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swampyankee 01-13-2020 08:13 PM

Dread shopping
Since quitting the band, I've been getting back to my acoustic roots. At this point I'm playing a 000C-16GTE I bought close to 20 years ago, and an 80s Washburn mahogany lam dread I picked up for kicking around.
I like my 000 for fingerpicking and such but I like a dread for that bottom end and resonance, and the Wash has that, sort of but a nice solid wood dread would be so much more.
I've been checking out the offerings in my $1500 1800 budget, and trying to decide what's the best bang for my bucks. I like the idea of either a D18 or J45, and I could possibly afford a used one of either. I went down to GC and tried one of each - brand new of course. I think the J45 edged out the D18 for playability.
But there are so many other guitars to try, and the sage advice is to try as many as possible. But GC put most of the other stores out of business around here, so opportunities to try stuff is slim.

How do you go about finding that "one" with such limited chances at hand?

Boozehound 01-13-2020 08:20 PM

You are poking around two of the all-time classics with the D18 and J45. What kind of music do you play? The D18 should be louder, brighter, and more articulate than the J45. The J45 will be easier to play (owing to the shorter scale length) and more percussive. It will also be quieter (again due to short scale) and might be easier to sing over / better for vocal accompaniment.

Brooklyn Bob 01-13-2020 08:20 PM

Welcome. Where do you live? Do you have access to many shops?

swampyankee 01-13-2020 08:23 PM

I'm in southeastern New England. Most of the local places around here closed after GC moved in.

Dru Edwards 01-13-2020 08:25 PM

Swampy, Welcome to the AGF!

Regarding playability, acoustics can be setup to your preference so consider that. Tonewise, did you prefer the Gibson or the Martin?

Go to as many shops as you can and play as many guitars as you can. That will help you make a determination. Don't just play J-45s and D-18s because you never know what might peak your interest. You've got a great budget so you'll be able to get a great guitar.

As mentioned, are there a lot of guitar shops in your area? It's worth it to take a 3 hour road trip to a great shop if you can.

RP 01-13-2020 08:25 PM

Welcome to AGF, Swampyankee. Your plight is not uncommon, and I suspect in a day and time when many guitars are sold long distance, it's not so much a matter of going to stores and finding the right one as it is buying a good one and making it the right one....

Dru Edwards 01-13-2020 08:27 PM


Originally Posted by swampyankee (Post 6264472)
I'm in southeastern New England. Most of the local places around here closed after GC moved in.

I posted my response before seeing this. Any chance you can catch the train to NYC for a day trip?

SuperB23 01-13-2020 08:45 PM

The D-18GE Martin is a great value for the money. You get a lot of great tone for a reasonable used cost. The Red Spruce top on them really sets them apart from the Standard or Gibson J45 offerings.

L20A 01-13-2020 08:56 PM

Unless you want an American built only, give Eastman a try.

Goodallboy 01-13-2020 09:05 PM more needs to be said.

If you can't find it there, you can't find it anywhere.

guitar george 01-13-2020 09:20 PM

I think you would be pleased with this brand new U.S. made Guild D-40 that's below your price range. Solid Sitka spruce top with solid African mahogany back and sides.

ataylor 01-13-2020 09:48 PM

A new D-18 is closer to your budget than you probably think. I got mine through Ted at LA Guitar Sales, others recommend Maury at Maury’s Music or Jon at My Favorite Guitars. Those would be the three I’d recommend checking with, though I believe I saw that Jon is retiring and may be closing his store soon.

If you live within reasonable distance, you could even buy through one of those folks and pick it up at the Martin factory — how cool would that be?

I’m not as sure about where to get the best deal on a new J-45, others may be able to weigh in here.

At a lower price point, you might check out the D-15M and the J-15 — both really nice guitars as well.

And this is going to sound crazy, but give the Yamaha FG800 a play as well. Solid top, scalloped bracing, and the best tone I’ve ever heard in a guitar in that price range. I keep trying to think of an excuse to buy one because it seems like it’s ridiculous not to own one at that price.

That said, if you can swing it, the D-18 is wonderful. I played a lot of dreadnoughts at a lot of price points over 5–6 years and the D-18 was consistently my favorite.

Good luck and enjoy the search!

mcduffnw 01-13-2020 10:11 PM

Hi swampyankee

I have no affiliation with the seller or the guitar...but...if you want a really nice, super comfortable guitar to play, that will also sound great...

In our for sale section here on the AGF, check out the 2004 Taylor 510-L9 Short Scale.

They were really great guitars...still are...and it sits nicely in your price range with a super nice Taylor hardsell case.

With the short scale and low profile neck, electric players always really liked these guitars, as they were/are very fast and easy to play...somewhat similar in feel to an electric.

Give it a looksee. This is a rare and terrific model from Taylor.

Be A Player...Not A Polisher

BluesKing777 01-13-2020 11:02 PM

I have not seen or played one but the new Gibson G45 Studio seems a deal and a half for brand new retail of $999....

But a used one for $675! Will the neck stay on for that price? :D
Can't believe it - they get good reviews...

Anyway, just an idea for you.


DCCougar 01-14-2020 06:56 AM


Originally Posted by swampyankee (Post 6264463)
....for that bottom end and resonance....


Originally Posted by guitar george (Post 6264523)
I think you would be pleased with this brand new U.S. made Guild D-40....

Yes, there's that. Then there's Guild jumbos. Highly recommended!

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