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INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.

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catspaw49 12 Mar 99 - 06:21 AM
catspaw49 12 Mar 99 - 08:53 AM
catspaw49 12 Mar 99 - 06:19 PM
Willie-O 12 Mar 99 - 10:23 PM
Rick Fielding 13 Mar 99 - 05:26 PM
Sandy Paton 13 Mar 99 - 05:34 PM
Roger in Baltimore 13 Mar 99 - 06:09 PM
Sandy Paton 13 Mar 99 - 06:44 PM
Liam's Brother 14 Mar 99 - 10:09 AM
Rick Fielding 14 Mar 99 - 02:08 PM
Paul Wentworth 14 Mar 99 - 02:32 PM
Sandy Paton 14 Mar 99 - 02:44 PM
j0_77 14 Mar 99 - 03:23 PM
Sandy Paton 14 Mar 99 - 05:28 PM
catspaw49 14 Mar 99 - 08:04 PM
Willie-O 14 Mar 99 - 09:27 PM
Sandy Paton 14 Mar 99 - 11:00 PM
BK 14 Mar 99 - 11:32 PM
Roger in Baltimore 15 Mar 99 - 12:28 PM
Rick Fielding 15 Mar 99 - 12:49 PM
catspaw49 15 Mar 99 - 01:18 PM
Roger in Baltimore 15 Mar 99 - 02:43 PM
catspaw49 15 Mar 99 - 07:11 PM
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Subject: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Mar 99 - 06:21 AM

I figure about 2 more after this will cover thebases on guitars and I'll remind everyone that comments for Guild, Martin, Gibson, Epiphone, Ovation, Takemine, Yamaha, are on other threads.

This thread is for the High line and smaller guitarmakers. It can include whomever you like and have info about in the bigger bucks category from the more mass produced like Taylor to Bourgeois to Collings to Froggy Bottom or Laskin or..........Santa Cruz,Larivee,Lowden,Lakewood.....whatever.

I'll start another shortly on "Affordable" others as a counterpart to the Ovation, Takemine, Yamaha thread. Then a last on what was (and is still around) such as Kay, Harmony, Stella, etc,


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Mar 99 - 08:53 AM

AND A SPECIAL NOTE OF SADNESS............

A promising business announced today that they are folding. 'Paw and Cletus have gone under. It was their fervent hope to take many of you out hunting and also to acquire some vintage instruments at the same time as this type of acquisition had worked so well with the late and lamented Buford. Unfortunately I was introducing Cletus to the Mudcat when he ran across the Immaturity Test Site on the Lighten Up thread and something snapped. He sat and stared at it for 3 days without food or sleep and finally had to be committed to the "Neil Young Center for the Terminally Screwed" with a prognosis that doesn't look good. 'Paw became distraught and was last seen wandering around the wastewater plant muttering, "Beware of Algerian pants pressers." Very sad...thought you should know.

catspaw


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Mar 99 - 06:19 PM

I can't believe no one has anthing to say on these!!!


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Willie-O
Date: 12 Mar 99 - 10:23 PM

Look out Cletus thars a white truck comin up the laneway...

Sorry this is such a complaint but there's a luthier mentioned somewhere down the page...

Well what is there to say about really expensive guitars except that some people can obviously afford them, (perhaps not here?) for the rest of us its just too depressing. When you could get a really good handcrafted guitar for 800 or a thousand bucks or so, that was a lot of money but conceivable; now that it's more like $3,000 and a grand might get you an "entry level" guitar from a maker that started small and is now a small factory rather than a shop...

But if I did have the three grand, it wouldn't go far from home. It would go to Oskar Graf just down the road, who is every bit Grit Laskin's equal as a luthier if not as an inlay artiste. Kind of makes me happy just thinking about it. Don Ross and many other serious talents play Oskars guitars.

A friend of mine, against my advice, bought an overpriced (IMO) D-28 in lousy playing condition, paid Oskar $600 to recondition it, took it to Michigan and sold it to Elderly, tripling his investment by the time he converted the proceeds back into Canadian dollars (its about a 3-2 ratio these days), and _then_ ordered a guitar from Oskar. Boy I wish overpriced Brazilian D-28s grew on trees. The dramatic difference in the dollars is having mixed effects: it's a major reason for the success of Seagulls (and the various other brands made in La Patrie Quebec) down there where you're all saying, oy vey such a bargain,; that's good I guess; but all the Martins and other good guitars are going south because there is such a buck to be made in flipping them currency-wise. (Something which shrewd Yankee carpetbaggers have figured out.) The same is true for used tractors incidentally. Possibly Cletus wuz here.

