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Choosing an acoustic electric....

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Postby saturnthegiant » April 29th, 2012, 12:05 am

I'm ready to purchase an acoustic electric, and have a budget of $500 or maybe a litle more. I don't have much access to any music stores nearby, and i'm considering ordering one from Guitar Center or Musicians Friend. I'm trying to find something with a solid top with a good low end woody tone. I would like to hear from you all what acoustic electrics you have, and i'd like to hear what qualities you like about them. I've looked over all the different brands on these sites, i just wanted to know about Washburn, Dean, Ibanez, Alvarez, Seagull, etc. anything in my price range. And, i like how the Ovations look, but does the plastic back hamper the acoustics any? I will play it unplugged some of the time. Things like that, types of woods your guitars are, how different type woods sound, build quality, etc. Any input that could help me make an informed choice would be helpful. Thanks!
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Postby Alan Green » April 29th, 2012, 1:08 am

My girlfriend's youngest has a Fender.

Laminate top, proprietary electronics, indeterminate wood - it sounds fine.
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Postby Jim BoDean » April 29th, 2012, 5:37 am

A couple of years ago, I went looking for something in the $200 range just to mess around with alternate tunings so that I didn't have to retune my main guitar so frequently. The local guitar store had one of these with a slightly damaged top (not really noticeable), so I got it for $200. Now I use it for my main guitar, both at home and in live performance. It sounds great.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/ ... ric-guitar

At any rate, I'd go check out what sounds and feels good to you. I recommend trying them unplugged and plugged.
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Postby rsadler » April 29th, 2012, 9:51 am

I've never had an electric acoustic, but I will say that I've bought a few guitars from Musicians Friend and had great luck.
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Postby Laz » April 29th, 2012, 10:58 am

I/we like Takamine.
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Postby dogbite » April 30th, 2012, 3:52 pm

Takamine and Taylor are good in this price range. the other makers mentioned favor the student market or low end; measning they cut corners.
Taylor and Takamine do to an extent, but they are great makers.
often disregarded is Epiphone.

if you can I highly recommend you play before you buy.
the fit, sound, size, all matter greatly.
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Postby Cat » April 30th, 2012, 10:46 pm

Try a boatload of El Cheapo's first. Foget the branding. Just get something that plays nicely. I'd even say go for tonal quality second. Just get something playable and worry about the aesthetics way later.

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Postby EzraplaysEzra » May 1st, 2012, 12:03 pm

Take $100 of your budget and buy a bus ticket to the nearest city that has a guitar store. My brother was here just last week trying acoustics at the same price range your talking about. You wouldn't believe the difference from guitar to guitar from that same model at this price range.

I really don't like a/e guitars, especially at this range. At $500 you're just starting to get into decent guitars, add the cost of transducers and a preamp and your on the back foot again.
That said, my brother went with a Martin

http://www.guitarcenter.com/In-Store-Us ... 1289975512

$500 new, decent electronics (so I've heard) and... it's a martin. I don't know how the engineered woodstuff will age but It's a good sounding acoustic guitar.

So ask yourself what you need, are you recording with it to a PC or are you playing coffee shops and street corners? If your looking to play with a band you might... consider not doing that. Or getting a good sound hole pickup. For the most part, you want a solid top. Rosewood sides project well as does maple but maple tends to be brighter and have less mid range. Mahogany, Sapele (sp?) and Korina are darker and warmer sounding but don't project as well, they tend to bloom mores. I always think the rosewood guitars sound more like a brass instrument and the Mahogany sound more like a woodwind if you can imagine that. Laminated sides are not always a sign of a cheap build.

With all do respect to the prior poster and his girlfriend's sister, Fender is notoriously unable to make a remarkable flat top. Think of all the great and coveted flat top guitars out there, is one of them a fender? No. Fender is great at easily manufactured component based platforms, well made acoustics do not fit that description. In their defense, Martin and Taylor have yet to make a desirable electric, Guild and Gibson are the rare companies that do both well.

I have played some Epiphones that you really have to dig into to justify why anyone would ever pay 5 times as much for a Gibson, their Jumbo, 00 and advanced Jumbo are amazing for the price and the master built's (starting around $500) are as good as many Gibson's and Martin's I've played. Find a guitar that fits your playing style and whether you stand or sit while playing out. A decent used guitar will often sound better than a new guitar so you need to consider that (new guitars will generally get better), acoustic's need time to break in and should have their braces re-tuned after a year (nobody does that) but a guitar that's 20 years old is probably getting ready to have a major reset. So buying used isn't always cost effective when you consider a belly-up or a neck reset.

Good luck.
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Postby EzraplaysEzra » May 1st, 2012, 12:09 pm

I'd like to also say that, in my experience, the more work that goes into making an acoustic pretty the less work goes into actually building the guitar and really nice grains usually offer no sonic improvement whatsoever and might actually hinder the sound.
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Postby Cat » May 1st, 2012, 12:39 pm

Good...and accurate, point, Ezra...(^)

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Postby Crow » May 1st, 2012, 2:11 pm

May I go waaaay out on a limb here & say what I really think?

I think:

- If you're going to plug the guitar into something, use an electric guitar.

- If you use an acoustic guitar, put a microphone (or two) in front of it.

The absolute best "amplified" acoustic guitar sound I have ever heard in person was produced by a Pacific Northwest musician, John Twist, who used saddle piezos, a magnetic soundhole pickup AND at least one mic. It sounded like an acoustic guitar. You can't do better than that. Not with an "acoustic electric."

Your mileage, of course, may vary.
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Postby Bgdaddy316 » May 2nd, 2012, 9:20 am

I had an Epiphone Masterbuilt. I believe the Model was an AR-500. I loved it. Had a great sound and tone. Had to unload it for some quick cash. I would highly recommend checking them out though.
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Postby Niklas » May 4th, 2012, 11:55 am

I have a really good acoustic guitar with a mic attached to it. It sounds fantastic unplugged, but the sound from the mic is incredibly bad, to be honest.

I don't know why no one has recommended a semi-acoustic (archtop, hollowbody) guitar before me. I just bought an Epiphone Broadway for under $400 dollars and the sound is just fantastic. It's a fully acoustic sound plugged in. And yes, it handles distorsion with no problem at all. People who say they feedback to much need to learn how to play rock. I've never heard a better guitar to play slide on. They look great too.

It cost about 1/6 of the price of my acoustic, but it sounds 100x times better plugged in. The unplugged sound is ok too, nowhere near the acoustic though.

There is a great band in Sweden (Johnossi) where the guitarist uses an acoustic guitar. The play heavely distorded rock and he manages just fine. When playing with an acoustic guitar plugged in the main thing is the pickup in it. The sound from the guitar itself dissapears anyway with all the electronics. So he just uses cheap guitars with expensive pickups. I had a long talk with him a couple years ago where he told me all this and I choose to believe him.
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