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Best guitars for fingerstyle?

CarlZen 08 Jul 99 - 03:27 PM
Res 08 Jul 99 - 03:41 PM
Bert 08 Jul 99 - 04:09 PM
CarlZen 08 Jul 99 - 04:40 PM
catspaw49 08 Jul 99 - 04:49 PM
Roger in Baltimore 08 Jul 99 - 05:51 PM
DonMeixner 08 Jul 99 - 05:53 PM
catspaw49 08 Jul 99 - 06:27 PM
DWDitty 09 Jul 99 - 01:08 PM
Em 09 Jul 99 - 07:16 PM
Chet W. 09 Jul 99 - 08:17 PM
Dave T 09 Jul 99 - 08:34 PM
Mudjack 09 Jul 99 - 11:14 PM
Wally Macnow 11 Jul 99 - 06:25 PM
Night Owl 12 Jul 99 - 01:48 AM
Paul G. 12 Jul 99 - 01:09 PM
CarlZen 12 Jul 99 - 02:21 PM
Tony Burns 12 Jul 99 - 04:30 PM
Songster Bob 12 Jul 99 - 04:38 PM
Easy Rider 13 Jul 99 - 11:10 AM
CarlZen 13 Jul 99 - 02:18 PM
Richard Bridge 13 Jul 99 - 02:44 PM
Easy Rider 13 Jul 99 - 03:09 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 13 Jul 99 - 10:28 PM
Easy Rider 14 Jul 99 - 10:10 AM
Liam's Brother 14 Jul 99 - 10:41 AM
Peter T. 14 Jul 99 - 10:57 AM
Chet W. 14 Jul 99 - 11:17 AM
CarlZen 14 Jul 99 - 12:12 PM
moonchild 14 Jul 99 - 03:50 PM
Dan 14 Jul 99 - 07:17 PM
GUY Wolff 14 Jul 99 - 08:28 PM
John in Brisbane 14 Jul 99 - 09:14 PM
Mark Roffe 15 Jul 99 - 09:38 AM
Peter T. 15 Jul 99 - 10:43 AM
Res 15 Jul 99 - 04:02 PM
Dan'l (inactive) 16 Jul 99 - 02:03 PM
j0_77 16 Jul 99 - 02:35 PM
Mark Roffe 16 Jul 99 - 11:12 PM
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Subject: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: CarlZen
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 03:27 PM

I am in the process of hunting down the "perfect guitar" for my own personal use. The majority of what I play is fingerstyle. My main guitar right now is a Taylor 410, and I really love it's warm and rich tone, but I feel the need for a rosewood guitar to get that extra punch and definiton of tone.

I know that ultimately I'll have to play and select, but there are so any different guitars to choose from. I find that the Martin D28 is little too heavy onthe bass end and the high end doesn't really sparkle or have the balance for fingerpicking.

I've played a Taylor Dan Crary and was quite impressed.

I also know that what I hear playing, from behind and above the guitar, is not always what projects outward from the instrument. When trying out the instrument, what are some ways of discovering those tones?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Res
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 03:41 PM

I'm certainly no expert on guitars, but just from personal observation, rosewood (and both of my guitars are rosewood), give a huge bass resonence. You might want to try a Mahogany guitar, Martin makes several and them seem to have a rather even tone in all the ranges. I also feel that even the Martin rosewood guitars do the same but perhaps with a bit more bass. My dos centavos. Pardon the spelling errors, I'm just learning how to speil, -Res


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Bert
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 04:09 PM

To hear your guitar, play facing, and standing fairly close to, a wall. I would try experimenting with different strings before I coughed up for a new guitar.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: CarlZen
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 04:40 PM

I definitely want a rosewood guitar for the crispness which it gives. Presently I play a mahogony dreadnaught which I love, especially for it's warmth, but in certain situations I like the extra clarity and definition of rosewood, plus the extra volume when playing with others.

I use medium strings now (high E .013 to low E .056), and changing to the mediums from lights was one of the best pieces of advice I've received, and would recommend to anyone that a good setup and medium or heavier gauge strings can really bring out a lot in a good guitar.

I guess what I'm trying to find out are the differences in body styles and how they seem to perform for finger [picking. I play mostly blues and ragtime, but am not restricted to those styles.

I'll be looking forward to having fun on my search. I'd also like to go out armed with any pointers and/or information on the big purchase. I'm sure there are many out there who have been there before.

Thanks Res and Bert.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 04:49 PM

CarlZen....Type "Info Opinions" in the filter box and set the refresh for 365 days. There are threads on Martin, Gibson, Guild, Taylor and others. Read and have fun.

catspaw


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 05:51 PM

CarlZen,

The dreadnaught style of guitar like Martin's D-28 was designed for "punch" and tends to be bass heavy, though there is some variance from guitar to guitar even within models and years.

You might look for something smaller in size, even among the Martin's.