Bill


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 05:26 PM

A few years ago I made a visit to Denmark street in London. (one of the few good things about being a professional musician is it allows me to visit music stores in a lot of places) Now Arabic literature has it's street of a 1000 whores, but London has it's street of a 1000 vintage guitars, all at 3000 pounds! I have to admit that the snotty attitude of the staffs in virtually all the stores was a huge turn-off, but not as much as coming to the realisation that most vintage instruments and all the current high end ones are way out of the price range of most musicians. I've talked to literally hundreds of store owners over the last 10 years and the market these instruments are aimed at is one made up of University educated 45+ businessmen who remember their teen folkie years with fondness (and their beloved Harmony guitars) and are back in the market with a vengeance. Several folks in this demographic are currently students of mine, and although they have enthusiasm, they all complain of having "no time to practice". Along with hundred thousand dollar salaries, a lot of them are carrying 60 hour weeks, and once you add on "cottage time" and family duties, the brand new Collings, Laskin, Graff,(I agree with Bill, they're superb) or Clapton endorsed Martin, gets pretty lonely. I get a lot of chances to play these instruments from my students (if I tried to sneak a new Collings past Heather she'd stab me with her claymore) and generally I find them excuisitely made. I'm dumbfounded at just how much attention to detail goes into the aforementioned instruments. Others that have impressed me are Santa Cruz,and Bourgeois. The only thing some are missing is "soul", and that gets played into them over time. Larrivees are still a good buy, but are generally soft voiced instruments. Biggest dissapointment in new guitars for me are the Gibson re-issues. Most I've seen are vastly overpriced and decidedly under-toned. Sloppy inside work as well, from what I've seen. And know what? They're selling like hot cakes. (even the $7-8000 ones) Maybe the answer is for the succesful corporate guys to quit their jobs, leave their families, back-pack around Europe and... oops..that Collings would get ripped off on day one! Now where's that old Harmony Sovereign!


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 05:34 PM

I guess I'll have to confess that I have a Laskin as my primary guitar, and two Larrivees (one is my backup guitar and the other is on permanent loan to my son). The loaner I bought used from Bob Zentz, many years ago, the other I found in Toronto a few years ago and fell in love with. The Laskin, however, is extra-special to me. About fifteen years ago, I expressed an interest to Grit Laskin, who was here with us at the time, in getting a guitar with a "green man" (Folk-Legacy's logo) on the headstock. He said, sure, he could do that. But the cost of a Laskin was much more than I could afford, and the waiting period for one was at least a year.

Len Domler, of the Greater Hartford Folksong Society and the Sounding Board Coffeehouse, heard about my dream. He got in touch with many of the Folk-Legacy artists, plus the members of the Hartford Society, secretly raised the money, and arranged with Grit to have the guitar made for me. Caroline and both of our sons knew of the conspiracy for a full year, and never did I get even so much as a hint that the plot was afoot. At the Folk-Legacy Festival the following year, Len had me sit down center-stage to begin the second half of the evening concert. Caroline covered my eyes, and Grit brought the guitar out and placed it in my lap.

Well, folks, I went completely to pieces. Really lost it. Blubbered like a baby while "friends" of mine took photos to remind me forever of how little self-control I possess. I have played that guitar in every concert/program we have done since that night. (Even now, just writing about it, I find myself choking up again!)

I might also tell you that Laskin guitars cost a lot less then than they do these days, but even so I could never have afforded one. Grit, you know, was honored with the prestigious Bronfman award last year, the top prize in Canada for outstanding crafts, a well-deserved honor for his superb instruments.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 06:09 PM

Taylor is the last guitar brand that I can say I know anything about.

In my nectk of the woods, Taylor is "the" guitar. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is a local vendor called Appalacian Bluegrass Shoppe. The owner committed to Taylors early in the game and has been a top vendor for Taylor many years, all in a little shop with a bare wooden floor and not much square footage. Emory Knode's father was a music store owner and muscian, clarinet I believe.

Emory is down home and his shop is real comfortable. Sales are low pressure and John Thurston, the repairman, has a good reputation for fixing guitars.

But Taylor also has a good product. Taylor's bigger guitars fit in a bluegrass band as well as the Martin's do. They make some very nice singer/songwriter guitars as well. To my way of thinking, Taylors are exquisitely balanced in tone and no one part of the musical spectrum stands out. Some people love this, others say the Taylor's have no "personality."

Taylor has also emphasized putting electronics in their guitars and the Fishman blender system they use has one of the most natural sounds of any direct system I have heard.

They can be right expensive also. Another draw back to me is that either Taylor or their dealers seem to love "cutaway" body styles, I still like acoustic guitars without cutaways, and I seldom get that far up the neck playing the music I play.

