Sorted, Thank you all - A good budget player for a 10 year old?

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dazzajldazzajl Frets: 536
edited April 16 in Acoustics
I’ve been asked to help a fabulous kid I know get his first full sized guitar. His folks, in standard style, don’t have a lot to spend but don’t want to waste money getting something that’s not going to be worthwhile. 

I’ve not had an acoustic for years and I have no idea at what price the playable stuff starts at now. 

His influences are strung between worship music and Ed Sheeran and all that means to me is that it’s going to be an electro acoustic. 

The plan is to take a trip to PMT in Bristol and put as many guitars in his hand that fit the budget. If any of you can help educate me a little or tell me how your purchases have worked out, that’d be a big help. 
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  • A lot depends on budget.
    Vintage make some nice guitars for not too many pennies. 
    depending on budget I’d look at a v300- slightly smaller body than a dread & might be more manageable for a 10year old. I’m pretty sure there’s an electro version. 
    If the money is there a Brett signature is lovely (again smaller body & electro, comes with a custom fitted case too IIRC). 
    Yamaha acoustics are reliable, but I don’t like the sound of them unless they’re plugged in- they often feel a bit plasticy too. I think it’s the poly they use, but I like an acoustic to feel like a wooden box full of air..
    Tanglewood are usually decent too...
    More expensive are Martin with the LX1 (Sheeran model is based on this) I don’t know if Sigma do a lower price copy.

    as you rightly say, take him to a shop & wait to find the right one. 

    I play a Faith Naked Mercury- it’s lovely, but the finish is VERY thin & shows EVERY bump... probably not ideal for a 10year old! 
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  • TheMarlinTheMarlin Frets: 1952
    You can get a lightly used Steinberger Spirit for £200ish used. That’s what I would recommend. 
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  • KittyfriskKittyfrisk Frets: 427
    A lot depends on budget.
    Vintage make some nice guitars for not too many pennies. 
    depending on budget I’d look at a v300- slightly smaller body than a dread & might be more manageable for a 10year old. I’m pretty sure there’s an electro version. 
    If the money is there a Brett signature is lovely (again smaller body & electro, comes with a custom fitted case too IIRC). 
    Yamaha acoustics are reliable, but I don’t like the sound of them unless they’re plugged in- they often feel a bit plasticy too. I think it’s the poly they use, but I like an acoustic to feel like a wooden box full of air..
    Tanglewood are usually decent too...
    More expensive are Martin with the LX1 (Sheeran model is based on this) I don’t know if Sigma do a lower price copy.

    as you rightly say, take him to a shop & wait to find the right one. 

    I play a Faith Naked Mercury- it’s lovely, but the finish is VERY thin & shows EVERY bump... probably not ideal for a 10year old! 
    Hard to disagree with such a concise summation. The Vintage v300 is a very fine cheap starter/instrument. But having tried both, I reckon the V300MH is a far better sounding guitar for the money ( still not a lot). Don't get hung up on 'name' instruments, try to learn on the way.
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  • TheMarlinTheMarlin Frets: 1952
    I had a Vintage V300.  Sounded crap, dead, boring, lifeless.  I've also had a Sigma, equally dull - I gave it away.  Played a few Faith's, all without exception excellent.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 38156
    For the actual 'guitar' part it's fairly hard to go wrong these days if you pick something you like the sound and feel of and which is not ridiculously flashy-looking (so the money has gone into that rather than build quality).

    If it's an electro-acoustic you need, the electric bit is important. Try to get one with a Fishman or LR Baggs system - both companies make basic systems that are fitted to many surprisingly low-priced guitars. It makes a much bigger difference to the amplified sound than you may realise or be able to tell when you're just trying a guitar in a shop. The main exceptions would be Takamine and Yamaha who make their own decent systems.

