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Jack79's avatar

What's a good (mid-priced) acoustic guitar to buy?

Asked by Jack79 (10918 points ) July 22nd, 2013

I know this sounds like a stupid question from a professional musician, but the truth is I’ve always been a songwriter, not a guitarist. Guitars were a necessary tool, but nothing more.

So it’s not surprising (for me anyway) that I do not in fact have a “dream guitar” that I would buy if I could afford it. I could easily tell you what car, bike, or even shoes I’d buy if I had the money, but I’m not sure about guitars.

In the past (for most of my career in fact) I played an Ovation, and also owned a Fender, a Yamaha and a couple of Ekos as well as various electric guitars, bases etc. I also had an amazingly beautiful (but utterly useless) handmade guitar, which I let my daughters play with.

Recently I started looking for something a bit better, that would last me a few years and have a good sound. I can’t afford the top range Gibsons (over $3000) but I could go a little over $1000 if it was good value for money.

Any opinions?

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5 Answers

tom_g's avatar

I really like Taylor guitars. But it seems that most people fall either the Taylor or Martin camp. If I had the money, I’d get myself something simple, like the 210 ($800) or 310 ($1300). I’m not a professional musician, however. My current guitar is an Epiphone I bought for $150 21 years ago.

OneBadApple's avatar

I suggest that you tour a few music stores and play around with several levels of acoustic guitars during each visit, making note of the ones which you like the most, then look around on Craigslist or eBay for those. Unlike used cars, used musical instruments can be just as wonderful (for many years) as they would if you bought them new. You might very well find a used higher-end guitar for a ‘mid-range’ negotiated price.

About six years ago I bought a Guild F212 12-string guitar on eBay. The guy and his wife played in a band together and I think she died. He wanted someone to play and love her 12-string guitar forever, since he couldn’t play it.

After my winning bid (for almost half of what it’s worth) I told him that I would love this guitar and think of his wife respectfully whenever I played it.

And I still do….

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I’d go with a Martin, like a D-1GT Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar. A high quality instrument, great sound and should be available for under $1100.

augustlan's avatar

Nice to see you, @Jack79!

Jack79's avatar

Thank you all for the great answers. I was also somewhere there in the Martin/Taylor dilemma. Was hoping there were other options I did not know about.

@OneBadApple unfortunately I cannot visit any music stores for practical reasons and have to order online without trying out first. The one place near here that sells guitars only has a couple of basic cheap ones, nothing more.

I’ve played a couple of Guilds and found them overpriced. Not bad, but certainly not worth the extra money.

@Tropical_Willie The dreadnaught was in my shortlist (though I think I wanted the D12)

@augustlan not really back, just had this one question, but good to see you too :)

@tom_g was thinking of something slightly better than an Epiphone, since I make money off it to pay it off. They’re good value for money though.

I ended up buying another Ovation (for now anyway). Coward’s choice, I know, it’s very similar to the one I played for 10 years but above all has the holes (as opposed to pegs) to hold the strings which allow me to change broken strings on stage very fast. This was in fact the main reason I got it, since I did not find any other brands that use this system. It takes about half the time to change a string, which is the difference between cracking a few jokes and keeping the audience warm and having to look for tools to take off the peg while the audience slowly drift away.

I am still looking for that better guitar to fall in love with though, so all suggestions are welcome.

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