If you want punch, balance and playability and if you have a couple 1,000 bucks, the 810 by Taylor is a wonderful guitar. I have loved everyone I have played, but I ain't got the bread for one of them. They are distinctly different from your 410.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 05:53 PM

I used an Martin 0-16 NY and I use now a Guild F-30. I also once played a Guild M-20 that I liked real fine. But for my money its a toss up tween the 0-16 NY and the F-30

Don


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 06:27 PM

I'm still a fan of the 0000 series Martin. Great balance all the way around. Another well balanced and great finger style is the Larrivee Small (LS-05=mahog/LS-09=rswd). I honestly don't know anyone who has played an LS-09 who doesn't rave about it. Just more grist for the mill.

catspaw


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: DWDitty
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 01:08 PM

For a great fingerstyle guitar contact Gallagher Guitar in Watrace, TN. Doc Watson played a Gallagher for years and maybe still does. They make the Ragtime Special which is specifically designed for fingerstyle. Of course having said this, I play fingerstyle on a Guild F-50R - probably the antithesis of a fingerstyle guitar, but it works for me.
DW (Rich Gallagher - no relation, but I hope to purchase my "namesake" guitar one day)


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Em
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 07:16 PM

Most of ya'll probably don't play well enough to require all these fancy things 'yer talking about, so get yourself an old Gibson, because they look sweet, feel great and have alot of soul, kinda like your main squeeze, don't you know. No insult intended; don't take yourselves so seriously! Happy pickin'!


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Chet W.
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 08:17 PM

One thing I highly recommend, as someone did above, is that you check into smaller guitars than dreadnoughts. They were invented in the 30's when a whole band had to play into one microphone for radio or recording, and are bass-heavy by design. I play mostly on a 1933 Gibson L-00, which is the sweetest guitar I've ever heard, and every note from open E bass to way up the neck is the same volume. I play it sometimes plugged in (Barcus-Berry hot dot near the bridgeplate inside) and I don't ever have to use any equalization. It also has a somewhat wider neck, which can be good for fingerstyle. Gibson is making a reissue of the L-1, which is the guitar that Robert Johnson played, and is very similar to mine, but you should be able to find an old one for less money; I'd say around $1000 in good shape. The smaller Martins, like 00's and 000's are usually very good, but that's just a matter of your sound preference. My partner plays a Taylor about the same size that is also wonderful, don't know the model number. But, again, the equalness of the volume of all notes makes a big difference, especially for fingerstyle. And grow some nails!

Chet


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Dave T
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 08:34 PM

I now have two main guitars; a Martin OOO-18 and a Martin D-1R. The D-1R is a new addition so I'm not quite used to it yet. However, the OOO-18 is great for solo blues work while the D-1R is better when playing around banjo or in an un-mic'd open stage. The OOO is definitely easier on the fingers and requires a more delicate touch. If you normally play mic'd or DI'd try a smaller body like the OOO or OM series from Martin. The main difference is the shorter scale length (24.9" on the OOO) and the neck width (check www.mguitar.com for details). Other manufacturers make similar body styles.

Dave T


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Mudjack
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 11:14 PM

I just looked at a Takamine Limited edition(200 made). They're absolutely beautiful Koa wood and sized at 00 with a built in pick up. It had a really nice balance high and low. It just captured my attention as being an exceptional buy at $1000, Very affordable compared to a Santa Cruz or other hand made special guitars.Ten years ago I would'nt give any import a chance to go home with me. I'm afraid I have to fess up and give credit where it's desreved. Those Japanese git-fiddles are as good as they can get.
Mudjack


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Wally Macnow
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 06:25 PM

I've had and used a Martin O-16 NY since 1974 and don't think I'd part with it for anything. Except maybe an O-17. They're just superb finger picking guitars. You would have to get used to a slightly wider neck though. I always have trouble making adjustments to the narrower necked Dreadnought models. The strings aren't where my fingers want 'em to be either on the fret board or the picking end.

I bought a big old Guild to play when I was with the Powdered Eagle String Band. It punched out a nice bass but wasn't much louder than the Martin and the treble didn't come through nearly as clearly. Also remember, when you using amplification, you don't need a boomer.

Wally


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Night Owl
Date: 12 Jul 99 - 01:48 AM

Just wondering if any "Seagull" owners could comment here???


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Paul G.
Date: 12 Jul 99 - 01:09 PM

Sounds like you're stuck on Rosewood (for sound reason). I would recommend looking at an instrument crafted by Rich Mermer -- Mermer guitars. You can check his stuff out at www.gate.net/~mermer. I've been to the shop, seen him work, played the guitars...all extraordinary.

Personally, I selected the Taylor Cedar and Mahogany 514C because I prefer the mellower sound and the incredible sustain which allows you to do more with your left hand (assuming you're a right handed picker). Lot's of choices. Have fun.

Paul G.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: CarlZen
Date: 12 Jul 99 - 02:21 PM

Thanks to all for the suggestions. Keep them coming in. It may be 6 mos. to a year before I get the new instrument, but this really helps. It especially helps when people give me their personal experiences. Also, when they tell me what they play (instrument) and what they play (when fingerpicking the instrument in question).

Bill C.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Tony Burns
Date: 12 Jul 99 - 04:30 PM

Night Owl:

I own 2 Seagulls and there are 3 in the house (my son owns the other).

I finger pick almost exclusively and the Seagulls respond well. However, I am not an expert guitar player by any means and if price were not an issue I would buy a different guitar. As I said there are 3 Seagulls in this house and the total investment is less than $1,000.00 Canadian including cases.

Only 2 guitars have impressed me of those my friends own. One is a Taylor and the other is an early Larivee (I think. Maybe Rick Fielding can verify that. It's Jeff's guitar Rick). Don't take the above to mean I don't like Rick's guitars, I haven't played them.

