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“best” all-around acoustic guitar under $600
Old 15th October 2019
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Well, I can't seem to find the "zoom in" control in Firefox's picture viewer, and I don't have Photoshop on this machine (and the one that does has no internet access and doesn't work very well anyway) so I have to just go with the screen resolution, unless you can suggest some display trick I'm not aware of?

However, since you say you can zoom in to that level of detail, are you able to read the brand name on the headstock? I'm asking because I've seen very, very few acoustic flat-tops with zero frets and nearly all of them were Asian made el cheapos from the '60s and early '70s, not the sort of guitars Townshend would be likely to use onstage.

EDIT: I downloaded it and looked at it in Windows Picture Viewer. That does zoom in, but the resolution is still not good enough to differentiate between a zero fret and a split level nut. I can see how you could come to that conclusion but I don't think it's at all definitive. And I still can't read the headstock logo.
CTRL - Mousewheel will cure what ails ya'. On second thought, maybe not.

http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/gear/guitar/fylde.html

And if you go to the website you can see some nice high res pics clearly showing the zero fret: https://www.fyldeguitars.com/ariel.html

Cheers,
Brock
Old 15th October 2019
  #62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bstapper View Post
CTRL - Mousewheel will cure what ails ya'. On second thought, maybe not.

http://www.thewho.net/whotabs/gear/guitar/fylde.html

And if you go to the website you can see some nice high res pics clearly showing the zero fret: https://www.fyldeguitars.com/ariel.html

Cheers,
Brock
AH! <ctrl> mousewheel! I didn't know that, thanks! Thanks also for the info on who made the guitar - I've never encountered a Flyde - that's very interesting. Thanks again!

And you're correct, it's a zero fret.
Old 16th October 2019
  #63
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Bstapper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
AH! <ctrl> mousewheel! I didn't know that, thanks! Thanks also for the info on who made the guitar - I've never encountered a Flyde - that's very interesting. Thanks again!

And you're correct, it's a zero fret.
No problem, Hombre!

First Flyde for me too.
Old 16th October 2019
  #64
Gear Head
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
The pickups in those are pretty horrible. And in that price range they're all plywood tops.....
The solid ones are usually $100-$200 more and worth the difference. (Example: FG260 or FG260S)
Ugh, dreadnought and who cares whether it sounds better in 20 years? The pickups work fine hooked up to a decent PA.Guitar stays in tune and the right one is so much fun to play that I keep trying to steal my son's. I play a $2500 Martin Aura. It sounds beautiful, plays fantastically, a nd I do care whether it sounds better in 20 years. But < $600, nah, just give me something that feels good.
Old 17th October 2019
  #65
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgulian View Post
Ugh, dreadnought and who cares whether it sounds better in 20 years? The pickups work fine hooked up to a decent PA.Guitar stays in tune and the right one is so much fun to play that I keep trying to steal my son's. I play a $2500 Martin Aura. It sounds beautiful, plays fantastically, a nd I do care whether it sounds better in 20 years. But < $600, nah, just give me something that feels good.
Actually, no, those cheap piezos do NOT work fine hooked (straight) up to a decent PA. The line input on a PA is usually around 10k-20k. Most normal active DIs have an input impedance of around 1 meg, which is a little better, (passive DIs are lower)BUT a typical piezoi will quack unless it sees a load of around 5 megs or better.

Maybe you don't mind quacky piezos but I do and so do most people I know.

Using a DI specially designed for piezos helps, but that will add another couple hundred bucks to the cost of his rig.

And a lot of piezos that come with one of those preamps built into the side of the guitar will quack anyway, because the cheap-ass preamp doesn't have a high enough input impedance to keep the pickup from quacking and the piezo DI won't help those because the preamp buffers the pickup for the load of the DI.

And I always care if a guitar sounds better in 20 years.

As far as staying in tune goes, why would anybody purchase a guitar that won't stay in tune?
Old 19th October 2019
  #66
Here for the gear
 

I bought an acoustic/electric Takamine G series(EG340SC model) a few years back and have absolutely loved it. I bought it new at Guitar Center at the time for $450 if I remember correctly. I think it sounds great especially for the price.

