Acoustic or Electro acoustic ?

BonydalBonydal Posts: 63Member
I'm thinking about getting one to the two so I can sit out in the garden and practice plus we have a motor home and would like one for when we are away. I don't play enough due to being so busy so looking to buy an instrument to fit in with lifestyle.

Also recommendations please for which brand ? Budget around £400 either used or new.

Thanks !!


  • LesterLester Posts: 1,601Member, Moderator
    edited April 2017
    From memory I think Richard would say that when buying a guitar from him, you will get better value and quality by buying an acoustic and getting him to fit an after-market pickup.

    At that price, Cort, Crafter, Seagull, Simon & Patrick and Vintage from Richard's Guitars, other makes including Tanglewood from elsewhere.

    I will add that having bought a few guitars from Richard's Guitars that I am convinced that the extra work he puts in to properly check, prepare and set up the guitar means any guitar from Richard will play so well that you could easily think it cost twice as much.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,044Member
    edited April 2017
    I have a Sigma JM-SG45(Gibson J45 copy) £475 I bought it before I saw this review. "Best in the price range. Nuts for the money." From 14 minutes in the video. The Paradiso chaps review LOTS of guitars. It doesn't actually sound like a Gibson J45 though. More like a good Martin dread. If you want a J45 playing/sounding guitar then the Sigma J200 in this series gets that pretty well - if not in visual styling. Both come with the well regarded Sonitone pickup system with tone and volume controls on board.

    Sigma also do a version of a Martin 00015m at around £250. No pickup but a great guitar for the money with ££££s left to spare to have one fitted.

    But.... Sigma stick only to old fashioned re-takes on guitars and the staid Gibson/Martin look. More modern versions include Taylor, Faith, Yamaha... I'm not a fan, no issue with them, just not my style. (except for the Taylor GS Mini - no pickup, £500-ish - drool worthy)
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,301Member
    At the £400 level it's tricky to find an electro acoustic with a decent on board pickup sound. Unless you are happy with a generic piezo quack - I never have been. If that's all you get as standard fitting then a non electro version with a good after market pickups is a better route.

    The only guitar I've ever found to fit the bill of good electro sound at that price no longer does because price inflation has taken it up to £450+ (that's the currency plunge for you). That guitar was the Vintage VE2000GG Gordon Giltrap Signature. It has a Fishman Sonicore under-saddle with Fishman Presys Blend preamp, so you have an internal microphone which can blend the sound to make it sound more like the actual guitar and less like a generic twangy duck.

    The GG is an unusual shape though, and some people can't get along with it. But the one I got has been everything to me that I had hoped the Lowden I had before that would be, and at 15% of the price. The GG was just £339 new a year and a day ago - absolutely incredible value for money especially given the pick up system and the good hard case included. Have to be careful with find a Vintage brand guitar from somewhere that does a proper set up though.

    Plenty of good purely acoustic guitars at the £400 price level. Though I'd say just go an try a load because any particular model will only be as good as that individual single guitar is - two guitars of the same model are quite likely to play, sound, and feel quite different. I'm not particularly inclined to recommend a brand for the same reason.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,044Member
    edited April 2017
    I love the Gordon Giltrap Deluxe (DLX) version. Around £600 last time I looked - with hard case. A total league above the basic mahog GG and well worth the financial leap. It's on my *want* list.
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,301Member
    I was tempted by that DLX but it seems to have a slightly chunkier neck that ruled it out for me with my little arthritic left hand fingers! The basic mahogany version didn't do it for me on sound in the way that the standard Cedar top version did.

    I would have got a GG about two years earlier, but the local store I was able to try one in in had such old, tired, tacky feeling strings on it that I couldn't judge if the guitar would ever sound any good.

    If only ..... it would have saved me a lot of searching and a big Lowden cost if they'd fixed that issue before hanging it on the wall. Fortunately it just kept niggling me that it "could be" a good one.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,044Member
    edited May 2017

    This is the basic version. The deluxe versions are the nearest I've come to a bespoke feeling instrument in a mass produced package. They are now around £750 but easily compete with guitars that are priced in the thousands.