One last word on price. I truly believe that I'd have to spend more than $1,000 to get a better playing/sounding guitar than my $300 Seagull.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Songster Bob
Date: 12 Jul 99 - 04:38 PM

If you have newsgroup access, go to rec.music.makers.guitars.acoustic and ask the same question. You'll get all the advice you need and then some.

bob clayton


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Easy Rider
Date: 13 Jul 99 - 11:10 AM

CarlZen:

Everybody here agrees that a dreadnought is NOT an ideal fingerstyle guitar. I think the ideal fingerstyle guitar is an OM (Orchestra Model). I have had one now, for almost a year, and I just LOVE it. I fingerpick exclusively, playing a lot of Mississippi John Hurt, some Libba Cotton, some Dave Van Ronk and a little Ragtime. I LOVE Ragtime! Missippi John Hurt's Vanguard studio albums, from the mid sixties, were recorded with Stefan Grossman's 1930 Martin OM-45. They are available on CD, and you should try and listen to them, to get an idea of the superb sound of the guitar, not to mention MJH's superb playing.

The OM was invented by C. F. Martin in 1929, and mine is a vintage reissue of their 1930 OM-28. It is in their current catalog, and copies of it are made by Collings, Santa Cruz and others. The Taylor X12 is about the same size, but there is a major problem, right now, with Taylor's restrictions on its dealers' advertising, a subject for another thread.

What makes an OM?
000 body size, 14 fret neck, 1 3/4" wide fingerboard at the nut, wider string spacing at the sound hole (where you play), a longer (25.4") string scale and light, scalloped top bracing. These guitars are made for LIGHT guage strings.

What does this give you?
A clear, evenly balanced sound across the whole range of the guitar, from low bass to high trebel, with no obvious peaks, great sound projection and separation of individual strings, easier Right hand fingering, cleaner, if slightly more demanding, Left hand fingering on complex positions and changes. The "demanding" comes from the higher string tension of the longer scale and the slightly wider stretches, but you get used to that pretty quickly.

I too like Rosewood/Spruce for its rich, warm, dark tone and for its subtlety and expressive range. I also like the "Martin Sound", which is unique. I can play very soft or loud, and it still sounds great. I suggest you find a Martin 000-28EC (short scale) and an OM-28VR or their equivalents, and play them side by side, to compare the difference in sound and feel. In the end, the choice is purely personal, but you must try a lot of guitars, to find what is RIGHT for you.

Happy shopping, EZR


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: CarlZen
Date: 13 Jul 99 - 02:18 PM

EZR - Thanks for the detailed info. It was MJH and Libba Cotton who got me interested in fingerpicking 'way back when. I never knew what guitar John played on those albums, though. (I always remembered the Guild ads with the magnificent photograph of him.)

I have consequently received the newest Elderly catalog and am right now looking at their Martin pages, studying the OM SECTION. I wonder if you know much about the diference between the OMs and the OOOO, which the catalog claims were formerly known as M size. Would the versatility of the OOOO be useful for when I'm plying with my bluegrass pals and have to get out my unwieldy little flatpick?

Basically, I'll be hitting the shops and trying a lot of things out, but this info is extremely useful. -Tak


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Jul 99 - 02:44 PM

I don't play fingerstyle, but my wife does. It all depends what you want. If you want that "clang" Martins are good and Sigmas nearly as good but a lot cheaper. It is easy to lose the beauty of the melody in a lot of "tizz" particularly if you play hard with metal picks and tend to pluck the string upwards rather than push it downwards. I know some players who are very struck on the big Gibson J200s and J 250s, and I like the sound a lot too. I have also seen 3 very old Gibson SJs (dreadnoughts) and I think they sound very nice without a sort of "look at me" shoutiness. The Epiphones might be worth trying. The Jumbos seem to give an articulacy in the treble as well as a nice solid bottom. If you don't want too much boom, try the Finnish Landolas (jumbo not dreadnought) made out of birch. They look the biz, almost as white as Johnny Winter, and can now be had with the wood pre-aged in a kiln for a slightly more mature acoustic and visual aura. Very tight sound, very clean, not at all floppy. My wife plays an old Hagstrom (very rare, big roundshouldered dreadnought, with a proper saddle not a tailpiece). Much the same shape as the new Framuses but bigger I think, and with a 15 fret neck. It has a dark and mellow, almost sinister, sound, but a bit short on sustain for some tastes. But at least it avoids the "banjo effect" sound that some of the very light-topped modern guitars have. I would say Maton 6-strings and Takamine are noticeable for this, and I feel it to be a failing. Some of the modern British luthiers are very good. I don't personally like the Fyldes to excess but I do approve of the zero fret construction, and I notice almost no-one dislikes their sound. Northworthy I feel sound a bit average, and there have been rumours about the stability of the Kincades. Manson is hard to fault (the luthier, not the other one). Brook are getting rave write-ups but I've never heard one. Some Taylors are very nice, but they are very dear indeed (I know one person who has two. One cost GBP (not dollars) 4,000 and the other GBP 7,000. The dished-back Guilds are a bit edgy for my taste. A good Lowden is very nice with a sound that ranges from a choirboy in a cathedral if you play gently to the death bell if you play hard - but there are a lot more average ones than the really nice ones. But they are probably dear in the USA.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Easy Rider
Date: 13 Jul 99 - 03:09 PM

CarlZen:

Here is something interesting that Stefan Grossman said about Mississippi John Hurt's Guild guitar and how he acquired it:

"He is playing a real crappy Guild Guitar (OO sized body but rounder) that the Newport Folk Foundation paid for. The funny thing was that he had his complete choice of what guitar he could take. I was with him on that day and we went to FRETTED INSTRUMENTS in New York City. They had GREAT old Martins (with inlay and without) plus a few great Gibsons. He opted for the Guild basically because it seemed "less costly" and he didn't want to shake the goodness of the Foundation! What a gentle character."

