looking for an acoustic that doesn't break my bank

I’m neither rich or good so $1000 acoustics aren’t in the cards. I haven’t bought one in ages so its time :laughing: . now that xmas is over I’m looking in the pawnshops here, online and the local music store. I had my heart set on a seagul but even though they’re made here they seem to be cheaper in the states which bugs me. here they start at $650 at the store, no can do, I’m thinking $300. thought about a norman but talk about sticker shock, ouch!
the pawnshops always have alot of yamahas and takamines but I’m not familiar with which models are good and which are crap. a little help there would be cool.
I’ve been poking around at musicians friend online and see some bargains but I’m leary about ordering something I can’t touch first, anyone bought a guitar from them?
any experience or suggestions would be great, thanks

Hi Bob

It really is a hands on thing. If you are looking for sound and playability then I wouldn’t worry so much about the brand name. I love my Martin but as Martins go it falls into the bottom 50% for tone and playability. But I love their lifetime warrantee. Over the 42 years that I’ve owned it I have had the neck lowered, the fret board redone twice, re-fretted 3 times, etc. all at no cost. I did pay for upgraded tuners.

The point is, you’ll need to sit in the showroom and play the instrument, and pay attention to what it sounds like. Tone should be balanced. Many years ago I bought a back up guitar, brand name doesn’t matter, and used it at my next gig. In the middle of the second song, the bartender yelled, “Get rid of that thing.” I did. I returned it for a credit. Although it played so much easier than my 12 string Martin, it sounded terrible.

You’ll find what you want, and then you’ll find what you can afford. And then you’ll live with it like a best friend, forever.

Go the extra and buy the Seagull!

really a very good guitar for the money. Any $300 acoustic will be a mass of compromises. The Seagull comes close to the $2000 big boys.

As Rolls Royce used to say, (when they were still a Brit company) “the quality remains long after the price is forgotten”.

What’s it to be for? Strumming or picking? Do you want a dreadnought or concert style body shape?
Studio or live? Do you need pickups?

When you’ve decided on that just go into some shops and try out a load. Secondhand might get you better value if you know what to look for. Taking a friend is handy for a second opinion and to hear it from the front.

that made me chuckle, thats what I say to myself when I hear my washburn recorded, lol. yes I have more looking to do

ya cool, so many models, could you let me know the model you use

I really want to I love the sound of them. so far my offer is drawing raving laughter. thinking of trading something to get the price down even a bit

hey thanks, I’ll check the c250s, thats the cedar top, is it worth the extra from the spruce top

dreadnaught style and hopefully something ok for picking and strumming in the studio. don’t want pups.
ya I gotta spend a few more days yet. lol when I take my friend he likes to spend my money, I have to remind him there won’t be any left for beer

What would it cost you to buy the Seagull and have it shipped from a US retailer? Is that a possibility?

Also, I bought my last guitar without ever having even played the brand before. I knew it was a risk, but there were no retailers nearby, and the price was right. With all of the positive reviews the guitar was getting, I figured it was worth the risk.

I went through this exercise recently.
I had my heart set on an Australian made Maton EM225 which was $1300 AUD, which competes with Takamines and lower end Martins (Maton make much more expensive guitars too, including the Tommy Emmanuel edition…).
Then I decided that my playing wasn’t at the stage that warranted that level of money. Next stop was a Yamaha APX900 for around $900. While checking these out I happened on a store that sold Cort acoustics.
I ended up buying a Cort MR720 which is a cutaway dreadnought with a pickup for $450.
Now I’m not going to claim that it sounds as good as a Maton or a Martin because it just doesn’t, but for MY playing style it blew away the equivalent Takamine and Yamaha models it terms of sound and playability.
The moral of my story- try everything, because you just might be suprised.

I went through this exact same exercise early last year, wanting a good but cheap acoustic. I was looking around online and stumbled across some rave reviews of an Epiphone - AJ200S. I managed to find the site again just now and see there are some new comments:



Wow, I got this as a beater guitar, I own a martin D18, a Taylor 314ce. a couple of Ovations, and the AJ200s has blown me away. I would not think twice about taking it into the studio or to a gig.

As luck would have it, and a also a complete surprise to me, was when I found a local store actually had this exact guitar at a heavily discounted price… so I didn’t hesitate! I followed the advice of one of the reviewers and replaced the plastic saddle with bone plus I also had it tweaked up by a local luthier. To my ears it sounds great, my mates that have picked it up have commented favourably and it certainly seems to record well, having also attracted good comment on some tunes I’ve posted here in the past. Worth a look… and you’ll LOVE the price. :sunglasses:

good suggestion thanks, with everything rolled in its about $100 cheaper. I’m going to take the add to the shop and see what they say

never heard of them, pretty good lineup. I like the one you got. right now everyone is locked indoors because of snow so I haven’t got out. I will check that when I do, the price is right

hi sherz, ya know I saw that model on the rack and never picked it up, I will next time. I’m wondering about the action on the fretboard.

Correction- it was the MR710 that I bought. One of the selling points for me was the Fishman 4T pickup. And the included hard case.

During my research I found out that Cort make a lot of guitars which are sold as the cheaper models for better known brands. The MR710 is my second Cort guitar, having bought a Cort Earth 70 series 12 string a few years back and still going strong.

If you want a good acoustic, then get a solid top and I would suggest staying away from cedar tops, they will eventually give trouble and the bridge will need to be re-glued down. The cedar always dries out and comes apart, which is why we stopping making them at Collings, where I work.
As far as playability, usually this can be adjusted with a good set-up, which is what I do. One thing to look for is the neck set, eye down the fingerboard towards the bridge, if the neck is straight, the line from the top of the frets should be at least equal or slightly higher than the bridge. This is a really hard thing to tell if there’s a lot of relief (bow) in the neck though. I would recommend for the price range you are looking at, checking pawn shops. It really is hard to find a quality acoustic for that price, the wood and tuners alone cost more than $300 to build a good guitar.

Good luck,

I really want to I love the sound of them. so far my offer is drawing raving laughter. thinking of trading something to get the price down even a bit[/quote]

Buyer beware: most music retailers only take trades against full list price, so 99% of the time you either better of selling your trade-in gear yourself, or just keeping it

Look at used alvarez guitars from the 80’s. They were made in Japan and the construction is stellar. I just picked up one for $250 in San Francisco at the Guitar Center. Awesome guitar. You wouldn’t even think it was laminate. I’ll call my sister and have her get me the model number off it. Left it there when I came back east a few weeks ago. I know it was a smaller body. Man that thing sounds good, stayed in tune, intonation… all that! Such a sleeper.

I did a song posted in the old forum, I used my friends alvarez, they are a sleeper for sure. you couldn’t find one of those babies here with a snoop dog.

anyway I was in a different shop today and played one of these, I thought it was nice, very playable and warm sound, and right on my budget. comes with a lifetime warranty, any thoughts