What guitar?

ShakespeareShakespeare Posts: 12Member
edited March 2017 in Guitar Chat
Well hello there ladies and gentlemen. My name is Shakespeare, no relation, and I am here to pick your brains about what guitar to buy. I have had a guitar for about 10 years (an Aria Amb-35). In truth I had a Spanish guitar from Argos (class I know) before that but neither of them got played much so I can only really say I've been learning guitar for about five years. Classical guitar is my main interest. I have A LOT of instruments. 10+ ukes, a double bass, two bass guitars, two steel string 12 string guitars etc. What I really want now is a steel string acoustic that I can strum and sing with AND fingerpick/play instrumental stuff. I have around £500 to spend but if I'm going to spend all of it on one instrument I want something good and versatile. The only thing that has caught my eye so far is the Taylor GS Mini, especially the mahogany version. The spruce and special edition ones sound good too. That isn't to say that I definitely want a 3/4 or travel guitar. I am open to having a massive jumbo too or a dreadnought, it is just that the Taylor got my attention. Please give me your suggestions as I am really lost when it comes to steel stringed instruments. Nylon is another matter. I could be persuaded to spend a bit more than £500 if it meant getting a much better guitar but I'm not averse to spending less. Thanks in advance.


  • LesterLester Posts: 1,704Member, Moderator
    Have you played a Taylor GS Mini? I suspect that it may not be full enough in the bass for you, but that's your decision.

    You said:
     Originally Posted By: Shakespeare
    The only thing that has caught my eye so far is the Taylor GS Mini ...

    ... but you didn't mention which others you have decided to pass over. Cort, Crafter, Faith and Nineboys all make good acoustics - and Richard's Guitars sells all of these with Richard's quality setups. Have you played any of these?
  • BuzzwagonBuzzwagon Posts: 143Member
    Hi William ;-)

    I can certainly recommend Taylors, I have a 214 that's a little over your budget, but not much, and it's a lovely guitar.

    Within your budget and another guitar you might want to give a go is the Guild M120, it's an all mahogany parlour guitar. I always find the tone from Guilds is huge and their build quality really is superb. I walked into Andertons in Guildford looking to spend 4 figures on a Martin and walked out with a Guild, and plenty of change!

    Of course, the usual advice still stands, get out and try as many as you can, don't get too caught up on a name, and buy what talks to you!

  • atomheartatomheart Posts: 39Member
    429GBP will get you an Epiphone Masterbuilt: http://www.dawsons.co.uk/epiphone-masterbuilt-dr500mce-electro-acoustic-guitar-vintage-sunburst

    You should look for all-solid (vs. laminated) acoustics, like the Epi above, it can make a huge difference in tone, but then again, you have to try it yourself and let your ears judge...
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,191Member
    I know Richard (who runs this forum) stocks Crafter brand acoustics, and rates them highly, for good reasons I'm sure. Actually I see I'm echoing Lester's post above, so also Cort, Faith, and Nineboys worth looking at I would say.
  • zoglugzoglug Posts: 314Member
    Just echoing some of the others. I purchased a Crafter GAE 15 which i truly love! Its a gorgeous looking guitar, sounds very crisp and clean and was set up perfectly by Richard. Which would fall inside your budget.
  • CyrnCyrn Posts: 11Member
    I bought a Faith Neptune on eBay and it sounds AMAZING - especially after a setup from Richard. I have since played loads of guitars around that price point and- to my ( frankly inexperienced) ears, nothing comes close. I did play a Simon and Patrick Woodland Pro Folk which I really liked but it comes in at nearly £200 more than a Faith. All solid wood for £600 qiddish - got to be worth trying one...
  • ShakespeareShakespeare Posts: 12Member
    Thankyou guys. I appreciate your responses. I am not the type of person who rushes into a purchase. Each of my 20+ instruments was bought after a lot of thought and soul searching and I want this guitar to be the same. I have started to look at the guitars you are recommending. The truth is I have never played a Taylor guitar, let alone a GS Mini, but it is still in the running for now. Please keep the suggestions coming. This luthier Richard clearly has some serious respect from people on this forum.
  • steelartssteelarts Posts: 37Member
     Originally Posted By: Lester
    Have you played a Taylor GS Mini? I suspect that it may not be full enough in the bass for you, but that's your decision.

    I have a GS Mini and I must disagree with this statement. This is actually a really well balanced little guitar with plenty of bass once played in. Yes, it still has the Taylor brightness but they've really managed to make this guitar sound like it punches well above it's weight! The reason I got the GSM was so I could keep a small guitar in my workshop and it does sound better than the vast majority of travel guitars.