If I had $2200 dollars to buy another guitar, I could be very tempted to buy a Taylor 814 CE. This guitar is a bit smaller than a dreadnought but has pretty good punch. I've played a couple, and they are very nicely toned guitars. They have an excellent sustain. Played throught a direct, they sound very acoustic and having the blender right up there on top gives the performer a good deal of control over the electric sound of the guitar from on-stage. It's a right pretty number, even if it does have a cutaway. Another thing about many of these new guitars is their lightness. They are no where near as heavy as those old D-28's

Taylor is right up there with Takamine in terms of the number of performers I see using those brands. Taylor has more snob appeal. I think the Taylors sound much better played acoustically than do the Takamines. Played thought direct input, I think Taylor still has an edge, but it is not as great.

The Taylors are not out of the ranger of the acoustic musician who is working full-time. In fact just last Thursday I watched a local guy with a national reputation who has put his Takamine down and is now playing an 814CE. But Taylor is a bit expensive for the hobby guitarist.

I bet there are more opinions out there about Taylors.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 06:44 PM

I've just finished recording John Sherman and Carol Barney playing tasteful guitar duets of some lovely (and occasionally lively) Irish tunes, and both were playing Taylors. Recorded them through AKG 414s and they sounded splendid. Neither used directs. The CD will be available soon (I'll let you know when) and you can judge for yourselves!

On the other hand, I sat in the "expensive" room at McCabe's a few years ago and played a variety of Martins, Taylors, etc. Didn't find an instrument that tempted me to replace my Laskin as the primary instrument at our gigs. I've also played a couple of nice instruments from Santa Cruz. Same reaction. But (Rick will tell you) I hardly put an instrument through the mill. When he plays my loaner Larrivee, I find it possesses chords I never knew were in there!

Sandy "Never above the fifth fret, and rarely above the third!" Paton


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 10:09 AM

Not long ago, Bob Conroy and I had a 2 hour ramble through Mandolin Brothers, the "high end" retailer that always has a few hundred guitars in stock. Despite spending a lot of time in the "Rainforest Room" of vintage Brazilian rosewood Martins, etc., the single best sounding guitar on premises in that vist was a brand new, standard Santa Cruz Tony Rice model dreadnought... not a cheap guitar, not one every Mudcatter will have in his or her attic, but 1/10th the price of some at the store that day! Loud, very evenly balanced, crisp, deep... beautiful to hear.


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 02:08 PM

Don't let Sandy fool you about his guitar playing, like Jack Elliot, Del McCourey, Peggy Seeger, and not a whole lot of others, his accompaniments are spot on, always complimenting the song being performed. It's called subtlety and can be a little more difficult to recognise unless you've been playing (and loving) the guitar for many years. A number of years ago I complimented Sandy on his guitar playing, and he said "grummph,mumblummmph!!?*" which I've come to know now as meaning "bullshit in a polite way". He probably thought I was just making conversation with the only other smoker at the festival (one of us has since quit) but were that the case I could have complimented his beautifully inlayed Laskin rather than it's player. Besides when I'm messing around at the 14th fret hunting for a chord..he's already found his.


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Paul Wentworth
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 02:32 PM

As a hobby guitarist/songwriter/and sometime performer(three piece acoustic band) I woud tend to agree with the thread that commented on who buys the top end guitars. It seems according to that thread, its mostly rich persons that like to acquire things and don't truly play anywhere near enough (if they play at all) to get the full pleasure and the supreme joy out of hearing a truly fine instrument. I really have trouble with guitar magazines and stores that target these folks while the rest of us just make do with 700 dollar mediocre guitars. Gibson and Martin found that if they charge outrageous sums like 5,000 dollars for their top end acoustics, they can make money from the older upper -upper income James Taylor or unplugged Eric wannabes. I believe that it is possible for someone to make a 1000 dollar guitar that could blow away a Martin (heresy say you?) D-35 . Gibson Humming bird. I think that person would become a billionare, but for the popularity and the established markets of those companies. I do like Gibson and Martin instuments; infact I bought a Gibson triple pickup Les Paul custom for 150 dollars thirty years ago. But I just feel that they have left the rest of us in the dust. Nuff Said.

I bought a Martin Shenendoah about 10 years ago and thought it was the best sounding guitar that I heard after spending about 5 hours in a music store practice studio trying out Guilds, Epiphones, Gibsons, etc. As I remember., it cost about 650 dollars.

Then I started playing with this acoustic band and a woman in the band played a Taylor that she bought about 5-6 years ago for about 1400 dollars. Price notwithstanding, I though it had some much wider ,even , sweet , sound. It was a reall joy and pleasure to my ears and of course changed my feelings about the sound of my own. So I guess my vote would be with Taylor, although I haven't played ( but would like to very much to ) a Santa Cruz, or a Larrivee, Collings.


