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Cheap solid-top guitar?

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Gary T 22 Oct 03 - 02:29 PM
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Richard Bridge 24 Oct 03 - 02:51 AM
Willie-O 24 Oct 03 - 09:18 AM
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C-flat 26 Oct 03 - 03:56 AM
Richard Bridge 26 Oct 03 - 06:17 AM
John Robinson (aka Cittern) 26 Oct 03 - 08:21 AM
Rapparee 27 Oct 03 - 08:22 AM
Fortunato 27 Oct 03 - 08:53 AM
Allan Dennehy 27 Oct 03 - 04:33 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 27 Oct 03 - 05:40 PM
GUEST,Claymore 28 Oct 03 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,marty31 31 Jul 04 - 11:33 AM
GUEST 31 Jul 04 - 11:44 AM
Richard Bridge 01 Aug 04 - 04:50 AM
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Subject: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Gary T
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 02:29 PM

I happened to catch an infomercial with Esteban hawking a package of a guitar, several accessories, and his instructional video for $99. What caught my attention was the claim that the guitar had a solid spruce top. Solid spruce top? For a hundred bucks? How dey do dat? Any chance it's a decent instrument?


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Willie-O
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 02:54 PM

Pretty low chance. Sometimes cheap guitars sound and play OK. Usually not. In the case of a mass offer like this, you can be assured that it's cheaply assembled and---what, you call an 800 number to order?--you're not likely to get to try 100 of them to find the half-decent one.

I imagine you can make cheap solid spruce-top guitars for not much more than plywood. Plywood is pricier than utility-grade spruce. They probably have a higher defect rate in manufacturing though.

W-O


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 04:07 PM

There are many playable low-end guitars in the $100-150 range by Squire (Fender), Epiphone (Gibson), Yamaha, Carlo Robelli (Sam Ash house brand). These guitars aren't half bad for student guitars, actually I believe they are considerably better than the Stellas, Kingstons, and Kays with baseball bat necks from another era.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: C-flat
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 02:56 AM

Entry-level guitars, like those just mentioned, are far superior to a lot of, what was once considered, professional instruments of 30 years ago.
The factory production process is so refined now there are some excellent guitars around the £100-£150 mark. (Why is it always more expensive in the UK?)
I've gone shopping a couple of times lately on behalf of students, and have come away with Fenders each time. Decent tone, good neck and set-up to play straight from the box. What more could a first-time buyer want? When I think of the awful planks I cut my teeth (and fingers) on...........


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 01:51 PM

Remember the Harmony Sovereign? The neck was a converted Louisville slugger(you held the guitar so's you could read the label). The action was like an industrial strength cheese slicer(if you had really strong hands it was possible to play it above the 3rd fret, but the intonation was terrible). Student guitars are much better quality these days, but a good professional instrument is always the best choice. I've been recomending the Martin 15 series to all my students. The 12 fret OOO-15S is my personal favorite, though it is a little more expensive. But for a good beater to haul around some of the Asian knockoffs are pretty damn good.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 03:56 PM

I don't know about your Harmony Sovereign, but I have one from 1963 that is an amazing guitar. True, the neck is somewhat wide but not nearly as clubby as old Kays I've seen. I have had this guitar worked on by a fine luthier who did a neck reset and modified the bridge & saddle which has improved the action. I use it primarily for bluegrass anyway so who cares about playing up the neck. The tone is loud, full, and rich with medium guage bronze phospors. I will honestly compare it to most any Martin.

You are obviously unaware that the Harmony Sovereign is considered the best low end "cheap" guitar ever made. If you buy Vintage Guitar magazine and go to vintage guitar shows like I do, you know that Sovereigns of this vintage in decent shape can command $500-600. A pretty good price for something that sold for $80 new.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 02:51 AM

I have to say I have never, ever, heard a Fender acoustic that sounded like a guitar. Completely dead acoustically, worse than the worst EKO cricket bats ever (actually I quite like some EKOs, but some of them were a bit non-resonant), every single Fender acoustic I have heard.

The Ayers are not bad. Most Sigmas are pretty good, and I've even heard some nice Washburns, but D10s are often appallingly screechy.

But almost every acoustic guitar straight from the shop is set up with a "dance band" action, with the first fret action twice the depth of the second, which makes a first position F really hard work, and makes intonation very suspect, and 5 or 6 mm string heights at the octave. This is not just cheap ones, I've seen the same on Martins, and it should not be so.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Willie-O
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 09:18 AM

Fender acoustics used to be crap, but I was quite impressed by a parlor-size, solid-top, student model I tried out last year. Price about $290 Cdn. Here's the thread I started then.

Some Harmonys sound better than others--personally I don't think I've ever tried one that actually felt good to play. The reason I was shopping in the above-referenced thread was to replace a not-very-nice Harmony I had gotten for my daughter to learn on. The brand of course has had a lot of changes of manufacturing locale.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Midchuck
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 10:23 AM

Mark is right again - the 00015S Martin is the best guitar, dollar for dollar, on the market.

Best value in used guitars is the old Guilds from the '70s with the arched laminated backs - D25 and them - if you can find them.

