Recommend some better-than-entry-level acoustic

Discussion in 'Jazz, Acoustic, Classical & Fingerstyle' started by TedEH, Oct 24, 2018.

  1. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    The more I think about it, the more I think that "bright" is maybe the wrong word for what I'm looking for. It's not brightness per-se, but maybe a certain quality of the high end that just isn't dull. I find a lot of acoustics just sound boring or plain, and I think it comes from the high end lacking any character.
     
  2. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    I figured that was the case :lol:, but wanted to take the opportunity to reiterate the new D18 recommendation, as I think it will meet TedEH's criteria about Martin Dreds, vintage-ish, bright without being thin (maybe I'm reading a bit into his descriptions with that, though). It's definitely not bright to the point of being thin sounding, nor is it dull or muddy, not is it very mid focused (like a Gibson J45).

    I know these videos are a far from perfect example of what the guitar will sound like in person, but this is a decent comparison and I think the extra low end and mids of the Martin would work better in most jams or solo performances whereas the Taylor would likely fit in a denser mix with less EQing.

     
  3. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I looked up some videos about those Rainsong guitars and they sound interesting from what I can tell via videos + headphones. Suuuuuuper kinda squeaky in the high end though, to my ears. That's one I'd want to try in person.

    From that comparison, I think I still prefer the D-18. The more videos/comparisons I watch, the more I keep leaning towards Martin. I guess I just like those.
     
  4. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    So, maybe we should go about this the other way. What's your favorite recorded acoustic tone, on a record?
     
  5. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Maaaan.... that's tough to figure out, hah.

    Some examples of recorded acoustic sounds I like:
    - Opeth, The Throat of Winter
    - Oh Hellos, Like the Dawn
    - Coheed, Always & Never

    Some examples of recorded acoustic sounds I don't like, or not as much:
    - City and Colour, Sometimes - Some songs are alright, but some are a little too boxy/nasal/middy
    - Kotipelto & Liimatainen Blackoustic - This is an example of what I mean about how it's lacking high end character, but the rest is good
    - In Flames Acoustic Medley from The Jester Race - Suuuuper dull sounding. Completely lacks that high end character

    Seems like the sounds I like the least are the kind of boxy forward sounding guitars. Gatta have some scoop to it.
     
  6. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    Generally rosewood guitars tend to be a bit more scooped sounding compared to something like mahogany.
     
  7. shadscbr

    shadscbr SS.org Regular

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    My GAS is very strong for one of these with a bevel :)

    http://www.avianguitars.com/

    Depending on your playing position and the thickness of the guitar, a bevel might be worth searching out. Over a decade ago I had a custom Kronbauer (Canada) acoustic built with a bevel and sound port. Back then, these options were not available on production guitars, so I took a chance. I have to say, I love both of these features way more than I expected, and would never order a custom without them. If you decide to go custom, really make sure you know what you want. The bevel keeps my forearm from getting numb, and I feel like the sound port lets me really hear all of the frequencies, harmonic content, and overall tone generated by the instrument. Price wise, acoustics with bevels are now avail from the $500 Taylor Academy on up, by a number of manufacturers. Best of luck with your search!
     
  8. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    ^ Ooooh those are cool looking. I've been liking the idea of something not-very-traditional looking. These look kinda small though, which strikes me as odd, especially for the baritone model.

    I've got some free time tomorrow, I think I might hit up one of the shops nearby that has some high-end-esque (aka not entry level) acoustics I can noodle with for a bit. :)
     
  9. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Had a free day today so I made a trip out to a shop nearby - it sort of confirmed some stuff I was already thinking, but also made me wonder at the same time...

    They had a D-28 but nothing cheaper than that. I liked it. Did what a guitar should do. Neck shape was comfortable. Best I can describe it is that it felt like an expensive version of what I've already got, which is both good and bad. Strangely, the action on the one I tried was higher than I expected, but there was lots of bridge to be adjusted. With a setup, I imagine it would be really great.

    I tried a handful of Taylors. Super playable necks. They struck me as being very bright compared to everything else, which matches what I was expecting. Sometimes a bit too bright though. Its like I couldn't turn the brightness off. With the Martin, I could pick in a way to bring out some brightness, or intentionally keep a warmer sort of subdued attack, but the Taylor was just always very bright. One of them (I forget what model, but it was a much larger, rounder body- 816 maybe?) sounded huge, but the high end was almost annoyingly bright. It was like having a 12 string, it was so jangly.

    In particular I grabbed a couple of 110 models and they sound good. Necks feel nice like the others. But- I feel like the details are just not there with these ones. The frets are playable but sort of.... not nice looking? The attention went to playability, which is great, but it feels like corners were cut on finish on these. If you close your eyes, they're great, but visually there's some rough edges.

    I picked up a Gibson that was in the $2k+ range (CAD though, so that's what $500? :lol:). I immediately put it back down. It felt like a toy. Definitely not in the same league as the others.

    They had some Seagulls but not any of the models I've been previously looking at. I wasn't very impressed with these ones, but I can't tell if it's just dead strings, or the shop not seeming to care to maintain the non-high-end stuff. Maybe I just don't like these models. Maybe I got spoiled by the more expensive stuff and could just immediately feel the downgrade. But I remember picking up an S6 in a different store and really liking it. So.... More research needed in this area.

