So I am looking at getting a new acoustic guitar.
I have it narrowed down to only a few guitars and wanted others thoughts, comments, concerns, and criticism.
I am looking for a 000, 0000/OM, Grand Concert, or Grand Auditorium.
I would prefer a guitar from an American guitar manufacturer (but not crucial).
The guitar must be all solid wood and I prefer a short scale with wide-thin neck with a wide string spacing for finger style playing. I DO NOT want a cutaway body. 
I am looking in the $1500 price range, used.

Here are the contenders:

Martin 000-18
Pluses: Solid wood, Classic Martin Americana sound, short scale
Minuses: No neck binding

Taylor GC 5, GC 7, or GC 8
Pluses: Solid wood, short scale, love the slotted headstock, neck binding
Minuses: While the Taylors sound great, I am not a huge fan of their treble response. The guitars a a bit trebley for me. I like the Cedar tops of the GC 5 and the GC 7 to tame the treble.
 
Martin 000-15M
Pluses: love the look and sound of the all mahogany guitar, great sound, just screams vintage
Minuses: No neck or body binding, the all mahogany look might have a short life span with me.

Guild GAD 30R
Pluses: I love the look and sound of this guitar. I am partial to the rosewood sides over mahogany sides.
Minuses: no neck binding, made in China

Larrivee OM-03
Pluses: great feels, great sound, neck binding, all around good guitar
Minuses: Not the biggest fan of Sapele on the back and sides.

I am also entertaining old models such as the Taylor 312, 314, 412, 414.

So what do ya'll think?

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Replies to This Discussion

I already have a Godin A6 Ultra that can do electric and acoustic sounds.
I guess I am a bit of a purist though and I am looking for a plain, old-fashioned acoustic.
Also, my friend has a T5, so I know what they are capable of.
Thanks for your input!
Hm.. I might get 'slammed' for this, but I agree with Greg. I like my acoustics to be acoustics and my electrics to be electrics. All the hybrids I played were compromises. I have a Michael Kelly Hybrid Special and I think I'm going to sell it/trade it in. It wasn't as good my other electrics or acoustics. In the end, I just pulled-out other guitars. Maybe I was expecting too much.

I have a friend whose selling his much nicer Godin Montreal for the same reason.

If it were me, I'd also agree, stay with a 'pure' acoustic. That's just my experience.

(For the record and full disclosure, I haven't tried the Taylor T5. So I can't talk about that particular guitar, just the other hybrids I've tried.)
I have a Taylor GC 7 and I love, love, love it...it was worth every penny!
My friend has the 314 and it sounds great too, but in my opinion not as responsive as the GC7
I would def. go with Taylor over Martin, I just think the sound is more versatile to multiple styles of music and Martins not as much....
I don't have as much experience with the Guild or Larrivee..
I have two Taylors, though neither are short scale... 814ce Brazillian and a GA-KS (Koa body) I have the frets dressed on the 814 and the luthier said the neck was the straightest he had ever seen. The intonation is perfect, and it is a sweeeeeeet guitar. Very balanced.. no trouble with the treble. I like the Grand Auditorium shape... it has a nice sized lower bout, but the upper bout is a little smaller, and fits me nicely.
I also have a McPherson 5.0 with a redwood top and Ziracote back and sides.. A-MAZ-ING... but this is a $6000 guitar and I am afraid to take her out. She hangs out in my guitar room and I play her when I need her for me. She is similar to the GA shape, but deeper (5.0 means 5 inches deep at lower bout) I actually think ALL McPhersons are cutaways though...
I do have a SW-00 Martin that is short scale. It is one of 115 made, but is still opening up a little... I need to play her more to try to see if her voice will improve.. right now, I am not impressed with the newer martins... I woudl take a taylor over a newer martin... but an older one... ooooh... maybe 20 years old...
But, if you want nice, I would say Collings makes a 000 short scale that will blow you away, provided you stick with rosewood and Spruce... I have an SJ Maple that is soon to be taking my Taylor's place... she is getting a set-up right now - built in 1999... I am putting a K&K into her and dressing frets, full set-up. Maple is usually very bright, but now that she is 15 years old, she has opened up very well, and the larger bought gives her lots of bottom end. If you haven't played a Collings, you need to find a place and go play one. Santa Cruz makes some amazing guitars too, for a little less than Collings...
We have several Guitar Boutique stores that have custom, handmade guitars from all over... all you need is money ;-)

I would stay away from the Guild GAD. I had a GAD 30 that I bought and she had a nice voice for a lower quality guitar -- I actually sold her and made some money, so I don't know about the longevity of that Chinese made guitar.. I suspect it would not age well.

