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No frills acoustic guitar for recording Rackmount Synthesizers
Old 17th September 2011
  #1
Lives for gear
No frills acoustic guitar for recording

I am looking for the best sounding, least impressive looking acoustic I can find. I will be playing some myself before buying, but wanted some suggestions on what to take a look at. I am not interested in fancy inlays or decorative accents. No one will see this guitar- they will only hear it. Thanks!
Old 17th September 2011
  #2
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turk sanchez's Avatar
Check out Silver Creek, Radio King and Blue Ridge.

I bought a Silver Creek dreadnought on sale at Musicians Friend for $199 ~ ALL SOLID WOOD! Sounds awesome and plays great. Much better than the $1000 Martin 000-1 I had before that and the $2k j45. I didn't like the Gibson at all (love the vintage ones though) and the Martin was kinda cheesy (not all solid wood and didn't have that great of tone).

I know nice guitars ~ I own vintage Gibson and Fender among others. Been playing guitar for 27 years.

PS...the Silver Creek sounds great recorded too. I use a Beyer mc930 through an Avedis ma5, Harrison EQ and an 1176. Doesn't need much EQ at all. Records very well.
Old 17th September 2011
  #3
Gear Addict
 
PrettyGone's Avatar
 

I bought a new acoustic a couple of weeks ago.

I went to the best stocked guitar shop that was reasonably close and played every single guitar that was within my price range. I completely ignored the look or style and concentrated on the sound and playability. I took my capo and also tried alternative tunings (because I use them alot). I played a bunch of different stuff on each and also just fretted every note to check the intonation.

I was there for about four hours (I actually took a break and went and got a cup of tea after two hours) and, fortunately, the assistant was really helpful.

Of course, some I rejected straight away; but the ones I liked I put to one side. I just kept going back and forth between the favorites. Eventually I winnowed it down to two winners. Sound wise they were both great but one had this fancy wood finish and cost £100 more. I went with the less fancy one.

One thing I did notice - none of the electro-acoustic guitars that I tried sounded as good as the plain acoustics. I had hoped to cover recording and gigging with one guitar but I now think that they're fundamentally different instruments (I wonder if there's a technical reason for this?). When I eventually buy an electro-acoustic for gigging I won't pay any attention to how it sounds unplugged. I'll try them all through a PA or Amp.

Anyway, for what it's worth, I ended up with a Tanglewood TRS I-VS and it records beautifully.

Edit: The point of my post was that it would probably be best if you went to a guitar shop and tried a bunch of guitars, not that the particular guitar I ended up with was the best. Obviously ymmv! Thought I should clear that up!

Last edited by PrettyGone; 17th September 2011 at 11:16 PM.. Reason: Clarity
Old 17th September 2011
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Stay well away from Takamine then!!! Other guitars worth considering are 'Simon & Patrick' and 'Maton'. Both companies are based where they have their own supply of woods, so you pay more for the build quality.. They general come with no frills so you get a lot of guitar for the money..
Old 17th September 2011
  #5
Lives for gear
 

The good old Seagull S6 cedar top is always a great choice.

Seagull The Original S6 Acoustic Guitar: Shop Guitars & Other Musical Instruments | Musician's Friend

Best of luck, i hope you find something that works for you.

TK
Old 17th September 2011
  #6
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guitarmax_99's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd View Post
The good old Seagull S6 cedar top is always a great choice.

Seagull The Original S6 Acoustic Guitar: Shop Guitars & Other Musical Instruments | Musician's Friend

Best of luck, i hope you find something that works for you.