    Big downside to the whole thing is that everything I liked was ridiculously expensive. Anything under $1k felt like I'd be compromising something compared to what I already have, despite my starting point not being anything special. More research in the future I guess. Made for a nice day anyway.
     
  10. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Check out Andrew White guitars. I have one, and they’re really nice. Cool body shapes, and a variety of solid/laminate options at different price points.
     
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  11. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Cooool. Will do.

    I definitely want to track down a D-15m to try out as well. They're sort of checking a lot of the boxes at the moment, but I haven't found one in person yet.
     
  12. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    It's worth noting that there are tons of ways to modify the tonality of an acoustic, most are pretty cheap too.

    From stuff like what strings you use (especially the construction and materials), to different bridge pins, to nut and saddle.

    What you want to really examine when trying them out is volume, projection and how bright they are. The more of all three the more you'll be able to shape the actual sound. It's far easier to darken and hush a loud, bright acoustic than it is to liven up something dark and quiet.
     
  13. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    That all makes a lot of sense.

    Had another free-ish day, so I ended up in a different shop today -> this time a used place. They had two things that caught my interest:

    One was a Larivee D-03R - It was actually super nice to play. A tad bit on the bright side of things, but sounded really nice. The only thing I think I didn't get along with too much was that the neck shape was a little rounder/chunkier than I'd like, but that's being nitpicky.

    The second thing was a Sigma DM-15+, which is basically a cheaper version of that D-15M I'd like to find. Realistically, picking this one up I think confirms that the GAS for the legit D-15M is real. It has the sound, the neck shape, the all-mahogany thing looks really nice to me, etc. Realistically, the Sigma played nicely too, and for the tiny fraction of the price of a Martin, it's almost hard to justify the more expensive one. :lol:

    Guitar research weekends are good weekends.
     
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  14. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    I'd get killed for asking this on an acoustic forum, but I just wanted to make sure: did the Taylors sound too bright when played with fingers? I sometimes see guys in guitar stores grab a high-end acoustic and pull out a pick to play it... :facepalm:
     
  15. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Why would it be weird to use a pick on any particular guitar?

    I wouldn't say the Taylors I tried were "too" bright, regardless of how they were played, so much as it didn't suit the particular sound I tend to like. Honestly, if I already had a whole bunch of acoustics, I'd probably want one of those just for the variety. They played well, and the brightness really does sound good. It's just not "my thing" currently.
     
  16. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    My description of the Taylor sound is that when played with a pick, they tend to sound like they were designed to fit into a band context. As if a tracking/mixing engineer has already cut out some low end and mids so that they won't fight for space with the other acoustic guitar, the electric guitar, the keys, the backing vocals, etc., and when played with fingers, tend to sound like a "modern" acoustic guitar - not too bright, not too bassy with good separation.
     
  17. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    This is pretty much what drew me to a Martin over a Taylor - Taylors have, to me, a very hyped, modern high end, while Martins tend to sound more even and balanced. Neither is bad, and I'm actually surprised to hear you preferring the Martin, too, based on your previous comments, but... It's subjective, so who knows.

    I don't know any of those songs, by the way, but I'll hit Youtube. For me, the acoustic guitar tone I chase is Days of the New, which I think IS a Taylor, not a Martin, but with phosphor bronze strings. I'm in the right ballpark, though, recorded, which I'm pumped for.

    This is kind of the nature of an acoustic guitar - the whole "hollow body made from thin strips of carefully-bent wood, carefully reinforced with internal bracing" thing does tend to make them a bit more expensive to make than your typical CNC-machined solidbody. You get what you pay for, for the most part.

    Why is that an issue? Plenty of acoustic guitarists are flatpickers, not fingerstyle players.
     
  18. nedheftyfunk

    nedheftyfunk SS.org Regular

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    I've been on a similar hunt. I have gotten distracted away from Taylor, which was where I started, by Yamaha's A3 & A5 series guitars. I don't know if they've been on your radar, but both have solid back and sides (either mahogany or rosewood for an extra 100 or so), torrefied tops, apparently decent electronics etc., but at a much lower price point than the equivalent Taylor. The two series have similar, if not quite identical, specs, but the former is built in Yamaha's factory in China and the latter in their Japanese custom shop:

    https://europe.yamaha.com/en/produc...guitars_basses/ac_guitars/a_series/index.html

    The difficulty, at least for me, is finding one to play before buying, and deciding whether the 50% mark-up for A5 over the A3 is worth it.

    Bit off topic, but here's an old and newer vid tour of Yamaha's factory in China:


     
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  19. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    There's a part of me that's really been debating the price vs value thing. After running into that Sigma the other day, it's incredibly close the instrument that I've been GASing for, it's just not "the real deal". But it's the same design, the same materials..... but it's more than $1k less. It was almost cheap enough to be in impulse buy territory.

    Part of me really wants the real deal, but there's always that voice that says "you're just paying for the name on the headstock so you can feel good about it". We all know at this point that 5x the price doesn't mean 5x the quality or sound or playability. But I also don't want to buy something that will leaving me still wanting to upgrade again in a year.
     
  20. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Easy: buy both.
     
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