Lastly, I have a Yairi that is a Walnut body... short scale.. they called is a YC-1, but I think the shape is similar to a 000... I like playing her, but have too many guitars. I really need to sell a few.
Thanks for all your input.
I am finding hard to get past the traditional Martin sound.
I agree that the Taylors cover a wider variety of musical styles, and this is a concern for me as my playing goes from praise and worship to jazz, blues, rock, etc.
Danny - a Collings is at the top of my "wish list" but that their prices... they are just that - only a wish!
My collings is a beauty, and she is worth every penny, all beit a lot of pennies... Buut, I have played Larrivees, and Breedlove's that sounded just as good plugged in. If you get a good DI with a balanced output that matches you pickup type (LR Baggs pickup, LR Baggs DI) and you work with your sound man to get the best sound, I really don't think it matters all that much. When I am alone in my room playing for myself, I break out my McPhereson.. She is the sweetest, most balance guitar I have ever played. Plug her in, and she sounds great, but I have other guitars that sound great too. Unplugged, nothing is better... But, back to your original question - small body short scale -- Collings. Santa Cruz... oh, so nice.
So many people at my church have Taylors. That seems to be the norm/standard, "everyone has them" guitar (that can afford them). I agree they are great guitars, but for my ears, I liked the Larrivee OM-03 the best. I love the necks and they have this lush, full sound that is so 'smooth'.

The Taylors to me were awfully bright (it's almost like the annoying little lap dog jumping up and down your leg. At first, it's cute and I could deal with it, but it gets annoying over time.)

I have a friend that loves that 'Martin' sound. However, for me, and my ears, the Larivee are just easy to listen to. Could listen to them for hours. I'm more a rhythm player, so this probably suits me. For the record I'm a Canadian, but it's not just that, I really do like the sound. =)

A good friend of mine also spent some time working in the factory. I've played around with his few, and they are amazing. But there are many differences from one piece of wood to another one. I think you have to play the guitar before you buy it. Every one is 'slightly' different. Find the one (literally) that is "yours". Play as many as you can...
I agree with you on the Taylor brightness. That is one of my hold backs with them. Been looking at cedar top, short scale GC models to tame the brightness and I lOVE the slotted headstock! I agree, I think Taylor has become trendy and having owned Taylors in the early 90's, I was a bit disappointed to see them move to using laminates in the lower end models. Also, Taylor's resale values are quite disturbing compared to Martin.
I respect Takamine's pragmatism. I guess when it comes to guitars, I am a bit of a purist. I don't like preamps desecrating the natural beauty of solid tonewoods. I don't like LEDs, plastic, sythetics, etc on my guitars. But, that's just my preference. Obviously Takamine has won the hearts of many famous musicians.

As far at Gibson and Martin price gouging, I am not sure that is a fair analysis. They cost what they cost because they are made in America. American labor, as we all know, costs (and in more ways than one). I believe that Martin, Gibson, Taylor, etc are making some of the best mass produced guitars available.

My gripe, as mentioned above, was based simply on my purism. I still think that these manufacturers are making high quality guitars. But I would rather spend my money on a guitar that "tickles my fancy" a little more. If I could afford a high dollar acoustic, we really wouldn't be having this discussion :) Truth is, I am just trying to find the biggest bang for my buck.
Hey, what do you all think of Gibson Acoustics?
I have been eyeing the J-45 recently - solid wood, short scale. But I am not a big fan of the rounded shoulders :(
Can you really go wrong with the 'workhorse' guitar? =) How many albums have been recorded with this 'standard'?

However, looking at the recent specs, I really really like the LR Baggs electronics. In my mind they are head and shoulders above the Fishman. Don't know if that makes a difference to you, but after having guitars with both Fishman and LR Baggs, I'd go with the LR Baggs 10/10 now.
Yes, I agree that LR Baggs are head and shoulders above the rest of the mass-produced bunch. They are a bit sensitive and have a way of exposing any flaws though! LOL! But, it's that sensitivity that makes them so expressive.

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