EZR


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 13 Jul 99 - 10:28 PM

Easy Rider: I haven't been able to get my hands on an OM yet; but I have heard from others that they are an ideal fingerpicking tool.

I tend to use a guitar that is the same size as a classical guitar (00?) and I am very happy with it as a fingerpicking guitar. A friend of mine, after hearing and playing around with my guitar decided that I had the almost perfect tool. He reasoned that since steel strings have more overtones than nylon ones, you should have a slightly bigger body than a classical one to get a good balance. He got the equivalent of a 000 size. To tell the truth, I am not convinced that it is better than mine--but it does sound great. (Just for reference, the guitar's we are dealing with are Matons, made here in Australia. We both use D'Addario phospher/bronze light strings.)

Murray


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle? - Strings
From: Easy Rider
Date: 14 Jul 99 - 10:10 AM

Murray:

Strings are cheap, and you have to change them often, so I suggest that you experiment. You will be surprised at the differences, when you go from one type to another and back again! Nothing fancy, just try the 80/20 Brass(Bronze) type. I like them a lot better than Phosphor/Bronze for fingerstyle. They are not as bright as phosphor/bronze, more mellow instead, but they are more subtle, in tone, and more consistent over their lifetime, and I think the phosphor/bronze strings sound too "brassy" for fingerstyle.

If you want strings cheap, try www.webstrings.com People say they are very good, for the money. I bought a dozen sets and will try them, at the end of this month, when I restring my guitars. Another place is Mostly Strings.

Have fun, EZR


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 14 Jul 99 - 10:41 AM

Take a look at... http://www.elderly.com/vintage/items/10U-2567.htm

Sorry, you have to color it blue and click it yourself. This could be a candidate in the "Under $2,000" category.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Peter T.
Date: 14 Jul 99 - 10:57 AM

Dear NightOwl,
I bought a nice shiny $300-$500 Seagull about 5 years ago when I knew nothing about guitars, and it has been a big disappointment. It sort of kept me back from working with steel strings. I kept thinking it was my fault. Rick Fielding took a look at it recently and confirmed that it was a dud. I have heard lots of people say good things about Seagulls, but I am a walking ad for (1) knowing something about guitars before you buy one; (2) not every guitar made by a good company is good. I now have a nice Yamaha, which I am very fond of.
I was very unhappy about this, because I believe very strongly in Canadian craftsmanship, and I guess I would probably buy a Seagull again, but I would certainly cart Rick or some other guitar god around with me when I checked them out!
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Chet W.
Date: 14 Jul 99 - 11:17 AM

Have to say again, forget picks. If you play fingerstyle, you need to grow nails on your right (or whichever you fret with) hand. You don't need much, maybe 2 or 3 mm past the nail bed, but that makes a world of difference in the variety of tones you can get out the guitar you eventually decide on. When you have them just the right length, you'll also be able to hit a string without the nail touching it. Another thing I've learned to do that's helpful sometimes is playing the bass note with the back of the thumb, on the upstroke, in other words. It makes a different sound and can really help you work in a note at the right place sometimes.

Good luck, Chet W.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: CarlZen
Date: 14 Jul 99 - 12:12 PM

An upstroke with the thumb? I'll have to log off and try it! I've never heard of that before.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: moonchild
Date: 14 Jul 99 - 03:50 PM

I've been a Gibson Girl for 30+ years and wouldn't trade my B-25 for ANY other guitar. It fits my small hands and my right breast nestles perfectly into the curve of the body.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Dan
Date: 14 Jul 99 - 07:17 PM

Moonchild, how in the hell am I supposed to concentrate on the thread subject when you insist on writing something like that?


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: GUY Wolff
Date: 14 Jul 99 - 08:28 PM

It sounds like you might like a OOO28 Martin. It's wanderfull on a mike and very clean!Go to a music store and try them all ...That will answer your own question. The problem is there are reasons for lots of different boxs.Good Luck.. Guy >>>>>><<<<<<>>>>><<<<>>><<<>><<<>>>


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 14 Jul 99 - 09:14 PM

Don't expect that you see too many Lowden's in the U.S., but if you come across one then I suggest that you give it a whirl. I won't recommend a particular model, mine is cedar and rosewood, but all that I've seen are beautifully made. Here's a blow I just pulled off a web-site.

"When it comes to steel-strung acoustic guitars, several names stand out: Martin, Gibson, Guild, Ovation, Takamine and Taylor all have their devotees, but one Northern Irish company's instruments evoke almost as much passion as that beleagured province itself. Lowden have a reputation for producing flawlessly-made, wonderful-sounding guitars and, what's more, you don't always need a king's ransom to afford one." So wrote Neville Marten in a recent issue of "Total Guitar" The company founder George Lowden originally started out as a clothes salesman but took to guitar making in 1973 reviving an interest he had as a child. Demand for his guitars grew, and during the years 1980-5 he had them built in Japan under licence. The fluctuating Yen pushed up prices for the European market and he decided to bring production back to Ireland. Lowden Guitars was thus established, with George as technical and design consultant. Since the late -1980s Lowden have built on their enviable reputation as a supplier of quality guitars to the discerning player.Their products are now used by musicians the world over, among them Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Richard Thompson and Jan Akkerman. The combination of quality design, fine craftsmanship and materials is the Lowden trademark.