    Speaking as a repairer, in particular avoid B-Band - they sound good but are unreliable in my experience, as are Taylor's own-brand systems - surprising given their 'pro' status - and neither are compatible with any other system so you can't just replace individual parts. Repairing or replacing an electro-acoustic system is usually a lot more of a pain than with a conventional electric guitar, even for the more standard ones.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson
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  • KittyfriskKittyfrisk Frets: 427
    TheMarlin said:
    I had a Vintage V300.  Sounded crap, dead, boring, lifeless.  I've also had a Sigma, equally dull - I gave it away.  Played a few Faith's, all without exception excellent.
    "Sounded crap, dead, boring, lifeless"  Shame that, but it does happen. Particularly when dealing with the infinite variables inherent in natural materials like wood. I have had Gibson's & other big name guitars that your words equally applied to. On the plus side, if every statement made about guitars were facts & not just opinions, we wouldn't have anything to chat about  ;) 
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  • dazzajldazzajl Frets: 536
    Thank you all so far. Reading and doing a little research as you all chip in. 
    I can definitely say that I’ve always loved the Faiths I’ve tried and had a Mercury that was amazing. Probably going to be a bit over budget though. I suspect that as he’s coming from a 3/4 size nylon string with action about a half inch off the board, most of the options are going to feel pretty smooth. I’d like to try and help him make a choice that will still feel good in two, three or more years time  
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  • zepp76zepp76 Frets: 593
    edited April 11
    TheMarlin said:
    I had a Vintage V300.  Sounded crap, dead, boring, lifeless.  I've also had a Sigma, equally dull - I gave it away.  Played a few Faith's, all without exception excellent.
    That's a shame about the Vintage V300, I have the V300MH (all mahogany) and it's a great little guitar especially for that old bluesy sound (if that's your thing). I certainly have no complaints.
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  • KittyfriskKittyfrisk Frets: 427
    +1 for Tanglewood as a good value/sound option. 
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  • breezytelebreezytele Frets: 25
    I bought a used (but unplayed) Vintage V300 for a niece only 2 weeks ago. Lovely tone.

    Id put your budget towards the guitar rather than an electro acoustic. You can always add a pickup later if he takes to it
    Freshman was also a good budget brand.

    You could do a ‘local search’ on gumtree, or eBay as well.
    I think there are probably quite a few unplayed ‘present guitars’ out there..!
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  • BRISTOL86BRISTOL86 Frets: 1682
    Are they insistent on it being brand new? The money would go so much further buying something like a used faith which wouldn’t be a lot more money than something half as good but new. 
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 2791
    If you are able to spend the time helping, then looking at local used sale items will as @BRISTOL86 says, afford more for your money. Of course if you are miles from a large connerbation, luck plays a big part in the timing of stuff being available.
    Guide the youngster but let them 'decide' on the guitar, if they love it they will play it more. Of course if you love a particular instrument and point out it'svirtues, that helps them want to love it too. If they are swayed by an all black finish 'Kay' guitar, you might have your work cut out.
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  • KittyfriskKittyfrisk Frets: 427
    @dazzajl   Seems to me that you are doing a good deed for a less than privileged, potential future fretboard member. 
    If you get caught up in a guitar love vs cash situation, please post PayPal details here (if possible) & I'll be good for a contribution. Seems a lot of us doing a little to help, could have a huge positive outcome.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 38156
    I forgot to say earlier that despite what I said about electro-acoustics, in my opinion it's still better to avoid them entirely - not only can the onboard systems be unreliable, but they usually cannot be easily upgraded or replaced if they become obsolete, even if they don't fail.

    In my opinion it's still better to get the best acoustic guitar you can, and fit a simple aftermarket pickup into it then use an outboard preamp - either a plain undersaddle transducer if the preamp is something like a Fishman Aura that models real acoustics (these are designed to work best with the direct signal from a UST), or an internal contact pickup system like a K&K or a Baggs iBeam if it's a simpler analogue preamp. This also has the advantage that you can stagger the cost, as well as usually getting a better guitar.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson
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  • earwighoneyearwighoney Frets: 1773
    ICBM said:
    I forgot to say earlier that despite what I said about electro-acoustics, in my opinion it's still better to avoid them entirely - not only can the onboard systems be unreliable, but they usually cannot be easily upgraded or replaced if they become obsolete, even if they don't fail.

    In my opinion it's still better to get the best acoustic guitar you can, and fit a simple aftermarket pickup into it then use an outboard preamp - either a plain undersaddle transducer if the preamp is something like a Fishman Aura that models real acoustics (these are designed to work best with the direct signal from a UST), or an internal contact pickup system like a K&K or a Baggs iBeam if it's a simpler analogue preamp. This also has the advantage that you can stagger the cost, as well as usually getting a better guitar.
    The JJB 330 is supposed to be very good, like a budget K&K.
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  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 988
    Seems to me the main focus would be to get him to choose the guitar he likes the best, with some gentle steering in the right direction. Almost every acoustic you try these days plays decently but worth checking the action is ok for him. 

