Recommend an Acoustic Guitar for under 850US
@tcelliott Dec 27
I umm... am looking for an acoustic (probably used) for around 850 US. Recommendations wanted.
I might be able to go higher for the right guitar.
@ustaknow Dec 27
Super subjective, and threaded a few times:
Guild GAD Series D-125 Dread (stopped making circa ’15), I own and love. Amazing guitar, lots of low end, --if you like that.
Fender CD-60SCE 12 Str - Dread (didn't specify 6/12 Str. I've played many, and own this one, just couldn’t give it back. I don't use the E part, but is like the rest. All of 5090 was done on this one. By the end of 5090 the solid spruce top "opened up", increased in vol., with great resonance throughout the body and neck. It set up easily like an "electric" (I like very low Nut and 12th fret action, went with custom light string gauge, --maintained tone and feel comfortable noodling a solo on it --which I normally would not, --main guitar since 5090).
The Guild F-2512E is as nice as any, more expensive, however I simply like the Fender better so gave it back.
Fender GA-43SCE 6 string. Initial offering came with flight case marketed as "pro" level, --didn't compete well. I see them for wide swings in price used. Either they don't know what they have or there's an issue. 2 FAWMs ago, all on that one. Sits next to me, alternate with the 12 Str.
Recording King RJ-06 Acoustic Guitar a 6 Str Jumbo. Love this guitar. I don't like carrying when I can leave them, --bought this for that purpose. I don't see them made any more. Super affordable, but built as well as any I've played. Loud, strong mids on mine. The materials on mine, flawless as well as attention to finish. Fine tight grain on solid sitka spruce top.
Squier SD 8. Offered about 20 years ago. Another amazing, guitar, ridiculously low priced. The solid top on mine is book matched, so fine grained I need my glasses to see it. An extremely undervalued workhorse kept in someones closet if you know guitars probably $20 at garage sale 😀 Hidden Gem, imnho 😀
@johnstaples Dec 27
Hey @tcelliott! I play Ovation 6-string, Blueridge tenor, Alvarez baritone and several others. These days you should have absolutely no problem getting a sweet acoustic for less than $850! I like the Ovations because they are usually sweet sounding, simple to get set up for great action and they tend not to be as sensitive to temperature as guitars with wood sides and back.
I bought this one for my wife but she never plays it so I write most of my songs on it,
@metalfoot Dec 27
I am a big fan of Simon and Patrick/Seagull/Godin as a brand. I play a $400 Simon and Patrick, and at the $800-$1000 range, they are every bit as nice as a lot of the really expensive brands, I find. Only proviso is that you'll start singing with a Canadian accent as you play them, eh? (handmade in Canada)
https://www.long-mcquade.com/17609/Gu... -- this is a FINE guitar, for instance.
@ustaknow Dec 27
It's interesting the guitars folks own and love and the music they make.
This thread gets done, looks like every project. I remember a number of folks last time where shocked and glad to read others openly 😀 like the Recording King. I'm not brand loyal or price concerned. I can own any guitar I want. I've A-B'd many 10:1 in price -- for more context however *subjective. (Then there's service if an issue, and it happens.)
If one pays attention to folks over time and realises one may be heavily into recording, another live performance/Mic'd, others plugged in -- once plugged in, into a PA, -- differences may disappear unless Mic'd and well. Some folks have to get turned by the looks of a guitar to want to handle it, play it. Me, I really dislike gawdy, and always go for, even non-bound esp. the Neck.
I've found that fret styles matter less on an acoustic than an electric, but appreciate the jumbo wides that seem to be mostly on elecs.
Tone, function is a big, or only thing for me. The X-bracing system matters more than even the wood species and if Ply. The difference is all of a 1/4in forward or back of the sound hole. Again, unless plugged in, --than back to caps and resistors and how wired.
I've cut and A-B'd solid brass nuts and saddles, just to see about all the "mojo". Yes, a slightly brighter timbre. However the hi-tec, bone like are as good as it gets to my ear. Other than that, solid high ratio tuners matter to me. I like tight and don't care if it takes me 1000 turns to restring 😀 I like fine/micro incremental tuners.
Lastly, take a copper, steel, nylon thick/thin, exotic wood, bone, etc. *Picks with you. Each one will make it sound like a different guitar. Picks are to often overlooked.
