My main acoustic is a '95 Taylor 812ce. I've tried many other guitars, but always come back to this one. The only change made tho this is that very recently I upgraded the original Fishman Acoustic Matrix undersaddle pickup to a never Infinity Matrix...but only because I was having issues with the old one. I have been using John Pearse light gauge strings on this guitar practically since day one. I use the 80/20 bronze. I used to use the phosphor bronze, but bought the 80/20s on a whim once and was amazed at how much warmer & rounder they sounded. Haven't gone back.
I also keep a Taylor 810-WMB with a Fishman Rare Earth Blend handy for alternate tunings. I have a few arrangements I do in DADGAD and Open D. Saves time by not having to retune. Also use John Pearse 80/20s on this, but mediums to drive the larger soundboard and bigger body.
I run them through a Fishman Pro Platinum EQ preamp/DI box that has a really warm sound and great EQ for getting a good sound in just about any room.
I have a Greeta Dreadnaught - a CF Martin design built in India under Japanese supervision. I got it in the early 1980s. Circa 1990 I mounted a Dimarzio transducer (the disk type) inside under the bridge. It has a very nice sound.
About 4 years ago I got a Rogue dreadnaught acoustic/electric with the built in active transducer. It sounds ok and it has a good punch for sound system.
I also have a Montana Travel guitar (the only travel guitar I found that has enough body to actually sound like something) which I put nylon strings on. My son took it to a Phil Keaggy concert once to jam on while waiting in line. Phil came up to us ( I have known him for decades) and played a few chords and runs on it. :)
First, I've only been playing guitar for about 8 1/2 years. I started with an American Ovation but just couldn't bond with the round back, other than that I loved the sound and the way it played, sold it and got a Carvin AC275 thin body chambered acoustic which I love, full sound yetplays like an electric. I still need something I can play acoustically and have a very hard time with full body acoustics, medical condition i won't get into, so I just recently got a Carvin AC375 which is a bit thicker than the AC275 and is a true acoustic and projects beautifully for small groups and sounds better than most full size acoustics I've heard pluged in, it is an awesome guitar. I put both through a Fishman Aura Spectrum pedal then direct into the system. I love them both and play them equally in church and the AC375 every week for home groups and practice at home.
I love the sound of Taylors but like I said can't play them very long at a time and IMHO the AC375 sounds better for a lot less money and looks a lot better.
Michael, I play a 1988 Takamine EF350, cutaway, a Taylor 310 and a Seagull M6+ (all acoustics), an Oscar Schmidt mandolin and a Knilling cello. The Segull is mostly a fingerstyle guitar due to it's 1.8" wide neck, the Tak is my primary strummer/flatpicker and the Taylor is a backup to both.
I have a couple of Taks that I simply love playing when I am in public. Also have a Martin D-16 that I use at camp a good bit. I had a Seagull but have loaned it out to one of my students who could not afford a guitar at this time. Also have my old Sigma that I have had for close to 40 years. It rarely gets played but has sentimental value. The Taks are my primary guitars and when I pull them out, it makes the Taylor players in the audience droll a bit. If I could wish to own one other guitar, it would be a McPherson.
McPherson seems to be the worship guitar of choice these days. They're great plugged in and are very well made, but the ones I've played lacked the acoustic tone I expected of a $5000 guitar.
Stevo, I've played for some time and seen/played dozens of guitars but have never heard of a McPherson.
Paul Baloche plays McPherson. So does Amy Grant and quite a few Nashville players. I got to play Paul's when I was in his songwriting class many years ago and it was great. I have played others that I did not think were worth the price tag. Last time I checked, the McPherson that I was interested in had a $7,800 price tag. I prefer my Taks over anything else I have played and I agree with Stevo that we should be able to expect more from a guitar of that price. When the Senior McPherson retired and handed over the business to his son, I felt like a lot of the quality of the McPherson Guitars went with him. Junior just does seem to have the heart for acoustic music like his Dad did.
From a looks and construction perspective, they are to die for. They also have a superb action. And a lot of folks love them. But I played these against Lowdens, Collings and Goodall's and I really loved the tone of the Lowdens more and they were less money. I thin I'll stick with my Taylor 710BCE.
I have to agree - I've played a few now and really find them lacking. It's not really a reflection on their build or quality - they are just not what I look for in an acoustic guitar. Not the sound or feel that I like.
I keep buying, selling,and trading much more expensive guitars including a Gibson Songwriter Studio, a Gibson J200, a Martin X Series and Martin D28, but the one performance guitar that I keep coming back to is the Seagull M6 spruce.
Seagulls are a great value.