If you want new, and don't want to spend the $$ for the low-end Martins, go to Seagull or one of the other brands from that shop.

There. I've cleared the whole matter up.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Oct 03 - 04:10 AM

How can anyone call any Martin "cheap"? In the UK they start at well over GBP 500, more likely about GBP 750 (and that's the awful thing made of chipboard). Welcome to the real world.

The used Guilds, about two thirds of that. Still not cheap. And a bit too trebly for many.

Cheapest Seagulls - about GBP 300. Not "entry level" by any stretch (and seem very susceptible to the B string going out of tune for some reason).

Ayers or Dean Tradition (I much prefer the sound of the Ayers) about GBP 200, or second hand about GBP 100. SOrt of "good beginner" standard.

But there are real "entry level" guitars from GBP 59.99 out there (starting to claim solid tops at about GBP 79.99) and they are every bit as bad (well nearly) as the worst cheap rubbish from the 60s.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,moo
Date: 26 Oct 03 - 01:54 AM

Cheap instruments aren't worth the effort, it's just painful to play most of them. It's so inspiring to play a nicely made instrument and I have a very low income but I've managed to buy 2 handmade ones(both made in canberra, by different luthiers).
I went into credit card debt with the bouzouki but I don't regret buying it at all, it's a friend that will be with me for always(unless it gets stolen, or hit by a bus). I have owned lots of cheapies but found I diddn't play them as often, for the obvious reasons


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,johann mahne
Date: 26 Oct 03 - 01:29 AM

In answer to Richard Bridge.
There are no Martins made of chip board.
I have a Martin dx1.It is an entry level guitar with a solid spruce top and a laminated body.It has a micarta neck.
I bought it because it sounded better than the Fenders ,Ovations,Yamahas,Ibanez guitars in the same price range.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: C-flat
Date: 26 Oct 03 - 03:56 AM

Unfortunately, in the UK, Martins cost a lot more than an entry-level anything-else and are usually out of range for a young budding wannabee. I like Martins but I'll probably never own one simply because I object to paying so much extra.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Oct 03 - 06:17 AM

With the greatest respect the Martin DXM (not DX1)is made of composite board (they call it laminate but it is not in layers, it's a composite board) and the list price in teh USA is $619. In teh UK it starts at well over GBP 500. That is not "entry level". It got a very bad press in teh guitar mags over here too.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: John Robinson (aka Cittern)
Date: 26 Oct 03 - 08:21 AM

I have a Yamaha FG450SA - purchase a few years ago for £140 second hand. Superb solid top guitar with strong bass response and, once the action had been lowered, a more than acceptable action.

I have now purchased a Washburn WG2S (£350), much more lightly built than the Yamaha and very "twinkly" with the thinnest neck I've ever seen on an acoustic guitar and a lighter action than Julie's Yamaha Electric.   

Intention is that the Washburn becomes my guitar for fingerpicking in standard tuning while the Yamaha gets heavier strings and is set up specifically for Open D/DADGAD to make the most of that wonderful bass response.

I chose the Washburn simply by spending every Sat/Sun afternoon I had free in the local guitar shop playing everything they had in stock.   I did this for several weeks, in fact months! The Washburn "spoke" to me.

Any guitar shop worth their salt will not object to you playing their gear as long as you respect it. My advice is ... ignore the name, ignore the price (more expensive isn't always better), play them, and buy the one you fall in love with.

Although Julie's custom made Mansons do show that factory guitars have compromises, there are some amazing instruments out there at very, very realistic prices ... and it isn't the badge that tells you how good they are. Play em!

Best regards
John Robinson
http://www.JulieEllison.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Rapparee
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 08:22 AM

This sounds like one of those arguments that can never be won because so much individual taste is involved.

I play trumpet (with a bit of piano and guitar tossed in over the years as lessons). The same arguments go on: pre-UMI vs. "real" Conn horns, Japanese vs. US vs. European, etc. etc.

Find something you can play and play it. If you have a student, outfit that the person with a instrument that fits and that they can play -- if you can, try different ones until you hit on the right one. Who knows? -- maybe this person really is the one who can make an old cigar box sound like Doc Watson.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Fortunato
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 08:53 AM

IMHOP: I've never seen a $99 guitar worth having. I have seen a five hundred or six hundred dollar guitar worth having. I have bought two of these of two of my sons. They are called Blueridge. Search these threads for 'catspaw's and other opinions.

When shopping for my sons I went to the Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center where I have friends and was able to play several examples of targeted models of the following:

entry level and solid wood Martins, Seagulls, Gibsons, Taylors, Larivees.

The Blueridge D45 copy and D28 copies I bought for my sons are superior in every way. In fact they are both superior to the standard D18s and D28s I played. The necks are the equal of the Taylors and the tone is superior.

Each time Blueridge comes up in these threads someone comes on and says watch out for quality problems from SAGA. Well folks I think that's old news. As 'catspaw has noted, the quality of these Chinese guitars is BETTER than the American or Canadian made large shop guitars. One note on Elderly. The second Blueridge I got from Elderly and it came set up perfectly and the price beat all the shops.