    BUT, although it's very good, it is what it is and that is basically it's a travel guitar. The action (on mine at least) is quite high and, if you're fat fingered like me, barre chords at the 5th fret and above don't sound brilliant and being short scaled the frets get much closer together as you move up the fretboard. Open chords are fine though. But considering these cost £400+ the finish isn't that wonderful. For example, the wood on the back, sides and neck isn't filled and sanded so it looks and feels quite open pored.

    As a second or third, fun, guitar the GS Mini is great but, in my opinion, it can't really take the place of a full sized instrument tone wise. It can get quite loud but think "shouty teenager" not "Pavarotti".

    On the other hand I went to Richard's showroom yesterday because I was after another "cheaper" guitar to play in situations when I don't want to take my precious Gibson. A friend of mine plays a Faith so I gave these a go and was amazed by them. The sheer quality v value for money has to be seen to be believed. They sound and play great and I had a real problem deciding between a Neptune Hi-Gloss and a Jupiter Natural. In the end I went for the Neptune as I could save money by not having electrics (don't need them in this guitar) and get the upgraded finish. I really liked the sound of the mahogany Jupiter but I'm a real sucker for the more focused rosewood tone.

    To think I was even considering a Taylor 114/214, I MUST'VE BEEN OFF MY TROLLY! Faith delivers so much more in every field in my opinion, from solid woods as opposed to laminate, to a bright yet much better balanced tone with rich mids and lows that the Taylor seems to struggle to deliver. However, it just doesn't have that 'Taylor' branded headstock which seems to be very important to some folks, but to those who value quality over image it's a no brainer.

    Seriously, if you haven't tried a Faith and you're after a new guitar try them out, they are amazing value for money. You can pick up a Faith Neptune (natural) for 500 quid. So as our American cousins say "Let's do the math!" An okay build with mediocre finish (built to a price you see), 3/4 size, laminate b&s constructed for £400+ or a full sized, beautifully built, great sounding, easy playing, solid wood construction for £500? The choice is yours but I know which one I'd go for if it was to be my main guitar.

    I said to Richard that I could not believe that the Faith cost 1/3 of the price of my Gibson but I'm getting 80% of what the Gibson delivers. All I can say about my new Neptune is "What a guitar!!!" I can't wait til I can pick it up next week.
  • webby93webby93 Posts: 79Member
    Sorry to jump in \:\)

    Just read through the thread and faith guitars have really got me intrigued.

    Anyone know where I can test one out in the Manchester area? \:D


    EDIT: If not Manchester, I'm bobbing to Bangor in a few weeks, maybe there's a nice music shop there?
  • zoglugzoglug Posts: 314Member
    Hey Webby,

    When looking for an acoustic myself, the only place i found which had Faith's in the Manchester area was Alan Gregory Music over in Fallowfield. http://www.alangregory.co.uk/ i never got there though to see what guitars they had in stock. Once i played a Crafter GAE 15, i fell in love, stopped searching and ordered one from Richard.
  • steelartssteelarts Posts: 37Member
    Hi Webby, here's a dealer map from the Faith website. Personally though, if you know what model you're after I'd be tempted to go with Richard because of his great personal service and free/included setup.

  • webby93webby93 Posts: 79Member
    Yeah I completely agree steelarts, but I would like to have a go on a faith guitar first. If I like it, then I would most likely be ordering it from Richards. \:\)
  • Options
    Hmmm.... lot of spoof posts these days by bogus 'new members'?

    Shakespeare, if you're genuine (?), get to play some OVATION guitars, acoustic or electro acoustic ;\) There's plenty for what you are looking to spend and some way past that, but all worth the pleasure.

    Like at GAK and Thomann and GuitarVillage for example, plus of course the usual suspects for pre-owned models.

    "Charlie Kaman of Ovation Guitars was the Leo Fender of the acoustic. Like Leo, Charlie used his vast experience as an engineer to solve what he saw as flaws in contemporary guitar design."

  • Mark 123Mark 123 Posts: 121Member
    Hi Shakespeare,

    I have to confess that my only experience with an Ovation ended badly. I'd coveted one for about 4312 years based on their appearance, but when I finally got my hands on one...

    I'm a 'portly' chap and the round back would not rest against my round front (should have been fairly obvious, really!) . Also, the neck had a pronounced 'V' profile that I really couldn't get on with, so it left my collection far quicker than most. Shame, 'cos those issues aside it was a nice guitar, but I couldn't get on with it.

    Obviously, as per Surfsilver's post above, it's an entirely subjective thing - 'one man's meat is another man's poison' and all that - so try as wide a range as you can before making up your mind. Good luck, and let us know how you get on!