Regards
John


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Mark Roffe
Date: 15 Jul 99 - 09:38 AM

Dan's right, moonchild. The curve of the guitar's body is one of its most sensual parts. Arrrg, now I'm biting my thumbpick just thinking about my Goodall Grand Concert's delightful neck. And those luscious bouts!

Don't fall in love with a guitar - it'll only break your heart.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Peter T.
Date: 15 Jul 99 - 10:43 AM

It'll make you fret.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Res
Date: 15 Jul 99 - 04:02 PM

And they'll only string you along. R


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Dan'l (inactive)
Date: 16 Jul 99 - 02:03 PM

I love my Guild D40, which happens to have a bad bridge right now, for classical and ballads I like nylon strings. I have the same type of guitar that Willie Nelson owns, but I bought a version that didn't have a finish on it. the reason they did this always evaded me though. During an open air concert one time I jumped off the stage at rehearsal and crack the top. It never had the same sound again after I repaired it. My other favorite is an Ovation nylon, but I wouldn't recommend it to classic guitarists, because it has a tendency to slide on the left knee. These guitars I have had for over 30 years and I would not trade. Once you find a guitar, I feel you have to keep working on it until it fits you. I've seen a lot of nice guitars, but I cringe when I think about what it takes to break them in.

Dan'l


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: j0_77
Date: 16 Jul 99 - 02:35 PM

Harumph ... try before ya buy - :) Used to be a Fender Acoustic was a good fall back but nowadays there are sooo many other starter Guitars you gotter try em all. Sigma. Seagul and so on. There is just one thing you better make sure is OK, the spacing of the strings on the neck! If too close you cannot fret a chord cleanly sooo even if the sound is good playing is a chore and no fun. I prefer smaller Guitars for finger picking :) Make errr if I like the sound then I play em if not I igniore em.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Mark Roffe
Date: 16 Jul 99 - 11:12 PM

Dan'l, no wonder you cringe. I've heard of a few ways of breaking in guitars (like subjecting them to super-amplified speakers to rattle them for a few days), but jumping off the stage to literally break the top in has got to be the scariest yet.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 May 07 - 07:21 PM


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: GUEST,orangeslice
Date: 12 May 07 - 07:29 PM

I have read most of the posts about people's preferences as far as guitars for fingerstyle, and I'm certainly not a master guitar player, but I have a Rogue RA100D acoustic, and for the most part, I like the sound of it. I like the heavy bass of the dreadnaught, but I do wish that the mids and highs were a bit clearer. The only real probably I have with it is that it's really not that comfortable. I don't like the thickness of the neck, and I wish that the body were a little thinner.

I'm really, like the originator of this post...wondering about what would be a good guitar to buy to replace my Rogue...but I only want to spend 300-maybe 600 dollars at the most. I have been considering an Alvarez Folk body of the Fusion series which I played at the local music store and liked a lot, but I'm wondering if I should look around more and see what's available...unfortunately our music store sucks, and I live in a small town, so playing a lot of different guitars to test the sound isn't an option for me.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 13 May 07 - 08:29 AM

Look into any of the many guitars coming out of China these days. Very well made, mostly, material quality is good and the price is right. Also look at Seagulls from Canada. Many Catter's like them a ton.

I'd be looking hard at a Guild GAD F-30. A solid wood Blueridge from a few years ago. An Epiphone Masterbuilt.

And don't avoid the used market. Many good buys to be had there.

Don


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: orangeslice
Date: 13 May 07 - 11:17 AM

Hmm, I've been looking around the web (still in the process of it actually) at some of the guitars that you recommended. The Masterbuilt is pretty interesting. It's not bad looking either. I haven't gotten to the searching for Chinese guitars and used guitars yet. I would like one that's acoustic/electric though...

    Our music store sells Alvarez, Talkamine, Fender...and I think maybe a couple more, but I wasn't really impressed by any of them except the Fusion Alvarez, but I wanted more bass from it...still it felt really awesome to play with the thin neck and slimmer body. I absolutely hate the thickness of the neck on my Rogue, really restricts my playing.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 13 May 07 - 11:50 AM

What matters more than the guitar is the player. You can talk all you want about the pros and cons of different brands but everyone plays a little differently. The best guitar for fingerstyle or any other style is the one that you as an individual enjoy practicing and playing with the sound coming back at you the way you like it.

I've heard the worst guitars in the world sound great in the hands of a certain player. Do you think that the early blues and country musicians when they were being recorded by pioneer producers were playing the best guitars available?

The research in selecting a guitar can't be answered by anyone else than the player. Important is the sound and the action. The rest is what sounds good to you.

The best thing you can do is try out as many guitars as you can without avoiding the less expensive ones which for your needs may be the best.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 May 07 - 12:11 PM

the best bet is to go to a guitar fair. all the makers show off their wares and often they choose a player who they think will show off their guitar to best advantage.

I believe Alvarez is some sort of offshoot of Yairi - so maybe the Yairi models may be a place to look for you - if the Alvarez is nearly right.