Here's a short video demo. He starts playing at around the 1:50 mark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqXkn849DMY
Old 23rd October 2019
  #67
Quote:
Originally Posted by VitoND View Post
I bought an acoustic/electric Takamine G series(EG340SC model) a few years back and have absolutely loved it. I bought it new at Guitar Center at the time for $450 if I remember correctly. I think it sounds great especially for the price.

Here's a short video demo. He starts playing at around the 1:50 mark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqXkn849DMY
You must have got that guitar in a blowout sale when it was discontinued. With a solid spruce top and real abalone inlays there's no way you'd find something comparable at that price now. Not even close. These days you'd be looking at $800-$1000 for something of that quality, if not more.
Old 23rd October 2019
  #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
You must have got that guitar in a blowout sale when it was discontinued. With a solid spruce top and real abalone inlays there's no way you'd find something comparable at that price now. Not even close. These days you'd be looking at $800-$1000 for something of that quality, if not more.
Takamine has multiple models around that price it slightly more. I was a Takamine dealer when the GSeries was introduced. It was their lowest level before heading in to Jasmine land. Sold tons of that model and that price seems right. I think they retailed for around $650 and the quantity discounts from Kaman were generous.

Between $450-550 map there are several models right now with solid tops, electronics, etc.

Not an endorsement by any means, just a fact check.
Old 23rd October 2019
  #69
Something from Sigma. I've played some nice ones before.
Old 23rd October 2019
  #70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bstapper View Post
Takamine has multiple models around that price it slightly more. I was a Takamine dealer when the GSeries was introduced. It was their lowest level before heading in to Jasmine land. Sold tons of that model and that price seems right. I think they retailed for around $650 and the quantity discounts from Kaman were generous.

Between $450-550 map there are several models right now with solid tops, electronics, etc.

Not an endorsement by any means, just a fact check.
Well, these days you wouldn't be likely to get real abalone, even just dots. Other than that you're probably right. My opinion, however, is that Takamine's quality on their lower to mid priced instruments isn't quite what it was back in the day and hasn't been for some years. They're still good, but not what they used to be. And I don't much care for their electronics.
Old 23rd October 2019
  #71
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by TS-12 View Post
Looking for all around acoustic guitar for soloing, strumming, picking, fingerpicking, ( but with DI for live playing) .

I really liked Taylor 414, 714, 814, Martin d45, d28 but they’re out of my budget.

I had Taylor 114ce and sold it recently, even tho it was really easy to play it was too “plasticky” sounding.
I played one of those lime green Fender...Redondos? The other day, built-in tuner is nice, but I actually thought the thing sounded great.

There was another cheap guitar there called....the recording master? Something like that, I suppose it's called that to entice engineers into buying "That" acoustic that tracks well.....Would it? I don't know, nor do I like the overly suggestive name...But it didn't sound bad and it was cheap.

I think both those guitars are mass-produced and available CHEAP
Old 23rd October 2019
  #72
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Bstapper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Well, these days you wouldn't be likely to get real abalone, even just dots. Other than that you're probably right. My opinion, however, is that Takamine's quality on their lower to mid priced instruments isn't quite what it was back in the day and hasn't been for some years. They're still good, but not what they used to be. And I don't much care for their electronics.
I'm with ya' - pieces of garbage then and now in my opinion. They do have some instruments that are well designed for live use. They cost some money. As far as pure acoustic instruments go I personally have no use for them and the lower end stuff has always been a no-go in my personal world.

Not to knock those who are happy with them. There is always a variance in tolerances that can somehow pop out something above and beyond the norm on a production line or differences in style and requirements that might work for someone else even if it doesn't for others.

Cheers,
Brock
Old 23rd October 2019
  #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
I played one of those lime green Fender...Redondos? The other day, built-in tuner is nice, but I actually thought the thing sounded great.

There was another cheap guitar there called....the recording master? Something like that, I suppose it's called that to entice engineers into buying "That" acoustic that tracks well.....Would it? I don't know, nor do I like the overly suggestive name...But it didn't sound bad and it was cheap.

I think both those guitars are mass-produced and available CHEAP
Every once in a while one of these manufacturers lands on a decent formula at the lower end. Yamaha had a bamboo acoustic for a while that played and sounded great for the money. Psychologically I don't think it did so well...
Old 23rd October 2019
  #74
Quote:
Originally Posted by TS-12 View Post
Looking for all around acoustic guitar for soloing, strumming, picking, fingerpicking, ( but with DI for live playing) .