I used to listen to a homeless busker who played 1/4 Duct-tape body guitar, --sounded amazing across from his marble and glass ofc bldg 😀
@tcelliott Dec 27
Thanks for the recommendations.
@unkept Dec 27
I second @metalfoot 's suggestion of Godin / Seagull stuff. I have a few of their small Merlin dulcimers, and my acoustic guitar (which I love) is a Seagull Artist QII. I bought it from a gentleman who is Godin dealer/repairmen. He takes shipping damaged or B grade units and fixes and resells them.
My guitar was list for $1200, top of the line Seagull with rosewood, ebony, and spruce, and I think I paid $750 with the case shipped. The only issue for mine from the factory was missing glue on the nut and saddle.
@cblack Dec 28
Not a specific recommendation as such, but my rule of thumb is to always play a guitar before buying it. So, in a store it's easy - just find a couple likely suspects and play them all, seeing which one you like best. For second-hand it'd be a bit more difficult,for sure...
My other rule of thumb is that price doesn't matter as much as whether you love the guitar or not. Like, I bought a $450 acoustic that I actually prefer over my $800 electric. Sure, some of that is that an acoustic sounds great anyway, whereas an electric is dependent on the amp and pedals and settings and everything... But my point is that price isn't that important.
Especially as you'll play better on an instrument you gel with, even if a technically-better guitar that you didn't gel with technically sounds better. If that makes sense.
@tcelliott Dec 28
Yeah, it makes sense. In a perfect world I'd find a guitar, play it, fall in love, be able to afford it and take it home.
My worst case scenario is finding a "deal" and buying it on line and getting a "good" guitar that I may not love.
My backup plan is to find a great deal on line, go play the same model in a store somewhere, fall in love, and then buy the great deal on line.
But I'll probably end up waiting and then having to spend my money on a car repair or something *knock on wood.*
@ustaknow Dec 28
Hey @tcelliott -- I was in that situation, just nothing around locally. I buy for others too, if asked.
I'm not saying anyone but me would want to go to the trouble but, -- I needed a "great" Cello in a certain price range. I went local and was "krappe" or, they ordered and I got what they got. To return it --not pleasant. Then, what's the difference!? 😀
What happened, --I went to Ebay/Amazon. I then found a maker that sold on Amazon. Ebay is a nightmare -always! I told Amazon directly, --if it's not right it's going back, you're paying the shipping. Cellos when shipped look like coffins being delivered 😀 ... Az said, "go for it". At one point I had 4 coffins lined up on my back porch for return pickup at the house, prepaid. 5th one was a charm... nicer than any 3x's the cost.
If you find a model of something, for me, if you are serious about your bind and want level, --check out Az? If it's not right, you mark that in the return reason. It's effort, but, options? This pre-Christmas, lots went back w/o issue and picked up at house.
Although I have not used MusicainsFriend in a long time due to every package coming damaged and returned --tired. With MF they will pay return shipping buy won't pay for at the house pickup. Time to drop off is a problem for me. Back to Az.
Anyway, I was on the hunt for a certain guitar Gibson made in spurts but, the finish QA was iffy. From MF, --I ordered 6 all at once. Each one had an issue and went back, prepaid. But, I told them directly too, and had no issue (could be my acct w/them?). Unlike Az, they do try to talk you into an exchange or discount but not unpleasant like a private shop may be.
Anyway, --unsure if you've tried "that"? Just say'in 😀
Guitar Center has "free" returns for Used Online. But, their "ratings" of "excellent" cond. are *always off, my experience. Don't have time to keep driving to return'em.
@standup Dec 28
Wish I had useful advice. I haven't shopped for an acoustic in ages (got a 70 Gibson cheap because it needed work, and that was 15 years ago).
Because of my vague ideas about distances in the Midwest I thought, "TC should just drive over to Elderly Instruments and play a bunch..." Google informs me that's a full day drive each way.
What about St. Louis? Any huge locally owned guitar shops with lots of used instruments? I guess Chicago is a substantial drive too. Or Madison.
I'm lucky where I am, 2-3 really outstanding guitar shops pretty close. One is hit-or-miss and has lots of crap but ALWAYS has a few gems too, the other is more high-end, but if I had $4000 and wanted a super-primo vintage something or other I could walk in and they would have it.