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 02:44 PM

Shucks, Rick: when you only play three chords, they're real easy to find in the first three frets.

Sandy "Fingers" Paton


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: j0_77
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 03:23 PM

I'm out in the boonies so I rarely get to try any of these wonderfull instruments. Just a thought - mostly I find Rosewood boxes too harsh and even tried a Maple -but again did not like it that much. I notice some of the better records of folk Guitar are made not with Gibson or Martin but with some of the Instruments listed above. I do know Doc W played a Gallagher (Mahogany) on some of his recordings and if a I wuz a wannabe I would be aiming at that happy sound. Sooo if given the chance I would love to get hold of a 'vintage' Gallagher.

Feed your Guitar on home made music - it's good for their health :)


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 05:28 PM

When I first asked Grit Laskin about the possibility of a guitar with the Green Man inlaid on the headstock, I was playing a Guild D-70 (the only one I ever owned). Grit said, "I can make you a guitar with your logo on it, but I doubt that I could make a guitar that sounds any better than the one you're playing." High praise for a factory instrument from a guitar genius. Sold that Guild to a local farmer who played it while singing with his church's folk trio. Wish I still had it. Being broke so often really bites! Makes you do things you later regret.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 08:04 PM

Well I'm glad we got some comments, and very astute ones at that. Personally, I am in no position to comment on any of these or many others as my closest association has often been a half hour at my favorite store on any of them.

I too have noticed the abundance of Taylors being used everywhere. Karen and I went to a Lilith Fair concert last year, and for awhile I thought that Taylor must be sponsoring the damn thing! They do have a powerful sound, seemingly stonger in mid-range, that gives an even "Throatier" sound than Martin. Generally they are similarly priced and discounted so as to be comparable and makes them a strong competitor.

I was interested in Rick's comment about Larrivee being soft voiced instruments. I also find them to be very sweet and unique in tone. Always think of Larrivee when anyone mentions blindfolds and turned backs. They also seem to have a very comfortable fretboard and neck. Since they are still available with some customizing at an affordable price, there is also that "one off" element. I can no longer afford to buy guitars for the hell of it and Larrivee is my last "dream."

Loved all your comments on Laskin and others. There is also Ferrington, possibly too weird too mention? The others I've spent a happy half with have all been wonderful instruments that were undoubtedly wondering when this hack was going to leave them alone. You can always here a collective sigh of relief from the megabucks rack when they realize I got NO money!!!! Elderly keeps saying this is the "Golden Age of Lutherie" and I gotta' agree. But most of us can't afford this stuff and when I consider what I have invested currently, it's somewhat humorous..... A Martin copy Tak bought for next to nothing and in desparation, sounds absolutely superb! We may all disagree on this, but my 17 year old Ovation 12 sounds good and I think it was $425.00 used. My D-28 I stole from an idiot who was about to be evicted for $550.00. Including Karen's Ovation, which I detest, I've only got about $1300.00 in guitars at the moment...just enough to pay for the soundhole on a Collings!!!

catspaw


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Willie-O
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 09:27 PM

Yup, we can dream, can't we? When it comes down to it, I'm lucky to still have one good guitar that's a keeper. Not yet mentioned, but one that I fell head over heels in love with in no time at all, was a Lowden. Don't know the model, but it was the lightest guitar I ever picked up. They really seemed to have structurally redesigned how a guitar goes together, and came out with something different but very very comfortable and balanced sounding. (This was in the midst of the Grand Opening Day for the Ottawa Folklore Centre's new location. Very very noisy and distracting environment--which I briefly found myself quite oblivious to.) When I win the 649 I'm definitely buying the Lowden shop.

Sandy you have obviously amassed a huge amount of good karma in this and your past several lifetimes. Now you'll have to start from scratch again... ;)=

Bill


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 11:00 PM

Hell, I'm just about to make a quick buck by offering Catspaw a Laskin sound hole for a good price. I'll even ship it for free! Then maybe I'll go down to Mandolin Brothers and try out another Santa Cruz. Sure glad they got Cletus locked away somewhere, though. Don't think I'd want to mess around with him!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: BK
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 11:32 PM

'Been in the shop mentioned in 'Balmer, (Catonsville) Appalacian Bluegrass, & bought a few things. They are pleasant but probably not big enough to offer discounts, in spite of the competition down the next block.. ("Bill's").

I'm glad they championed Taylors. They also used to sell Seagull. BUT, other stores in the D.C. metroplex/'Balmer area carry Taylors at much lower prices, & stand a good chance of getting my Taylor business, AGAIN, next time I'm back east.

