Been playing guitar for worship for a LONG time...anyone remember "special music" (Keith Green, Steve Camp, Dallas Holm, etc)? Any way, I have had both expensive guitars and in-expensive guitars over the years...a ton of 'em.
When I went shopping for the guitar I own and play now, I literally played 100 guitars, everything from a $200.00 Fender to a $2000.00 Taylor. It took me almost all day, but I walked out of the store with a $400.00 Epiphone PR4E. It just played better than anything else I played. The neck is great, action is great, pickup is very nice. My Taylor playing buddies keep threatening to steal it, so that they can dissect it to see why the guitar is so good.
It doesn't matter how much you spend. What matters is that you bring come the guitar that you could not leave the store without.
I play a Taylor 312CE Grand Concert Small Body with the older Fishman electronics in it. Another worship leader at my church has the same Taylor but with the full body. One Sunday my Taylor was in the shop so I had to borrow his. The entire service I felt like I was bear hugging an opera singer (you know, the ones that supposedly sing at the end of things). Maybe that was only funny to me. Anywho, it's nice to have my Lenny back (she's long and lean) Mess with her and...well you get the picture!
I play Crafter SA that is made in Korea. It Is modeled after the Taylor T-5 but about half the price. After trying both I could not pay that much money for the Taylor name. The guitar has a L.R. Baggs piezzo pick-up and a Kent lipstick pick-up. I run It through a Korg Toneworks modeling processor AX3A for effects or if I need to have a Jumbo sound. I also run to a Marshall AD- 50 acoustic amp.
I play a Carvin Cobalt C980T Jumbo Acoustic Guitar with Fishman Prefix Plus-T. I don’t like it now that I’m leading worship with it. It’s a great sounding and playing guitar it’s just too big! So I’m looking for something more in a concert body style. My friend plays a Taylor 412ce, and I really like the size, but the price is too much for me right now. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated.
I use a cheap Stagg cutaway, smaller body and decent electroincs. I bought it off a guy for around 100 bucks, no case.I used to use my Yari until someone knocked it over. Now I look for the cheaper laminate "throwaways" to leave on the platform. It plays great, has perfect intonation and has a good sound through a Fender princeton chorus amp, it does the job very adequately. Doesn't look bad. It's not a Taylor, but then it doesn't cost $2000 either. There's a guitar reclaimer on e-bay that has one on sail for around 95 bucks. (2/27/09) If you're interested go there and look for pastordrp.
You can also find inexpensive Epiphones, Alvarez, Fenders, Corts, and others. Michael Kelly makes a nice guitar for a reasonable price, I own one of their acoustic basses.
Cheap guitars used to be junk, but the Koreans and Chinese are finding out how to make them decently. Plug them into a decent amp and you're ready to worship.
My main acoustic guitar is a Turner TG65CE/2TS which I've had for a number of years. It is finished in a tobacco sunburst & has a rather narrower neck than current production Turners. It sounds great, comes out of the case in tune & has never needed any set-up adjustments. I string it with 11-52s and it hapilly tolerates a capo with no tuning problems!
I have a Fender acoustic/electric from the 70s, a Washburn a/e I picked up last year and an older Sigma straight acoustic. the Fender has great action, the Washburn is fantastic for live performance because of it's onboard versatile electronics and the Sigma [acoustic only] has a very bright and loud sound. Each has it's charms. :)
I play a Takamine EAN15CX thru a Fishman Lowbox Performer with usually a little chorus. - having a built in tuner is cool, it has a great sound plugged in and I play it hard, wearing thru the wood in two places on the bottom of the G hole. The action on it is hard to beat even with higher end guitars. Will be looking for a replacement in about two years and it will be hard to find another that I can "beat up" that sounds and plays as well.
I play my Ovation Celebrity CC26 Limited Edition. It has the "deep bowl" body that gives it great bass response with a wonderful bright open tone. I use D'Addario phosphor bronze strings...they sound amazing and will take a beating!