Anonymous asked: can u suggest a <$500 acoustic guitar for someone whos already pretty good?
Seagull, Simon & Patrick, Art & Lutherie (A&L), Blueridge, and Eastman are all good brands in your price range. The Canadian made brands (seagull, simon & patrick, A&L) are all owned by a parent company called Godin but each brand is very different in terms of style and tone. What they do have in common is that they’re on par with US made guitars costing 10x more. I recommend anything from Seagull out of the lot, though. I’ve never played a bad one. They use cedar (top) frequently (they use more traditional woods like spruce/rosewood as well) which means when the strings are dead, the guitar is dead. Don’t be fooled by a dull, tubby sound if you play one in a guitar shop. Request they change the strings so you can actually hear it.*
Blueridge and Eastman are both made in China which used to mean they’re shitty guitars made for shitty kids who will quit playing within a month, but that’s not the case anymore. These instruments are handmade by luthiers who have been making instruments and working with wood their entire lives. Plenty of useless shitty instruments are still being made in China but Eastman and Saga (parent company of Blueridge) are producing some remarkable guitars (and mandolins.)
Eastman guitars are a mix bag. Their archtops are incredible and compare to guitars easily ~$5 grand more expensive but their flattops (which I’m assuming you’re looking for) are hit and miss. The OO, OOO, and OM sizes usually sound great but I’ve found that they need a neck tweaking to really work. Same goes for Blueridge and any guitar that’s likely to have made such a long voyage. They do have a bit of an over spray problem so be sure to pay attention to the finish thickness. If you can’t feel the grain of the wood then it’s too thick. That’s not always a deal breaker but it certainly doesn’t help. As for the Blueridge guitars, I have no complaints about sound or playability. My only gripe is aesthetic. Too many unnecessary bells and whistles. This is one of those brands that I actually prefer the cheaper options since they don’t have as much gaudy inlay work.
If you ignore everything else, just remember this: Never give any of your money to Gibson. They haven’t made anything worth a second thought in ~50 years and have immoral and illegal business practices with no regard for the earth or the people they depend on to buy their over priced toys.
Also, I hope this goes without saying, but look at pre-owned stuff. Don’t buy new unless you gotta and avoid Guitar Center if possible.
* This goes for any guitar in a shop when you’re looking to buy. If the strings are dead, tell them to put on a fresh set so you can actually hear the instrument. They might act like it’s an inconvenience but you’re about to spend a substantial amount of money in their store, they can get over it.
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Iconic US guitar maker Gibson is facing a criminal probe over claims it broke environmental laws while importing wood…On 28 August federal agents raided Gibson’s Nashville and Memphis premises, seizing shipments of Indian rosewood and leaving the venerable guitar maker more than a little off-key.
There goes the tiny shred of respect I still had for Gibson. Despite what any of the heads of Gibson are saying they knew exactly what they were doing. They knew it was illegal and they knew it was hurting the environment, but they didn’t care. Gibson’s only goal for the past 15 years has been to make as much money as possible however they can, even if that means using illegally harvested wood and charging outlandish prices for mediocre instruments. Oh, and don’t get me started on OAI. The mandolins are still high quality, I’ll give them that, but every guitar that comes out of there lately is overpriced and sounds like something Esteban would be trying to sell on QVC. These pricey guitars are even being over shadowed in fit/finish and tone by a lot of the Pacific-Rim made guitars that are available at a fraction of their cost. No amount of gaudy inlay special edition bullshit will make up for such an unimpressive sound and playability. Gibson is turning into the Ed Hardy of the guitar world. Add that to their immoral and illegal wood acquisition practices and you have a company worthy of an intense and passionate FUCK YOU.