I'm sorry, but as a mostly hobbiest musician, price is an exquisitly sensitive issue to me, ('n also my wife!!!) 'N the difference in price from Catonsville to Wheaton Triangle, & some other places in the Metroplex, is so dramatic that the few miles, even in DC Metroplex traffic, is tremendously worth it, AND then I can eat at favorite ethnic restraunts in the Trangle!

One of our friends in the guitar store business tells us that a 40% discount off the nominal MSRP is the starting place for "real" prices

Cheers, BK


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 12:28 PM

BK,

You bring up an issue with which I struggle. Baltimore just acquired two "big box" music stores, MARS and "Guitar (something)". As you note, they offer some nice discounts on guitars. I have spent a few hours in their acoustic rooms and they are very tolerant of people "trying out" guitars.

Growing up in a small town (outside of Baltimore) I have valued building a relationship with local stores. So I buy at Appalacian and also my local dealer (Coffey Music) when I can, knowing that I might get a cheaper deal at MARS, etc. I don't know anybody at MARS (despite the hours spent there), but I have a talking relationship with people at the two "little" stores.

If, one day, I get money together for that Taylor 814CE that prices above $2000, where will I go to buy. They are available at all four stores. Will my relationship with Emory at Appalacian or Mike at Coffey's carry the day. How much money saved at MARS is worth putting another nail in the coffin of the small businessmen? I don't know.

BK, you noted you were just passing through and therefore I think price is the object, because you are not establishing a relationship. But what might you do in your home town? Any opinions from others?

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 12:49 PM

One of the nicest guitars I've ever played is a Martin Classical owned by Caroline Paton. (New England's reigning folk Godess) Martin have made classicals for 150 years and I don't think ONE serious "Segovia type" has ever owned one...but folk balladeers...that's another story. Reason is they're so un-classical! Narrow rounded necks..hence perfect for "Froggy..." type songs but not Tarrega pieces. Caroline's was owned by Hally Wood, a Texas ballad singer, who was THERE at the beginning of the New York folk revival, and when I would wander Folk-Legacy's cavernous halls at 3am quietly strumming it I would soak up it's history, knowing that Woody himself had undoubtedly carressed it a few times.


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: catspaw49
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 01:18 PM

Rick...You often have a truly wonderful way of evoking the sense of history, tradition, whatever, that we often feel and I can relate immediately to strumming that Martin. Don't know what else to say...very beautiful...

Roger at al...I don't have a problem with the MARS types-to hell with them. I have a huge problem with Elderly, which is in essence a small business that's done well and expanded. The ambience is still small business friendly. But my favorite store about 50 miles away is a smaller operation, ma & pa folk speakers, so..........I've bought lots of things from them over the years and my purchases from Elderly have pretty much been used stuff. I think if I were to go get something new I'd opt for cutting the best deal I could locally.

Sandy...Sorry Sandy, I think I waited too long to buy that soundhole, but it's still tempting. It was one of those heat of the moment things. It's partly Roger's fault as he got me to thinking about food and sex on that food song thread and the soundhole urge passed. It is a shame about Cletus...another small business snuffed out early on.

catspaw


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 02:43 PM

My catspaw, how you wrapped it all together. What was it, a 5 thread reference? I am impressed with the breadth of you 'Cat-ichsim.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: catspaw49
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 07:11 PM


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: McMusic
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 08:49 PM

I've got a Taylor 510 and LOOOOOVVVVEEE!!! it. I don't have very big hands, so that slender neck is a godsend--and the longer I have it (got it in '95 or so) the sweeter it sounds. Hope to get a Lowden one day, and a Kevin Ryan (they're out of California). Peace and blessings to you.


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: BK
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 11:34 PM

Rick: the problem is, I have worked & lived in a variety of places; spent a long time in texas, and come originally from back east.

'Couple years back, at Christmas time, I bought a new Martin DM @ Rockin' Robin in Houston, then got the same % discount offerred to me on a very nice Taylor in Nagcogdoches - a small town - a lot smaller than the 'Balmer area, maybe as small as Catonsville. (Had I known, I would've bought the Taylor, truth be known!)

Some time earlier (that same year, if I remember correctly), Appalachian would've sold me a Seagull for slightly more than I paid for the Martin, & though I like the better Seagulls, I think my new Martin is considerably better yet. (Had to take a heck of a ribbing on stage from friends who know how bitterly unhappy I've been w/Martin in recent years!)