What about older Epiphones, before they were the economy brand they are today?
@tcelliott Dec 28
There are actually four music stores here in CoMo that I would have no problem giving my money to. The problem is all four have limited stock in the price range I'm looking at. So it's a wait and see what comes through the door type of encounter or talk them into putting a new guitar in stock that I can try and probably not buy.
I've found a taylor with a couple of issues in St. Louis in my price range but I'm not planning on being in St. Louis for a while. But they do have guitar centers so I could go try some new guitars and if I find one I like order a used one from them or keep my eye out for one for the future.
I appreciate all the input. This is fun and stressful all at the same time.
@johnstaples Dec 28
Many years ago I would have been the first one to say "you must play the guitar before purchasing it"! I no longer believe that. Not one bit! I have bought one or two new guitars every year for the past five years and every single one has been perfect! The only issue I had was with a baritone that had a small piece of wood rattling around inside it and I got a replacement in a couple of days free of charge and no shipping fees.
So, what changed? Well, for one thing the quality of cheap imports has skyrocketed! The Chinese have learned how to build excellent guitars quickly and economically. Plus, online merchants have learned to carefully evaluate and set up their products before shipping to their customers.
So, choose the guitar you want, listen to it demoed on YouTube and pick a reputable online dealer (Sweetwater, Elderly, Musician's Friend, Zzounds, etc.) and buy it! If not satisfied send it back but based on my experience you'll love it!
@cblack Dec 29
Oh, and for reference, my acoustic is an Ibanez PF15ECE. Not that high end, but it sounded amazing. Personally, I don't much care about brand name recognition. Yes, it might be an assurance that the product is likely to be good, but I'd still prefer to try, play and buy anything that speaks to me regardless of brand or price.
The Ibanez is a cutaway dreadnought, which was exactly what I was looking for. Tried the cheaper model first, but this slightly more expensive one was way better.
@songsville Dec 29
Hey TC, look out for a high end Yamaha; I adore the one I got 20 years ago. Be like @cblack and me and don't worry about brand name, they are super well built and you get a lot for your money.
Also bear in mind that fancy inlays and mother of pearl and so on add to the price but not the sound quality ...
@charliecheney Dec 30
I played a friend's Blueridge for the Keeseville and Anvil videos and it was spectacular. It looked something like this: https://reverb.com/item/7895257-bluer...
I believe they retail around $799. He said he got his for $600.
Tremendous lows and mids, and pearly highs. Rumbled like a motorcycle against my chest, and it was half-width, so easy to play for me (my elbows are not great anymore, thinner bodies are really nice for me). Ridiculously loud for a slim-bodied guitar too, crazy full sound. I want one so bad.
The video is here 😀
@spinhead Jan 2
@metalfoot @unkept @tcelliott
I have not yet found a guitar with tone like my cedar topped Seagull S6. I've played $3,000 Martins and Taylors and maybe it's just me, but they all feel harsh compared to the Seagull.
Since no one's heard of them, resale value on a $700 new S6 is about $200. Watch Craig's List and you can grab one with a case for that, or less. And most are now A/E which might be nice. (And with DR Rare Phosphor Bronze strings, it sounds even better than ever.)
@spinhead Jan 2
Blueridge makes a bunch of 6-strings with solid tops in the $350-$400 range. (Their Bristol line is about $250, but laminate top.) I am delighted with my BR tenor. Not a fan of spruce on a 6-string, but on my tenor it's lovely.
@darkmantle Jan 3
I have to agree with the Seagull lovers. I have an SWS (Solid Wood Series) Maritime in burnt umber found here.
I wanted the warmer tone of the mahogany, the rosewood is a bit brighter but still very smooth.
Don't sleep on the Yamaha A1 series (A1R and A1M) they're amazing guitars too! I had a hard time deciding, then I bought my Seagull.
@pipewrench67 Jan 3
Looking for a second acoustic to play at open mics, so I could leave my Martin at home, I picked up a Jumbo Washburn used at one of the local Guitar shops. It plays great, sounds awesome and stays in tune. I think I paid 350 for it, that was a while back.
