Best beginner acoustic guitar

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by wvuwhat, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. wvuwhat macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #1
    So, in an effort to cut costs I have decided to take a break from golf. I was spending A LOT of money.

    After cutting my rounds down from about 12 a month, I'm now playing only 2 rounds a month.

    But, I'm noticing an increase of time where I literally have nothing to do. I need a hobby that will challenge me and take up some time and I can't think of anything better than picking up the guitar.

    The brief research I've done shows high praise for the Seagull S6, but I'm unsure if I want to make a 400 dollar investment.

    Any suggestions and it'd be even better if it were available on Amazon, because I have some credit that would make this purchase even easier to swallow?

    I'd also love some instructional book advice, if you have any experience with them.
     
  2. robvas macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    I bought an Ibanez at Guitar Center for $220. It was $399, but they have a sale every week just like the furniture places. I had a guy from work who plays guitar go with me to pick it out.

    Didn't really play it much. Got some books but I think it would be easier to learn from a real person or at least a DVD.

    Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that my stepdad retired and asked to borrow it so he could try. I went on craigslist and and bought a guitar, and let him use that.

    I think I spent $60 on that one. Used, but great shape, and the guy had a receipt from Guitar Center with $100 in work that he just had done to it. It's an Epiphone, and for some reason I actually like playing around with that one more.

    Anyway, now I have two guitars which I never play. And I still want to find an electric. ;)
     
  3. wvuwhat thread starter macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #3
    I hear you with the not really sticking with it. However, I'm the type of person, that if I pick something up, I won't allow myself to quit. I picked up golf and self-taught myself to be a scratch golfer and actually got into the golf business for a few years.

    I was thinking that getting the books would be good to start, then I'd head to a Guitar Center or place of that sort, then maybe take a community college course, then, ultimately get some one-on-one instruction from a well reviewed artist that was looking for a little extra cash (lots of those around D.C.).

    My cousin is a professional singer/songwriter/guitarist down in New Orleans, so I'll hope to grab a few pointers from him in October when I visit.

    Until then, I'll be scouring C.L. to see if I can snag a deal like you did for your dad.
     
  4. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #4
    I found a Yamaha from the 80s on craigslist in April. It was in absolutely mint-perfect condition for $75 including a tuner, hard case and some other goodies. Had my guitar playing friends check it out to make sure it wasn't messed up in some way. Got it home and looked up the model...apparently it retailed for $800 back in the day. :D

    Get a friend who knows acoustic guitars to come with you to check out any CL guitars...he can help check that the neck is straight, the action is set right and the tone is the same up and down the frets. (At least thats what my buddy said he did—I'm still kind of a guitar noob)

    Also start digging your fingertips into the edge of a credit card whenever you can...it'll help with the callouses and make sticking with it way easier!
     
  5. rikers_mailbox macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2003
    Location:
    LA-la-land
    #5
    Taylor Big Baby.

    check the reviews, it has a few compromises but overall a fantastic instrument, especially for a beginner.
     
  6. Capt Underpants macrumors 68030

    Capt Underpants

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    #6
    Steel string or Nylon string?

    I started off on a steel string, but eventually switched to nylon. The tone of nylon strings fits my personality perfectly.

    Since you're a beginner, a plus to a nylon string is that it will be easier to push the strings down. And they typically have larger necks, so you'll be forced to develop more hand flexibility (or reach) than you would on a steel string.

    What kind of playing are you going to be doing? Do you want to get into fingerstyle, or do you want to be a strummer?

    Do some googlin' on the Cordoba C5. It's generally accepted as a great entry level nylon string.
     
  7. wvuwhat thread starter macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #7

    I honestly don't know what I'm looking for. I'd like to just be able to play a few songs on the guitar (Sublime, Chili Peppers, Jack Johnson, Mayer, what have you). Just something I could learn the basics, learn a few better known songs, and then go from there.

    And, BTW, great avatar and username. I remember reading that wayyyy back in Kindergarten/1st grade.
     
  8. wvuwhat thread starter macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #8
    Looked at the Amazon listing for this and came up with this:

    "Slightly smaller than than a full-size guitar, the Big Baby looks and feels like a grownup."

    A definite Noob question, but would this be a problem for a bigger guy (I'm 6'2" 260)? I would think the spacing between the strings would be slightly less on this, leading me to believe my bigger than average fingers would be a problem.
     
  9. wvuwhat thread starter macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #9
    Thanks for the Credit Card tip. I'll definitely look into this model, but seems that the age may make it hard to find. *still refreshing CL every chance I get*
     
  10. Capt Underpants macrumors 68030

    Capt Underpants

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    #10
    Thank you.

    The bands/musicians you listed typically play steel string guitars.

