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husker

Not Deal Related - Guitar Advice Needed

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Sorry - this isn't a deal, but my favorite Sonar people hang out here.  I know there are some good guitar people here (like you @cclarry, so I thought I ask here)

I'm a synth guy - grew up playing the piano.  I've screwed around with guitars on occasion, but never seriously -   I want to finally sit down and learn to play the darn thing.  I know absolutely NOTHING about guitars.

I'm looking for advise on a decent acoustic to learn on.  I talked to one of the candy shop guys, and he recommended a Yamaha FG830 Dreadnought.  Does that sound decent?  Trying to stay in the $300-$350 range.

Edited by husker

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Yamaha's are nice acoustics...but, for about the same money
used you can get a better guitar, that is, unless you want new...

When it comes to acoustics, I HAVE to be able to put my hands
(and ears) on it.  I usually go to Guitar Center, sit in the Acoustic
Room, and then play the guitars in the price range I'm looking for.
Once I've found one that "speaks" to me, then I go on the hunt for
the best deal possible for that guitar.

As I stated in the other thread, as a RULE, I never buy something that
I haven't played.  Buying that PRS Angelus AE50e was the first time
I've EVER bought something "unheard", but I did watch some videos
to be able to at least "hear" what it sounded like.  So I took a chance,
and it paid off.  Sadly, that's usually not the case, because an Acoustic
has to "speak" to you, and you'll KNOW when it does!

Go to Guitar Center and TRY the Guitars, to at least get an idea of
WHAT speaks to you!  THEN make a purchase!  That's the best advice
I can give you!

Edited by cclarry

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just poassing by to applaud you have the cojones to do it ...been ten years i say "gotta learn bass, gotta learn bass" ....

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48 minutes ago, Zo said:

just poassing by to applaud you have the cojones to do it ...been ten years i say "gotta learn bass, gotta learn bass" ....

Thanks.  Just something I always wanted to do.  We'll see how it really goes..

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1 minute ago, husker said:

Thanks Lars.  Problem is, I can't play at all, so no guitar speaks to me.  :(

Just use your ears and strum the strings...ONE will stand out.  You don't
have to be a Guitar Player to know what SOUNDS good to you!  Some
Will sound thin and tinty...some will sound dull and lifeless....but ONE
is going to say to you "this sounds GOOD to me".  It really is that easy!

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4 minutes ago, husker said:

Thanks.  Just something I always wanted to do.  We'll see how it really goes..

Larry is right , first the physical contact , find one that you feel confortable with ...yamah is know for been confortable and a great starting GTR , butlike Oncle L said , find one you'll involve with .... think of the main style you would love to practice ...this might already make some models pop up and narrow the chearch ...take your time ,and go chill in shops ...or go visit Larry !

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I've always had good luck with Yamaha's and think they project very well. Outside of the size and feel, pay attention to the what wood the back and sides are made of to help making comparisons easier. I prefer rosewood for the deep lows and sparkly highs but you might prefer mahogany (warmer tone) or maple (distinct and bright with less overtones). If you think you might want to play through a PA check to see if it has a pickup built into the bridge etc. And make sure it comes with a case! Like Larry says Guitar Centers usually have a nice room to test them out in. Have fun finding the right one for you!  🙂

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I would recommend that you have it set up by a professional and perhaps have the action lowered. Of course some people prefer a higher action and think it sounds better, but a lot of people have quit guitar because its too hard on their hands and it really doesn't need to be that way. I'd start with a lower action that's easier to play and then later if you want you should raise it once your skills have increased.

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3 hours ago, husker said:

Sorry - this isn't a deal, but my favorite Sonar people hang out here.  I know there are some good guitar people here (like you @cclarry, so I thought I ask here)

I'm a synth guy - grew up playing the piano.  I've screwed around with guitars on occasion, but never seriously -   I want to finally sit down and learn to play the darn thing.  I know absolutely NOTHING about guitars.

I'm looking for advise on a decent acoustic to learn on.  I talked to one of the candy shop guys, and he recommended a Yamaha FG830 Dreadnought.  Does that sound decent?  Trying to stay in the $300-$350 range.

I'm going to throw out a counter argument to the "you need to play it" first thought.

