Acoustics get expensive very quickly.......

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  • The fact for me is you don't need a 5k guitar to sound good, literally no guitar player I am into uses a boutique acoustic they all use either Martin gibson or guild, (and some takamine) and those sound as iconic as the songs played on them,  for me technique and your own skill when it comes to your fingers has just as big a part to play, 
    I saw an interview with Chris Difford who was asked about his acoustic guitar.

    "I went to see James Taylor once and he sounded fantastic, so I spent ages looking for the same guitar he had. When I finally bought it, I was really disappointed, it didn't sound that good at all.

    Then I realised it wasn't the guitar, it was me. The reason I don't sound like James Taylor is because I can't play like James Taylor!"
    This is an avenue down which I strayed for 20 years, assisted by the opinions of my budget-conscious guitar repairer at the time: a sentiment something like "the semi-pro gear is perfectly OK, loads of good music has been recorded with it, expensive gear is unnecessary"

    Eventually I started trying and buying some of the expensive gear, and I was amazed - my sound and playing improved significantly as a consequence

    If you go shopping for £5k acoustics, there are ones that will stun and inspire you, it's a fact known to those who play them, and it's why normal working people pay these large amounts to own one, they are not blingy guitars, they look just like the cheaper ones. The amount of inspiration these instruments can provide when composing new music is not to be underestimated, and the extra nuances and subtleties in performance are very tangible to the guitarists I know who own and play them

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  • You're not helping my desire for a super acoustic (which I feel I already have ) :lol: 
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  • LewyLewy Frets: 603
    The fact for me is you don't need a 5k guitar to sound good, literally no guitar player I am into uses a boutique acoustic they all use either Martin gibson or guild, (and some takamine) and those sound as iconic as the songs played on them,  for me technique and your own skill when it comes to your fingers has just as big a part to play, 
    I saw an interview with Chris Difford who was asked about his acoustic guitar.

    "I went to see James Taylor once and he sounded fantastic, so I spent ages looking for the same guitar he had. When I finally bought it, I was really disappointed, it didn't sound that good at all.

    Then I realised it wasn't the guitar, it was me. The reason I don't sound like James Taylor is because I can't play like James Taylor!"
    This is an avenue down which I strayed for 20 years, assisted by the opinions of my budget-conscious guitar repairer at the time: a sentiment something like "the semi-pro gear is perfectly OK, loads of good music has been recorded with it, expensive gear is unnecessary"

    Eventually I started trying and buying some of the expensive gear, and I was amazed - my sound and playing improved significantly as a consequence

    If you go shopping for £5k acoustics, there are ones that will stun and inspire you, it's a fact known to those who play them, and it's why normal working people pay these large amounts to own one, they are not blingy guitars, they look just like the cheaper ones. The amount of inspiration these instruments can provide when composing new music is not to be underestimated, and the extra nuances and subtleties in performance are very tangible to the guitarists I know who own and play them

    Wis'd


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  • KalimnaKalimna Frets: 340
    I have a Brook Tavy and a dreadnought in macassar ebony built with Mark Bailey. Both are stunning instruments way beyond my ability as a player. However I get a huge amount of joy from playing them, from the sound (warm and woody for the Brook, bright and crisp for the Bailey) and also the personal touches (I built the Bailey on one of his courses, and had a marquetry picture of where my Dads ashes were scattered, that I made, incorporated into the Brook headstock).

    Neither of which are common guitars, and if anyone is in central Scotland and thinking of purchasing a high end (ish, as it rather depends on how 'high' the end is!) acoustic, you are more than welcome to pop over and try them out. And as I live in Deanston, there's some damn fine whiskey on tap too :)

    Adam
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  • @Kalimna I wouldn't mind trying those...!!
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  • Kalimna said:
    I have a Brook Tavy and a dreadnought in macassar ebony built with Mark Bailey. Both are stunning instruments way beyond my ability as a player. However I get a huge amount of joy from playing them, from the sound (warm and woody for the Brook, bright and crisp for the Bailey) and also the personal touches (I built the Bailey on one of his courses, and had a marquetry picture of where my Dads ashes were scattered, that I made, incorporated into the Brook headstock).

    Neither of which are common guitars, and if anyone is in central Scotland and thinking of purchasing a high end (ish, as it rather depends on how 'high' the end is!) acoustic, you are more than welcome to pop over and try them out. And as I live in Deanston, there's some damn fine whiskey on tap too :)

    Adam
    When I bought my Brook Taw, I also played a Tavy they had in the shop. (Look away now, @thomasross20) If I had twice as much money as I had, I would have bought that as well as a replacement for my L'Arrivee. Lovely strummer and decent all-rounder. Unlike the Taw, which rewards a light touch and sings out, it didn't get flustered if you play it hard. 
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  • I couldn't look away.. :lol: 

    I'm intending on visiting an acoustic superstore next year.. and maybe @Kalimna ; will let me try his :lol:   @AuldReekie was very kind in letting me try his awesome guitars. 