    I do go for known brands. The reason ? I've realised that they are actually quite consistent. They are also easier to offload when you fancy a change. I don't think there is such a thing as my 'forever' guitar. It need not be a tragedy to buy a guitar, keep it for a couple of years and out it for a bit of a loss. An unknown would be harder to shift.

    I consider it to be *hiring*, not owning.

    There is something that small shouldered/large bouted guitars bring. I notice it in the slope shouldered jumbos. A nicely pronounced bass and great definition between mids and trebles, these are important to fingerstyle.

    For classical guitars I think Yamaha take some beating - they really do get that Spanish sound to a 'T' and at a very affordable price. Their guitars are also robust and stable. I'm not so keen on their steels as I find them a bit bland and characterless.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,044Member
    Mark P - did you get a good re-sale on the Lowden ?
  • BonydalBonydal Posts: 63Member
    edited May 2017
    Thanks for the replies guys ! I'm looking at a Guild with Fishman kit fitted as standard.. it has a nice wide nut width that should suit my big hands. It's up for £450. Used of course.
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,044Member
    Paul Simon used to play a Guild F-30. (My hero)
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,301Member
    Guild make some good guitars. They manage to produce lower price ones that have a good feel to them - something I find lacking in some of the big name makers. I've just got a Guild Jumbo Junior recently and, at the risk of being burned at the stake as a heretic, I reckoned it suited me much better than the Taylor GS Mini.

    In passing, on the Vintage Giltrap guitar design, it is pretty well unique in it's proportions regarding waist size. There is nothing that comes close to that pinched a waist unless you go bespoke / custom made by high cost luthiers. I'm also convinced the shape has a lot to do with it's overall sound and you get a big body guitar that sits low on the leg when seated and is comfortable even for me and my small frame - I usually can't go much bigger than a parlour. I agree Kevin that the design gives a really good sound for fingerstyle - I guess that's the skill in the original design by Rob Armstrong, who made Gordon Giltraps original guitar and worked with Vintage on the design of the GG models.

    I don't really want to think too deeply about the resale value of the Lowden Kevin. At those sort of prices when you buy new, even if you get a reasonable %,the actual original cost level is such that it's painful. I wasn't keen on using any Couriers for the sale either with such a valuable guitar so that limited my marketplace! However what I got for it allowed me to get several instruments including the mid range Giltrap, an all Mahogany Tanglewood parlour and a really good Phil Davidson designed Mandolin. So there was a good positive outcome.

    I don't have any other expensive hobbies and I drink very little and don't smoke so I'm not too fussed about making a loss on a guitar sale if it gives me the chance of enjoying my main hobby more. I did enjoy the Lowden a lot for a while until my limitations made it clear it was not the guitar of my dreams after all. I don't think that guitar exists!
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,044Member
    " was not the guitar of my dreams after all. I don't think that guitar exists!"

    Hear hear.

    I have spent a fortune on guitars - mostly buying cheapies hoping to have got lucky. An expensive (ish) one that I thought I'd keep. Off it went. Back onto a mid-pricer.

    I reckon a good idea might be to keep a really bad guitar and lock your good one away periodically so that you miss it and never take it for granted.

    It's a hobby. A hobby costs. That's that.

    Now. How dare you criticise the Taylor GS Mini ! (That was a joke.)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 860Member
    Electrics are one thing, but an acoustic I would definitely have to play before parting with hard earned cash. The main problem is availability and how far you're willing to travel to play and buy, which can effectively up the price. I don't see too many Godins around here, but if I make a trip to Stratford Upon Avon, Richard seems to have the country's entire Godin stock!
    That Lag looks lovely though! And Seagulls are always worth a punt. Great value for money.
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,301Member
    "It's a hobby, A hobby costs". Quite right Kevin and wise words.
    My large glass of wine every night used to cost me over £1000 a year - quite a few years back that "diet" was replaced with the cost of a flavoured tea bag a night at a cost of maybe £30 a year.
    So that's most of the guitar hobby paid for!