I used to believe in this theory, but over the years determined that generally has more to do with somoene that already knows how to play a bit.  

Yes, the guitar needs to be playable - but that judgement is better suited for someone with actual experience once you have a playable guitar pretty much any of them will be fine as long as you are commited to stick with it and learn.

The first guitars I picked out for myself to learn on (acoustic and electric) were terrible matches for me.  I would not want to play either one today for more than 2 minutes.  That isn't becuase they were cheap entry level type of instruments.  I have a Tanglewood I bought for $150 that projects better than my $3500 Taylor (over priced these days).

As I developed my skills, feel, taste and ear I started to realize certain necks work better for my style.  When you can't play, these just are not things you have a feel for.

My advise it to buy a used guitar, have someone that knows what they are doing help in the evaluation before you commit to it (i.e. make sure it isn't too difficult to play and doesn't have a warped neck).  Learn some basics on it, likley for a year or two and then go shopping again once you have a better feel for the dynamics of it all.

I bought 4 Tanglewoods all for $250 or less sight unseen.  The only one I didn't care for was becuase it sounded Thin, the playbility was perfectitly acceptable...as were all of them and that one (which I bought for under $100, would absolutly work for a beginner and even intermediate player that isn't a tone junky (I sold it to a friend that has been playing for over 20 years).  

Ignore acoustic guitars with electrioncs, they will be garbage at the price point you are looking at and just an added cost.  

As for the make sure it has a case argument, again I challenge that notion as well.  If you are just playing it at home getting started you don't want to be stashing that thing away in a case necessarily.  I leave my Tanglewood out on a cheap stand so I can grab it and play for a few minutes and put it back.  If I really want to play for a while I'm pulling out a $2000+ instrument out of a case.  When you learn you want it accessable.  Now if plan to take it out of the house as you first start, sure get a cheap case.  

  I've heard Guitar Center has a pretty good Used Guitar Return policy (where you could find a used one in another state and have it shipped to you and then returned to a local store), or at least that is how it was a few years ago.  Might consider looking into the ins and outs of that.  And with that, have a friend that has played for at least 10 years make the call if it is good enough to start on once in hand.  

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At a $350 price point I don't think it makes much difference if you 're able play it ahead of time or not. I'd take a look at Seagull guitars. They are one of the few at that price point with a solid top, which is the biggest thing that gets you a good sound. Yamaha is also a good brand.  The Yamaha FG830 Dreadnought also has a solid top, so that's good.

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I would add that it depends on your hand size as well what will feel comfortable to you, I have smaller fingers and like narrower width necks.

If your starting and you don't know what to do, I would get an experienced guitar player to help you out. If you have smaller hands, look at the size of the neck, then it is setup really, the action or distance from the strings to the fretboard.

You need one that is reasonably well set up, an experienced guitarist will be able to assist you there, or send it in for a setup, generally, grinding down the bridge and doing the nut slots and neck relief. This is important because playability will determine if you stick with practice or dump it after two weeks.

You don't need super high quality guitar, I find semi acoustic electrics/cutaways are fine, they can be fun to plug in sometimes. I also play the Tanglewoods, mainly because of their thin necks, they sound good for their price as well. They also seem to have a fairly good setup straight off the shelf mostly, a few bumpy frets here and there sometimes, best to run over the whole fretboard. I think they would make a great start for someone getting into guitar.

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Several years ago I went to the store looking for a beginner classical guitar with my semi-pro guitarist buddy. He said to try a bunch out below, at and above price range. That was great advice. He also tried them.

We both agreed the entry level Yamaha sounded and played better than anything up to about $800. Obviously there were differences in materials, finish and workmanship...probably durability. But that Yamaha cost under $250 and held up pretty well; still sounds nice. So cost and reviews don't get you too far IMHO.

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Don't trust reviews. Buy used, take pics, post them so we can tell you if it's garbage or not.

Play the guitar yourself: mid finger on 2nd fret 5th string, ring finger on 2nd fret 4th string >>> Strum it like no tomorrow, let it ring, try to play "patterns".

Do the same but now mid finger on 2nd fret 4th string, ring finger on 2nd fret 3rd string.

Repeat above, but now for first example place index finger on 1st fret 3rd string, 2nd example on 1st fret 2nd string.

