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Old 05-12-2010, 10:24 AM
PattGMC PattGMC is offline
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Default Best value for mid-range $ acoustic

Hey fellas and gals

I bet you get wore out by these topics, so thanks for responding.

Im wanting opinions on the best value at the $300-600 range. I know that everybody's tastes are different, and every guitar has a different sound, and it all depends on what I like and want out of an instrument.....
But I'd still like some opinions from some of the experts on here.
I can know what feels good and can distinguish the obvious in differences in sound and quality on each end of the spectrum, but only owning one guitar and having only played a few, I dont quite have the ear some of you have, and know nothing about the construction and electronics. There are also so many models out there and it seems like most of them are good quality.

Here's what I own and what I think Im looking for:
I have an Art & Lutherie, canadian, smaller bodied guitar. I think its a good quality guitar. I've had it for 8 years. Im pretty sure its a solid top, but not sure about the sides. Its cherrywood.

Im looking for one with a pick - up, mostly because Im going to start playing for my church.
Ive heard how the Epiphone masterbuilds are a great value because of the solid wood for the price.
I am use to a smaller guitar, and am thinking a cut away design, but neither are more important than quality and sound.
I played a seagull and it compared alot to the canadian i have. Seemed like a lot of guitar for the money.
Most of the $250 - 300 ranged sounded like crap to me, but that was at Guitar center where I could pick up a martin....
I played the Fender CD-100CE at another place, it was $xxx. It has the features I think Im wanting: looked fine, cutaway, pick up , nice price. I was thinking it would be crap too, but actually sounded fine. It wasnt in an acoustic room and I had nothing to compare it to however.

So, any recommendations?
Im also accustomed to buying used when I can.

Last edited by cotten; 05-14-2010 at 08:11 AM. Reason: AGF Rule 2 in FAQ: no guitar price discussion
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:31 AM
B-Nads B-Nads is offline
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I'd strongly suggest grabbing a Larrivee L or D-03 - they pop up in that price range used on the forums, and are tough to beat in that price bracket - or in any, for that mattter.
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:40 AM
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kendallhadden kendallhadden is offline
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+1 for Larrivee

There is also a nice Yamaha LL-6 in the classifieds now. Buy it then add a JJB pickup. You will have a great guitar and a great sounding pickup.
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:42 AM
Steely Glen Steely Glen is offline
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If I were you, I'd check out Craigslist in your area. For your budget, you have a lot of options in the used market. You may be able to get a Taylor 1 series or even 2 series w/ the ES at the upper limit of your price range. Yamahas will also give you a lot of bang for your buck. Recording Kings get a lot of positive reviews 'round here.

Here's what I can say from my herd, which I use in my ministry as well.

A Seagull S6 w/ a pickup would be very doable for 3-600. I have one of these and like long as I don't look at the headstock. The cedar top is really soft and I have dug into it quite a bit over the years.

Takamines are easy to come by on CL in my area...don't know about yours. I have a G series which sounds underwhelming for a jumbo until you plug it in. It sounds amazing through an amp/PA. I believe this is typical for Taks in that price range, but if you're playing plugged in, it shouldn't matter.

A Breedlove Atlas series would also be doable at the upper limits of your budget. In the same broad sonic category of a Taylor (the founders of the company were employees of Bob Taylor and in the first days, did warranty work for Taylor to pay the bills while they were getting established). Great acoustic or plugged in. Solid tops on all, some with solid backs as well. Shane Barnard uses the higher end models in the P&W scene, if you're familiar w/ him. Try to find one with the LR Baggs Stage Element pickup, if you can. IMHO, they are superior to the older Fishman Classic IV.

Just my $0.02.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:08 AM
mdutr0 mdutr0 is offline
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Check out Yamaha and Blueridge for sure.

Also Walden makes some cool guitars - they have a body style similar to the Taylor GA if you want that sort of thing on a budget.

Don't turn your nose up at a Hohner Essential either. I played a couple yesterday that were a TON of guitar for the money.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by PattGMC View Post
...So, any recommendations?
Im also accustomed to buying used when I can.
Hi Patt…
First of all, Hello and welcome to the forum!

Your Art&Lutherie is a cousin of the Seagull (built by the same company perhaps in the same building). They are a great mid-range line and perhaps the best value for the money. The Seagull S-6 is a much-loved-standard-guitar which resides in many households even though better guitars are acquired for a good reason...great little guitars.

