#1
I've been playing for two years and I'm looking to get something that I'll play the rest of my life. I'm upgrading from my current acoustic which is a Martin DM, Martin's budget dreadnought with laminate back.

To be honest I really don't like the guitar, it's not very warm ( I know that's suppose to be their reputation, but the highs kick me in the face everytime I strum a chord) and feels like its screaming at me if I really get into the music (strumming harder). I have to play it softly or it sounds ridiculous. The neck also doesn't feel natural at all and I feel like I'm always fighting the guitar to make it do what I want. I also would like something that I can plug in, which I can't do with this guitar.

So here are somethings that I'm looking for in a new guitar...

  • Expect to spend between 1k and 2k
  • Easy playing neck, I really liked playing my friends "Taylor Big Baby", I'm not sure why but it just felt right. So anything with a neck similar to that.
  • Warm sounding, plays well when I play it loud, doesn't get muddy or to trebley.
  • Peferrably made out of a lighter wood.
  • Sounds good unplugged, I'll be playing it unplugged 95% of the time. I've never played a guitar that I've liked with a cutaway because I really like the dreadnought sound, but I could just be telling myself what I'm hearing. So I would cautiously buy a cutaway.
  • Acoustic-Electric
  • All Solid Wood
  • WOW factor when people hear it.


Like I said, I'm not going to be able to spend this much money ever again on a guitar and this will sort of be my baby for the rest of life so I want to make a good decision, thanks for taking the time to read this.

I'd also like to hear if you know of any "popular" guitars for this price range that you think would be a mistake.
Last edited by bberilam at Jul 1, 2008,
#3
You should try some better Martins. My Martin is honestly the best guitar I've played for the price. Try taking a look at some 15 and 16 series Martins as well as Larrivees. I played a Solid Sapele top/back/sided Larrivee that I just absolutely loved. I generally don't like the sound of Larrivees, but that one was just right for me. I also love warmth in my guitars.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#4
I'm Planning on making a trip to the local guitar center and trying out a 314ce and some higher-end martins tomorrow... was looking at the taylor line, isn't the 310ce the same thing but a dreadnought?
Last edited by bberilam at Jul 2, 2008,
#5
Yup. the 10's are dreads the 14's are grand auditorium i think. I've never played a 10, actually. only 14's. I'm generally not a fan of taylors because they sound too thin to me.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#6
with taylors, the first number is the series (quality of woods, level of inlays, etc.) and the next two numbers indicate shape.

x10 is dreadnought
x12 is small
x14 is medium
x16 is large

they have names, Grand Concert, Grand Auditorium and Grand Symphony but their system is very confusing.

I'd highly recommend something like a 514ce. The back/sides wood choices are seriously going to affect your sound. If you have a chance, try something with rosewood, like an 814 or 914. You won't be dissapointed.

Here's another piece of advice I was given a long time ago when I bought my first guitar. When you buy a $2000 acoustic, you're getting $2000 worth of acoustic. When you buy a $2000 acoustic/electric, you're buying ~$1600 worth of acoustic and ~$400 worth of electronics/installation/etc.

Buy as much guitar as you can afford, and install the pickup later! Especially if you choose something passive like a K&K, it will be minimally invasive. I did this with my first nice acoustic and never regretted the decision.

Especially if you play unplugged most of the time.
Last edited by Nims at Jul 2, 2008,
#7
If you want a warm sound then deffinatly try a guitar with a Cedar top. I much prefer them to spruce because they are alot warmer and create a smoother tone.

Are you in the US or the UK? Cos there's a huge difference between £1000 and $1000
Main Gear:

Santiago S3 Spanish Classical
PRS CE22 Mahogany
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Last edited by guitaristclass at Jul 2, 2008,
#8
@guiatristclass: Talking US Dollars

@Nims: I wasn't sure how much an aftermarket pickup could compare to one that comes pre-installed, so that's why I have looked for acoustic electric till now.

Also found this link that tries to point out the differences in wood choices for the taylor line that I found kinda helpful (as helpful as a youtube video could be)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUSEJR6wG74
#9
Quote by bberilam
@guiatristclass: Talking US Dollars

@Nims: I wasn't sure how much an aftermarket pickup could compare to one that comes pre-installed, so that's why I have looked for acoustic electric till now.

Also found this link that tries to point out the differences in wood choices for the taylor line that I found kinda helpful (as helpful as a youtube video could be)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUSEJR6wG74


My buddy was just in a similar situation to you, and we discussed this at length with each other and with the techs at our local wonderful guitar shop.

www.buffalobrosguitars.com (Largest independent Taylor dealer for 8 years running)

The impression I was given was that using an acoustic Taylor with an aftermarket K&K type pickup would actually sound better than the stock system. At least that was my understanding.

Either way if you're not playing out much I'd say just go for the all acoustic. If you want to play down the road you have plenty of options for electrification
#10
Looks like I'm getting a martin d-35...

Went and played a Taylor 314ce... very easy to play, but wasn't too impressed with the sound. I think it's just I'm not used to the lack of volume. Tried the Taylor 814ce and liked it a lot, much warmer and resonant. 814ce was out of the price range by 1000 and it was a really good guitar but not something I'd be willing to spend 3k on.