TK

I'm a bit skeptical of Cedar tops. Cedar sounds great right out of the gate, but it is a weaker wood than spruce and, it tends to "belly up" behind the bridge early in the life of the guitar.

turk sanchez's earlier post regarding the "good" chinese guitars (Silver Creek, Blueridge, Recording King) is possibly a good lead - BUT see if you can buy a second hand one. The word on the street is that, while Chinese craftsmanship is catching up with the western world, they haven't got it perfected yet! There can be problems with some of these guitars down the road. I have a blueridge BR-43 and it is an amazing sounding guitar for the price ($400!). HOWEVER, it did have several issues that cropped up in the second year of ownership (a fret problem, and a problem with one of the top braces coming loose). My repair guy said that the chinese aren't aging their wood for long enough before building their guitars. Building with green wood can be problematic down the road. In the end, after repairs, I'm into the guitar for about $700, and for that kind of money I could have picked up a good secondhand, low-end Martin, Guild or Larrivee.

If you can spring for it, I'd look for any of the following:

Larrivee OM 03
Larrivee D 03
Martin OM 1
Martin D1
Taylor 214
Taylor d110

If you can find one of these secondhand that is in good shape, then pick it up. But I'd recommend against buying it without playing it first.

Here is a thread with a lot of good info on the subject of buying guitars (specifically inexpensive ones).

Happy hunting and good luck.
Old 17th September 2011
  #7
Gear Addict
 

Look at handmade guitars by Highland Strings. Not terribly expensive and very good; unique as well; earthy aesthetic. Jason is a good fellow as well.
Old 17th September 2011
  #8
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swafford's Avatar
 

Bourgeois Slope D or OM.
Old 17th September 2011
  #9
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The tone and playability of the epiphone masterbuilt line has always impressed me and they retail for around 500 or so.
Old 17th September 2011
  #10
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mcgruff's Avatar
 

What kind of music do you play?
Old 17th September 2011
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtripper View Post
The tone and playability of the epiphone masterbuilt line has always impressed me and they retail for around 500 or so.
These are some killer acoustics for the money!
Old 17th September 2011
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Unclenny's Avatar
The Martin/Sigma DM series is a nice sounding guitar that plays and records quite well.

They can be found pre-owned for easy money.

If you want an idea of how they sound check out the lead acoustic (right side) on this tune.
Old 17th September 2011
  #13
Lives for gear
 
BudgetMC's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd View Post
I'll second this post. I've had a Seagull Folk (steel strung) and also their mini-jumbo, and have gotten lots of great recordings out of both. They can often be found VERY cheap used, too.
Old 17th September 2011
  #14
Lives for gear
 
doncaparker's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrettyGone View Post
I bought a new acoustic a couple of weeks ago.

I went to the best stocked guitar shop that was reasonably close and played every single guitar that was within my price range. I completely ignored the look or style and concentrated on the sound and playability. I took my capo and also tried alternative tunings (because I use them alot). I played a bunch of different stuff on each and also just fretted every note to check the intonation.

I was there for about four hours (I actually took a break and went and got a cup of tea after two hours) and, fortunately, the assistant was really helpful.

Of course, some I rejected straight away; but the ones I liked I put to one side. I just kept going back and forth between the favorites. Eventually I winnowed it down to two winners. Sound wise they were both great but one had this fancy wood finish and cost £100 more. I went with the less fancy one.

One thing I did notice - none of the electro-acoustic guitars that I tried sounded as good as the plain acoustics. I had hoped to cover recording and gigging with one guitar but I now think that they're fundamentally different instruments (I wonder if there's a technical reason for this?). When I eventually buy an electro-acoustic for gigging I won't pay any attention to how it sounds unplugged. I'll try them all through a PA or Amp.

Anyway, for what it's worth, I ended up with a Tanglewood TRS I-VS and it records beautifully.

Edit: The point of my post was that it would probably be best if you went to a guitar shop and tried a bunch of guitars, not that the particular guitar I ended up with was the best. Obviously ymmv! Thought I should clear that up!

This is the best approach. Look, these things are made out of wood. Wood is a variable material, even within the same species. Hell, the wood varies inside the same tree. Shopping based on brand names or models is a very inexact way to narrow down your choices. The best way to find a guitar that works for you is to go try out guitars and buy the nicest sounding and playing guitar that fits inside your budget, with name brand or model identification being a very low priority.

Good hunting.
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