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Thread: Best acoustic guitar under $400

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    nuemes's Avatar
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    Best acoustic guitar under $400

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    What's the best steel string acoustic guitar for recording under $400? Please only reply if you've had direct experience with the guitar. And for those who would say save money for something more expensive - it's simply not an option in this particular case - believe me, I'd love to spring for a Gibson if I had the opportunity! Thanks.

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    Cheeky Monkey is offline Dedicated Member
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    The Canadian-made Godin acoustics (Seagull, Norman, Simon & Patrick, Art & Luthier). Not sure about the S&P/A&L, but the Seagulls/Normans all have a solid spruce top and lam cherry back and sides. I've played them -- bought my two sons each a Norman B20 (gloss), virtually identical to the Seagull S6. These guitars have an excellent reputation as best bang for the buck.

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    Sonic Idiot is offline Senior Member
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    No such thing as "best" in music at any price point. You must specify which kind of music you play, what your needs are, what kind of sound you enjoy, what your price point is, etc. Please do not use the word "best". There is no best. Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheeky Monkey
    The Canadian-made Godin acoustics (Seagull, Norman, Simon & Patrick, Art & Luthier). Not sure about the S&P/A&L, but the Seagulls/Normans all have a solid spruce top and lam cherry back and sides. I've played them -- bought my two sons each a Norman B20 (gloss), virtually identical to the Seagull S6. These guitars have an excellent reputation as best bang for the buck.
    I think what Sonic Idiot is trying to say is that the Taylor is the best.
    “Saints fly only in the eyes of their disciples”

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    famous beagle is offline 2.5K Gold Member
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    My vote would definitely go for the Seagull. I've got an S.M. 6 that's in your price range, and it's an excellent sounding guitar all around. I've had a similarly priced yamaha as well, and the Seagull is much nicer IMO.
    famous beagle

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    I would also put in a vote for seagull as well .... IMO i think they are best thing going till you hit about 1500 mark. got an older s6 + cedar sitting right here beside me and I actually prefer it over almost any guitar i've played new that was under 1500.


    Just my thoughts


    Randy

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    [QUOTE=Sonic Idiot]No such thing as "best" in music at any price point. You must specify which kind of music you play, what your needs are, what kind of sound you enjoy, what your price point is, etc. QUOTE]

    I'm looking for a steel string acoustic that records well for heavy strumming in open D tuning - especially of the lower four strings - where it will be the main or sometimes only instrument next to vocals in a mix. Price range is $400 or less.

    I spent 3 hours trying out acoustics today at a shop with about 50 acoustics both new & used. I started with an old $1k Gibson that I liked to try to set a comparison and then tried all the guitars around $400. I listened carefully and found a 1970 Yamaha FG-150 that sounded closer to the Gibson as any of the other guitars.

    Once I got the Yamaha home and recorded it the highs sounded excellent but the lows were too deep and loud creating an unbalanced tone. I know it's not the room because I recorded someone else's guitar in the same room / same mic (C414) and the other guitar sounded great under the same circumstances. That was a Seagull 12 string.

    Fortunately I can return the Yamaha for the full amount.

    Part of the issue may be the fact that I like dark sounding guitars and my ear is not trained well enough to know what will sound good for recording. Because I like darker guitars I reach for the older ones rather than the new guitars that I find tend to have a 'boxy' tone.

    I think my question at this point is how do you determine how a guitar will sound recorded while you're still in the guitar shop (if the shop doesn't have such facilities)?

    And I will check out a Seagull S6 when I return the Yamaha - thanks!

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    Cheeky Monkey is offline Dedicated Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuemes
    the other guitar sounded great under the same circumstances. That was a Seagull 12 string.


    I think my question at this point is how do you determine how a guitar will sound recorded while you're still in the guitar shop (if the shop doesn't have such facilities)?

    And I will check out a Seagull S6 when I return the Yamaha - thanks!
    Not that you received a lot of responses to your question, but I find it interesting that after everyone who did recommend the Seagull (or in my case, any of the Godin guitars), a Seagull 12 string sounded good to you recorded. Maybe the S6 will give you the recorded sound you hope for because the 12 string is probably brighter than the 6.

    As for your question to determine how a guitar will sound recorded while you're still in the guitar shop, I think only those with lots of experience in both guitar playing and recording could tell with any accuracy. I'm not that good to tell. I believe I've read that guitars a little on the brighter side record better, but I could be wrong.

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    The taylor 1 series or two series...bar none...but man take my advice...save a few hundred more and buy a three series...maybe even a used one. You won't regret it.
    every time I masturbate...I kill a kitten. :cool:

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    Quote Originally Posted by nuemes
    I'm looking for a steel string acoustic that records well for heavy strumming in open D tuning - especially of the lower four strings - where it will be the main or sometimes only instrument next to vocals in a mix. Price range is $400 or less.
    I love Seagulls. But, I wouldn't recomend one for heavy strumming. I would, however, be an advocate of the S&P, even though they are from the same parent company. They are diferent animals.

    Also, if you can find a DM9 or an EM9, I think the best, most underrated guitar in that price range (and sometimes any price range) is Tacoma. The DM9 is dreadnaught mahogany and the EM9 is orchestra body mahogany.

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