    What got to me about travelling a long way to see / try a guitar is the problem if I'm not 100% sure once I've tried some guitars out. If it's just a short trip then no problem. But having to do a follow up, say 300 mile round trip, is off-putting in the extreme. So it's tempting to gamble and make the mind up based on what are really only vague feelings at the first trial. Not always a success story as I've found out.

    I was for a while having problems with trying out guitars, liking them when trying them, buying them and than finding out a month or two later that it wasn't such a great choice after all. It's difficult to tell how good an acoustic guitar will suit you when you're playing in an environment with different room acoustics for a start, and the background noise in a lot of shops doesn't help. But my strike rate has improved since I started using as the main guideline whether the guitar was encouraging me to play and be creative rather than getting all caught up only in listening for pure tone and sustain etc. 3 of my 4 steel string acoustics are from the try before you buy school so I must have started to get things right a bit better.

    There are some places who extend distance selling regulations to allowing a return if you don't like the guitar for any reason. Just return postage to pay. That can be useful if nowhere in striking distance has what you're after - that was the case with the other one of my 4 steel string acoustics - I think the nearest one I could find when I searched on-line was about a 400 mile round trip. A high chance of a return though - there were a couple of widely recommended guitars I tried and sent back with that method where if I'd been able to try them in the shop I'd have known within 10 seconds they were no use for me.
  • Richards GuitarsRichards Guitars Posts: 589Member, Administrator
    Hey guys - you should keep a closer eye on the options I offer.

    I can supply an all solid wood Faith acoustic guitar with a Fishman Matrix for £569!!

    So you have the tone of an all solid wood acoustic with one of the highest quality pickups you can buy - you wont find one in a Martin under £1000.

    I dont think you will find another guitar that comes close in the market. This isn't a standard model - its one of my custom options.

  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 860Member
    Wow that is a great deal, Richard. To be honest, I only paid about half that for my Breedlove, but if I'm in the market for something better, I'll let you know.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,065Member
    I like the sound of that Faith acoustic/Fishman Matrix combo too - nice one Richard! I'm assuming it would be possible to do something similar with a cutaway Faith naked model?
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 860Member
    I've played a few Faiths and didn't find one I couldn't live with for a long time. Great sounding guitars. The biggest problem would be choosing just one.
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,301Member

    The biggest problem would be choosing just one.

    Get round the problem by buying two?! :smiley:
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 860Member
    Now why didn't I think of that :) Ok, Mark, you're coming with me on my next guitar shopping trip!
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,044Member
    edited May 2017
    That statement "get round the problem by buying two" puts into perspective the cost of £1000+ guitars.

    I'm not saying they're not worth it - but hey !
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,601Member, Moderator
    From a gigging perspective, as part of planning and preparation, the question for each player is: Do you want to have a spare guitar in case something goes wrong or would you prefer to use one guitar and if something goes wrong make it part of the entertainment?

    Two examples:

    One, I was at a Simply Red concert and Mick Hucknall took to a small stage that looked like a boxing ring, in the middle of the Wembley Arena audience. He had hardly started singing when the battery in his radio pack died. The technician was really quick to pull the jack out of the guitar and plug in a normal lead. Mick didn't miss a beat in his singing and he and the technie got an applause for their combined proefessionalism.

    Second, I played in a band where there wasn't room in the two cars we travelled in to include any kind of backup, so when the guitar player broke a string, the band leader used the restringing pause to tell a story.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 860Member
    I'm sure that if you had two backups, they would both go wrong at some point! I've been to a few gigs where things went wrong, and they just had to cope with it.
    Ultravox had a computer problem that they fixed during a 15 minute break. No big deal. And at a Marillion concert the entire lighting rig died at the end of the first night. They kept going for the final two or three songs, and everyone had a great time anyway.
    I think things are bound to go wrong and you can't allow for every eventuality. Just roll with it! It's like the Stevie Ray Vaughan clip I posted. Some people can make it seemless while other just have to make a joke out of it and go with plan B (or C...)
    C'est la vie!
  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,044Member
    OK... FOUR Faith guitars.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 860Member

    OK... FOUR Faith guitars.

    Now we're talking.

    Ok, let's SHOP!
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