Then I tried the Martin D-35 and absolutely loved it. I think a lot of it was my familiarity with the martin sound, but It was the most amazing guitar I've ever played, I was just amazed at how full of a sound it was. The sound filled the entire room and you could feel it. Even when I was playing softly, you noticed how much it put out.

So I'm pretty sure that's what I'm buying, only problem is it's a little over my price range of 2k, it was 2100ish I think, but it was so good its worth it.

So now I have to add a pickup, and I need something that won't modify the unplugged sound at all (hopefully no drilling). Also its important that the one I choose picks up chops/slaps real well as that's a huge part of my playing.

Any recommendations?
Last edited by bberilam at Jul 9, 2008,
#11
LR Baggs has a few good ones that fit under the saddle. Fishman also has a good one. The Infinity(?) I believe it's called. They should be able to pick up percussive stuff as well.

The only drilling required is the 1/4 inch jack hole. Any system you add will need one. It'll go right where the strap button is.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#12
Quote by bberilam
Looks like I'm getting a martin d-35...

Went and played a Taylor 314ce... very easy to play, but wasn't too impressed with the sound. I think it's just I'm not used to the lack of volume. Tried the Taylor 814ce and liked it a lot, much warmer and resonant. 814ce was out of the price range by 1000 and it was a really good guitar but not something I'd be willing to spend 3k on.

Then I tried the Martin D-35 and absolutely loved it. I think a lot of it was my familiarity with the martin sound, but It was the most amazing guitar I've ever played, I was just amazed at how full of a sound it was. The sound filled the entire room and you could feel it. Even when I was playing softly, you noticed how much it put out.

So I'm pretty sure that's what I'm buying, only problem is it's a little over my price range of 2k, it was 2100ish I think, but it was so good its worth it.

So now I have to add a pickup, and I need something that won't modify the unplugged sound at all (hopefully no drilling). Also its important that the one I choose picks up chops/slaps real well as that's a huge part of my playing.

Any recommendations?


This is the pickup company that was recommended to me by the experts here.

http://www.kksound.com/purewestern.html

Supposedly with the bridge plate K&K vs. an under saddle you end up with a much truer amplification of the acoustic sound. Also, the system is passive so no battery is required.

The tech at buffalo brothers said this was THE pickup to install in any/all of their high end guitars. R. Taylor, Collings, Goodall, Larrivee, Martin, Taylor, etc.

Their price was $130 or $230 installed. Not a bad deal.

Hope that helps.

-James
#13
Found this video on the LR Baggs M1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkWT6jFVFwU

And that is amazing, it looks like it's more popular than the K&K, but I'd like to hear a k&k system.

Probably going with the LR Baggs because they have a dealer/installer in my city and k&k's closest dealer is 1.5 hours away.
#14
I actually have the LR Baggs M1 Active installed in my guitar. I absolutely love it. It sounds wonderful.

Instead of having the wire hang out, I got a hole drilled at the strap button. I suggest you do the same. The reason is that the M1 Active is hard to take out of your guitar. The pickup is so big that you need to loosen all the strings to take it out. You also need a screw driver to unscrew the clamp from guitar. It just makes more sense to perma-install it.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#15
Decided to keep shopping around, played a couple other martin d-35 and 28's and they didn't sound nearly as good as the first one I played. Also played a Taylor 414ce Rosewood edition that I liked a whole lot. It put out a lot of sound and had some real good unplugged music coming out of it.

It would be the number 2 choice behind the martin. Price difference is about $500. 1800 (taylor) vs 2100 (martin) + about $200 for a pickup for the martin.

Also probably going to get the Baggs Active M1 because it is just so much cheaper than the k&k trinity, which is the one I want.

I can't believe how different every guitar within a model-line is. I played some absolute duds of d-35's, I couldn't believe they were the same model.
Last edited by bberilam at Jul 11, 2008,
#16
Try a Guild next . Their top of the line flagship Dread hovers a little bit over your price range (D55), but most of their models fall in your range. Most purist like the old Westerly ones, but I've heard nothing but good things about the new ones. Who knows you might find something you like.
#17
I know most won't care about this, but I decided I was going to wait until August to buy my d-35 from the local guitar center. I've been going in a couple times a week to play it waiting for that august paycheck and the other day someone had bought it and in it's place was some POS used martin that sounded like a trash can.

Didn't want to put it on layaway because I wanted to try lowering the price by offering cash, my gamble kicked my butt and now I've got to go find a new baby. After going store to store, I haven't found anything close, including other d-35s or d-28s. I'm sure one day I'll find my match
#18
Quote by bberilam
I know most won't care about this, but I decided I was going to wait until August to buy my d-35 from the local guitar center. I've been going in a couple times a week to play it waiting for that august paycheck and the other day someone had bought it and in it's place was some POS used martin that sounded like a trash can.

Didn't want to put it on layaway because I wanted to try lowering the price by offering cash, my gamble kicked my butt and now I've got to go find a new baby. After going store to store, I haven't found anything close, including other d-35s or d-28s. I'm sure one day I'll find my match


When I spoke to a salesman at our local store about the differences between the major companies, his only complaint about Martin was that he said there was much more of a variance in sound than other companies. Exactly what you're describing here. I don't know anything about their manufacturing and quality control, but that's too bad that you lost your baby.

You'll find another one when it's time. Maybe one even better than the one you found before.

Good luck!

-J