    Since you're 6'2", I'd get a guitar with a 1.75" neck. The strings will be spaced out enough to give your fingers some room. Seagulls have that size neck.

    I've played $4000 Martins that sounded like ****, and $200 pawn shop guitars that were pretty awesome. As you play guitar more, you will develop your own taste for guitar tone. Unfortunately, you don't know right now. I would heed other people's advice and take someone who plays guitar, and who has an opinion about different guitars' tones. Let them help you choose your guitar.

    Look at the frets of the guitar, and make sure there are no divets in them. Frets will bend over time from being played, and this can cause notes to play slightly sharp.

    Tune it up and strum it hard, then check the tuning to make sure the tuners work well.

    Check the intonation at the 12th fret. To do this, tune the guitar and fret each string at the 12th fret. If the note is neither sharp nor flat, the guitar is intonated properly.

    Make sure the strings aren't too close or too far from the fretboard. If they are too close, the strings will buzz when strummed hard. If they are too far, it will be difficult to press the strings down.

    Make sure the guitar "feels good" in your hands. Make sure the guitar speaks to you.

    If you have done all this, you should purchase your guitar be ready to start learning how to play it. Best of luck. It will be a long and hard, but ultimately incredibly rewarding journey.
     
  11. andalusia macrumors 68030

    andalusia

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #11
    I recently purchased a new guitar. Whilst in the shop, I tried out a Tanglewood acoustic. It was really nice, played wonderfully, sounded great. There just so happened to be another of exactly the same model, so I decided to play that too. Believe it or not, they sounded different. One was deeper, with a bit more bass, whilst the other was brighter and had a nicer tone (in my opinion). This isn't just me being crazy, my Dad agreed (he also plays guitar). In the end I went for the brighter guitar, and don't regret it at all. I guess this is me saying try anything and everything, as even the same models can be different somehow.
     
  12. howard macrumors 68020

    howard

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2002
    #12
    I'm a big fan of the Seagull S6. IMO one of the best guitars under $800, and it actually costs half of that.
     
  13. wvuwhat thread starter macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #13

    The bolded makes pretty much no sense to me, that should explain how much I know.

    When looking for something that "feels good," I'll most likely throw the strap on and strum all 6 strings a few times and pretend like I knew where my left hand should be.

    I'll ask around and see if any of my friends in this area know anything about guitars. If they don't, I'm pretty much going in blind.
     
  14. Melrose Suspended

    Melrose

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    #14
    Don't buy it online... I wouldn't buy any guitar I didn't play myself first. The build quality, even on a name like Gibson, can wax and wane, and each instrument has it's own feel.

    I'd recommend Martin or Taylor - if price is no object. The Martin is superior in quality, build consistency, and almost plays itself. Martins sound very warm (which I prefer) compared to Gibsons - but if you want a slightly more tinny sound (not in a bad way) you could go for one. A Taylor will usually has a nice clean sound.

    Also, try a Martin with a V neck, just to see if you like it. It feels different, but for me reduces fatigue. If price is no object, and you can find $3.5k, check out the Eric Clapton Signature. Sweeeeeeeeeet :cool:

    Then again, I ran across a 10 or 15 year old well-played Ibanez in a music shop that sounded awesome for $200. So it pays to shop around.

    I'd amend that by saying that high or low action is really just player preference - I can't stand the strings too high, and high action, as you say, could be harder to play for a beginner. You can't buy a guitar sight-unseen.
     
  15. wvuwhat thread starter macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #15
    While 3.5K wouldn't be "too" hard to swallow, I'd like something a lot cheaper to start on. I'd like to get a good beginner and start with that. Once I learn my preferences, I really wouldn't have a problem dropping dough, but I'd have to imagine it'd be better to learn a little, learn my preferences, and have something in my hands to work with would be better in the beginning.

    If I were to say, spend 400, tonight or tomorrow online, and not like the guitar, it'd be a lot better than spending 3,000 on something that I hate.

    I guess, this weekend, I'll head to the local guitar place and see what sounds right to me, or one of my tone "smart" guitar friends (if I can find one).

    Basically, I'd rather spend 400 on a guitar, not like it, then find out what I like and buy a 3.5K one. Than, buy a 3.5K one, and then want to revert to a 400 dollar one.
     
  16. andalusia macrumors 68030

    andalusia

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #16
    Plus, if you become proficient on a cheaper guitar, when you upgrade it feels amazing. I played a basic Yamaha F310 for 7/8 years or so, and when I got the Tanglewood it felt absolutely amazing. You can really appreciate how amazing these pieces of wood are.
     
  17. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #17
    Don't go for a specific brand, acoustic guitars varies A LOT from each individual guitar, within same brand.