So I don't agree with folks above. If you want something with the Martin name on it, cool, but I don't think it's the better guitar. Up here the working musicians take the Blueridge and leave the Martins at home and bring them out for the show gigs.

You close your eyes and have your friend put comparable solid wood Martins and Blueridges in your hand and play and listen.

As far as $99 guitars? Buy a harmonica. IMHOP
Chance


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Allan Dennehy
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 04:33 PM

Theres nothing wrong with a 100 pound or dollar guitar if you are a learner and it stays in tune. If it starts becoming a serious hobby then blow your lifes savings and follow your dream. The important thing is to have a good player to help you choose if you dont know what you are doing. I still think its a better idea spending your hundred on a used one. You wont loose as much when the time comes for trading up. I was lucky enough to make a handsome profit from my first Washburn. Personally I would never buy a guitar that I couldnt try first. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 27 Oct 03 - 05:40 PM

An entry level Gibson? Unless you mean an Epiphone, there is no such thing.

Thank God Gibson has not compromised itself selling lower end guitars based on their brand name like Martin has.

Maybe that's why Gibson is still the choice of most everyone you see coming out of Nashville, with the exception of bluegrass of course.

Gibson's got wood!


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,Claymore
Date: 28 Oct 03 - 08:17 AM

Takimine and Alverez have several solid top guitars in the $250 to $300 range and they have an excellent tone and action. The old idea that a laminate or plywood top will give you its best tone the minute you play it while a solid top takes time to "age in" is by no means proven. On any given day, a given Guitar is manufactured that will either be a jewel or a lemon. You job is to find it.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,marty31
Date: 31 Jul 04 - 11:33 AM

oh yeah that esteban guy,saw him on tv selling crappy guitars.i think they actually had the neck to compare it with a d28 hahhahaha.esteban was involved in an accident with a drunk driver,and now "wants to give the gift of music" to all the young players out there................yeah right esety baby............we believe you.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jul 04 - 11:44 AM

have a look at this re esteban guitars.

http://www.harmony-central.com/Guitar/Data4/Esteban/Burswood-Acoustic-01.html


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Aug 04 - 04:50 AM

Are Blueridge SAGA? I will never ever buy anything else from SAGA. I bought quite a nice little mandolin, new, from Andy Perkins, here in the UK. It was a Japanese made kentucky flatiron from SAGA. It had their little sticker in the soundhole about a lifetime guarantee to first owner. WIthout any abuse, the top split from end to end - probably a drying crack. SAGA just plain refused to do anything about it. If I wanted any redress from SAGA I'd have had to get a US lawyer and sue.

IMHO, avoid SAGA like the plague.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Aug 04 - 05:27 AM

well contrary to everybody else's advice. I'd say go for it. you can always sell it on to somebody else if it really is rubbish, and you're not going to lose much. give it to a seal sanctuary or something.

earlier this year I got a brilliant guitar for less than £100 including post and packing, plus a ritter gig bag, tanglewood electronic tuner, set of spare strings, winder, plectrums - choice of colours off e-bay -purple music. It said it was handcrafted, but god knows who's hands come that cheap.

Jack Hudson pointed it out to me - said this must be a bargain. then when i phoned up next day and said it's arrived, he said I didn't think you'd be stupid enough to buy it.

but actually its been great. I use it for slide. I knew I'd never settle down to learning slide if I had to keep altering the tuning and action of my regular guitar.

Incidentally it stays in tune better than my Martin ever did (they only humiliate you once in front of an audience)


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Mooh
Date: 01 Aug 04 - 02:39 PM

A couple of weeks ago I bought a Norman cedar top second-hand but in excellent condition for $100 Cdn. Too good to pass up. Such deals are few and far between, but patience can be rewarded. The Seagull/Norman/S&P/LaPatrie/Godin stuff is great bang for the buck. I had an S&P a few years ago I wish I'd kept, but I made money on it after using it for a year or two. I also flipped a LaPatrie this year at a profit once I figure in the Gator case I kept. This Norman is better than both.

The import stuff in the $100 price range sucks imho, but there might be a hidden gem once in a rare while.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 01 Aug 04 - 02:56 PM

You want a good hand-crafted guitar...there is only one which is within reach financially and worth its weight in gold...
Get a "Fanshaw"! Made in the U.K and very rare. Everything hand made and what a sound...if ever you come across one..buy it(after you have tried it of course and found it to be all I have said it is). Electric and accoustic I believe.
Best wishes.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,lowellkosak@hotmail.com
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 10:16 AM

Again, I am not a very experienced guitar player (I play strictly for worship in my church) I have several students that I am teaching/helping to do the same. They need guitars, but I don't want to get them just any old thing. Some of their parents don't know what they are doing and go to Walmart and pick out one of those package deals and they sound terrible, bridge saddles crack easy, and they aren't set up well. They get frustrated and give up. I have begun shopping with them and having them try out everything in their prace range. I like Epiphone for beginners and Washburn makes Oscar Schmitt which is good too. But it's all about if they can play it and feel good about it without being frustrated. My best luck has been used instruments, and believe it or not paen shops. I picked up a neat old Epiphone for the early 70's made in Japan. A little banged up and need to be reset. I picked it up for $60. Put another $60 in it and now it is my favorite guitar because it sounds great and I love playing it. Unless you are a professional and can afford to get something custom fit I would recommend shopping around, don't get hung up on names and get one that you like.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 10:51 AM