  • ShakespeareShakespeare Posts: 12Member
    Thanks again for the replies. I really like the look of those Faith guitars. The junmbos in particular are holding my interest. Steelarts, your post about Taylor's GS Mini and Faith guitars was particularly helpful. Name does not necessarily equal quality. The portability of a 3/4 would be nice but if I'm only having one steel string I need it to cover all the bases musically.

    Surfsilver, can you please explain why you suspect I am not 'genuine'? I don't understand. I promise you everything I have written is true. The picture you posted of the ovation guitar actually made me laugh. That has to be one of the ugliest guitars I have ever seen and it doesn't even look as if it is trying to look bad. My cousin has an Ovation (I know it has a round back but can't be certain that is is an Ovation now that I think about it) and I found it hard to hold and whilst decent sounding it didn't wow me at all. Next time I get a chance I will play as many Ovations as I can. Really though, the way they look doesn't appeal to me at all. Looking at all my instruments today I have realized that they all conform to a certain visual aesthetic. Appearance is important to me. Not as much as sound and playability but it is still a big factor.

    Please keep the suggestions and advice coming.
  • steelartssteelarts Posts: 37Member
    Please don't get me wrong Shakespeare, the GS Mini is a cracking little guitar but it is a tad over priced for what it is. It's just my personal opinion that if you are going to go for a steel string a regular, full sized instrument is a better bet. Only having a GS Mini would be a bit like trying to do all your computing on a tablet; whilst they're great and convenient there are somethings that you need a proper computer for. Likewise, certain things on a full sized guitar would be easier to play and sound better.

    I once had an Ovation for a short time. Like Mark123 I didn't get on with it at all. the neck was flimsy and would bend notes and the bowl back was dreadfully uncomfortable. playing seated was a nightmare as it wouldn't stay on the knee, and it had about half the volume of a regular guitar when played acoustically. Plugged in it sounded pretty good but there were too many negatives so it had to go.

    As I said, I really fell for the Faith line but that's just me. I found their build quality, sound and playability as well as the aesthetics were superb for the price point. But try other guitars too if you can because, as I said in another thread, one size doesn't fit all with respect to guitars and you might find that, for example, a Breedlove is more to your liking. Until a few weeks ago I had an Epiphone Masterbilt AJ500 RENS that was a superb guitar. I'm still kicking myself for selling it and unfortunately they now appear to be discontinued. This was also made of all solid woods, sounded great and cost around £450 so there are quality instruments to be had around the £500 mark.
  • BuzzwagonBuzzwagon Posts: 143Member
    In fairness I've got an Ovation and while it doesn't have the tone of a Taylor or Guild when played accoustically, when its plugged in it comes alive. Loads of people report problems getting on with the bowl back though.

    To say the necks are flimsy and they have half the volume of other guitars is a little unfair. The shallow bowl guitars aren't great unplugged but the mid and deep bowls are pretty good and I've never heard a bad one plugged in. The necks are slim, more like an electric neck but they're certainly not flimsy.

    The Ovation Balladeer is a good guitar and they don't all come in the design in the picture, Ovation do aesthetically "normal" looking acoustics too!

    My understanding of the Epiphone Masterbilts is that they can be a bit hit and miss but in truth I've not tried one and the Epiphone archtop I have is ok.

  • steelartssteelarts Posts: 37Member
    Jerry, I'm not saying all Ovation necks are flimsy but the one on the guitar I owned was. If I got over enthusiastic the neck would literally flex in my hands, something I've never experienced with any other guitar. Perhaps it was something peculiar to my particular guitar, I don't know, but there was no other word to describe it other than "flimsy", sorry. And the volume was nowhere near that of a regular guitar and it was a deep bowl model. As I said, plugged in it was okay but as an acoustic it was a bit of a flop. I'm sorry if you don't like to hear this but that is how it was.

    I've also heard that Epiphone Masterbilts can be hit and miss but it's a strange thing the people who say this always seems to quote someone else and rarely appear to have actually owned one. Mine was fantastic, and the guy who bought it was blown away at getting such a super guitar so cheaply. My best mate also owns a hog version and he thinks its a great instrument too. Also, if you do your homework and trawl the various forums you'll find a myriad of satisfied Masterbilt owners who love their Epi's.