    Larrivee got back to me, by the way.. they aren't doing custom inlays as wait time is 12+ months but could get a standard font on the inlays and get the guitar out in 4 months. However I understand I'd have to pay 25%+ duty / taxes so I'm thinking I get a UK build if I can ...
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  • ThorpyFXThorpyFX Frets: 3545
    I couldn't look away.. :lol: 

    I'm intending on visiting an acoustic superstore next year.. and maybe @Kalimna ; will let me try his :lol:   @AuldReekie was very kind in letting me try his awesome guitars. 

    Larrivee got back to me, by the way.. they aren't doing custom inlays as wait time is 12+ months but could get a standard font on the inlays and get the guitar out in 4 months. However I understand I'd have to pay 25%+ duty / taxes so I'm thinking I get a UK build if I can ...
    Please contact Brook and ask them to do a custom guitar for you...... I’ll bet you £1 it’ll blow you away and it’ll be cheaper than the larrivee. 
    Adrian Thorpe MBE | Owner of ThorpyFx Ltd | Email: thorpy@thorpyfx.com | Twitter: @ThorpyFx | Facebook: ThorpyFx Ltd | Website: www.thorpyfx.com
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  • KalimnaKalimna Frets: 340
    You are more than welcome, Thomas, to pop over anytime :) And anyone else for that matter - though you would have to sign a NDA regarding comments on my playing!

    Perhaps this would be good excuse for a snap forum meet up north of the border?

    Adam
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 2785
    Book are great, but the neck profile they use isn't for everyone.  It's shallow, and has a very flat radius.  I ended up selling the one I had because I couldn't really get on with it.  If you get a custom build you can probably specify what profile and radius you want though.

    Agree with @TheBigDipper that the Tavy is a stunning guitar.  There is something about it that just works.  It's definitely better than the dreadnought sized Teign to my ears.
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  • @ThorpyFX you are most likely correct.. !!

    @Kalimna I'll be in touch! Scottish meet could also be cool!!




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  • There is a lot of variation in personal preference with these quality guitars - just because they are all good, doesn't mean each one works for everyone. 

    This is probably stating the obvious for most of you, but I just wanted to make it clear that my personal preferences are not intended to denigrate brands:

    I've really liked most of or all the (non-Parlour) guitars I've tried by these makers:
    Goodall
    Avalon 
    Lowden
    Bourgeois
    Santa Cruz
    Charis

    NB: I play very loud fingerstyle, with skin and nail, and like to leave notes ringing, I don't do that heavy damping style, or play barre chords, or strum. I like to play high up the neck, with open strings still ringing, so the brands recommended for complex harmonics (some of those above) seem to work for me

    Whereas, I've not enjoyed playing most of the guitars I've tried from:
    Brook (I suspect this is because I fingerpick quite loudly, and the people I've heard recommend these say they like to play very lightly, so perhaps their response doesn't match my playing style)
    McIlroy (strange, eh, given the Lowden connection)


    in between those, are brands where I find some are OK, with some good ones:
    Martin
    Gibson
    Larrivee
    Taylor
    These tend to be factory-made versus small-workshop made, I need to start a separate thread on that issue


    I think I've liked the Collings I've tried, can't remember fully though

    The big warning I would give is that, once you get a really good acoustic, your playing style will develop a bit further, and a change in style can mean that a different brand/build now works better with your playing
    Therefore it can be hard to choose your "final" guitar before you've completed that additional development to your own style
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  • KalimnaKalimna Frets: 340
    Interesting thoughts there regarding how your preferences may change as you progress. I had never really considered that.
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  • What body sizes do you prefer? OM seems to be popular but I read OO sounds good and are easier to bend strings on.
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  • earwighoneyearwighoney Frets: 1471
    edited October 2017
    What body sizes do you prefer? OM seems to be popular but I read OO sounds good and are easier to bend strings on.
    IMO body size (and neck shape) are some of the most important aspects of buying an acoustic guitar.  Above sound, I believe it's for finding the body shape that fits your physique the best.  

    As for OO being easier to bend strings on, that'd be on the presumption it is a short scale OO - long scale OO's aren't that common but do exist.  14 fret OOO's are short scale OM's e.g. Martin OOO-28.  FWIW, there might be a Guitar Guitar near you which will have the Martin OOO-28EC in stock and it might be worth trying.