I really liked Taylor 414, 714, 814, Martin d45, d28 but they’re out of my budget.

I had Taylor 114ce and sold it recently, even tho it was really easy to play it was too “plasticky” sounding.
IMHO, I've never found an acoustic guitar at any price that sounds good with a DI. Maybe each needs it's own pre/eq/and maybe a little bit of compression to sound good. For recording, I once used a Mini-Martin and it recorded great with a single SM81. I just scooped out the 250Hz and 500Hz bumps and it sounded like a "real" Martin, etc. -But it hurt my hands after awhile because of the short scale. I'm not a fan of dreadnaughts -I can't get around them like a concert or auditorium model.

FWIW, When I try guitars, before I even take them off of the store-hangers, I strum across the strings "Blaannnnggggg!" and I listen to the decay to see if the instrument can sing. It also sounds totally different than when you're holding the guitar in playing position; like an old Harmony HG-510.

The Yamaha's are pretty consistent, as much as the Ovations. Personally, I think everything is overpriced now. It's out of control. Buy used.
Old 23rd October 2019
  #75
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Bstapper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesPDX View Post
IMHO, I've never found an acoustic guitar at any price that sounds good with a DI. Maybe each needs it's own pre/eq/and maybe a little bit of compression to sound good.
Usually, not always, the DI sounds bad because it is a passive piezo system (no pre) into a DI without a high enough impedance on the input to allow for smooth reproduction; resulting in a high pass filter and erratic frequency response.

On a side note, I've noticed more and more manufacturers of audio interfaces, that do provide instrument inputs, are providing 1meg ohm or there abouts impedance at the input allowing for this scenario.

Bottom line - always use a preamp or DI that is piezo friendly or suffer the dreaded "WTF are those cats doing" syndrome commonly associated with the lowly piezo.
Old 24th October 2019
  #76
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Not that I know all that much about it, but I have heard some nice sounding Alvarez guitars over the years.
Old 24th October 2019
  #77
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KevWind's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TS-12 View Post
Looking for all around acoustic guitar for soloing, strumming, picking, fingerpicking, ( but with DI for live playing) .

I really liked Taylor 414, 714, 814, Martin d45, d28 but they’re out of my budget.

I had Taylor 114ce and sold it recently, even tho it was really easy to play it was too “plasticky” sounding.
As someone mentioned Breedlove Pursuit series can usually be found for $500 to $700 and may tic all your boxes .
Old 26th October 2019
  #78
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
That looks like a single 0 ("parlor") Martin. The 00s ("concert") a a bit bigger.
John, it's a Fylde Ariel. https://www.fyldeguitars.com/ariel.html



ns
Old 27th October 2019
  #79
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Couple nights ago, worked with a guy who had an all-mahogany Taylor GS Mini. I'm usually meh at best about Taylors, and when I recorded one other GS Mini in the past, a spruce-top, I hated everything about it. But this one was entirely different -- loud, punchy, very "mahogany" in character. Better-than-okay pickup, too. $499. I was kinda stunned.
Old 28th October 2019
  #80
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Couple nights ago, worked with a guy who had an all-mahogany Taylor GS Mini. I'm usually meh at best about Taylors, and when I recorded one other GS Mini in the past, a spruce-top, I hated everything about it. But this one was entirely different -- loud, punchy, very "mahogany" in character. Better-than-okay pickup, too. $499. I was kinda stunned.
I've found myself surprised, more than once, about mahogany Taylors.
Old 29th October 2019
  #81
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrible.dee View Post
I played one of those lime green Fender...Redondos? The other day, built-in tuner is nice, but I actually thought the thing sounded great.

There was another cheap guitar there called....the recording master? Something like that, I suppose it's called that to entice engineers into buying "That" acoustic that tracks well.....Would it? I don't know, nor do I like the overly suggestive name...But it didn't sound bad and it was cheap.

I think both those guitars are mass-produced and available CHEAP
Probably "Recording King".