Suprisingly the Vintage series of guitars imported into the UK by JHS won a major award for the best acoustic guitar under £1000.00 Vintage V300. @ £119.99 (or cheaper) I've not played one, but "The guitar magazine" hardly wants egg on it's face.Guitar quality is so much better these days. Isn't the best selling Yamaha just over £100.00? FG?/DG? A friend of mine has one, excellent tone, good bass, never goes out of tune no matter how much you thrash it. It's true in some cases yer pays fer what yer gets I don't know, but many people I've spoken to say Martins and Gibsons arn't worth the money or are over priced. Taylors are a different class. I do believe it's true that when you hear a real high quality guitar it stands out above many others. I've spent enough time in shops drooling, picking and strumming on them. I'm happy with my Yamaha, so are others, I also very happy with my high end Avalon. But sometimes the quality of the tone belies the cost and many people are suprised when the actually see the guitar that they've heard.For everyone who swears by their guitar there's someone with an oppostite opinion.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Mudlark
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 02:54 PM

I recently purchased a solid spruce top, laminate back and sides Hohner, new, for $200, and that included a good padded gig bag and an set of Elixir custom light strings. I bought it to take on more problematical gigs where I've been unwilling to risk my vintage Martin. Not as complex, of course, as the Martin, but this Hohner is good looking, in a flashy, trashy sort of way and has a clear, bright sound that has a charm of its own. Also the neck is a tad narrower and less thick than the Martin which makes playing it habit-forming (and would be a real advantage for students, I would think).


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 03:02 PM

Much as I hate to say it, I've come to the conclusion that a cheap electric guitar is probably a better option for a beginner than a cheap acoustic. The quality of the wood doesn't matter nearly as much, and they're much easier to play, with light strings and low action. The electronics won't be anything special, of course, but the player will be able to get some kind of sound out of the thing, quite easily.

A few years ago, one of our kids wanted an electric guitar even though he had never made any effort to start learning to play. We had already bought him a snare drum for school band class, and he had never followed up on that. For $100, we got a red Silvertone (no longer a Sears product) made to look like a Stratocaster, and it came complete with a dinky little amp. I was surprised at how OK this instrument turned out to be.

I'm glad we didn't spent more than that $100, too, because young Mike never did much of anything with it. He's been a little more serious about learning the drums; he has been able to front a couple of short-lived garage bands as a straight vocalist, and usually manages to get the drummer to let him get in a few licks on the drum kit.

If he had become serious about guitar, though, he could have used that cheapie instrument for a year or two, made some progress, and then made a more informed purchase of a "real" guitar. (Also, he might have exercised the option to upgrade the amp first, and then gotten a better guitar.)

What the hell -- if a Sears Silvertone electric was good enough for Fred McDowell, a Wal-Mart Silvertone ought to be good enough for a kid who may or may not ever learn to play...


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,Mooh
Date: 28 Aug 04 - 02:13 PM

The aforesaid Norman is gone! I installed a bone nut to replace the one the original owner fucked up, tweaked the truss rod, dropped the saddle, and installed a second strap button. Sold for twice my investment with some accessories tossed in. Had to create a place to hang the new House guitar and guitar-bouzouki.

So many guitars, so little time.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,billyblue@cvip.net
Date: 24 Mar 06 - 11:22 AM

Hey folks,
I'm 58 years old, and was lucky to have started early. I got my first guitar when I was 11, and was lucky to solo on TV when I was 12. I've been playing a while and have owned and repaired just about every major brand of guitar and mandolin, as well as several minor brands. The information offered here on this chat/bulletin board is very good and valuable. This info might have saved me a lot of time and energy; although I must say: it's been fun. Fender makes good electric guitars. Period.
Bill


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Willie-O
Date: 25 Mar 06 - 10:33 AM

Welcome Bill! No one doubts the quality of Fender electrics, to my knowledge, you can tell from their always-escalating value. (I'm still smarting when I contemplate how little I sold my Tele Thinline for during a particularly broke year).

If you like the Mudcat, you oughtta register and get yourself a Mudcat handle, and stick around. (Wouldn't post your e'mail address like that, attracts spam.)