I have written a majority of my FAWM songs on it.
There are varying opinions on Washburn once they were made overseas, but I'm very happy with this one.
@sac Jan 3
I have just bought a Gibson J-15 2016 'floor model' (like a 'demonstrator model' car) for USD $1K... I think that's the bargain of the century 😀
The guitar I have to sell now to finance that is a Seagull Cedar S6CW, which I've had for about 15 years. It's great and I'd highly recommend these if you like that warm cedar sound. I'd keep it except 1) I can't afford to and 2) I've ALWAYS wanted a J-45... like ALWAYS... so anything else goes to enable that. The J-15 is the sensible (and new) J-45 alternative and I'll probably keep it forever. If I won the lottery and could actually buy a J-45, MAYBE I'd then sell the J-15, but even then, only to buy a Cedar top Seagull again.... maybe a Parlour (00 size?) for some contrast though.
@tcelliott Jan 3
I've been looking at some used J-35 options but they are another 400 above my budget... for used. Depending on what I find, I may put my money back and save for an ever higher priced guitar. But I know that I can find quality under my budget.
@tonyw Jan 3
@standup I still own my very first acoustic - an 1973 Epiphone FT-145 Jumbo. It has fabulous tone and a huge sound. Other than that years ago I came across the Yamaha APX electro acoustics and picked one up for band work. I now have an APX4, 700 and 1000 - love them all equally (fingers crossed). While we are on the Godin thing - I also have an 1993 Acousticaster which is a electric sized, piezo bridge guitar. I have retired it from stage work but still keep it.
When choosing a new acoustic guitar, I find you have to kiss a lot of frogs 😀
@sw1n3flu Jan 4
Echoing what many have said, both S+P and Seagull are very, very good value instruments. For me it's the usual story.... get the one that feels right- body size, wood type, build quality usually outweigh brand alone. My main acoustic is a non-electro Tanglewood Earth 1000 dreadnought from 1996... it's Korean, solid top, looks all posh like a D-45, but only cost £350 (I think)... it sounds great to me, feels right, plays nicely, especially after it was setup by a pro. I've added a Fishman humbucker for live stuff, but that's about it. Second hand market has got to be the place to look if you've got the time/patience/can try before you buy/don't want "new". it's a HUGE question @tcelliott but a great one all the same!
@cblack Jan 4
While I've never done this before, I've heard of people finding absolute bargains at garage/yard sales and markets. Like, people selling an old guitar without knowing how much it's actually worth. That sort of thing. If you have the patience and the means of getting to these sales, you might get lucky.
Obviously this wouldn't be the first choice, especially if you want something before FAWM starts, but I just thought I'd throw the idea out there. 😀
@spinhead Jan 4
One of the very best sound guitars was my Dad's go-to. He'd already hocked his Gibson archtop grrrr and when he found this one he parked his Martin 12-string.
Cleaning out the empty house next door as a favor to the landlord he found a stringless guitar with no markings except "Made in Korea" inside (this would have been in the mid-70s.) He strung it up intending to give it away, and after playing it once he kept it till the day he died. I think my nonplaying older brother has it now.
Booming bass, but clear and full, crisp highs, easy to finger, it was some kind of freak accident to get something that amazing out of the trash.
The price was right up Dad's alley, though, seein' as how he's the guy who waited until he could get the '65 Sedan de Ville he liked for $100 (again, mid-70s, so used, but not old. A hundred bucks.)
I can't drive past a yard sale without slowing to see if there's a Kay Kraft Venetian or a Les Paul T0 or some such nonsense.
@ianuarius Jan 5
Price-to-quality doesn't scale that well with guitars. Ibanez actually had to raise their prices just to get people to buy their guitars. So, you could get a better guitar with $700 than $1,400. I wouldn't worry about the price that must. Just test a bunch and get what feels the best for you.
That's actually exactly what happened with me. I was going to buy a 1,200 € to 1,400 € guitar and went to a shop to test a bunch of them. I didn't like any of which I picked up and told the clerk that they just didn't fit me. So, he went off and came back with a PRS and told me to try it. It was so good. After a while I got scared to even ask the price. When I finally did, he told me it cost 700 €. I bought it on the spot.