Steve Hicks demonstrates Yairi - check out his website to hear one.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: GUEST,Another guest.
Date: 13 May 07 - 12:59 PM

I would avoid buying anything mail order/ ebay- never buy a guitar you haven't had in your hands unless you know the model well. Most fingerpickers prefer smaller bodied guitars. Try to get one with a solid top but don't worry too much about the back and sides. Recognise that probably no guitar will give you everything (bit like buying a house). Wait until you can get to a big city where they have lots of choice but if you can't wait and you the Alvarez gives you most of what you want, go for it. Good luck


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: orangeslice
Date: 13 May 07 - 01:27 PM

Wow, yeah that's great advice Frank and guest. I'm afraid to mail order a guitar for about six-hundred dollars and I haven't played it yet. It makes me nervous. I agree that it's in the hands of the guitarist to decide which guitar is best for him or her...pun intended. I'll probably drop by the music store again and see if they have anything new and if that Alvarez is still there I'll play it again. I'll probably go with the Alvarez...has most of what I like and looks hella sexy too...wine red :P

    The Yairi is tempting but...aren't they like...about $2,000? I'll check it out though and I'll keep you all posted...thanks :)


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: orangeslice
Date: 13 May 07 - 02:47 PM

Oo wow, I just looked at the Alvarez website and found this guitar that might be to my liking...it's also and Alvarez and has the thinner body and neck, but it has a Western Cedar top which they say is supposed to accent the bass more.

Any comments on the sound of Western Cedar tops?


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Grab
Date: 14 May 07 - 08:50 AM

Cedar has a mellower tone than spruce, but that has the downside that you don't generally get the same attack out of it. If you want a mellow instrument for fingerpicking an accompaniment to your voice, cedar is good. If you want a lead instrument with more dynamics, spruce might be more your thing.

But more important than both of those is the instrument construction. A Taylor will sound like a Taylor and a Lowden like a Lowden, regardless of what they're made of. Wood selection is really just fine-tuning after you've already made a decision on the instrument maker you prefer. (Although "maker" can be a loose concept, given that many of them are imitating Martins for better or worse.)

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: DoctorJug
Date: 14 May 07 - 12:31 PM

From personal experience:
Best: Northworthy Wyaston.
Best value: Faith Saturn.
Both have a pronounced waist. I'd also suggest that classical guitars could be used more by folk fingerpickers.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: orangeslice
Date: 14 May 07 - 03:10 PM

Northworthy Wyaston...Faith Saturn...I've not heard of either of them, but I smell high prices, lol. I'll look at them though. And there's no way I'm going with a classical guitar, lol...the wide fretboard...nah ah!

    Yeah, Graham...I think that pretty much makes my mind up about what guitar I'm going to buy. I can check out the Northworthy and Faith guitars, but I'm not going to be able to play them. I've played quite a few Alvarez guitars from the local music store, and I liked the sound of all of them, but they only had one that was acoustic electric...which was the maple guitar, which I thought was perfect except that it didn't have enough bass for me, but I've read that the maple is exactly why it doesn't have much bass.
    A mellow instrument for fingerpicking and accompaniment with voice is exactly what I'm looking for...an if an Alvarez sounds like an Alvarez and the wood is just fine tuning (and cedar sounds like what I'm looking...lol, another pun) then this seems like just the guitar that I want. :) It's in my price range too and...looks really nice...now I just have to buy a case to go with it, lol


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Don Firth
Date: 14 May 07 - 04:15 PM

It's possible to find nylon string guitars (classics) with a fingerboard that is not quite as wide as standard for classics (2 inches), I've seen a few with a 1-7/8 inch fingerboard (measuring at the nut). That's only a smidgen wider than most steel-string guitars. Taylor makes a couple of models:   Clicky

Now, you might think "Nylon-strings? For finger-picking!??" But nylon-string guitars have certain qualities that a lot of steel-string players (folkies in particular) often miss. I've been playing classic guitars (full-width neck) for over fifty years; some classic pieces and a bit of flamenco, but mostly song accompaniment. And, yes, finger-picking. I have yet to hear even a very good steel-string guitar that could really fill a large auditorium without amplification of some sort. Even dreadnaught models (which, frankly, I'm not all that impressed with?may be good for laying down a bass when playing with a group, but they're not very well balanced for solo playing or song accompaniment). A well-made nylon-string guitar (thinner soundboard with lighter bracing) can bounce the sound off the back wall of a large auditorium.

And they're a lot easier on the left-hand fingers, which translates into greater facility. And as far as the right hand is concerned, you don't need fingerpicks to get a good, punchy sount.

Your mileage may vary.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 14 May 07 - 04:55 PM

Do you think that the early blues and country musicians when they were being recorded by pioneer producers were playing the best guitars available?

From what I've read, Okeh and the other labels that sponsored blues-artist searches through the south generally supplied their scout-engineers with Stella guitars that their "discoveries" could play for field recordings. The Stellas were relatively cheap, but very often of much higher quality than whatever intruments the players owned themselves.

****************

As I've remarked elsewhere, I'm generally skeptical and/or confused about assertions that this or that guitar is "better for fingerpicking" than another ~ especially because I'm a Martin owner and a fingerpicker, and so many of you guys keep telling me that Martins are no good for pingerpicking ~ and I can't buy that argument!

One thing that I have learned through these discussions is that many Martin dreadnaughts, including all the more expensive "classic" models with fancy trim and inlay, have rosewood bodies, while the bottom-of-the-line no-frills D-18s (like mine) are made out of mahogany.

