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March 04, 2008

Good acoustic guitars

After my teaching session at Music Centre Canada yesterday, I stopped by the acoustic room and took pretty much all the guitars there for a spin. They have brands like Martin, Crafter, Yamaha, Washburn, Ovation, etc. I liked the Crafter and the Yamaha sounded surprisingly good - the rest were okay or so-so.

I have a decent grab and go guitar in my SX DG-50. Some day I might want to get a really good sounding quality acoustics, and I know where to look...

Because I played a couple of Martins at the store.  There were the "cheap" Martins. $900 or so. But Wow. All guitar players knows the fame that surrounds Martin guitars. I haven't tried their high end models, but the "cheaper" Martins I tried in the store blew all the other 10 or so guitars I tried away. Martin obviously know how to build good sounding acoustics. I played a Martin DR and it resonated so beautifully and full, all over the neck. The lesser quality guitars just don't have the full sound, so I guess you get what you pay for in acoustic guitars.

I will see if I can find some Taylor guitars to try. I know they are really good too, but I am sure there are many other brands worth checking out. If you have any suggestion, add a comment will ya?

It seems it is more costly to make a quality acoustic guitar, compared to electric guitars. I mean, just look at the many low cost guitars made in Asia today. Many of them are quite good sounding to start with, and can be made even better by upgrading the pickups and and some hardware. That isn't quite the case with an acoustic.

I am no luthier, but I realize that the selection of wood and combinations of wood make a huge impact on the overall sound. Not to mention the techniqe used to put the whole thing together. So the effort to create a quality, good sounding acoustic is obviously much higher than for an electric guitar. At least this is my personal view on this. I am well aware of the fact that a high end Suhr, Fender, Tyler or similar guitar will be a way better guitar than a Squier or Jay Turser, but the huge differences in quality between high-end electrics compared to average costing electrics are not as apparent as they were, say 15 years ago. As for acoustics, I argue that the differences between higher-end acoustics and average costing acoustics are still quite apparent, just as they were 15 years ago.

For now, I'll do fine with my SX acoustic, but down the road, a nice Martin would make a fine companion for me.

You can get a high quality acoustic guitar from Musician's Friend

The Martin J-40 Jumbo Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar is a top notch guitar. One of the better ones out there, no doubt. Martin guitars are great.

Martin J-40 Jumbo Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Taylor also makes some fantastic guitars. Just don't let United Airlines see you've got one! :)

Taylor DN8 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Natural Taylor DN8 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar Natural

By Robert Renman - www.dolphinstreet.com

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Posted by Robert Renman on March 04, 2008

Comments on this blog entry

Ryan A. said...

Taylors and Martins are definitely top picks for acoustic guitars. The playability of Taylor guitars is just phenomenal and the actions are very low. I also love the quality and craftsmanship of Taylor guitars.

If you want a versatile guitar you can try the Taylor T5 hybrid that can produce both acoustic and electric sounds. You can read more at

Comment added on December 31, 2008
Frank said...

Hey nice article for a dummy like me. I wondered at which point the guitar, and the brand is important? I found acoustic guitars page on Google and some are cheaper, some aren't.
Any advices that could help me to make the right choice?

Comment added on December 08, 2008
Mark said...

I know this is a relatively old post, but if you're still looking, Guild guitars are overlooked, especially used ones. I have a D-25 from the 1980s that is a very well made guitar and comparable to a Martin in many ways, including tonally. I will say that for over 20 years I played a Seagull S-6 as my main acoustic and I had a Martin snob come up to me and ask what kind of guitar it was and rave about the tone. Seagulls don't get much respect but they are very lively, responsive guitars.

Comment added on May 16, 2008
gary said...

Want to be surprised? Crafter is doing knockoffs of Taylor and gibsons. Look carefully. You can get a whole lot for about a third or more less. Unless of course it is an ego thing about whats on the headstock. I've owned them all over 40 years and here you get much more bang for the buck.

Comment added on March 26, 2008
Anonymous said...

I was in the market for my first really nice acoustic about 10 years ago. I had tried Taylors, Takamine's, and many others. At thte time, I hadn't thought too much about Martins, I just thought they were for bluegrass players. But, I the owner of a small guitar shop in Annapolis asked me to try one he had. Wow! The tone, feel and everything about it was exactly what I was looking for. THe model is a SPDC-TR16. SP= Special Edition C= Cutaway TR= Truss rod.

It has a rounded cutaway, spruce top, rosewood back and sides, mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard with abalone snowflake pattern inlays, rosewood bridge, abalone soundhole rosette, Fishman pickup gold tuners. It is actually signed by Mr Martin (III?) himself.

Obviously, it's a matter a personal preference but, I always get complements on my tone... It's a sweet guitar. I paide over $2,500 for mine back in '97. I don't think they make this model anymore but you may be able to get one used (eBay) for about $1,000.

G'luck. Ciao!

Joe C.

Comment added on March 24, 2008
Kathy said...

Check out the Martin DCE Dreadnaught Cutaway Acoustic-Electric. It's made from sustainable wood that's planted and harvested so as not to harm the ecosytem. I think this is really cool since Brazillian Rosewood is now an endangered tree.

Kathy from ABC Learn Guitar
http://www.abclearnguitar.com

Comment added on March 15, 2008
Andrew said...

martins and taylors are awesome. anyone of those would be a good buy.
Alvarez guitars in my opinion beat out both martins and taylors. i have a $500 alvarez and it can compete with both $900 taylors and martins

Comment added on March 15, 2008
Anthony Cosio said...

Please check out Martin 00CXAE Acoustic-Electric Guitar(Black)
649.00 made in USA but I found a used one last week while on vacation in Hollywood at the Guitar Center on Sunset for 399.00. I love it

Comment added on March 12, 2008

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