Best
Another Bill

aka W-O


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 25 Mar 06 - 12:29 PM

Back in October Mark Ross said,"Remember the Harmony Sovereign? The neck was a converted Louisville slugger(you held the guitar so's you could read the label). The action was like an industrial strength cheese slicer(if you had really strong hands it was possible to play it above the 3rd fret, but the intonation was terrible)."
I have fond memories of the Harmony Sovereign. A friend of mine in high school had one and it was great to play. I owned a 1958 J50 at the time and that's what I was comparing it to.
Canadian singer/songwriter Ian Tamblyn swears by them. He often appears onstage with his trusty Gibson Hummingbird (or is it a Dove?) and 2 sovereigns, one set up as a high-stung and one for alternate tunings. Washboard Hank, a fixture on the Canadian roots music scene has been playing a Harmony Sovereign while his Martin is being repaired. He says it compares favourably to the Martin.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Deskjet
Date: 25 Mar 06 - 05:02 PM

For what it's worth, I bought a Martin DX1 for my son the Xmas before last. A good guitar, superior sounding to other DX1's I tried.
The only thing that bugged me about it was the quality of the machine heads. I eventually got it together to send away to Stew-Mac
for Grovers - and I have to say that there is a marked improvement in the guitar since I put them on a few days ago. So, Martin DX1 + High-end machine heads = a guitar possibly worth considering.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,Randbone
Date: 01 May 06 - 02:22 PM

I've enjoyed reading this thread. I've been playing guitar and many other stringed instruments for 40 years. I've owned and own a few brands, and played more. I play semi-professional. I don't know it all, and I haven't heard your guitar. But here are some principles I believe: I love my Takamine F model 6 and 12 strings, purchased in past 12 years for $750 to $950 and my Alvarez Professional model purchased for less than $400. 2 of these were slightly used. These guitars have solid tops and backs and even then, I changed the action on 2 of the 3. I've played Martins, Seagulls and many others, and these sound and play as well as any. I've heard some Martins and some other top-name guitars that didn't sound good to me. Sound is subjective though. Some guitars have nice sparkle and no low end. Some have lots of overtone. Sounds vary. That's why you can never have too many "good-sounding" instruments. HOWEVER, the plywood top models from these companies rarely or never sound as good, and don't usually play as well either. I agree with those who have noted the positive evolution of less expensive instruments. If you able to set up your own instruments, you can find some good sounding wood on guitars, mandolins, octave mandolins, banjos, etc. On Fenders: Electric fenders are GREAT, but I've never personally played or heard an acoustic Fender that I liked. - Randy


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 May 06 - 02:50 PM

I had the opportunity to try a Blueridge in one of the stalls at Rochester Sweeps fest this weekend. There were two on the stall, both over £400 new, so not cheap. Also not good, not a lot of sound and not a very rich sound. For that money a well-chosen Seagull or Indie will knock spots off them and any Ayers I have ever seen will do likewise.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 01 May 06 - 02:59 PM

The BlueRidges on the contrary are extremely popular.

You can't go wrong with a solid top martin D-1 or DX-1

These guitars are well worth their money and you will be playing more than a guitar. You will be playing a tradition.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Shiplap Structure3
Date: 02 May 06 - 03:44 AM

Guitars are cheap today I was looking at some mags from 10 -15 years ago only last night and prices havent changed but the range of choice has and the quality has.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 May 06 - 03:57 AM

The saving in money on a DX-1 is IMHO worth less than the reduction is sound quality from other Martins. Other than the very "entry level" (by their price standards) almost all Martins are pretty good and some very good. But like all other guitars they do vary. A friend recently bought a D-35 on ebay and it sounds not as good as the Stew-Mac he built for himself.

However, the thread was about cheap solid-top and again IMHO there are no cheap Martins.

At the very top of the price range Martins are I think outshone by the best luthier-built guitars. But for factory guitars that range from the good to the very good, yes, they are fine, and for my taste more a folk sound than the Gibsons. If I were a claw-hammer blues player after a good factory guitar Gibson would be a good safe choice.

Perhaps Blue Ridge are cheaper in the USA than in the UK.   On the evidence I have so far, those I have played do not compete with other choices in their price range. They have some nice inlays, but the sound is not fully competitive. And if, as I have said above, they are something to do with Saga, I would never, ever, buy one. If you are planning on relying on the Saga guarantee, buyer beware!


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,Sandy Andina
Date: 02 May 06 - 05:14 AM

Cheap solid-TOP Martin? For just a little more (I paid $750 with case) you can get an all-solid wood one. Though the 15 series normally is all mahogany (or lately, sapele), they made a Sitka spruce-topped version just for Musician's Friend. For $700 you get solid mahogany back and sides; for $750, solid Indian rosewood. Granted, it's pretty barebones and plain-Jane in appearance (no neck binding, plain rosette, satin finish, mini-Schallers), but unlike the more expensive 16 series the bridge and fretboard are rosewood and not Micarta. And my D-15 Ltd. rosewood/spruce sounds better and notes truer than the 000-16 GTCE I used to own. It's much lighter in weight than the Blueridge dreads (which tend to be sloppily assembled--glue blobs, poor tolerances--despite the bling). It is the perfect guitar for festivals (though for really important ones I'll bite the bullet and take my D-18GE or M-36 if I'm driving, or if flying, the D-15 Ltd. or Taylor 414RCE in an ATA-rated flight case). I put in a Baggs M! passive soundhole/soundboard pickup (shortly afterward, they came up with an active version).

It sounds and plays terrific!

If even that's too pricey, look at the Simon & Patrick Pro 2 R--only the sides are laminated, and street price is about $350-400 (nicer looking & sounding than Seagull). And keep an eye out for old Gibson LG-0s---I bought mine used in 1980 for $125, and they haven't appreciated much since then. Some were all solid (as was mine), some had plywood backs and sides; but all sound sweet, warm and mellow though none too loud.