@tcelliott Jan 5
It's been great reading through this thread. I've still not found my guitar and my plan to go to St. Louis today has fallen through. I'm still looking, but I'm in no hurry so... thanks for all the recommendations.
@airbagtester Jan 5
Man now you guys got me looking for a new acoustic 😁 Just when I was getting ready to re-string my old $90 kids model Hohner guitar! (Gotta play them in so they're not too bright when FAWM comes around.)
@helenseviltwin Jan 6
I have a six and twelve string from the Yamaha APX range. I really like the smaller body and they just feel so nice to play. When I bought each, I tried loads of others and they were way better than the others in the price range at those shops.
@devin Jan 9
I add my $0.02 to @metalfoot , @unkept, and @spinhead as well for the Godin factory guitars. The electronics on the mid-range+ guitars ($500 ish) are very useful for PA work.
I’ve fixed up 6 or 7 over the years from abusive homes. The last guy’s kid stuffed a Simon & Patrick with fruit roll ups before standing on the soundhole 😏
Inevitably I sell them to a friend after they borrow it, and then I have to source another.
Convince @dasbinky to hold a party, and I’ll deliver this one @tcelliott !
@songsville Jan 9
Heheh there are 14 fawmers being midwife to @tcelliott 's guitar purchase now .. c'mon on man, dilate a little, we are tapping our feet here ... 😀 Seriously, nice to see another Yamaha-er @helenseviltwin ...
@airbagtester Yes! I put new, thicker strings (12-54s) on my tele and it has transfawmed it! Best sound ever, completely cured me of wanting to buy another guitar ...
@tcelliott Jan 9
@songsville - I actually have a fairly inexpensive yamaha acoustic/electric cutaway. It needs a neck tweak to get it a bit easier to play. And it's a solid guitar. But it doesn't have that ease of play (even when right) or that sound I'm looking for. I've always thought Yamaha guitars were a good value.
@songsville Jan 9
@tcelliott I put flatwounds on mine. And took out the white/ivory bridge piece and scraped the bottom on sandpaper for a while to lower the action. Since then it plays as smooth and light as my electric. Not as loud as phosphor bronze strings of course, that's what mics are for ...
@quork Jan 11
I recently bought a used Loar LH-350. It's an archtop based on the old jazz guitars, with a humbucker pick-up. The tone acoustically is rich and full (with acoustic strings on), yet it can be as electric as I want it to be plugged in with effects pedals (or plug in effects). If I'm going to be playing it plugged in I put electric guitar strings on.
You can probably find it for $700-750 new.
Which is a long winded way of saying, it depends what you want to use it for, and how much flexibility you want.
Good luck in your search.
@stuartbenbow Jan 15
In the used camp, your options are pretty wide open if you're up for the hunt. In the new market, Taylor's academy line and 100 series are under $700 usually, and their 200 series are just over the $850 mark. I've got several Taylors in our family stable and have been very happy... especially on the quick turn around time for neck angle resets on my 12 string, since they're bolt on, not glued.
Martin's got some. I've options in that range, as do Breedlove, Seagull and several others. Happy hunting!
@tcelliott Jan 15
I did not. Well, not yet. Two things. The first is there hasn't been a guitar that I've liked well enough to buy that wasn't over priced here in CoMo and I've been too sick to head to St. Louis. So I'm keeping my eye open, but the plan is to go play at Guitar Center and a few local shops one weekend and hopefully either a) find the guitar I want, or b) have an idea of what guitars I would buy if I find them used.
I'm gonna give my cheapie acoustic a nice day at the spa and some spine treatment and get it playing a little easier to make due until I find "my" guitar. Thanks for asking.
@brownium Jan 16
My wife bought me a Taylor 216 SB-DLX for my birthday two years ago. It is not an exaggeration to say that this instrument has changed my relationship with music and guitars. That particular model seems to be discontinued.
You may have to work hard to find one, but you should be able to get a 200 series at the price point you are targeting. Even though it is the low end of the Taylor guitars, I could not recommend one highly enough. Taylor is not just hype - they are amazing instruments.