Many people seem to agree that the defining difference between these two tonewoods is that rosewood tends to emphasize the blended sound of chords while mahogany highlights the separate sounds of the individual strings. Insofar as this may be the case, it seems logical that D-18s and other mahogany-bodied instruments may well be more suitable sound-wise for fingerpicking than are 28s and 35s and all other rosewood guitars. This, of course, is entirely beside all questions of body size, neck width, etc.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Don Firth
Date: 14 May 07 - 05:56 PM

At one time I had two Martin classics, one a 00-28-G (rosewood back and sides) and a Martin 00-18-G (mahogany back and sides). There was about $100 difference in price at the time?the late 1950s (the rosewood guitar was the more expensive of the two, of course). The rosewood guitar had a deep, rich, resonant tone, and was great for classic?very dignified. The mahogany guitar was nice and rich, but it had a somewhat brighter tone. I found that I liked that one better for song accompaniment.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: orangeslice
Date: 14 May 07 - 07:46 PM

Hmm, I'm still opposed to the classical guitars. The body isn't too bad feeling, and the slightly wider neck of those Taylors sounds like a pretty good idea...I do wish the dreadnaught neck was a LITTLE wider. The Taylor Grand Auditoriums sound interesting...buttt, I can't afford a Taylor, lol.
    I like my callouses and steel strings. I have a soft voice, so I don't need a really loud guitar, and when I need to fill a room...that's what the electric part of acoustic/electric is for, lol.

    Picks, of any sort, I don't like. I have an (I think) unorthodox playing style and using picks interferes with that.

    The Alvarez that I've kinda set my eye on now...it has a cedar top and mahogany sides...and again, from what was just posted about the attributes of mahogany sound...seems like what I'm looking for...


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Don Firth
Date: 14 May 07 - 08:17 PM

I dunno about the Alvarez steel-string guitars, but one of my guitar pupils has an Alvarez classic (AC60S) with a red cedar soundboard and mahogany back and sides. It sounds good, and all-in-all, it's a darn nice instrument, especially for the money (I think she paid about $270 for it). Alvarez quality seems to be okay.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: GUEST,Kiwi Guest
Date: 15 May 07 - 02:01 AM

I play around a little making my own instruments. I wouldn't say I'm a good luthier, or that I know a great deal. I am also exclusively a fingerpicker. I think that , everybody's perception of the sound and playability that they want is personal to them. I have however noticed that smaller bodied guitars seem to be more responsive to finger picking. Sometimes 12 fret to the body guitars are more responsive.
I have quite big fingers. I have noticed that a wider string spacing or neck, particularly up near where you strike the strings allows me to play with my whole finger rather than just my nails. I think that this allows me to vary the tone more and save my nails.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: HouseCat
Date: 15 May 07 - 10:27 AM

I have an Alvarez that finger-picks like a dream, cedar top. I've had it for around 30 years. Nice resonant bass and a lovely ring and sustain on the highs.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: orangeslice
Date: 15 May 07 - 02:12 PM

Yeah, it's settled then...HouseCat put the nail in the coffin...cedar top Alvarez, here I come...well, in a few months, ha ha!!


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Songster Bob
Date: 15 May 07 - 03:16 PM

Try Running Dog guitars, particularly the jumbo, mini-jumbo, or (from the looks, anyway) the Ash(re)born.

http://www.vtguitars.com/

That's what I play (a concert jumbo), when I'm not playing my 1943 Martin 0-18.

They're pricey, I'll admit, but mmm, mmm, good!

Bob


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: DoctorJug
Date: 20 May 07 - 09:09 AM

I recommended a Faith Saturn in error. It's the Faith Jupiter that's the good fingerpickin' jumbo, and it's a punchy flatpicker too.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: GUEST,Warwick Slade
Date: 20 May 07 - 09:43 AM

Try something from the Avalon Legacy range You will not be disappointed.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 May 07 - 12:21 AM

I've got a Faith Saturn and a Jupiter. they are the best guitars for my style of playing I have ever owned. I play finger style. they all need a set up from a good luthier, but they are exceptional value. All solid wood apart from the Eclipse series( easily recognised - they are jet black) which are great amplified. however the have a wide Gibsonish fingerboard, albeit on a thin neck.

If you want a VERY narrow neck, almost like a strat - look at the Yamaha compass range - the CPX15cm - if you can find one - the only one they do with a cedar top. Good sound amplified, perhaps not really 'kick ass' in a session. But definitely with that punchy cedar sound for ragtime and blues and that sort of thing.

If you must have solid wood look at the Cort 360m - feels like an old fashioned Martin D35.

Apart from the Yamaha CPX15cm, which is a workshop one (I am told that means they make a hundred a week not a thousand). they all will benefit from an immediate set up from a good luthier - so factor that into your price.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: orangeslice
Date: 23 May 07 - 07:05 AM

Hmm...I'll have to look into all of those. Though they all sound pricey...


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: GUEST,Janice now in Western NY State
Date: 23 May 07 - 04:37 PM

I would recommend a Martin 00-18 or 000-18.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 May 07 - 05:18 PM

Not really I paid £150 for a solid wood Faith second hand on the net, and £150 for s shopsoliled Faith Jupiter Eclipse.

The Solid wood Cort 360m - I got for about £330 from a an Italian website Lucky Music in Milan, but they are distributed from staeside - Oregon. So they should be even cheaper for you.

Yamhas cost us a lotbut 2nd hand hand they don't really keep their value, and in anycase - you pay about half as much as we europeans do.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: orangeslice
Date: 24 May 07 - 08:14 AM

lol, I am very anti-Yamaha instruments...though, I must admit I do respect them since my idle Elliott Smith played one, lol.