As for my current hometown, it is a larger (BY FAR!) college town than Nagcogdoches, but has very limited access to decent guitar selection or prices. There are several stores in town. None has that great a selection, but in the store which has the nominal best, many "new" instruments that are clearly factory seconds, (in my opinion), full of flaws, (called, I am told a "b-line") hang on the wall at outrageously inflated prices, from which a "discount" still leaves you paying a great deal more than the MSRP at a smaller "ma & pa" type neighborhood store that sells the same brands in Milwaukee, near my brother-in-law's house. That's a small private store that survives well by good relations w/the locals & ALWAYS has a decent discount, off that believable MSRP, on their instruments.

I conclude that our friend who recently quit the music business & went to work for the University was correct in telling me that "real" prices base around 40% off a realistic MSRP. ie, that the pricing structure is pretty much designed that way for most brands. While I can see that a really small, low volume store might have some difficulty, I would think that a store w/the volume & stock of Appalachian ought to be able to do better.

Just 1 man's opinion.

Cheers, BK


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Apr 99 - 07:01 AM


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: JedMarum
Date: 29 Aug 99 - 10:15 PM

This is an intersting thread.

When you go to any of the blues clubs in Dallas, on a jam night, where several acts appear ... you will probably see 20 guitars (not counting basses) - 19 of them will be Strats. When you go to folk session in Dallas and you see 20 guitars, 15 of them will be Martins. I guess that means folkies are not as set in their ways as blues musicians!

I love to hear the discussion on fine instruments like Larrivee and Santa Cruz; yeah they're darn expensive, and affording one is very difficult on an average income ... but it is possible.

My Larrivee J10 is a most impressive instrument. It has a huge splashy piano sound with a powerful bottom and crisp highs. I walked into a club I had never played in Dallas one day last month, and as I opened my case to prepare my set, one of the other musicians said, "Oh, you're the guy with the Larrivee - I've been waiting to hear this!" I had to laugh. My guitar's reputation had preceeded me!


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: JedMarum
Date: 30 Aug 99 - 10:34 AM

By the way, while I love my Larrivee, and have been very impressed with Santa Cruz and several other fine instrument makers, I am a huge Martin fan. They have certainly earned a reputation for excellence over the years.

There is one equalizing factor though, for all of these guitars and it has been hinted at several times by comments made in this (and other) threads. An acoutsic instrument that is used in performance must have
1) good electronics (and sometimes the best guitars sound no better than middling guitars through even the best pickups) and
2) it must be able resilient to the rigors of the performance life.

These two factors often make performers choose Taylor (fine electronics, quality workmanship, great necks, comparatively low price) over Martin, Larrivee or any of the higher priced axes.


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Jul 00 - 10:41 PM

Refresh for Crowhugger

Spaw


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: JedMarum
Date: 09 Jul 00 - 11:25 PM

Glad you brought this one back, Spaw - I still love my big Larrivee, and it gets plenty of use!


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Jul 00 - 11:40 PM

Did you know there are about 7 0r 8 of these we ran on Martin, Gibson and others? They were supposed to be just the beginnings of a reference list that we could keep adding to. I need to do a "mega thread" with links to all these and some others that we could refresh as part of the answer to questions about guitar buying. I'm a lazy sot or I'd get on it!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Crowhugger
Date: 09 Jul 00 - 11:44 PM

Thanks, Spaw. I found this and other threads just searching seagull, not with 'guitar.'

CH.


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: dwditty
Date: 10 Jul 00 - 12:00 AM

I now play a Gallagher 71 Special - I love it and it has nothing to do with the fact that my last name is Gallagher.
dw


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 Jul 00 - 12:02 AM

....and you are a lucky cuss dw!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: kendall
Date: 10 Jul 00 - 08:30 AM

Every time I hear Sandy play that Laskin guitar I remember that incident in Hartford when we folk legacy types presented it to him. Got news for you my friend, even I get choked up!! You have done so much for folk music, that guitar really is a small token of our esteem.

In 1956, I bought a Gibson J-45 new. Had it for years. Then, decided I wanted a Martin hd 28. It had a killer bass and all. One day I walked into BUCKDANCERS CHOICE in Portland Maine, and the owner, Phineas Martin, handed me a Taylor 810, insisted I try it. Love at first sound! Bought it one the spot. Gibson went under the bed, and the only time it came out was when Dave Mallett dropped by. He always loved that old J45. I told him it was his when I was through with it. Sold the Martin. It couldn't hold a candle to the Taylor.

One day, Dave, (Inch by Inch, row by row) called, said he was coming by, could we do lunch. I met him at a restaurant, handed him the Gibson. He looked at me oddly, said "Why are you giving me this?" I said "'cause I want to make sure you get it." He said "Are you ok?' I replied sure, I'm fine, why?" He said "OH good, I was afraid you got a bad pap smear!!"

