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Trying to find a recordable acoustic for my voice ( and my price range ) Consoles
Old 18th December 2010
  #1
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enroper's Avatar
 

Trying to find a recordable acoustic for my voice ( and my price range )

I can get a dozen answers on guitar based forums, but I'm looking for something with the focus on it being good for recording first, playing out second. So naturally I'm asking the recording pros since you guys put more mics in front of guitars than most players do.

I like to play darker, mellow stuff ala bill callahan/smog , wil oldham, etc.

Currently my budget is $1600, and probably looking on the used market to maximise my dollar.

I like darker sounding dreadnaughts. I really love J45's, but looks like they are out of my price range.

So, for moody, dark sounding music, what dreadnaught style git would you guys recommend?
Old 18th December 2010
  #2
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brockorama's Avatar
 

shops make money renting them out so go and get one for a month and then bring each one back after a week and try another. You need to hear it in your room honestly. I just had a j-45 and a martin in the room. The j-45 is dark. the martin is more sparkly? A taylor I had was brighter. I need a new one for every song really ha ha
Old 18th December 2010
  #3
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doncaparker's Avatar
 

Here's the deal with acoustic guitars (I make them as a hobby, so I know a little about what I am saying):

Since they are made out of wood, which is not a uniform material, every guitar is going to be different. Factories can make every part the exact same dimensions and put them together in the exact same way, but the guitars will still vary in their sound, due to the varying and unpredictable nature of wood.

Shopping for an acoustic guitar is not like buying a car. Every Toyota Camry is supposed to be the same, and almost all are. But not all Gibson Hummingbirds sound the same, even if they were built side by side.

My point is that asking about brands and models won't get you anywhere. You need to find a guitar shop with a large inventory and go noodle on some guitars. Find the ones that sound, feel and look right to you. Decide from those which one you will buy (with relative cost obviously being a factor in your decision).
Old 18th December 2010
  #4
Registered User
Even if guitars of the same model sounded the same (which they don't) you can still get a huge range of tone out of them by changing the type of strings that you use. AND by changing the type of pick that you use. AND by changing the type of microphone(s) that you use .... preamp, compressor, converter, etc, etc, etc. Not to mention using capos or drop tuning ...

And at the end of the day - you can change it all radically with an EQ.

There are some notably bright acoustics, and some notably dull acoustics. Frankly, the dull ones are problematic.

Find a good luthier/guitar tech - because you are going to need him anyway. Get his opinions, and work with him to get what you want. If you can forget brand names and cosmetic defects, you might be able to get an absolute bargain that responds to some skilled repairs.

I've found a lot of old Yamahas are very good recording guitars.
Old 18th December 2010
  #5
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vernier's Avatar
Little Martin . . .

Old 19th December 2010
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doncaparker View Post
Here's the deal with acoustic guitars (I make them as a hobby, so I know a little about what I am saying):

Since they are made out of wood, which is not a uniform material, every guitar is going to be different. Factories can make every part the exact same dimensions and put them together in the exact same way, but the guitars will still vary in their sound, due to the varying and unpredictable nature of wood.

Shopping for an acoustic guitar is not like buying a car. Every Toyota Camry is supposed to be the same, and almost all are. But not all Gibson Hummingbirds sound the same, even if they were built side by side.

My point is that asking about brands and models won't get you anywhere. You need to find a guitar shop with a large inventory and go noodle on some guitars. Find the ones that sound, feel and look right to you. Decide from those which one you will buy (with relative cost obviously being a factor in your decision).
thumbsup
Old 19th December 2010
  #7
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doncaparker's Avatar
 

Having said what I said before (and sticking with it, because it is true), it might be helpful to think about the fact that certain types of guitars tend toward different sounds. Dreadnoughts tend toward boominess. Auditorium guitars tend toward more evenness and balance. Smaller bodied guitars tend toward a trebly and midrangy voice. Longer scale guitars have clearer bass notes, but can have strident treble notes. Shorter scale guitars have a sweeter treble voice, but a less clear bass voice (harder for the shorter scale to make the low notes ring true).

But, of course, it is very difficult to convey perceptions of sound. The same descriptive word can mean different things to different people. And, like I said before, every guitar is at the mercy of the wood with which it was made. Dreadnoughts can be dull and midrangy despite their nature, etc.

The only way to be sure you get what you want out of an acoustic guitar is to pick it out in person from a large field of candidates. Go to the largest and best guitar store within a day's drive of where you live. Make a special outing of it. You could be picking out a lifelong friend.
Old 19th December 2010
  #8
Gear Nut
 

The type of strings you put on an acoustic guitar makes a large difference.
I've used half round strings because they're less bright than regular bronze strings, and they "squeak" less. Heavier guage strings are louder than lighter strings, though lighter strings are easier to play.