IMHO, steer clear of Art & Lutherie. They look, play and sound chintzy. OTOH, take a look at the Taylor Big Baby--a 15/16 sized dread with solid spruce top. Perfect beginner or picnic/holiday/beach guitar. (I won't take it if I expect to gig anywhere on my trip).

Whatever you buy, spend another $20 and get a bone saddle from Bob Colosi, and ditch the cheesy plastic bridge pins for ebony, bone, or fossil ivory. Heck, even the fake tortoise John Pearse casein or Tusq pins ae better.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Grab
Date: 02 May 06 - 06:58 AM

$700 is *not* an entry level guitar...


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 May 06 - 07:39 AM

Simon and Patrick, Art & Lutherie and Seagull all come out of the same factory just with different names on!


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Once Famous
Date: 02 May 06 - 07:54 AM

If you want cheap and built to american Gibson specs with a solid sprice top, just buy an Epiphone and it will look like a gibson and sound quite good.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: mandotim
Date: 02 May 06 - 02:55 PM

What strikes me about this thread is the sheer number of 'decent' low to mid-price guitars that are available now. Recently I've played Crafters, Corts, Seagulls (and their Canuck clones), Blueridge, Washburn, Ozark, low-end Martins and Epiphones. Views? The low end Martins looked nice, but you pay a premium for the name, and there are better guitars at that price. Factory setup on the four I played was uniformly atrocious. Seagulls et al are good, reliable axes with nice actions and enough volume for most situations. Can be a bit buzzy if driven hard though. I like their 12-strings a lot. Corts are nice, if a bit quiet. Washburns are not great for their cheapest stuff, but the mid-range models are good value and easy to play. The Ozark was a brass-bodied resonator, and it was just stunning for about £300. Tried five different Epiphones, all cheaper copies of full price Gibson models; all seemed very heavily built, and consequently a little lacking in bass response and volume. Crafters are terrific value, play well, good tone and volume, and excellent electrics in many of them too. Best low to mid-price guitar I've played lately? It's a guitar that only does one job, and that's playing Gypsy jazz; it's an incredibly faithful re-creation of a Selmer 'Modele Jazz', commissioned in limited numbers by a real enthusiast. Website; Manouche Guitars No financial interest, just blown away by the sheer quality of these things.
Tim from Bit on the Side


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Bugsy
Date: 03 May 06 - 03:12 AM

I don't know how much they cost in UK but I bought my wife a solid top Cort for her birthday last year. It cost around AUS$250 (around 100 squids).

I've wheeled it out at several parties and have had some very good feedback about it.

I couldn't find anything as good for the price here.

Hope this helps

Cheers


Bugsy


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,Don at the Bay
Date: 21 May 07 - 06:21 PM

Cheap solid-top is our topic, right? To me, that would imply under $250.00. Why a solid top if you want cheap? There are a lot of nice guitars that are laminate...and they sound great. Some good thoughts here, and some darn good mid-priced suggestions (a couple of which I own). But if you are looking for an easy to play, (realatively) inexpensive first guitar, I'd certainly go with the best selling guitar of them all...Washburn D 10.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 May 07 - 06:34 PM

Actually it is now possible to get new solid top dreadnoughts of ebay (i-guitars) for well under GBP 50. I have seen as low as GBP 29.

Washburn D-10s are horrid. I used to have one.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,Don again
Date: 21 May 07 - 07:34 PM

Just a bit harsh there Richard...

"The world's best-selling acoustic guitar! The original D10S was voted the #1 guitar under $500 by Acoustic Guitar magazine." --Musician's Friend

I saw that article a number of years ago. The ratings were compiled in a comparison of several guitar manufactures by three professional studio musicians. Each was graded independently by the professional, and your old Washburn won.

My son brought a D 10 CE home from college, and I found myself playing it more than i played my BR160. Comparing it to my old Sigma and Epiphone (both over 30 years old and solid tops), it sounds every bit as good. And while it's not the cannon the BR is, it's easier to play.

And while I'm not in the market for a $250 guitar now, I'd get the Washburn if I had a limited budget and was just hoping for something decent to start with. I think you just got a lemmon there Richard.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 May 07 - 07:52 PM

I know a couple of other people who had or have them (D10s). They sound shrill and harsh, and tuning (intonation) is suspect.

Blueridge shound like shit too. I cannot understand the adulation they get. Try Indie, or Ayers, or (if you must) Seagull for cheap guitars.

Sigmas (not the D-1) do a pretty good impersonation of the Martin sound.

Some Epiphones sound OK too.

I have seen 3 Washburns ever ( a 12-string, a 12-fret slotted head dreadnought, and an (I think) DM34 that were good.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 May 07 - 05:44 AM

out of interest Richard, what is a really good guitar for you? What are your choices for stage work - do they differ from what you like playing at home for fun?


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 May 07 - 06:35 AM

"Really good" - hmm that's loadsamoney. Andy Cavan's Armstrong, and Jay Turner's Armstrong are both nice (and very loud), William Pint's Goodall is glorious. I don't like Taylors. Les Irvine's 12 fret slotted head dreadought Martin (high-end) sounds great, and the similar shaped Collings that Mike Nicholson plays is also lovely.