So, when I met the Taylor, I sold my Martin and gave away my old Gibson. The kicker here is, the Taylor was used, and I paid $850.00 with a new hardshell case.

The only guitar I have been more impressed with is a Santa Cruz coca bola.


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: bflat
Date: 10 Jul 00 - 08:51 AM

I've got a Taylor, a Larrivee and a Yamaha. If I don't make too many mistakes while playing they sound good. Each has it's own characteristis. Love them all.

If I had to choose which one I'd like to be stranded on an island with it would be the Larrivee. Nice curves; it would be narcissistic.

bflat


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: JedMarum
Date: 10 Jul 00 - 08:56 AM

great story kendall - let me know when you're finished with that Taylor!!


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: JedMarum
Date: 10 Jul 00 - 09:01 AM

... by the way; I have old Gibson, a Heritage model, built in 1969. It has had many years of playing (and it looks it) but it has really mellowed beautifully. I haven't played it for years (the slender finger board is more then my fat fingers want to stand, now that I have other guitars) - and now it needs a bit of work to correct the action. One music store owner I showed it to was sure it needed to have the neck reset.

Has anyone had experience with neck resets? Is it risky? I'd like to restore this guitar to a good playing condition, even if I only pass it on ...


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 10 Jul 00 - 09:02 AM

I own a Lowden and a Larrivee, and heartily recommend either. The Lowden is my main guitar -- it's an O32-C that I bought just last year, after drooling over it for quite a while. Spruce top, rosewood back and sides, a jumbo shape with a soft cutaway. It moves a lot of air, and has a unique personality -- you would never mistake it for a Martin, or really for anything else. It's warm, resonant, "big" sounding without sacrificing any sweetness of tone. Not the slimmest neck, or the most playable guitar I've ever owned, but I find that its tone and responsiveness make me rise to the occasion. Street price is between $2500 and $3000 (American), I believe.

The Larrivee is a 1994 OM-10, which is a similar body style to a Martin 000. Spruce top, rosewood back and sides, beautiful inlay (which Larrivee is known for). This one was made before Larrivee got into its current mass-marketing approach, although I don't know if that really means anything (I don't have any reason to believe that the quality of their higher-end instruments has suffered from their recent focus on mid-priced instruments). As someone else mentioned, they are quieter instruments than some others, with a very even, piano-like response; as someone who came to steel-string acoustics by way of the classical guitar, this works just fine for me. In fact, I remember sitting in the shop before I bought it, comparing it to a Martin OM -- I instinctively played the two instruments very differently, because they clearly had different strenghts -- the Larrivee was more suited to quasi-classical fingerpicking, the Martin responded better to a more aggressive attack. I believe I paid about $1800 for it back in 1995. It is my second Larrivee -- I owned an earlier model in the early 1980s, which I had to part with for financial reasons.

I string both the Larrivee and the Lowden with medium-guage phosphor bronze strings, and use both for flatpicking, fingerpicking, alternate tunings, and anything else I can think of. Both have flattish fingerboards -- again, for someone with a classical guitar background this is nice, but others who are accustomed to Martins and Gibsons may find that it takes some getting used to.

I have owned three Taylors, and ultimately sold or traded them all. They're great instruments, very well made, good woods, good design -- I especially like the 14 body style, which is bigger than an auditorium size but smaller than a jumbo. They tend to seem a little generic to me -- that "lack of personality" that others have mentioned -- but that is a very subjective thing, and I wouldn't put too much emphasis on it. I just never really bonded with any of mine to the extent that I have with the Lowden and the Larrivee.

Electronics deserve a separate thread (to my ears the onboard Fishman Blender system on my last Taylor never lived up to its advance billing, no matter how much I fiddled with it). Thanks for starting this thread; I am following it with much interest.


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 11 Jul 00 - 06:28 AM

Sandy, why don't you offer spaw a complimentary pick to drop in the soundhole. Make it clear to him that he is only allowed to drop it in and not to drop it out of the soundhole.

Roger, when there are small stores that really offer something I would certainly patronize them. After all, for the extra money, you get the benefit of their knowledge and experience passed on to you. Even when you don't buy. Sydney seems to have very few stores that specialize in fretted instruments (as opposed to being music stores with a guitar department). There is only one that I like. He really does specialize in guitars and sells keyboards, computer hard and software, etc. to support his "good guitar" room upstairs. I always go to him first. His guitar prices are not bad compared to the large stores; but he charges somewhat more for strings and accessories. I still go there. Buying strings is a good excuse to say hello and talk to him and some of his better assistants. Getting on track. He has this beautiful small-bodied Taylor. I can't remember its name--its not a baby--it is an "0" shaped guitar. It is one of the nicest guitars I have ever seen. But it sounds blah. It doesn't come anywhere near my small-bodied Maton with laminated sides and back.

