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Advanced Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 396
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Saturday, August 17, 2013 - 6:38 pm:   Edit Post

My son, who is a guitarist , and plays a Further for his electric work is looking to upgrade his acoustic side. He currently plays a Taylor 210e and is looking for a high quality acoustic that will work for finger picking style, especially the blues. Do any of the guitarists out there have any suggestions.
Username: paexplorer

Post Number: 15
Registered: 8-2013
Posted on Saturday, August 17, 2013 - 8:35 pm:   Edit Post

Santa Cruz Model F. However, You can get as many opinions as there are makes and models because it comes down to feel and personal preference. My best recommendation would be to go to a fine stringed instrument purveyor and try a bunch out. Then, go find the same guitar on the private market for 50% less
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2024
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, August 17, 2013 - 10:09 pm:   Edit Post

I would caution that IF he finds the acoustic that works for him in a store buy THAT one and I'll tell you why.

When working in a music store, we once had a brand new D35 Martin, gorgeous bear-claw spruce top, abalone and all. Beautiful axe, that unfortunately was sitting next to a $250 Yamaha FG box guitar that would eat it alive. Generally, better (+$$$) acoustics are better, but wood is wood, and it's not uncommon for someone to try out this or that at a local dealer, get one online, and wonder 'what happened?'.

Even in a CNC and digital world, I'd dare say you line up ten consecutively serial-numbered D41s or 910 Taylors you'd see they were all good, but one or two would be not as good, and another one or two would just sing. Then, you get to sort through the various acoustic pickup systems . . .

Electrics are planks, and serial computer-driven production has elminated to a large part the 'geez, this one has a neck like a plank' variation we use to run into in 60's-built guitars, and tone is to a large part pickup and amp driven.

Acoustics, especially good ones, are a different world. For playing out, you'll need to run that fine compromise between tone and build strength. But for blues, I'm a sucker for Jumbos, but that's me.

J o e y
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2025
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, August 17, 2013 - 10:18 pm:   Edit Post

I forgot one thing: Depending on how much stage work he's doing, if it's strictly an onstage acoustic, he will run into a 'zip code' a fiddler friend of mine inhabits here in Nashville:

He has fiddles that are strictly 'plugged in' instruments for stage work: They stink as acoustic violins, and he has fiddles he uses only to record with that conversely don't function on loud stages very well. This is a function of a lot of things, but I thought I'd mention it if this is going to be a touring instrument. Most of us can live with a 'half+half' instrument if we don't live on a bus part-time or rarely frequent the recording environment. But for pros, there's usually a difference between a great back-porch axe, and a down-the-road, Anvil-cased touring acoustic.

And of course, always the mystery of great sounding axes that do or don't record well . . . .

J o e y
Advanced Member
Username: peoplechipper

Post Number: 361
Registered: 2-2009
Posted on Saturday, August 17, 2013 - 10:36 pm:   Edit Post

Go to a good music store and try them all; when I started at NJAMS in Vancouver I went into the high-end acoustic room and tried them all...very eye opening! why does Ani Difranco like Alvarez? because they sound great when you pound them, but don't when you go light, larrivee's seem to like a lighter touch, Martins are all over the place(don't get me started on those formica horrors they're selling now, way to wreck a reputation...) I loved the Santa Cruz's, they are NICE guitars, Morgan from Van are super nice fact an all mahogany guitar we had at NJAMS was the most amazing new guitar ever through there, sounded 20 years old 20 more years it will take over the world...anyway, my thrust(I said thrust, hehhe...)is try it all and the one will present itself...Tony
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5513
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Sunday, August 18, 2013 - 1:00 am:   Edit Post

I am absolutely in love with my Beardsell. Allen Beardsell is an amazing luthier in Canada. He has some unique ideas and designs that result in a great sounding, easy to play, guitar that sounds especially good to the player due to side soundholes along with the top soundhole.

Of course there are many excellent acoustics at all pricepoints. I strongly concur with Joey that most acoustics aren't fungible - if you loved the Martin or Taylor you played at one store, you may be surprised to play the same model somewhere else and have it sound and play quite differently.

Bill, tgo
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1551
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Sunday, August 18, 2013 - 7:20 am:   Edit Post

First: Everything Joey said.

Second: I mostly finger-pick bare handed - doesn't get much lighter than that - and my Alvarez loves it. Which, of course, underlines Joey's point; have him play them all & buy the one that speaks to him, right then & there!

Third: If he have bucks to invest, many Martins & Gibsons will sound great. Strangely, however, in the lower ranges he will almost certainly do better with a less-revered brand.

Fourth: Of course check out the Ms & Gs - but make sure he try Laravée, Santa Cruz, Alvarez, Takemine, Breedlove, Yamaha, Eastman, Washburn, and anything else they have hanging around; no telling what his instrument will be until it finds him.

Fifth: Don't make the common mistake of assuming acoustic = dreadnaught. My favorite acoustic body is the Martin M; second is tiny "parlor" guitars. If he's planning on only playing bluegrass, yeah, a D is the ticket, but otherwise try every body type as well as every brand. And plus 1 to Tony on the all-mahogany; the new Guild GAD M-120 small-bodied all-hog is amazing, especially for under $700 - under $600 without a pickup (of course if you can find an original MIA M-20..........)

Oops - edited because after I posted, I realized that I forgot the OP; fingerpicking, esp. blues, let me amend my last point to emphasize that a D is his last choice for this; about any other shape will be better - and the M-120 will be perfect (as will a Gibbie L-00, Martin 0, 00, 000, or M, Santa Cruz F or Firefly...) Oh, and don't forget resophonics - they're not just for slide! For his purposes, I'd suggest them in descending order of spider bridge, tri-cone, biscuit bridge; then he'll need decide if he prefers a wood or metal body................
OK, I'll step away from the keyboard; have him go everywhere he can and play everything he can, and don't expect an online buy to matc h an in-store play.

(Message edited by Cozmik_Cowboy on August 18, 2013)
Senior Member
Username: hydrargyrum

Post Number: 1168
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Sunday, August 18, 2013 - 11:15 am:   Edit Post

If I had the money, I'd own a Froggy Bottom. Alas . . .

My Larrivee is pretty sweet though.
Intermediate Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 164
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 4:48 pm:   Edit Post

Either a Collings OM style (similar to a Martin Clapton or Mayer model) or a McPherson Camrielle would work great for fingerstyle.

Like Alembics, they are pricey but, IMO, worth it.
Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1557
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 10:42 pm:   Edit Post

An OM has a 25.5" scale; the Clapton sig is a* 000, which is 24.75". Haven't had the chance to play a Collings OM, but the Laravée, Santa Cruz, and higher-end Martin iterations are all wonderful fingerpickers.

*I use "a" rather than "an" because it's a numeric model; while we all tend to say "triple oh", it is properly "zero-zero-zero".

Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 624
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 3:34 pm:   Edit Post

I got to mention Eastman high end acoustic guitars here, from China. My friend John Standefer (finger picking champion in the Laravée contest a while back) played one up until some guy made him a custom hand-built guitar a year or so ago. He has had his choice of guitars and that is what he used, among others. Like it or not...

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