Is it "loud"? if it doesn't have a good kinda loud sound, I would forget about it.

Also I would try the aforementioned examples but just playing 1st example: just 6th and 5th strings, then 2nd example just 5th and 4th strings (they are called power chords).


After you think you got the one: Play every fretted note of every string from 1st fret till last one (usually 20th?). Specially at frets 10th to 15th, if it has fret buzz...
I would forget about it. 3mm in height at 12th fret (from top of fret to bottom of string) is a very adecuate action.

Also: I'd recommend that if you bought new, that you went to the same store and play the same guitars every day for 1 hour, until it finally hits you which one you'd want. Then buy it used... haha.

Edited by Carlos

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You can easily stay within $200 range and get Fender or Epiphone acoustic guitar that will play and sound excellent.

This track has been recorded with me Epiphone DR-200CE Na (CE = cutaway electric, NA = Natural finish).

https://www.bandlab.com/soundwise/alisa-miller-augustin-21818?revId=b684723f-e61a-e811-80c3-00155d60d108

Minimal processing applied.

If it doesn't sound acceptably good, I don't know what does.

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12 minutes ago, Soundwise said:

You can easily stay within $200 range and get Fender or Epiphone acoustic guitar that will play and sound excellent.

This track has been recorded with me Epiphone DR-200CE Na (CE = cutaway electric, NA = Natural finish).

https://www.bandlab.com/soundwise/alisa-miller-augustin-21818?revId=b684723f-e61a-e811-80c3-00155d60d108

Minimal processing applied.

If it doesn't sound acceptably good, I don't know what does.

I agree with this.  There are some Fender and Epiphone Guitars in the 2 to 3 hundred
dollar range that sound excellent for the money...are they great guitars?  No, not great,
but exceptional entry level guitars that sound like guitars costing much more!  Also, as was
stated, the Yamaha's in the price range also are very nice...

Remember, as Yoda says:

"There is no try....only do....or do not"
😜

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Buy used.  Get something that feels & sounds right to you.  

 

Price is not any guarantee of quality.  These days,  with modern technology  like CNC ,  there are perfectly usable guitars available that are ridiculously inexpensive. 

At your price range, I think I would stay away from the low end Gibson,  Taylor,  Martin,  etc.  There are some "bang for the buck" brands like the aforementioned Seagull and Tanglewood where you will likely get a better instrument for the same money.

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I would recommend that in the context of first starting to learn guitar -play-ability is the most important factor. In that price range - you can get some amazingly fine sounding guitars. A cheaper and more modern manufactured ply guitar is nothing like the days of old. They can be fantastic, but the downside of modern manufacturing is in the lack of detail in the set-up. The frets are often just pressed and not fine tuned and the nut height is often very generically set and can add difficulty in playing which is definitely not what you want when first struggling to learn.  If you find one, at least have it looked over by someone who knows what they're looking at and maybe it'll be ok out the box - but maybe factor in a low cost initial set-up.

 

As far as brands go - Yamaha's and Takamines are pretty good IMO.

Edited by RBH
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There is a LOT of really good advice on this thread.  Here is what I would second that's already been said:

1. Buy used.  You'll get a lot more bang for the buck

2. Either learn a few basic chords (Em/D/A7) or better yet take a friend who can play.  If that's a "no-go" just ask one of the sales people to help you find the best sounding/playing guitar for $350. 

3. "Price is not any guarantee of quality.  These days there are perfectly usable guitars available that are ridiculously inexpensive." True, true, true.

Good luck with your search!

Edited by jude77
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Most people who stop learning guitar do so because of string tension, so I often advise people to get a used electric (take someone with you), get it set properly (easy with a good guitar choice), and see if you take to it. If you do, then move up.  A good electric is audible even without an amp.

If you have the discipline to build callouses, starting on an acoustic won't be as much of a hurdle. That also has an advantage of building finger strength, so if you move to an electric the tension will feel like nothing by comparison. You can also get lighter gauge strings to accommodate on an acoustic.

In addition, the tension also limits how quickly you can learn certain techniques, since finger strength and callouses need to be stronger on an acoustic. Just something to keep in mind as you move forward. For folk chords, you will notice a lot less, but as you get to barre chords and move up the neck you will feel it.

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