Recording King was a moderately priced brand back in the '30s used by several old blues guys. The name was revived about 10 or so years ago for a line of budget priced acoustic imports.
Old 29th October 2019
  #82
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
Not that I know all that much about it, but I have heard some nice sounding Alvarez guitars over the years.
Alvarez Yairi, founded by the late Kazuo Yairi, one of japan's top luthiers, is one of Japan's top acoustic guitar manufacturers. Regular Alvarez (without the Yairi) are decent mid priced Japanese guitars but nowhere near the quality of Yairis.
Old 30th October 2019
  #83
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Alvarez Yairi, founded by the late Kazuo Yairi, one of japan's top luthiers, is one of Japan's top acoustic guitar manufacturers. Regular Alvarez (without the Yairi) are decent mid priced Japanese guitars but nowhere near the quality of Yairis.
I've wondered about the distinction, thanks!
Old 2nd November 2019
  #84
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Couple nights ago, worked with a guy who had an all-mahogany Taylor GS Mini. I'm usually meh at best about Taylors, and when I recorded one other GS Mini in the past, a spruce-top, I hated everything about it. But this one was entirely different -- loud, punchy, very "mahogany" in character. Better-than-okay pickup, too. $499. I was kinda stunned.
Apologies for quoting myself, but there's a followup.

Went to the Sherman Oaks GC and played one. Didn't realize the pickup didn't come with. Didn't much care for the extra-short scale. And the sound in my lap was oddly vague and boxy, kinda like archtops can be. Also like archtops, when I stood out in front of a GC guy playing it, it sounded great. Go figure.

At any rate, it now comes with yeah-buts and it costs more than $600.
Old 3rd November 2019
  #85
Gear Maniac
 
weave's Avatar
I got a Taylor GS Mini with the factory pickup in it (GC - Used - around $400 with Taylor canvas gig bag) - have been given complements on how well it sounds through a PA - but then again I also get that with my even smaller scale Martin Mini that also has a factory pickup system (GC - Used - around $290 with Martin canvas gig bag).

Playing acoustically, they both have a dearth of bass and the smaller the model, the greater the low end deficit.

I kinda like the smaller scale - slightly easier on fingers and makes wide stretches easier, but get kinda weird if you capo above the 5th fret or so.

YMMV

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Old 3rd November 2019
  #86
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RedBaaron's Avatar
'Best' is subjective. If you can find one in good shape, the "lawsuit" era Martin knock-offs from Takamine are contenders. I own 5 and they either have solid wood tops, sides , or both. All are very close. Probably the EF-340S is the most balanced and easiest to mic. I think I read somewhere Townes Van Zandt used the same model. I personally like the all-mohagony dark-stained one (forget the model but I think the equivalent Martin is D17 maybe?). It sounds dull and thuddy when miced without eq, but the same eq curve that works for that, works for my voice, so it;s a plus in a roundabout way.

I also like the Alvarez Masterworks series in that price range. I grabbed the mahogany sides & back & cedar top model back in the day. I think I paid maybe $400 10-15 years back. Slightly wish I'd sprung for rosewood one for a couple hundred more. As others mentioned, the Yairi Alvarez are usually way better than regular Alvarez, but the Masterworks I tried held up pretty well by comparison, at least in tone and fullness. Who knows how it's going to sound on a recording with your particular chain until you actually try it, though

Last edited by RedBaaron; 3rd November 2019 at 07:17 PM..
Old 3rd November 2019
  #87
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedBaaron View Post
'Best' is subjective. If you can find one in good shape, the "lawsuit" era Martin knock-offs from Takamine are contenders.
I have a lawsuit Ibanez, same era, really good. I've played others and they've all been basically very good, but at 40+ years old, you can easily find yourself spending another $700 on frets and a neck reset.
Old 3rd November 2019
  #88
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RedBaaron's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I have a lawsuit Ibanez, same era, really good. I've played others and they've all been basically very good, but at 40+ years old, you can easily find yourself spending another $700 on frets and a neck reset.
Yeah, that's the risk you take on some those 70's knockoffs. Lot of great build quality to had for cheap, especially ones coming from Japan, but it's crap-shoot unless you play it first. It's like I've got this 1970 Aria hollowbody that plays almost as smooth my 1960 Gibson ES-175, but there's been some Frankenstein drilling crap they did around the neck, so no way I'd ever get any resale on it.

I lucked out with the Fartin Takaminis (Fake Martin) , I guess. I bought out a guy collection of 5 on ebay. Said he skipped over 9 out of 10 to get those specific ones. He wouldn't sell anyone just one guitar; they were like his children he babied and polished . He didn't want to break up the family, so I walked off ~$2500 lighter and took all five, but hey.... still less than a Martin. All mine were in good-near perfect shape upon arrival : straight necks; no worn down frets or buzz, great action. Only the EF-340s really had any dings, but the playability and tone made that one a must-have inclusion. I've since dinged a few but just minor cosmetic stuff. I don't know what it is about some kinds of guitars that just hold up well over time.

