Guitarist – acoustic guitar recommendations if you please

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  • Guitarist – acoustic guitar recommendations if you please
  • ross980
    Member

    I found my previous (v v cheap) acoustic or (cheapish) electroacoustic had very high actions meaning barre (bar?) chords were virtually impossible – I find them easy on my Epiphone 355.

    I’ve hardly played guitar for a few years and miss the faff-free joy (for me, not for anyone else listening)  of just being able to pick up an acoustic and play.  So looking for a inexpensive reasonable  sounding easy to play acoustic.

    So- £150ish (ideally <£200), easy action, sounds ok, preferably not electroacoustic (don’t want to pay for something I don’t need) not bothered either way about it having a cut away.  What are my options? Yamaha FG370 seems an option. Like the look of Epiphones. But the choice around that price mark is bewildering.

    Gear4music warehouse is very local and have loads of choice and a showroom. But would like to narrow it down first. Bit nervous of just ordering over the internet but not averse to it is there’s bargains to be had.

    Cheers

    Klunk
    Member

    for that kind of money probably the best yamaha within your budget.

    you can pick up some nice second hand instruments on fleabay

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
    Subscriber

    I found my previous (v v cheap) acoustic or (cheapish) electroacoustic had very high actions

    just get a decent guitar tech/luthier to lower the action/set the guitar up to how you want it. that’ll cost a lot less than a new guitar. it’s also easily done yourself, there are loads of online tutorials and with a bit of patience and some tools it achievable for anyone.

    that said, i’ve never needed an excuse for a new guitar! acoustic i’d go Faith. but a new guitar should be set up properly too, you can spend £10k on a guitar but it’ll play horribly if it’s not set up properly, so unless wherever you buy it from does free set ups budget for that too.

    Edukator
    Member

    Try getting it set up with some thinner strings before you buy anotherguitar. Get the nut filed and the bridge lowered or DIY if you are prepared to invest in some nut files. Try playing with a capo, if it’s easy to barre then I suspect the nut in too high.

    I’ve tried nearly every acoustic in my local shop and found the Fenders (even the really cheap ones such as the Sonoran) and Yamahas were the best set up without spending over 600e.

    I had a nice hardly-touched Washburn electro-acoustic (EA- something or other) with the intention of learning but never got around to it.  It was trialed and finally picked up last week by a very chuffed guitarist.  So, recommended.  £120-£170 ballpark for used, £200+ new.  Depending, of course on model.

    *edit, just re-read OP ‘preferably not electro-acoustic’

    🤤

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Subscriber

    Ii went to an open mic night last Thursday (as it’s about 9 miles away up the old railway track I tied it in with my daily riding quota) and there were about 10 people all “having a go”.

    Nearly all of them were strumming “chunga chunga chunga” style in a pretty tuneless way, which is fair enough in a pub, but what surprised me was the amount of £2000+ guitars used.  Martins, Taylors, a mother of pearl encrusted J45.

    I’m going to take my old £150 Norman along next time and play it properly.  It’ll sound just as good.  Having the neck and bridge set up for the weight of strings you use and the action that suits your style is more important than the amount of rosewood and koa binding.

    Murray
    Member

    I’m interested – my 9 year old plays and I’ve been “borrowing” her guitars, 3/4 Yamaha classical and 3/4 Fender electric. I’m still struggling to play House of the Rising Sun but enjoying it.

    I’m tempted to get a Yamaha APX500 for my birthday – is that a good choice and will it need setting up?

    plumber
    Member

    Yamaha or Sigma at that price

    Premier Icon beanum
    Subscriber

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUwyeYV1Yjs

    The guitars in that video are out of your budget but the video series on YouTube could be worth a look, and it might mean that cheaper Ibanez acoustics should be on your shopping list too??

    Three_Fish
    Member

    Go to guitar shop and play all the guitars you like the look of and fall within budget, but the one that fits you. There’s not a huge amount of setting up can be done (for free) on an acoustic – they’ll probably charge you for adjusting the height of the nut or saddle as they’d usually just replace it, and truss adjustment is really for pulling out curvature, not raising/lowering the action.

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
    Subscriber

    I’m tempted to get a Yamaha APX500 for my birthday – is that a good choice and will it need setting up?

    all depends on where you get it from, local guitar shop should set it up for you, big online retailer probably won’t, same as CRC won’t shorten the hoses for you on a new set of hydraulic brakes but it’ll be cheaper

    sbob
    Member

    If I had to buy an instrument without playing it first, it would be a Yamaha.

    I would take it to Dave the luthier to set it up for me though. Are you on good terms with your local luthier? They’re worth their weight I find.

    Three_Fish
    Member

    Are you on good terms with your local luthier?

    Someday I’m going to be in conversation with somebody and find myself stuck for what to say next. I genuinely hope that it’s that ^^ which pops into my head first.

    ross980
    Member

    Thanks. Currently the only guitar I own is my trusty old Epiphone 355 Dot. I did try setting up the old electro-acoustic but it either buzzed or was impossible to barre. Even with a capo on I had to use the strap type with on highest setting as clip sprung type wouldn’t work.