I once heard a Fender Custom Shop acoustic (dreadnought) that sounded really good.

Fisheye's Yamaha FG 360 is right up there. My late wife's Hagstrom J-45 has a wonderful shimmer but could do with a bit more grunt. My Mugen THE78 is good, big thud and ringing trebles, lacks a bit of cut in a crowded mix.

My "beater", a Morris, works well plugged in, pretty good bite and a piano-like quality on the lows probably down to the extra-long scale length (26"), but a bit "b"-ish. My daughter's Sigma DM4 works well plugged in too and the stiffer top enables you to turn it up a bit

I like the big boom of a good dreadnought. I like the complex resonances of some L'Arrivees.

"Stage" - don't be silly, people pay me to go away, not perform on stage!!

Cheap? Ayers or shop carefully for a good Indie, or a Lamaq. Or a Sigma and a bit of DIY setting up.

Or take a total punt on ebay. If you don't like it, sell it again, and mostly you are only down a bit on postage, and if you sort out the action and put decent strings on you can cover your cost completely - I did that with a Sigma DM1 that was to trebly for my taste.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 22 May 07 - 08:30 PM

in the UK some of the new 'Vintage' from JHS range of mid price acoustics look quite useful.

..the recent Vintage electric guitars
have become excellent value for money instruments
since being revamped by Trevor Wilkinson


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 May 07 - 04:35 AM

The "Vantage" range (made by Korg) was not bad in parts. Not so keen on the "Vintage" ones.

Lamaq's E-shop


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Mooh
Date: 23 May 07 - 08:31 AM

The Norman I mentioned earlier in the thread (in '04) was subsequently sold for double my cost, and it was still a good deal. From what I hear and see (dozens of students), the Godin/Lasido brands (A&L, S&P, LaPatrie, Norman, Seagull) still offer great bang for the buck.

Most of the major importers have figured out that "solid top" is a sales point that is virtually always made in the lucrative insrument markets, so they have "solid top" instruments at nearly every price point above dirt cheap. But alas, "solid top" doesn't necessarily equate with good. I've seen and heard (and serviced) some that were so badly constructed otherwise that even hotrodding them with bone nut and saddle, high end strings, great set-up, etc wouldn't change their nature. It seems a waste of even mediocre top wood, and I've heard some laminate top instruments that sounded better, much better. (No, I'm not excusing my own instruments, they're well documented in Mudville.)

In any event, if I were shopping for a cheap and decent solid top axe, used instrument dealers of repute would be my first choice. Take your time, take another pair of ears, visit the shop and any particular guitar more than once, ask for fresh strings if possible, listen as you play and another plays, buy for sound and general playability (ultimate playability can be achieved by a good set-up), cosmetic considerations are secondary to sound, check for construction issues, don't be pressured, don't be conned by a cutaway and electronics if you don't need or like them (they're not an indication of quality), get a case or bag, don't be lured by included accessories like strap/strings/picks/case/polish in leau of sound...sound first.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 May 07 - 12:35 PM

Definitely sound first! I have a theory that all guitar buyers should be blindfolded!

But here in the UK shops will usually refuse to put new strings on. Even had that when (with a friend) buying a Gibson J45 - about GBP 1000 - and the shop refused to get more than a couple in from the warehouse (its own warehouse, stock it owned) to compare, and point blank refused to put new strings on unless we guaranteed we were going to buy or pay for the strings.

In short, they couldn't have given a stuff wheher we spent GBP 1000 or not!


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 23 May 07 - 03:12 PM

Has anyone mentioned the Quebec-made A&L Ami yet. I think they're under $200 and Gurf Morlix (who played with Lucinda Williams) and Dan Walsh (who played with Fred Eaglesmith) both play these. They are both pictured with them in their avitar pic on myspace. They both paid more for the pick-up than for the guitar.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,Rick
Date: 25 Nov 08 - 02:14 PM

Epiphone Masterbilt. Fantastic all solid wood. clean workmanship. I have the AJ-500M. $500.00 Blew away the Gibson 45 and everything I tried in the acoustic guitar room. plays so easy too. I think some brand snobs see that its made in China and actually think it sounds worse.(placebo effect)


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: banjoman
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 06:51 AM

A lot of mention of not so cheap guitars that may well be out of the budget range of many. I agree that its probably best to shop around and to look at secondhand stuff. Always a good idea to have an experienced player with you if you are a beginner.
For myself - apart from the large collection of banjos, I play a very old Washburn 12 string acoustic/electric which is great for playing in church and cost me about £100 a few years ago. I also play an early Lakewood which was a bit of an expense new, but which really is a fabulous guitar. I am surprised that no other contributors to the thread have mentioned Lakewood - they make fine instruments and are well worth a look if you have a bit of money to spend.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 08:40 AM

Jim, don't know if anyone else has mentioned Art & Lutherie guitars yet, but I will.. I've had an Ami Cedar for around 6 years, which I love. Not a guitar for everyone, or all styles, but for a parlour guitar it's excellent value (<£200 when I got mine, around £280 RRP nowadays)


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 08:59 AM

Don't know whether she's solid top or no, but I adore my Tanglewood. Crafters I played about the same time as I bought her, were shite.