    Also if you want to get a want a slightly cheaper custom ordered Larry, Halcyon Guitars might be of interest  I'm fairly sure they don't custom inlays though.  You might not have heard of their name but the main guy, Ed Bond who runs them was a manager at the Larry Vancouver factory who started up his company when they closed it down to move to USA.  

    http://www.halcyonguitars.com
    https://www.instagram.com/halcyonguitars/
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  • That's very interesting! I'll check them out..

    However if (!) I do this now I think I'll lean toward a UK builder to avoid duty. Might be cool to have a Scottish made one.
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  • That's very interesting! I'll check them out..

    However if (!) I do this now I think I'll lean toward a UK builder to avoid duty. Might be cool to have a Scottish made one.
    remember this chap too, but you'll need to seek reviews, I don't know how good his stuff is:
    http://www.moonguitars.co.uk/

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  • I can see why folk like the balance of the L model but body looks too big for me an OM still sounded good.
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  • I can see why folk like the balance of the L model but body looks too big for me an OM still sounded good.
    whatever sounds better to you while you are playing it is the one to get

    some prefer smaller ones to play through a PA, or because they are easier to mic up, but if your primary intention is playing at home, go for what sounds good to you. I like extra bass, and I use less nail and more skin on the bass strings, which may be why larger bodies work for me 
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  • There's a guy in Dundee called Rob Mitchell, never played one but this one of his in this video



    https://www.mitchellguitars.co.uk
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  • That was brill, will check that too!
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 2785
    That's very interesting! I'll check them out..

    However if (!) I do this now I think I'll lean toward a UK builder to avoid duty. Might be cool to have a Scottish made one.
    remember this chap too, but you'll need to seek reviews, I don't know how good his stuff is:
    http://www.moonguitars.co.uk/

    I played a Moon Dreadnought in Ivor Mairants severeal years ago that was superb.  Would compete with anything I've ever played.  I've played one or two others that were good but didn't seem to have what that one had.
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  • earwighoneyearwighoney Frets: 1471
    edited October 2017
    I played a one Jimmy Moon guitar which was very nice, I think it had Pau Ferro back and sides?  Jimmy Moon's based in Glasgow so it could be a trip to visit.

    Two of the most famous Scottish luthiers are Bill Kelday & Taran (Rory Dowling).  Kelday starts from £4.5k, Taran a bit less but not far from that.  Kelday is in the Martin style/traditional side of things, Taran more in the Sobell side of things. 
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  • KalimnaKalimna Frets: 340
    And a Bailey acoustic course is now about 2.5k i think. Minimal resale value but you would end up with a stunning instrument, a greater understanding of what makes an acoustic guitar, a truly customisable instrument and a fantastic experience. No i dont work for them, just enthusiastically supportive :)

    Adam
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  • AliGorieAliGorie Frets: 248
    OMFG, a soul mate - I’ve found a soul mate not only that but a uk forum that allows this kind of discussion without massed personal attacks.
    First up is playing style - pretty much with ya on that TC.
    Body size (guitar) I play seated and (was) six feet before gravity started getting the better of me, so I like the jumbo / SJ body as my right upper arm lays on the lower bout and my right hand falls over the sound hole where it can move back or forward to modify tone. - see my vids.
    In saying that I got a wee 000 far east made for a knock about - it plays and sound very good though I may try a 2 to three inch ‘pad’ on the lower bout - to raise my arm to my preferred position.
    My hit list  / meh list, would be similar to yours TC - well as near as damn it, I'v had two from your prefered list for a looooong time.
    A thing that I instantly recognize is string plane lay out and how it ‘works’ with neck / fingerboard - that can define what the instrument will allow me to do (without thinking about my l/h).
    I was in Devon a good few years ago and visited the Brook workshop, they coincidentally were getting ready for some guitar show and gad amassed over a dozen of their instruments and although Im not a parlor kinda guy I preferred what they were doing with wee body’d guitars to their bigger instruments.

       
     

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  • thomasross20thomasross20 Frets: 3481
    edited October 2017
    It seems for a sweet, sweet sound... Cedar top... Rosewood/mahogany neck & sides (though maple gets a good shout)... 12 fret (though not sure if 12 fret cutaway (for access) would compromise that sound.. not sure if fingerboard wood matters that much.  

    Ergonomics...
    Body size ... Has to be om or smaller for me.
    Neck shape & fretboard flatness - I can't comment. Too round isn't my thing. Too flat seems like an electric.

    Of course I need to go play more more more..
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  • You're making a fair bit of progress with your research even since we met on Tuesday..............and yes, play as many different makes as you can
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  • @AuldReekie what woods are the McIlroy.. and the 12 fret Forster's you have? That 12 fret model did sound damn good. 
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