Murray


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: GUEST,Marion
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 02:31 PM

I went guitar-shopping recently and what caught my eye was a Taylor 314 CE, with a spruce top, cutaway, and Fishman "Prefix Plus" pickup. No specific questions right now, but I'm refreshing this thread in case there are new Taylor connoisseurs around who have anything to add.

Marion


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: JedMarum
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 04:52 PM

corner sewers?


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 06:18 PM

Marion, if the one I think it is, I JUST played it! Didn't even have time to tell you that I think it's superb! Go for it!

Rick


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 11:24 PM

Jed's guitar does sound mighty fine! I am assuming it is the one he used for his album. Has a lovely sound to it!

Certainly an impressive array of folks here who have played a lot of different types of instruments. I've never seen a Taylor so don't have a clue there. But I am getting one huge education on these pieces of wood!

I made it a point quite a bit back to only deal with my local shop. We are a small town and the amount of small businesses going under is scarey. Of the 8-9 on the two sides of the street where Shaun's shop is all but two are going under. Wally world and the K marche have killed them. Shaun has a wonderful way about him and a very nice cluttered store that smells of music. He will meet or beat any price by anyone. He told me that for his loyal customers he will discount to the point of being rediculous (he made $.50 on a guitar once-no that is not a typo) - I refuse to let him - it is more important to me that I don't have to drive 50 miles to buy a new pick, or to talk guitars, or pick up a set of strings, or a host of other things I like to do on occasion. He can have anything I need within 3-4 days - and that works for me.

This new Tacoma I am looking at can be had for under $900.00 through him - I guess I may pay a bit much now for some things but I'm somewhat of a dinasaur anyway.

Steve


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: 53
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 11:32 PM

i have a taylor big baby, and i also have a takamine ltd 90 which i use on stage, the taylor is a 15/16 size guitar but it is a superb guitar,if you have a chance for a taylor go for it. BOB


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: DonMeixner
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 11:36 PM

As many of you know I recently bought a new Martin JC 16 GTE. A great guitar in the $1500.00 price range. The runner up was a Larrivee. Taylors never came close in that price range. In fact the only guitar that was I liked in the Taylor collection at Elderly was Koa wood model way beyond my budget.

Don


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 11:32 AM

I have tried Taylors. I've tried Larivees. Tried Collings. Galllaghers, and some of the other makers.

I have come to this conclusion. It all depends on the player and the style of music. Also, what sounds good live in concert may not sound so great in recording.

I have a Martin 0021 with a Sunrise pickup. The neck was adjusted by John Carruthers in California and I haven't touched it since. I can't find a guitar that I like better than it. I like it's versatility and have used it on folk, jazz and classical music gigs. I've played it in bands and solo.

These are all fine guitars. It depends on the affinity that the player has for any one of them. A lot of players I know stick to one main guitar because they've grown into it. There was something that attracted them to it in the first place and they developed that by perfecting their skill on that particular instrument.

If I were to advise someone to buy an instrument it would be based on a subjective attraction.Money would be a secondary consideration. Kinda' like pickin' a marriage partner. If you're in love with the instrument, your chances of playing it better improve.

One of the things I like about my guitar is the range of music that I can play on it. I have eclectic tastes. Most of the above mentioned guitars are kinda' specialized in my opinion.

Also, I think you need to own a quality instrument for some time before a decision on it's merits for you can be reached.

I feel that every instrument has it's own "ghost" inside. It wants to play a certain type of music. I think you gotta' go with that.

Frank


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 04:44 PM

I'm in the early stages of looking for a new 6 string. After playing several Martins, Gibsons, Guilds, Taks etc at Mars Acoustic showcase, I found the Taylor 310 ($849) was my favorite. Very light and resonant, beautiful action, and the range of tone was better than anything but the Larivee I played a few days ago. The Larivee was twice the price, however.


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: catspaw49
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 05:02 PM

Hey Leej.....have you read this thread? Worth a look......

Spaw


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Subject: RE: INFO/Opinions:Taylor,Larivee,Collings,et al.
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 05 Dec 01 - 05:52 PM

Seems to me us guitarists are all a bit introspective about what we play. I've got a Taylor 514 Custom (no cutaway, no electrics) I bought in NYC, a Martin HJ28 and a Santa Cruz 000. I'm a resident in a folk club (St. Neots) in England. I tend to take to the club whatever guitar I'm in love with on the night and guess what? Nobody but me (and maybe the guest act) can tell the difference!

Sometimes it ain't what you play, it's how you play it...just make sure it's kept clean and the strings aren't too old.

qf


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