At the time I had a Korean built Epiphone (I have posted previously that I prefer Epi's to the same range Gibsons, but I'm a Philistine). This Epi I had thought gorgeous, sweet, before I played the Tanglewood ; after which , the Epi sounded clunky.

I have never played a low-end Gibson (J45, J50, J185E) that I liked and never played a Far Eastern built Epi that I didn't. My other favourite, which I wish I still had, was a small-bodied Kimbara, as sweet as a virgin's xxxxx.

I had a small-bodied Harmony Sovereign at one time, which was a bitch of a guitar, but I wish I still had her today. Oddly, I part-ex'd her for my first Jap Epi . . .


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: olddude
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 09:55 AM

My buddie bought an epiphone for 100 bucks (including shipping)
online from Musicians friend

I played the guitar, It is very very nice with a pretty sound out of it. I was shocked at the quality for under 100 bucks considering they offered free shipping with it. How they do it, I don't know but I would not just write off cheap guitars these days, like someone mentioned, they are better than what we paid and arm and a leg for 30 or 40 years ago


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Cretzon
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 02:56 PM

I've had two Epiphone 12 stringers for 39 & 37 respectively. Identical models, but - unsurprisingly - not identical sounding. Both have had their neck blocks reglued in the recent years, both have a fine action and a good sound, not disgraced in the company of my Martin or Guild 12 stringers.

But, you know, the Epiphone's weren't all that cheap new. My first one cost me three weeks pay as a journalist.

The Martin has a sound that stands out above anything else; you won't have somebody with a Taylor drowning it out in a pub singaround, I can promise you. The Guild (commonly referred to as a modern cheapo) has a build quality that totally belies its price, and a sound that - although a bit boomy - is great.

12 stringers - I love 'em.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Tangledwood
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 09:52 PM

Agreed Bryn, I reckon Tanglewood is great too, and yes it is a solid spruce top. It compared more than favourably with a slightly more expensive Martin and after almost a year it's tone keeps getting better.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 27 Nov 08 - 06:53 AM

Endorsed, Tangledwood - the older she gets (nearly 3 years, now), the richer the tone.

I tried a Martin D15 in the same shop, same time, and wasn't impressed.

Richard B has the rights of it - Martins, in the UK, are (generally speaking) out of the price range of the average singer of folk songs.

Name Drop alert ! :-)

I have in the past played Martin Carthy's Martin, and Ralph McTell's. Both times I "met myself coming back" (this is the only way I can express it). A friend at the time, Rosemary Hardman, commented :

"First you learn to play guitar ; then, you learn to play a Martin".


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 04:59 AM

Sticking to the original thread query ;
    I have owned & played many different guitars in my 60-odd years,and at times of turmoil & financial stress, which have been frequent,I have always turned to the Yamaha range for a good solution to the "affordable solid-top" problem . Having said that,I have recently bought a Chinese- made Guild ( ie Fender) all-solid GAD 40,and I have to say that I am amazed at the quality,sound,and playability of the instrument -- OK,so it may not fall into the "cheap" bracket at a pre-owned £375-00,but it would be worth going without life's essentials ( Sugar,Fat,Caffeine & Alcohol)for a few weeks for--even the case is high quality !! I love it !
                  But,as I have done in the past,I would also consider another Simon & Patrick SP6 Cedar,or even a Washburn (pre-owned,of course ; they're cheaper !)


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Captain Farrell
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 05:52 AM

Spoke to Clive Gregson last week and he was using a solid top from Sue Ryder charity shop. Looked very nice and sounded pretty good price around £150 brand new. If its good enough for him etc.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: olddude
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 07:51 AM

seagull makes an amazing guitar. I don't own one but I sure like them


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Myrtle's cook
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 08:03 AM

I have a Crafter parlour solid top guitar (TA 50 I think) which is not only very well made but acoustically almost up there with the £1,000 set.

I have also tried a couple of Faridas and been pleasantly surprised just how good they sound. Not quite in the Lowden et al league, but really good value for money.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Fortunato
Date: 28 Jan 10 - 11:22 AM

Blueridge. See them, play them.

IMHOP superior to anything under $3,000 and MANY above.


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: s&r
Date: 18 May 10 - 02:36 AM

Hi there. Become a member. It's free and easy

Stu


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Subject: RE: Cheap solid-top guitar?
From: Gurney
Date: 19 May 10 - 01:50 AM

I bought a used Jack and Danny Brothers acoustic online for very little money, NZ$81, about UKL42. Not a mark on it. Can't fault it for volume, staying in tune, setup, playability or build quality. The bottom isn't the best I ever heard, but not bad.
They seem to be about UKL200 new, and if I was looking for a new cheap guitar, I'd look at them first.
Those (branded)Gibsons with the Epiphone logo on them aren't too bad, at UKL100, either. I walked aroung a shop and sounded about 12 of them. All the same sound.


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