    As others suggested, do you know any guitarists? If you do take him/her with you and spend a few hours at a guitar shop and find a good one!

    I've played very good guitars that costed very little and I've played expensive guitars that wasn't too great.

    Ofc if you drop 3 grand on Martin, you'll 99.9% likely to get a good guitar, but you could also get a very good sounding cheap Jasmine, Epiphone, Yahmaha or similar brand for less than 300.

    I've helped several friends get really decent cheap guitars buy spending a day looking at my nearby shops. When you have played a few years you'll be amazed how two "identical" guitars in the shop can sound so different.

    So ask a friend to join you for an evening to help you pick one and repay them by taking them to the movies or a dinner later :)

    Btw Dickie Betts in the Allman Bros played a $100 Squire quite a lot!
     
  18. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #18
    IMO Takamine has some of the best bang for your buck, you can get a very nice one right in your range.
     
  19. rikers_mailbox macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2003
    Location:
    LA-la-land
    #19
    I'm 6' 3". The strings are spaced no differently than on a full-size, it's the size of the body that's smaller. In fact, the Big Baby is a 15/16th size guitar. it's hardly noticeably smaller.

    The unique construction of the Big Baby lends itself to quite a full, rich sound at a very good price. And personally, I like the way it sounds. It's a soft and warm tone that's nice when playing softly to yourself while learning how to play. Low string action (their height above the fret board) makes the BB quite playable.

    Good luck in your search. Picking out a guitar is equal parts objective and subjective.
     
  20. wvuwhat thread starter macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #20
    Just talked with my cousin, he suggested Takamine before I read this post. He didn't know too much about the different models, but Amazon has the "S35" and "S34C NEX" for around the same price, which would you choose.
     
  21. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #21
    Didn't we just tell you to not buy online? :p
    You should really at least try a guitar yourself before you buy it,
    to see how the neck feels and how comfortable it sits on your lap.
    If it doesn't feel good to play, you won't play it much and then it doesn't help even if it sounds great!
     
  22. wvuwhat thread starter macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #22
    I guess I'm in the mood to spend my Amazon credit on a guitar. 90 bucks for a guitar my cousin says is good, is enough to warrant my purchase. It's only about 5 or 6 blu-rays, or one night out with friends, either would occur within 2 weeks. If I don't like it, I'll just throw it on CL/eBay/what have you for a hit. If there were a music store in my town, I'd go ahead and do that, but I'd have to drive and battle traffic if I were to want to go put my hands on one.

    Part of the problem of being in the D.C. Suburbs.

    However, if I were to be ready to spend 1000+ you better believe I'd be at some guitar store with my hands/fingerprints on it, playing every note, and asking every question I could.
     
  23. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #23
    You're wasting your time if you buy online. Every guitar has a different feel even if the same model. Go to a guitar center or sam ash and find the one that FEELS right to you.

    Its all about feel. I can play alright on my stuff, I can't play at all on some guitars.
     
  24. wvuwhat thread starter macrumors 65816

    wvuwhat

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    #24
    OK, I've actually got some time tomorrow, I guess I'll search for a local guitar place I can get to tomorrow.

    I'll update tomorrow evening. If I don't come home with one, I'll at least have some likes and dislikes and maybe you all can suggest something or at least point me in the right direction.
     
  25. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #25
    Hehe, you're excused since you doesn't have any nearby shops :)

    Those two guitars are very similar, but the s34 features a cutaway.
    I'm no huge fan of cutaway, since it only gives you better access to higher frets, which isn't much use to a beginner anyway (or on a acoustic guitar at all (my opinion..)). A cutaway also reduces resonance which is a bad thing.

    I'd go with the s35.

    When you get the guitar be sure action on the neck is ok, and that the frets aren't buzzing too much. (A little buzz is usually better than high action, especially for a beginner). Get the guitar comfortable to play !!!!!!!!
    A guitar strap can also be useful.

    If the action is too high/low, check videos on youtube to adjust it, but be extremely careful if you are gonna do it, it can harm the guitar permanently if you aren't careful.

    Also get a tuner or a tuner app for your mac, learning to play on an "out of tune" guitar is only gonna make it harder.
    Tuna Pitch is ok and free: http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/33029/tuna-pitch

    And good luck! Perhaps in a few years we'll discuss if we like Gibson, Martin or Taylor best :D

    ps. I once asked my guitar teacher the key to be a good guitarist, he replied:
    Show me someone that have practiced 10000 hrs, that's a good guitarist, there are no shortcuts!

    One more thing, learning to play is sometimes frustrating. Sometimes you feel you have played weeks without any progress, then suddenly next day you're progressing more than you have done the last month!!
     

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