Anyways, to the OP, the newer Taks seem pretty good also, and as mentioned, the Masterworks series of Alvarez. I've got the older MD60 with Western Cedar Top & Mahogany side, the weird one with the non-glossy 'satin' finish. Nowadays looks like they have Citka Spruce top +Mahagony for $600 new or rosewood sides for a little more, plus the glossy Marin-like finish. Some California warning thing about cancer chemicals,though.

Taks or MD Alvarez aside, Breedlove's have been good I've tried. All that asdie, I'd be looking hard at saving a few hundred more and getting a Larrivvee. Probably can't play that game of a few hundred more though . It keeps on going and going...
Old 4th November 2019
  #89
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Yuri Kogan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedBaaron View Post
Yeah, that's the risk you take on some those 70's knockoffs. Lot of great build quality to had for cheap, especially ones coming from Japan, but it's crap-shoot unless you play it first. It's like I've got this 1970 Aria hollowbody that plays almost as smooth my 1960 Gibson ES-175, but there's been some Frankenstein drilling crap they did around the neck, so no way I'd ever get any resale on it.

I lucked out with the Fartin Takaminis (Fake Martin) , I guess. I bought out a guy collection of 5 on ebay. Said he skipped over 9 out of 10 to get those specific ones. He wouldn't sell anyone just one guitar; they were like his children he babied and polished . He didn't want to break up the family, so I walked off ~$2500 lighter and took all five, but hey.... still less than a Martin. All mine were in good-near perfect shape upon arrival : straight necks; no worn down frets or buzz, great action. Only the EF-340s really had any dings, but the playability and tone made that one a must-have inclusion. I've since dinged a few but just minor cosmetic stuff. I don't know what it is about some kinds of guitars that just hold up well over time.

Anyways, to the OP, the newer Taks seem pretty good also, and as mentioned, the Masterworks series of Alvarez. I've got the older MD60 with Western Cedar Top & Mahogany side, the weird one with the non-glossy 'satin' finish. Nowadays looks like they have Citka Spruce top +Mahagony for $600 new or rosewood sides for a little more, plus the glossy Marin-like finish. Some California warning thing about cancer chemicals,though.

Taks or MD Alvarez aside, Breedlove's have been good I've tried. All that asdie, I'd be looking hard at saving a few hundred more and getting a Larrivvee. Probably can't play that game of a few hundred more though . It keeps on going and going...
Hmmm. I have 6 Yamaha SA (1000,2000, 2200) and they all are much better then my CS gibbos. Including quality of manufacture and tone. Ditto for Ibanez AS or S series. All are easily on par with the US guitars and better in some respects. BTW in the 70s most of Made in USA guitars were firewood.
Yamaha top of the line acoustics would give a great run for the money to any made in the us acoustic of the era. I remember readidn memoirs of a Fender employee stating they were crying in the us when they saw the first Japanese squires.
There were cheap knock-off made in Japan but the same can be said of the cheaper USA made guitars.
BTW, no-one i know would buy a martin made late 70's - early 80s. Or a gibbo acoustic for that matter
Old 5th November 2019
  #90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri Kogan View Post
Hmmm. I have 6 Yamaha SA (1000,2000, 2200) and they all are much better then my CS gibbos. Including quality of manufacture and tone. Ditto for Ibanez AS or S series. All are easily on par with the US guitars and better in some respects. BTW in the 70s most of Made in USA guitars were firewood.
Yamaha top of the line acoustics would give a great run for the money to any made in the us acoustic of the era. I remember readidn memoirs of a Fender employee stating they were crying in the us when they saw the first Japanese squires.
There were cheap knock-off made in Japan but the same can be said of the cheaper USA made guitars.
BTW, no-one i know would buy a martin made late 70's - early 80s. Or a gibbo acoustic for that matter
I wouldn't know - I play '50s and early '60s Gibsons and '60s & '70s Guilds. I've never like Fender acoustics but have not tried any of the recent ones.

About 1/4 of '70s Martins had a well known defect in placement of the bridge that was caused by a bad measurement scale in the factory.
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