    TBH, I’ll probably get shot down for this, but I don’t want the hassle of getting it set up. I’m not going to be performing anywhere. So something that just works straight out of the box is what I’m looking for.

    I’d just make a trip to your great big local store and grab some guitars. You’ll find something that feels good, your budget will get you something pretty competent. They’ll probably have 20 guitars that are within budget, so go at a quiet time and work your way through the showroom. Even if you are utterly balls they’ll forgive you when you buy something.

    sbob
    Member

    TBH, I’ll probably get shot down for this, but I don’t want the hassle of getting it set up. I’m not going to be performing anywhere. So something that just works straight out of the box is what I’m looking for.

    Don’t blame you, hence the recommendation of Yamaha; I have never played a bad one.

    Having said that…

    …I’ve got a Yamaha bass, cheapest most basic model. Feels like it’s made out of balsa wood.

    It has been set up by my local bass playing luthier (the full works, completely dismantled and rebuilt, frets reprofiled by hand et cetera) and all of my bass playing friends have said it’s nicer to play than their several thousand pound offerings.

    Premier Icon earl_brutus
    Subscriber

    The hassle of getting a guitar set up are:

    1. take it to the guitar tech.

    2. Ask him to do a full set up. ( action, intonation, truss rod adjustment, fret dressing, new strings etc etc)

    3. come back when agreed and pay for the work done.

    It doesn’t matter if you don’t plan on playing live, a well set up guitar is a joy to play, and will likely mean you play it for hours, and that’s how you get good.

    Id have a look on ebay or gumtree for a secondhand bargain and factor in £50-60 for a tech to set it up for you, brands to look out for are epiphone, takamine, tanglewood, and Yamaha. Always try before you buy with guitars, especially if theyre pre owned.

    Premier Icon brassneck
    Subscriber

    If you’re looking second hand and you see a Yamaha in the right price range, go see it – not met a bad ‘un yet.

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
    Subscriber

    So something that just works straight out of the box is what I’m looking for.

    it’s made of wood though, so atmospherics and temps etc effect it a lot more than say an electric hard body. also an acoustic is naturally harder on the fingers of a beginner, you have to press the strings down harder than on an electric so a good set up goes a long way to easing this and you’ll be more inclined to play it if it’s easier

    lambchop
    Member

    Yamaha, Tanglewood, Freshman all make good instruments in your budget.

    newrobdob
    Member

    You’d be better off with a £100 which is set up by someone who knows what they are doing than a £500 one out of the box.

    A friend of mine is a professional sound engineer and lifetime guitarist, the first thing he does with any guitar is take it to a local guitar tech/luthier to set it up for him, even though he could do the mechanics of it himself he knows the value of getting someone who knows what they are doing to get it done right.

    Ross – theres an awesome guitar place in Halifax. Bring everyone over including Ted, walk, lunch & guitar shopping. Reminds me, I must get some lessons booked but I’ve been saying that for years now!

    Edukator
    Member

    This Ibanez cost 200e new and required no work. Just changing the strings for 9-52 dropped the action without being so low it buzzes. Very easy to play with a capo (first vid) or open where it soulnds remarkably like a Taylor.

    jimjam
    Member

    I’ve got a Takamine G series electroacoustic which I chose for similar criteria to the OP, it has a narrow neck and relatively light/low action making it easier for me to play bar chords or pick. I hardly ever play it now which is a shame as it’s a nice wee guitar.

    Unless you plan to go busking, I’d avoid dreadnought/ jumbo guitars, These were designed before the advent of amplification, to be played standing upright.

    theyre a serious pain in the chest to play when you’re relaxing in your armchair after a meal.

    id look for something in a parlour/ travel/  or 3/4 size.

    never tried it, but how about Yamahas apx2?

    Premier Icon leffeboy
    Subscriber

    I’d just make a trip to your great big local store and grab some guitars.

    Is really the best option.  Go to the local showroom you mentioned and just play (which sounds like exactly what you were going to do anyway).  I did that when looking for a similar guitar for my daughter and thought I would get a Yamaha but ended up getting a Hudson which was a brand that I had never heard of but that played very nicely.  You can play barre chords so you will have no problems playing a bit further up the neck to see what happens

    ..just don’t make the mistake of trying guitars out of your budget.  It never ends well 🙂

    ross980
    Member

    @edukator which Ibanez is that?

    My previous electro-acoustic was probably a predecessor to this:

    Looked nice. Nice size. Was ok for basic chords, bit of picking. Crap for barre.

    Edukator
    Member

    AEG8EMH-OPN

    The neck is much like a recent Gibson ES 335 but with narrower frets and a matt finish that slides nicely. 42mm nut, modern C shape, a 12″ radius at a guess. Nicely finished binding

    The body is exceptionally light, about 8.5cm deep and has a nasty sharp binding that needs taping if you play for long. The microphone is cheap and sounds it, the tuner gets you close but a clip on tuner or tuner pedal  is needed to get it right.