@jacobeverettwallace Jan 16
Haven't read through the whole thread, but gonna plug my daily player: the Martin DRS1 mahogany. It's billed as a road warrior and after 1.5 years of almost daily, at least twice weekly playing/gigging, I can attest to it. Sounds amazing in every venue and sound system. Handles the abuse. I recently volunteered for two months staffing an outdoor tent devoted to 24/7 prayer and worship in DC and it handled the weather and elements beautifully. It sounds large unplugged. It sounds great recorded. Highly recommend. Feel like it's an underrated Martin for a lower price.
@tcelliott Jan 16
I found a Taylor 414ce or maybe 424? for 1400 cash or cash and trade. I played a 212 that I really liked, but it was not the ce model and they wanted 850 bucks for it. I did like it, but I can get a used 212ce for a lot less than that.
@standup Jan 16
I do want to see how this story ends.
I'm an old guy, so I've had a few... Alvarez and Fender (beginner stuff--I love Fender generally, but their acoustics are not their strong suit). Guild D25 which was cool but the sound was scrubby and one-dimensional. Then the Gibson J50 I have now, which I hope is the answer -- for the rest of my life. I had a Gurian for a few years that my ex sold back to me, but I re-sold it eventually because the Gibson won.
Guitars are very personal. I can't recommend any of the above to anyone, because none of them may work for anybody else and their habits and playing style.
@ooda Jan 16
I have a taylor gs mini. I play guitar for 15 years and honestly that guitar packs punch. it is smaller than most guitars, yet if it sounds slightly different, (i have a couple songs using a drone bass on low e string that doesnt song the same) but in the end the only downside i can find is that the factory strings are hard as rock, which is a bit problematic unless you have harder fingertips than me.
De lor has nice guitars too. Takamine are usally well balanced.
I suggest you to get interested in wood essences to help you find what you want.
Ho, another thing, i played a couple gigs on an ovation that i plugged into a beringher tube preamp mic-100. At first everyone made fun of me. After the gigs, countless people came to ask me how i got this sound.
So here are some of my clues about guitars. It can be a hassle to choose one. But keep in mind that it s mostly like love, check around play some chords, and the one you ll want will be obvious.
@spingo Jan 22
Last week I was looking at the Seagull S6 Mahogany and the Taylor GS Mini Mahogany and ended up with a new Yamaha FG800. It wasn't *as* good as the other two, but damn if it wasn't close, and at $200 versus 400 or 500. I was kind of shocked.
I'd wanted a smaller-bodied acoustic, but I'm happy with my purchase.
@b00n Jan 22
@tcelliott I‘d probably spend some money to get your Yamaha fixed and nice to play.
And then try out everything that is around your price range and speaks to you.
My „main guitar“ is a terrific Lakewood Grand Concert that I got for an incredible deal used.
I have a second acoustic, which is a Sigma OMMM that cost a fraction of the Lakewood, is a very different instrument, but equally good.
Cheap instruments are often very inconsistent in build quality, so it is sometimes possible to find a very good guitar for a very small price.
You‘ll need to sift through a lot of crap guitars, though...
@deadhead Jan 22
I'll add some more love for Seagull guitars here. I also have an S6 Cedar top. While buying it, I also tried out some others in the $1000 range (Martin and Taylor), and they just didn't sound quite as nice.
@bradbrubaker Jan 24
I love my Takamine EF341SC. It's a black acoustic-electric cutaway. You can find one within your price range. What I like about mine is that it has some boom to the lower range, so if I palm mute unplugged I can still fill a room. I thought I found a diamond in the rough with this guitar, but I've noticed a lot of artists playing one.
@tcelliott Jan 29
New (to me) guitar update: No new (to me) guitar. I've taken the cash and put it in the bank for a possible trip to Florida with the family. I did exactly what @b00n suggested and put my good ol' yamaha in the spa for a nice tune up (so to speak.) I'm still looking and I still might get me a new(er) one, but it'll probably be a while yet.
I did like the Taylor guitars, though. The 212ce is very nice. And there was a 400 series on craigslist for cash and trade that I was tempted to look at...
@b00n Jan 29
@tcelliott good for you!
And if you get a nice new guitar you can always use the Yamaha as a high strung or something the like.
I have one or two guitars laying around that I should have gotten fixed before they got serious contenders. Now they fetch dust and eat up space, but I can't bring myself to spending the dough to make them nice and playable, now. They are not even in a condition that I could sell them, so...