    If he chooses 'the one' he's far more likely to play it than something used he's been handed. That would be my focus. 

    I'd agree with @ICBM about pickups, you can get one fitted afterwards so don't worry too much about that if he goes for a non electro. 
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  • dazzajldazzajl Frets: 536
    Thank you again all,

    I completely agree that more could be had going used for less cash. I think in these cases there is more value than usual in the trip to the big shop. A mixture of the treat for the young man because he’s put in the work with the little starter guitar he was bought. The chance to try several options side by side and of course, hopefully, more emotional attachment going forwards because he’s picked it from many.  
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  • dazzajldazzajl Frets: 536

    @dazzajl   Seems to me that you are doing a good deed for a less than privileged, potential future fretboard member. 
    If you get caught up in a guitar love vs cash situation, please post PayPal details here (if possible) & I'll be good for a contribution. Seems a lot of us doing a little to help, could have a huge positive outcome.
    This is exactly why I love the community here. A kindness that is displayed so often to people we haven’t met yet. 

    I would describe them as an ordinary family like most of us, that want to make sure their son gets something that is a worthwhile purchase while not spending many many hundreds of pounds on a guitar he might stop playing in a year. 

    Your offer is massively appreciated sir <3  
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  • fobfob Frets: 507
    edited April 12
    I can't really envisage a 10 year old needing an electro-acoustic. At the lower budgets they're not going to be good and the money is far better spent on the guitar. It's tempting to say go second-hand but a 10 year old could well put a lot of value in the guitar being new. I think your idea of just putting lots of guitars in his hand is the best one. I don't know how big PMT Bristol is but I doubt it would take long to try every guitar in budget. I'd look at the Washburns - surprisingly good at the lower end from memory.
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  • ModellistaModellista Frets: 1239
    I was going to suggest Washburn too.  Decent, competent instruments at the lower end.  Surely buying used is the way to go for a far better instrument for the money.
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  • dazzajldazzajl Frets: 536
    We got along to PMT today and this young man found a guitar he's truly fallen for.

    Thank you to all that took the time to help out and it is indeed a Washburn, as many of you said would be a good bet at this price point.

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  • KittyfriskKittyfrisk Frets: 427
    Look at that smile :3  Absolutely great to see some really good news in these weird days.
    You'll be due a load of good karma for all your efforts. *thumbs up*
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  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 988
    I love his Chris Martin costume! 

    Great to see a lad smiling with an acoustic on his lap, here's to many happy playing years ahead for him! 
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  • MikePMikeP Frets: 6
    Great picture! If there's change take it to a tech for setup and get the nut slots perfect. The more playable it is,  the more it'll get played. 
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  • dazzajldazzajl Frets: 536
    MikeP said:
    Great picture! If there's change take it to a tech for setup and get the nut slots perfect. The more playable it is,  the more it'll get played. 
    We’re going to sort an afternoon next week to go through getting it set up and restrung together. Make some proper bonding time for him. 
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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 3764
    Nice thread !
    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • zepp76zepp76 Frets: 593
    This thread is like a little ray of sunshine in an otherwise murky world, well done @dazzajl  I hope the guitar brings him many years of enjoyment.
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  • dazzajldazzajl Frets: 536
    edited April 17
    zepp76 said:
    This thread is like a little ray of sunshine in an otherwise murky world, well done @dazzajl  I hope the guitar brings him many years of enjoyment.
    Thank you. 

    Its been really lovely for me. I know this lad quite well through his extended family that are close friends. I don’t know his folks that well at all but him, his mum, me and my two 4yr olds had a great time doing this. One of those things where I was quite shocked but thrilled to be asked to help. 
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  • TheMarlinTheMarlin Frets: 1952
    Looks like a sweet lad. Nice work Darren. 
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  • dazzajldazzajl Frets: 536
    edited April 17
    TheMarlin said:
    Looks like a sweet lad. Nice work Darren. 
    Thank you sir. 
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