is what should I be looking for, and what's the price point where I can really get a good solid guitar that can't easily be improved upon? (and what would I be paying for if I went above that?)

For example, my guitar now is obviously solid top, only. I assume that I can get a completely solid guitar in that price range, and that that's something I should be looking for? (will all the guitar in that price range be solid?) Is there anything else I should definitely be looking for? (besides a sound that I like, obviously^^)

I've been seriously considering an acoustic-electric just for the added benefit of being able to just plug it in and go if I want to play with other people in a performance type setting. Are the any particular models you guys would recommend me checking out?

One of the things I've been wondering about is that I keep my guitar out on a stand (it's the only way I'll pick it up and play it regularly, which is why I have a guitar in the first place. I live in the bay area (~45 minutes from San Francisco, CA), so humidity and such isn't quite the issue it would be in some other places, but will I regret doing that in the long run with a higher end guitar? What am I trading off in exchange for the convenience of being able to pick it up and play?

Thanks for any input!
#2
Most guitars in the 1-2K range are solid wood, yes. Most of them will have spruce tops, but some will have either rosewood or mahogany backs and sides. Each will sound different, so try to pay attention to the type of wood used on something that you like.

Unless you're going to be plugging in a lot, you're better off getting a non-electric acoustic. You'll get a better unplugged sound that way. No need to sacrifice tone if you're not plugging in regularly. Besides, you could always add a pickup or clip mic afterwards. If acoustic-electric is the only way to go, then you should definitely look at some Taylors. Takamine and Alvarez make excellent A/E's in that price range too. Larrivee's are also worth checking out. Wouldn't be a bad idea to look at some guitars a little above your price range, because you could usually find a nice used one and save some cash in the process. A Martin D-28 goes for around $2200, but you can usually find a used one for around $1500 or less.
#3
^ Taylor guitars are great, and in that price range the sound is not really affected as much by the cutaway. I'm assuming thats what you mean by sacrificing tone...Additionally, you can buy many guitars in the 1-2k range that are acoustic electric and do not have cutaways.

But in that price range, the usual suspects are Taylor, Martin, and Gibson. I feel that Taylor offers the best value, and I also really don't care for the Gibson tone. I would also check out Larivvee and Breedlove. I've played great guitars from both companies in that range.

Gear:
Partscaster/Tele into a bunch of pedals, a Maz 18 head, and a Z Best cab.
#7
Quote by teegee420
Unless you're going to be plugging in a lot, you're better off getting a non-electric acoustic. You'll get a better unplugged sound that way. No need to sacrifice tone if you're not plugging in regularly.

Most guitars in this price range don't suffer tonally from the cutaway.

The brands I recommend most in your price range for an acoustic electric are (in order of preference): Taylor, Larrivee, Martin, Breedlove, Alvarez/Alvarez Yairi, Takamine, Guild, Gibson

I recommend Taylor above all for acoustic-electrics $1500-$2000 because they over models that are all solid wood, in various body shapes, with excellent construction, superbly balanced tone, and a pickup system that is among the best ever produced.

Larrivee and Martin only come second to Taylor because I do not think their pickup systems are quite as good as the Taylor Expression system. Unplugged Larrivee and Martin acoustics rival ANY company in quality of construction and sound.

Breedlove, Alvarez, and Alvarez Yairi guitars pretty much tie for fourth in my book here. They are both phenomenol brands with some phenomenal guitars in this price range. When you get above about $3000, Breedlove is basically impossible to top out of a production guitar in my opinion, but around $1500-$2000 Larrivees and Martins sound a little better to me.

Beyond this, I chose Takamine because I prefer their pickups over Guild and their tone over Gibson. I prefer Guilds tone over Gibson.
#8
Quote by jimtaka
Most guitars in this price range don't suffer tonally from the cutaway.
Not even on the low-end(bass)?
#9
^ The cutaway is on the treble side of the upper bout of the guitar. The thing it affects the least is the low-end. If anything, it messes up the balance of the guitar, but again, in this price range the guitars are so well built, the effect is small.

Gear:
Partscaster/Tele into a bunch of pedals, a Maz 18 head, and a Z Best cab.
#10
I had dx 1 and wished I never sold it. The replacement however was sold to me by Hugh Manson...a played in D 18 and I love it. Dinged it on the bottom and had it professionally repaired by a cello/violin luthier who said it was one of the best martins that had come through his hands. I use DR strings on it and would recommend.
#11
Quote by roamingbard13
in this price range the guitars are so well built, the effect is small.

This is my contention as well. It's also worthy to point out that having a cutaway doesn't necessarily mean the guitar's tone will suffer, it just means it will differ from a guitar without a cutaway.

This debate is all a matter of opinion. That being said, it's my opinion that typically lower-end guitars do suffer in the tone department when a cutaway is added. I feel that higher end instruments are built from better materials, with more attention to detail (specifically bracing) and construction quality. This seems to make all the difference in the world to me. A guitar that is built from quality materials, by a knowledgeable and scrutinous hand doesn't suffer tonally by a cutaway.

Cord, if you happen to read this, I'd be interested in your take on the matter... as well as everyone elses' as well.
#12
Thanks guys, it looks like I've got some likely suspects now. I'll go in soon and play as many as I can.

Just out of curiosity (I actually hadn't come up with this idea until today)...Would I be able to take a standard cable and a 1/4 to 1/8th inch adapter and plug the guitar into my computer and have it sound decent if I recorded it using something like Audacity or Garage Band? Or would I need some sort of additional equipment to do that?
#13
Well...it would work. You would still likely need some sort of DI box to boost the signal going into the computer, and to give you some shaping control.

However, you are always better off using quality condenser microphones to record your instrument. If you would like recommendations on these, let me know. I just finished writing a paper, so I'm about done with typing for the day.

Gear:
Partscaster/Tele into a bunch of pedals, a Maz 18 head, and a Z Best cab.
#14
Quote by LuckyLefty01
Thanks guys, it looks like I've got some likely suspects now. I'll go in soon and play as many as I can.

Just out of curiosity (I actually hadn't come up with this idea until today)...Would I be able to take a standard cable and a 1/4 to 1/8th inch adapter and plug the guitar into my computer and have it sound decent if I recorded it using something like Audacity or Garage Band? Or would I need some sort of additional equipment to do that?


I did... haha I'm not ashamed. I'm broke from buying a Taylor (which I HIGHLY recommend.). So I got this cable with one of my stereo systems that has a 1/8" male on both ends (to plug my mp3 into the stereo). And then i got an extension cable thing with a set of headphones I bought that has an 1/8" male and female. and then i have an adapter that I plug into my guitar (1/4"). So... It goes...
Computer > double male ended cord > extension thing > adapter > guitar

if that makes any sense. Maybe I'll take a picture of it if you'd like. But anyway, it seems to work well enough for me!
Proud Owner of a 2006 Taylor 814 CE-Fall Limited Edition


Quote by MiasmA
guys, i got it. pucture = the rare breed of green fruits that tend to laugh scoffingly and then question a statement. AKA lolwut pears

CASE CLOSED..