Originally Posted by Ron Vogel
I got to agree with the above. When you get to the $2K+ range is where they start getting more consistant. I was looking for an acoustic for a very long time. I was looking at Taylor's, Martin's, Gibson's, Yari's...yadda yadda. It was getting frustrating....
Walked in a local guitar store on lunch one day and played a Martin DM on consigment for $350...and nearly shat how good it was. (I bought it).
I stopped looking at that point, still great 10 years later.
I was looking for intonation across the fretboard, dynamics, and playability. Seems many mid-priced guitars only do 2 out of 3 well, but as you go farther up the money scale when they do everything. However, the gems are out there...you just gotta go play everything.
I did notice that sub- $300 guitars generally do poorly overall, but I honestly skipped many after finding a lot of losers in that price range.
Acoustics also come in several flavors, so it's in your best interest to learn your likes and dislikes. For instance, some love the Taylor's sound...I personally can't stand the sound or the feel.
I have had a few acoustics over the years, and addmitedly bought most of them without much thought until I got my Martin. Guess what? I don't own any of the others anymore.
I would stay away from cut-outs, non-solid tops, and thick/shiny finishes...stock electronics are another thing to stay away from...in many cases that suff just adds to the cost, and can be/is detrimental to the guitars tone or just uneeded especially for recording. The only on board electronics I had in an acoustic was a TC electronics unit that was a factory modded Kramer Ferrington I use to own. I could play White Lion songs on that thing all day...lol. Bridge started coming up on it, and sold it to one of my old bosses years ago...good thing I didn't like the guy!
Yep! Each acoustic is different, and as they age, they'll age differently. My first acoustic was an Alvarez RG30. I got it as a gift and it's not easy to play. The neck wasn't installed properly. In any case, when I first got it, it was way too bright. Over the years, it's mellowed out considerably, and now I always get compliments about how great it sounds.
So my advice for buying any acoustic instrument is to buy used. As the woods continue to age, they'll continue to change. That change will slow down as they get older, and more expensive acoustic guitars will usually have their woods aged longer before making the guitar. In any case, you can get a more stable and better sounding guitar for less money, assuming it hasn't been beaten up, if you buy used.
I've heard many amazing sounding acoustics that were really cheap over the years. But it's not a brand/model issue. It seems to be up to the individual guitar. That being said, I'd look at Guild, Alvarez, Yamaha, Seagull, etc. Basically all the brands already mentioned. Or hell, play everything you can get your hands on and see what tickles your ear!