I recently turned 15, and attend a local performing arts school as my primary education. Playing nothing but brass all day gets a bit boring, though. I intend to become a classical instrumentalist later in life, but would like something on the side. I thought "hey, piano would do nicely," but there aren't many decent digital pianos in my current price range, and most of the decent ones aren't carried by local dealers.

I love metal music, such as Morbid Angel, Burzum, Black Sabbath and Slayer, but can't really see myself playing in a metal band, so that ruled out electric guitar for me. I love classical music, but I already play loads of classical music on my brass instruments, and don't really want to pigeonhole myself. That sort of narrowed it down to steel-string guitar. Artists like John Fahey have left a huge impact on me. I'd love to be able to manage that wall-of-sound, fingerstyle solo acoustic guitar sound sometime within the next two decades.

With the anecdotal preface crap out of the way, I've got about $1000 in funds, but would prefer to spend around $850. That's probably a lot for a first guitar, but I want to get it right the first time. I'll be taking lessons and have a bit of help from my uncle. I can't shop online, so I'm limited to local stores. I prefer understated looking guitars, no cutaway, somewhat dark wood, and preferably a darker than average tone. After doing a bit of research, the Martin D-15 looks like it's exactly what I want, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to afford it, buying locally. I don't plan on using amplification, but the prospect of line-in recording is appealing... so pickups are optional.

Thanks for any advice you can give me! I can't wait to start playing. Messing around in Ableton Live and Absynth gets boring after a while.
Last edited by Naturschützer at Jan 26, 2008,
check out the larrivee 03's. theyre pretty much exactly your price range and i think theyre better than the martin 15's
taylors, breedloves, martins, and maybe even a nice epiphone.

850 is a really good budget to have.
dont get taylors or martins under 1000.

taylor's under 1000 are made of cheap material, so you're paying a lot for... not a lot. they sound nice, but you can get something better.

martins under 1000 are usually made of HPL, which is martin's special laminate wood. it delaminates if the humidity is too high or too low. the guitar can actually fall apart...
I appreciate the quick response.

I'm interested in the Larrivée L-03 and Breedlove Atlas series; I'll scout out the local music stores.

Quote by captivate
martins under 1000 are usually made of HPL, which is martin's special laminate wood. it delaminates if the humidity is too high or too low. the guitar can actually fall apart...

That doesn't really sound all that pleasant.
Having trouble finding either of these brands in Louisville. I could drive to Lexington, but I'm also having trouble finding them at acceptable prices. Feel free to recommend more good brands. I'm leaning towards getting something like a $500~ Seagull and then purchasing something more expensive later, using the rest of the money towards my lessons.

EDIT: Had a substantial brainfart. I found a local dealer that sells the whole Breelove Atlas. I've heard nothing but good about the AD200/AC200, so that's probably what I'll end up with. Also, my dad just went and bought himself an electric guitar -- spontaneous purchase, good for him. That pretty much seals it for me, as I've only got $700 of my own cash.
Last edited by Naturschützer at Jan 26, 2008,
the seagull is an excellent choice. if you like the warm sound of cedar, then the Performer Series S6 is a guitar that will last you for a long time. i just came back from the music store, haha. i tried the preformer 26. awesome guitar. it's not the right guitar for me, but it would be a good choice in your price range.

also, look at the Guild GAD series. i just played a GAD 40 today and it was very enjoyable. Personally, i would get that over the seagull, but that's just my preference. My brother would definitely go for the Seagull. I think both quitars are around the same excellent build quality.
I'd say Larrivee or Breedlove for that range. I have friends that swear by Tacoma's as well. Guild used to be great, and their old D25's were in that range and some of my favorite guitars ever. I'm not as big of a fan of their new GAD series since Fender took that over, but you can try that too.
- Fender, Taylor, Martin, Ibanez, Ramirez, Marshall, Boss, Morley, Mesa/Boogie, Univox, Shure, Monster, Dunlop, Seymour Duncan, DiMarzio, Lace, Sperzel, DW, Tama, Zildjian, and a little Johnnie Walker
Take a look at Parkwood guitars... They are at Guitar Center, very nice for your money, and they are only 500 for a decent one.
I think a spruce/rosewood Guild GAD or Epiphone Masterbilt would be best for you.
You can do better than the D-15. I have one. Blueridge guitars are better and you can get a BR-160 or a BR 140 or BR240 in that price range. They are modeled on Martins pre-war guitars and are outstanding buys. You will get a lot of guitar for the money. THe 140 and 240 are based on the Martin D-18 and the 160 is based on the Martin HD 28. They generally cost 1/3 of the price of a martin so you can get a lot nicer guitar for the money. go to maurysmusic.com and he has head to head comparisons with the Martins.
Guild GAD-50, or if you prefer the feel of a Martin, then try out a Sigma. They can be had for cheap ($250-$300), and with a quick change to a Tusq saddle they sound damn good.
Don't forget the Takamines, some of their guitars in your price range are excellent, I have one of them and love it. Definitely check out cedar tops, I've been amazed by mine, it sounds awesome and has more sustain than any other acoustic I've ever played, good volume and it has character. It runs about $700-800 new. I got mine at a pawn shop, $325 with hard case and electronics, which were required since I needed it onstage. It's the EGS330SC model, cutaway and plays and sounds great. The cutaway is nice too, lots better access to the upper frets. I wasn't sure how I'd like them until I played a friend's Sigma years ago, loved it right away and it doesn't seem to have a detrimental affect on the sound of the guitar.

For recording some of the newer electronics might be good, but I find mine does better if I mic it. Both onstage and recording I can't get a true acoustic sound, onstage it sounds good, but for recording it's mic all the way. I'm thinking about trying a piezo mic, but so far haven't come up with a good temporary mount to use and I don't want it glued in permanently.

If you want the electronics, go for it. I find it's really nice to be able to use my acoustic onstage, and that was my main requirement, other than sound and playability, electronics were required, I was only looking at guitars with electronics. But for recording use a mic.

And definitely check out cedar tops, after owning one for the past 5-6 years I'm definitely a huge fan of cedar. I think it beats spruce any day of the week. Avoid laminate, that basically means high end plywood and does not resonate as well as solid wood. Some may come apart if not very carefully kept humidified correctly.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Thanks to everyone for the advice. I just came home with a Seagull Maritime Cedar GT. It sounds beautiful, looks beautiful, and wasn't too harsh on my wallet. I chose it over some of the other just-as-good choices due to the fact that I had a $300 gift card to a music store with the entire Seagull line, and wanted to buy new.

Thanks again. I'll be using my "Keep It Simple Guide to Playing Guitar" book & the internet to help me start off, and find somebody that gives lessons locally as soon as possible.
That Seagull was a good choice. If you like it, then it's right for you. I've heard many many good things about that brand so congrats on your new guitar and good luck.