I've heard that the Martins are very "bassy"


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 May 07 - 08:31 AM

the thing about Yamhas is that their quality control is pretty good, well actually its excellent. And you generally get something playable. Get a medium priced one and it is always a pleasure to play. Perhaps not the optimum pleasure - but definitely a pleasure.

Sadly I don't think you could say that about many guitar firms. Generally they guarantee the guitar is made out of decent quality materials, but you really do need a good set up to get the best from it.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: GUEST,guitarseifer
Date: 10 Feb 13 - 04:11 PM

I have a Martin GPCPA4 Rosewood. I really love it. It's got the solid rosewood back and sides and a spruce top. It's a tad larger than an OM. (Think Grand Auditorium) It sounds great and it's pretty even while preserving the rosewood sound and crispness. It's also fairly affordable. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to mention price here but you can google it. They're readily available. Hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: kendall
Date: 11 Feb 13 - 12:36 PM

I wish you could play one of Nick Apollonio's hand made guitars. All others pale in comparison for finger picking.
I prefer it to my Taylor 810. For Bluegrass? nother story.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: GUEST,tony Rath aka Tonyteach
Date: 11 Feb 13 - 01:07 PM

Martin D15 12 fretter here and a Yammy CPX900 - built like a tank (like me ) and gives a good amplified sound and reliable. Personally I would not want to take a very expensive guitar into a pub or folk club - not because of theft although that happens but sheer wear and tear

Point for discussion - do you think many in the audience can tell the difference between most midrange guitars apart from another player


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: GUEST,Rev Bayes
Date: 11 Feb 13 - 01:49 PM

Super-necro thread.

Bottom line is, first guitar you buy won't be the last because *you* know nothing about guitars other than what you read on a forum and what some dude in the shop told you.

So buy something at a sensible price that comes well made and that you can get support for.

Yamaha for my money. If it's good enough for Bert Jansch, etc, etc.

And get it set up straight away. And see a teacher once in a while even if you can't afford regular lessons.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: ollaimh
Date: 11 Feb 13 - 05:40 PM

i play almost totally finger style, in fact i think you should have to play five years minium before you get a flatpick licence.

i like a mahagony lowden with a cedar top. jumbos are often better with mahagony, and a ted thompson smaller bodied spruce and rosewood. dofferent but great sounds. i also have a rizyani and a local fitzsimmons that both are great pickers guitars.

i don't like many martins for finger style, nor many taylors. i have liked guilds. and i have fifties gibson j 45 which is close to the others. but its a specail j 45.

i had a 1954 martin d 28 that was unusually good but i sold it as i had the lowden and the thompson and needed the money. the thompson out shines them all and is equal tyo any guitar i have ever heard. he still sells from british columbia. a t2 is $3600 and as good or better than ten thousand dollar hand made guitars.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: ollaimh
Date: 11 Feb 13 - 05:41 PM

a certain amount is in the player


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 Feb 13 - 08:43 PM

Like about 90%


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Padre
Date: 11 Feb 13 - 10:54 PM

For the last few years, I have been playing a Martin 000-15S - 12 frets to the body, wider neck, mahogany all around. It suits my playing and singing style, and the price is within reason.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 11 Feb 13 - 11:46 PM

No matter what generalizations you come up with regarding the best and worst guitars for finger-picking, there are always going to be exceptions. The conventional wisdom is that dreadnoughts and jumbos are poor choices for fingerstyle playing. I guess Doc Watson and Reverend Gary Davis were busy playing on the day that memo was circulated.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 12 Feb 13 - 12:16 AM

Dave Van Ronk played a Gibson J200 for a while, but switched to a Guild F50 because he could use light gauge strings rather than the phone cables necessary to get good sound out of the Gibson,

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 12 Feb 13 - 08:31 AM

I haven't heard anything that beats my Martin OM-35.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 12 Feb 13 - 12:47 PM

There are so many good ideas to wade through here. My two cents: get a guitar that has a balanced tone from treble to bass. I like Martin 00's for this but early Gibsons and an occasional Washburn would do the job. Style has a lot to do with it. Many National Cone guitars give you the early blues feel that you hear by early blues players.
The best thing you can do is to locate the players whose sound you like and find out what they use. They will all be different and ultimately you'll have to create your own sound. Rosewood looks pretty but in a recording studio, they have a lot of overtones to compensate for.

If you're into Atkins, the Tenneseean or the acoustic/electric jobs might be something.

Classical guitars are not especially good for blues or ragtime.

I would avoid pickups, though. Don't mutilate your guitar. You know they never sound as good as the natural sound of a guitar or with a sensitive condensor mic.

One of the best natural sounds with fingerstyle that I have heard is Josh White who used to have an old Gibson that was stolen and then went to Martin 0021's (12 frets, wider neck). I like the wider neck for finger style because you can get a freer attack in between the spaced strings.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 12 Feb 13 - 03:48 PM

Check out the Recording King 12 fret OOO's. Under $300.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 12 Feb 13 - 03:52 PM

RECORDING KING ROS-06 12-FRET 000


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 13 Feb 13 - 11:59 AM

Nice looking guitar for under $300, Mark. Pity about the slotted head, though, pain in the backside when it comes to re-stringing.


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Subject: RE: Best guitars for fingerstyle?
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 13 Feb 13 - 12:14 PM

For me, after a few decades of trial and error, it's my Collings OM1A and my F14 Froggy Bottom. Both made of adirondack (red) spruce and mahogany. That combination and the OM string spacing, 1 3/4" at the nut and 2 5/16" at the bridge work very well for me.


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