Of the ones suggested, if you are willing to be patient and buy used the Larrivees are the one of the best bangs for the buck. You might have to up your price point a touch, but it would likely be worth it.

It really would be a step up from where you are now - perhaps a few steps.

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Old 05-12-2010, 11:52 AM
Tunes Tunes is offline
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Welcome aboard.

My advice is first of all definitely buy used. You will get way more guitar for the money. Don't worry about on-board sdxtuff, uou can put usually way better electronics on later anyway for under a hundred bucks.

I would look for a nice used Guild, or even a Sigma. The Guilds will all be solid wood, even the "lower" model D-6. Great sound. Sigma will ahve laminate back and sides, but were built in Korea using Martin specs, so they are also great souding guitars - have that Martin sound for sure. You will be lucky to find a Larrivee for your price range, but if you do go for it also.

Epi Masterbuilt's are great also, and you can probably find those used too. You really want to play whatever you buy, so the best bet is local Craigslist (or in Canada also Kijijii) or your local guitar shops.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:01 PM
barrangatan barrangatan is offline
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I second the suggestion to buy used. You'll likely to get much more for the money. +1 for Larrivee - definitely on the top of my list. I would also suggest checking out some Eastman models. They are harder to find used, but they are worthy contenders (and alternatives) to the similarly priced Taylor and Takamine.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:12 PM
cke cke is offline
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You have lots of decisions to make. A used Larrivee is a great choice - true luthier made, solid wood.

If you want new, I would look at the Hohner Essential series (see new review in Acoustic Guitar mag) under 3

Aria makes some really nice gits for the 3 range.

Art & Lutherie's are a great choice for value in the low end too.

Seagull's are nicer looking and great for a bit more.

Recording King and Blueridge have a range of good gits in the mid to higher part of your range.
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Old 05-12-2010, 02:22 PM
guitararmy guitararmy is offline
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I saw a Larrivee D-03 sapele on EBay this morning for a reasonable price...
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Old 05-12-2010, 02:31 PM
acousticaddict acousticaddict is offline
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Just saw that D-03 on ebay.

An awesome deal!!! If I didnt already have one.. id buy it

Doesnt get much better than that.
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Old 05-12-2010, 05:12 PM
emmonsh emmonsh is offline
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have owned d03 and yammaha 700fg and a few masterbilts. currently have a blueridge br140a and it beats them all. only guitar i would trade in a price range of a grand and less is for a d15. still miss my old one
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Old 05-12-2010, 05:20 PM
66strummer 66strummer is offline
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I always recommend brands such as Blueridge, Stanford (very hard to find), and Eastman.
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:15 PM
AZLiberty AZLiberty is online now
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New: Seagull. I like the S6 but whatever body style you like Seagull makes good guitars.

Used: Tacoma. Of course since Fender killed off Tacoma the only way to get one anymore is used, but you can get an all solid wood or solid back, laminate side tacoma in your price range.

Used + Luck: Larrivee. With a lot of luck one might pop at the top of your price range. If one does, buy it.
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Old 05-13-2010, 12:19 AM
bfloyd6969 bfloyd6969 is offline
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Hello Patt and welcome to the forums!! First of all, your Art and Lutherie is a nice guitar! I have three of them and find them to be among the best bang for the buck deals out there. As Larry mentioned, Seagull and Art and Lutherie are made by the same company (Godin), which is why they probably felt similar to you, both having the same shorter scale length. Can you tell us if there is something that you don't like about your current Art and Lutherie? Perhaps if there is something that you don't like, we can steer you in a better direction...

That being said, if you like your Art and Lutherie just fine (and there's no reason not to, IMHO), then perhaps another Art and Lutherie with a pickup already installed? They will fall right in the lower part of your price range. Or, as mentioned Seagull would be nice too as you already have the feel of the Godin necks. I know you mentioned that you wanted this guitar to play for your church, but what exact style(s) of music are you playing? Some guitars are know to have more low end (i.e. bluegrass, country), and some are known to have more high end. Reason I ask is that my Art and Lutheries are not very good at playing the bluegrass genre whereas a nice low end thump is liked, however my Blueridge has that nice low end thump for this style.

Oh yeah, your current Art and Lutherie does indeed have a solid top, with laminated wild cherry back and sides.
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