So half round strings may sound "darker" and more like the sound you're looking for. I know that D'Addario makes them.

Antaren
Old 19th December 2010
  #9
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memphisindie's Avatar
 

If you're going for an affordable acoustic that will record well, you can't go wrong with a Martin. I have a budget version Taylor, and it can only be used quietly, hit it hard and you hear where it rings mostly, and I hate that, because I am VERY heavy handed.
Old 19th December 2010
  #10
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enroper's Avatar
 

I'm pretty sure I want a J45. I've begun the search for one in my price range.

just a side note, if anybody in the S.E. Pennsylvania has one for 1600, I'm on it
Old 19th December 2010
  #11
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Ron Vogel's Avatar
 

J45 or not, I'd still try a bunch out. IMHO you won't find much consistancy in acoustics until you hit the $2K+ range.

I tried a ton over the course of a couple years, ended up with a Martin DM on consigment at GC for a paultry $350! It absolutely smokes many guitars I tried costing over 4 times as much. Don't limit yourself to guitars costing above a certain price point, aside from some with cheaper hardware, there are some great hidden gems.

If you like a bit of a darker sound, you may be a closet Martin player and don't know it yet. Also check out Yari's...Yes, they are Japanese...but the Japanese builders were buying up huge lots of old growth woods back in the 70's and 80's...the higher-end Japanese acoustics are really good from that era.
Old 19th December 2010
  #12
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enroper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Vogel View Post
J45 or not, I'd still try a bunch out. IMHO you won't find much consistancy in acoustics until you hit the $2K+ range.

I tried a ton over the course of a couple years, ended up with a Martin DM on consigment at GC for a paultry $350! It absolutely smokes many guitars I tried costing over 4 times as much. Don't limit yourself to guitars costing above a certain price point, aside from some with cheaper hardware, there are some great hidden gems.

If you like a bit of a darker sound, you may be a closet Martin player and don't know it yet. Also check out Yari's...Yes, they are Japanese...but the Japanese builders were buying up huge lots of old growth woods back in the 70's and 80's...the higher-end Japanese acoustics are really good from that era.
I've owned two martins and played a couple. They are nice, like the necks, but i'm just not a martin guy

i love the shorter scale of the j45. the boominess. the feel. I feel it's held it's own since 1942 for a reason. now to find one that sounds good thanks to gibson's recent so so consistency...that's another story.

if i got anything else i'll just be settling. i might as well get or save up for what i really want
Old 19th December 2010
  #13
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Geoffrey A's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by enroper View Post
I'm pretty sure I want a J45. I've begun the search for one in my price range.

just a side note, if anybody in the S.E. Pennsylvania has one for 1600, I'm on it
you'll find a 2nd hand one in that price range. Put phospher-bronze strings on, I think you'll be well happy.
Old 19th December 2010
  #14
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doncaparker's Avatar
 

You're not that far from NYC. I bet there's a decent J45 somewhere to be found up there.
Old 19th December 2010
  #15
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evangelista's Avatar
 

Granted, this could be just me, but -

I find J45s (and Gibson dreadnoughts in general) difficult to record unless you have a GREAT sounding room. Otherwise, I have problems with boominess/low end.

If I had to choose just one general purpose acoustic to have, I'd go with some kind of Martin 000. The smaller body focuses the sound in a way that makes life easier for me. I know you don't like Martins, just thought I'd share.
Old 19th December 2010
  #16
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Hey enroper,

Sounds like you're sold on picking up a J45, so it would probably be the best thing to just go and find one that you like and buy it. I will say that you might have to search for a while to find one in your price range as Gibsons have a really high resale value. I would suggest not buying it without playing it first.

This is a post that I thought you might find interesting (actually the whole thread is interesting IMHO). The thread discusses buying inexpensive acoustics, but there is some technical advice there that can be applied to any acoustic guitar purchase.
Old 19th December 2010
  #17
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guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by evangelista View Post
Granted, this could be just me, but -

I find J45s (and Gibson dreadnoughts in general) difficult to record unless you have a GREAT sounding room. Otherwise, I have problems with boominess/low end.

If I had to choose just one general purpose acoustic to have, I'd go with some kind of Martin 000. The smaller body focuses the sound in a way that makes life easier for me. I know you don't like Martins, just thought I'd share.
I'll second that thought. Large Bodied guitars are hard to record. I always end up having to use High Pass Filters to get rid of the boominess. A pair of SDC's pointed at the the upper bout, close to neck joint - that is my preferred technique FWIW.
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