    I tried half a dozen similar narrow body guitars in the shop and it was the sound Madame like most and the cheapest by a country mile. A nice mid twang, but obviously it lacks the mellow bottom end of a good dreadnought or jumbo. Read up on guitars with very thin mahogany tables and listen. They have a sound of their own.

    One big upside is that it doesn’t suffer feedback as much as guitars with a big solid epicia (spruce) table. I can crank up the amp way more than my Sigma dreadnought before the dreaded feedback kicks in – an excellent stage guitar then.

    CountZero
    Member

    Nearly all of them were strumming “chunga chunga chunga” style in a pretty tuneless way, which is fair enough in a pub, but what surprised me was the amount of £2000+ guitars used. Martins, Taylors, a mother of pearl encrusted J45.

    While there are plenty of artists who’ll play Taylor or Martin acoustics live, they can be a bit fragile for regular touring purposes, and I think I’ve seen more Takamine guitars on stage than possibly any other.

    But Yamaha really have to be the instrument du jour for anyone who wants an instrument that is, as others have said, good out of the box.

    Way back, when I used to go to folk clubs on a regular basis, the Yamaha FG180 was pretty much ubiquitous, in fact it was almost an unwritten law that a folkie with any serious intentions had to own an FG180!

    I just bought an acoustic last week after years of playing electric only. I love it more than I realised (should have done it years ago). Anyway, I went into a guitar shop with the intention of spending ~£200 and walked out with a lovely used Taylor for £370. It felt right and sounded great. A definite step up from the entry level guitars.

    Cool story, eh?

    Premier Icon seosamh77
    Subscriber

    canny say I’ve like any yamaha I’ve ever picked up, dunno just never liked them. Loved every takamine I’ve ever picked up though.

    tobsters
    Member

    I’ll echo the above comments about set up.  I started with a Fender CD60 which I really struggled with initially, until I took it to our local luthier (Brian at Haywards in Winchester) who basically worked wonders with the set up, including lowering the action and putting decent strings in (which don’t rip your fingers to shreds) etc.  All of a sudden it was a million times more enjoyable and playable, so the key really is in the set up.

    I’ve now moved on, and come to think of it want to sell the Fender – so in a subtle thread hijack, let me know if anyone is interested in buying a budget acoustic.

    jimjam
    Member

    I think my guitar might have developed a slight warp/crack in the neck. Can it be saved by one of these luthiers you all speak of or would it be an uneconomical repair?

    Rockhopper
    Member

    Depends on how much the guitar is worth really.  Check out “Daves world of fun stuff” on YouTube to see whats involved.

    Edukator
    Member

    Edit: scrub that, the same is true for any guitar – try before you buy or make sure you can send it back if you don’t like it at minimal cost if you buy on line.

    rocket
    Member

    All I’ll add to this is I recently bought an acoustic. started with £350 budget that crept to £500 on the end (see point earlier about not trying guitars outside your budget). Tried fenders, faith, tanglewood, budget Martin and others but settled on Yamaha A1M mk2 for tone and playability. They offered free set up but when the one I wanted (different finish) arrived in store it sounded and played perfect straight from the box. Will take it in for a check up soon now I’ve had it 6 months but doubt they’ll need to do much to it . So I guess I’m saying whichever Yamaha is just outside your budget if buying new. Do look at s/h too though .

    Tinners
    Member

    Can’t go wrong with a Yamaha FG. No brainer. There’s a reason why they’ve developed a cult following. Really really good value for money. Many people (myself included) rate the sound of the matt finish models over the gloss but it’s a matter of opinion. Whatever you go for, try in shop. I’ve got big hands, so struggle a bit with smaller 3/4 guitars but I have to give a shout out for the Baby Taylors. Lovely neck and a truly fantastic sound for such a small guitar (much richer than FG but hard to compare because smaller and different tone as a result, but there’s more complexity to the sound, if you know what I mean). A bit over budget, but not an expensive guitar. The only downside to the Yamaha FG is that it can sound a bit thin compared to more expensive solid wood guitars, but you’re comparing apples with pears really with that comparison and won’t get better for the money. Try one first, though.

    There is nothing better than sitting on the sofa (or in the garden, under the shade of a tree, on an early summer, clear blue sky day) with a cold beer, noodling away on an acoustic guitar. Bliss.

    ross980
    Member

    Update. So I went into the v large online music warehouse type place that also has a big showroom with the intention of trying a FG800, which they didn’t have in stock (turns out ”in stock” means in their Swedish warehouse…). The place  had no staff to talk to, half the guitars i wanted to try were up out of reach.

    The next day I went to the local guitar shop in the city centre, talked to a guy, explained what I wanted, he showed me a couple, explained the differences and left me alone to have a play. Wasn’t pushy, didn’t just try to sell the most expensive one. I walked out with a Tanglewood dbt-d-eb for £130 (£200 literally everywhere else). MOR  Music in York is anyone is interested.

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