    At the end of the day, it's each to his/her own. If you find a guitar that really does it for you be it an Ovation, Taylor, Epiphone, Martin, or any other brand of guitar, then you are very lucky. Love and have fun with whatever you play. It'd be a very boring world if we all liked and played the same guitar.
  • Pete_BPete_B Posts: 563Member
    I'm really loving my Yamaha APX 500II atm, So loving it I'm thinking of getting a 12 string version too. Also looking at the Faith guitars, but I have a dreadnought, and would like a playable guitar too. TBH I hate dreadnaught guitars, unplayable to me, like picking up a tree trunk and trying to tie your shoelases at the same time.
    I just love my apx, lots hate em, but, for me, it sounds better than my other acoustic guitars.
    There is no Mojo!
  • AlidoreAlidore Posts: 528Member
    I'm really loving my Yamaha APX 500II atm, So loving it I'm thinking of getting a 12 string version too. Also looking at the Faith guitars, but I have a dreadnought, and would like a playable guitar too. TBH I hate dreadnaught guitars, unplayable to me, like picking up a tree trunk and trying to tie your shoelases at the same time.
    I just love my apx, lots hate em, but, for me, it sounds better than my other acoustic guitars.

    “There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't.”
  • ShakespeareShakespeare Posts: 12Member
    Faith guitars look lovely. Sound is good too from what I can gather. Playability? I wish I could get my hands on one.
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,704Member, Moderator
    Shakespeare, I like the sound of my Faith Venus 12 string. It's an OM body so not as full in the bass as a dreadnought, which sometimes is a bonus. It is so easy to play that I imagine 6 string Faith guitars will look, feel and sound good. Definitely worth getting your hands on one to try.
  • steelartssteelarts Posts: 37Member
    Shakespear, my Gibson Songwriter has an amazing neck and is sublimely playable so I've been spoiled now by it. This means any other guitar I buy has to be comfortable and easy to play. No more making myself fit the guitar, it has to fit me. No more Popeye forearms from trying to barre chord an action that is too high. I found the Faith Neptune extremely playable from the off. The medium/low action was fine but as it's got a free set up from Richard I requested a 1/16" lower but being mainly a strummer I'd rather it not be too low anyway. That being said, finger picking was a doddle on it. It truly is a great all rounder and I wouldn't have bought it if it was anything else other than easily playable, believe me!

    If you can I seriously recommend you try one out. I don't know what Richard's return policy is but it might be worth giving him a call to find out if you don't have a store near you.
  • ShakespeareShakespeare Posts: 12Member
    Just bought a Cort Earth Mini off ebay for the time being. I will still be looking for a proper, long-serving guitar though.

    Classical guitars are all basically the same shape. Obviously size will affect volume. Bigger body = more volume. Having a cutaway means easier access to the higher frets but you will sacrifice a bit of volume. Acoustic guitars seem to come in hundreds of different shapes though. How do the different shapes affect the sound?
  • steelartssteelarts Posts: 37Member
    By getting a mini/travel guitar I still think you are missing out on the proper acoustic guitar experience. It will never give you the full bodied tone. In my opinion mini's are great as second or third guitars, just for either the sake of variety or convenience (i.e. travel or lack of space). But hey ho, each to their own.
  • £500 acoustic? You would be nuts not to consider Faith which are the benchmark at this price point.


    Also, check out this page for some personal views on Faith, testimonials etc...

  • ShakespeareShakespeare Posts: 12Member
    Faith really do seem to have a devoted fan base. I was watching a Jupiter Natural on ebay that just finished for £300. I forgot to bid so I'm very annoyed with myself. The search continues.

    By the way I am very happy with the Cort Earth Mini. No, it will never sound as good as a full size guitar but it just looks so damn cool.
  • aspguitarsaspguitars Posts: 40Member
    I've just replied to another thread on here about Taylor Guitars. I almost bought one for around £1400. I'm so glad that I didn't. Perhaps they get bad batches as they do in any form of industry, but If I'm going to spend that sort of money, I want some form of quality. I'm not saying that all Taylor Guitars are bad by any means, but as a ex-guitar tech, I was wondering where you would take it to get it repaired as I'm not sure if they have a workshop in the UK. If I had £500 to spend on an acoustic, I would go for a good used one with a proven track record. I can't see the point of spending a fortune on a guitar to play in your bedroom. Or to take to a local pub. I used to hate taking my SG into smoky old bars and clubs, but we had no choice then.
    Just my opinion as an old guitar tech you understand guys.

  • ShakespeareShakespeare Posts: 12Member
    I watched those two videos from that luthier. He seems to be in a minority when it comes to Taylor. I am more and more attracted to Faith guitars but I have found a great uke I would like to buy so the guitar will have to wait until Christmas at least. That will give me more time to research too.
  • ShakespeareShakespeare Posts: 12Member
    Well, I bought a Taylor GS Mini. For what I want now I think it fits the bill. I REALLY like the look of Faith guitars though and will definitely keep them in mind for my next purchase. Thanks for all the advice, even if I did eventually go with my gut instinct and buy the guitar I first liked the look and sound of. Cheers all.
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