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Microphone Month 3

Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

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Buying Tips for Acoustic Electric Guitar


The first of April I will be starting to play acoustic
rhythm guitar in my church band. Right now I have
a regular acoustic guitar and am wanting to get a
new electric acoustic so I can just plug in and play.
I know there will be lots of opinions but just wondering
some peoples thoughts on a good guitar for playing
contemporary christian music. I am looking to spend
in the $400 to $800 price range.
March 12, 2010 @10:03pm

Most inexpensive acoustic-electric guitars (right around the price range you're looking at) compromise on the pickup/electronics section. My suggestion is that you find the best-sounding acoustic guitar you can find for *maybe* $600 and then have a good pickup system installed. Now, I'm partial to LR Baggs as an after-market solution but there are other good options from KK Sound and Fishman.
What you'll then have is a guitar that sounds better than anything in the price range. My stage acoustic is a Taylor Big Baby (which I got for a song) with an iBeam active installed. I get wowed compliments on the sound of my guitar nearly ten years later and people think the instrument is much more expensive than it actually is. The key, though, is that I didn't just pull any old guitar off the rack. I auditioned over a dozen other guitars and a bunch of Big Babies from different stores (this is before the Taylor 100 and 200 series were released) to find the best sounding sub-$1000 guitar I could find.
Today, there is a wealth of great-sounding inexpensive guitars. I have been particularly impressed with the "low-end" offerings from Takamine and Martin. Shop around (bring someone with a good ear if you're new to the instrument) and really *listen* to the instrument.
So... you can get a good guitar like these:
and a pickup like this:
My other suggestion is to save up. The Martin and Taylor all-solid woods models begin at just a couple hundred dollars more than your budget. Not only do they sound exponentially better but their factory pickup systems are excellent and they will retain their value better in case you want to upgrade in the future.
March 13, 2010 @05:14pm

I have a Martin DX-1 cutaway with the stock Fishman pickups. It was somewhere in the $800 range and sounds really nice for an electric/acoustic, without a lot of work.
March 14, 2010 @01:31am

Along the lines of having an instrument electrified, look into the Silver Creek guitars. They're very inexpensive for the "apparent" quality. I've not actually heard/played one, so my suggestion is to find one, and play it. I know MF has them for about $300, so it's not too much of a strech to say you could walk out of a local music store for less than $600 with an electrified acoustic guitar.
March 16, 2010 @10:08pm
Tony Nesci

I've got two acoustics: a '77 Johnny Cash Rosewood Martin...and an Epiphone. Although the Martin sounds absolutely GREAT...I've NEVER found a better-playing acoustic than the Epiphone...and it was dirt cheap! The trick is to settle in on a brand and model (El Cheapo variety) and go through a zillion of 'em, store by store. Occasionally they factory makes a "mistake" and comes up with one that's "sweet as"!
Might I suggest: www.guitarnoise.com
March 18, 2010 @04:50am

I play or have played an acoustic guitar for several years. Since retiring from the USAF and suffering a traumatic brain injury, arthritis, and some other disabilities, I also have been searching for a new guitar. My cousin is an accomplished bluegrass musician and he owns two. He does not own an acoustic/electric, but both of his are now available as E/A guitars.
He plays a Martin D-18 and a D-35. He prefers the D-18 for its' booming sound and resonating lows and crisp highs. He does not have the problem with arthritis and has played since he was 7 or 8.
I have been looking at the Martin D-18E Retro and the D-35 Seth Avett, because of their reputations and the way Martin reworked the neck on their newer guitars to have what they call the performing artists neck. The necks are a low profile oval and are narrower, both of which make it easier for those of us with hand problems to play. Also, professionals agree that this neck style makes the instrument play butter smooth.
Both instruments are over $1k but the D-18 E Retro is the cheapest and can be found for around $1500. I know that is not cheap, but after playing other instruments and not having the benefit of the quality in the Martins I feel the money is well spent. Actually, I have read that some individuals are now purchasing different brands top of the line guitars as investments. I know the Martins only increase in value from the purchase price and it makes sense that you could buy now and sell later for significant profits. Probably as good as most retirement plans and CDs.
Anyway, try playing some of the higher priced instruments that are known for their quality and increasing value, to see if you think it would be a prudent investment of your money
May 18, 2014 @01:22pm