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dnewton2
01-25-2011, 07:02 AM
So I have been thinking about buying a guitar for my dad for his birthday. I would get him a uke but he has said he has thought about buying a guitar to learn on. So I know very little about guitars and was wondering if anyone had any advice.

I am thinking acoustic, probably a solid top, would like it to be around $100 but would consider going up to $200 for it.

Any advice on brands or specific guitars would be greatly appreciated.

ukeeku
01-25-2011, 07:55 AM
So I have been thinking about buying a guitar for my dad for his birthday. I would get him a uke but he has said he has thought about buying a guitar to learn on. So I know very little about guitars and was wondering if anyone had any advice.

I am thinking acoustic, probably a solid top, would like it to be around $100 but would consider going up to $200 for it.

Any advice on brands or specific guitars would be greatly appreciated.

unlike ukes, guitars below $400 are iffy at best. I would go to a pawn shop and see what you can find. Avoid Oscar Schmidt, first act, Johnson. I have played a rogue that was OK, but it needed work to be as playable as it was.

Go with a music shop you can trust. If you want an online dealer I would go to www.elderly.com

Nephidoc
01-25-2011, 08:04 AM
I think the best bang for buck beginner guitars are Yamaha, Seagull, Art and Lutherie.
New they maybe just a tad high but the used ones (Ebay, Craigslist) are ubiquitous.

http://www.seagullguitars.com/products6.htm
http://www.artandlutherieguitars.com/folkcedarantiqueburst.html
http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments/guitars-basses/ac-guitars/fg/fg700s/?mode=model

Good place to ask and look would also be the guitar forums.
http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/index.php
http://www.larriveeforum.com/smf/index.php
http://theunofficialmartinguitarforum.yuku.com/

Good luck on the hunt.

Stan

GVlog
01-25-2011, 08:12 AM
I think the first question to answer is "What kind of music does he like (or want to play)?" That will narrow-down the choices.

$200 is do-able. You will be getting him a student guitar and there are a few good solid-tops for $200 to $250. If an all-laminate is okay, you will spend about $150 for a good one.

dnewton2
01-25-2011, 08:34 AM
Thanks for the replies.

He has been listening to country alot and has always liked Jimmy Buffett. I have know idea what he would like to play. Hopefully he can find somewhere to take some lessons. The solid top is just a wish I can get him a laminate for beginning. Chances are he will not stick to it, but he has shown intrest in learning so I want to try and jump start his musical journey. I was hoping to order online and have it shipped to him since I won't see him till after his birthday.

GVlog
01-25-2011, 08:54 AM
Okay, here are my suggestions:

The Yamaha Gigmaker is a good basic starter pack for $160 (natural) to $170 (sunburst). Nothing outstanding but Yamahas are usually good out of the box. You probably won't have any problems with this guitar. This one is an all-laminate guitar.
http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Yamaha-GigMaker-Acoustic-Guitar-Pack?sku=519040


The Yamaha Gigmaker Deluxe offers a solid-top guitar for $200. I would go with this if you're willing to spend the extra cash.
http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Yamaha-GigMaker-Deluxe-Acoustic-Guitar-Pack?sku=519041

There are other "Value Packages" out there but I have no experience with them. IMHO, Yamaha has the best quality control among the budget acoustic guitars.


You missed a really good deal on the Recording King ROS-06. This is a wide-nut 12-fretter with a solid-top and a bluesy punch. If you think your father might be more of a fingerpicker than a strummer, this would be an outstanding starter instrument. It was on sale for $191 up until yesterday. It's now back up to $248. You could try calling Musicians Friend or Music123 and ask if they might still be able to give you $191 price. Explain that you just heard about the sale but you missed it by a day. If you find a sympathetic rep, he/she might give you a break.
http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Recording-King-ROS06-Classic-Series-12th-Fret-OOO-SolidTop-Acoustic-Guitar?sku=423803

fitncrafty
01-25-2011, 09:01 AM
I have been learning about this myself! So much to learn. My oldest son wants an acoustic for his birthday. He's been playing electric for a little over a year now. His instructor told us to get him a steel string... not nylon. We found a beautiful and sounds beautiful Ibanez, he played it and loved it. Even has electrics and built in tuner. Gets great reviews too.. it's 329 but I am hoping that there will be a sale or coupon come through.. to make my shopping experience more fun(sarcasm goes here) my son is a lefty so it always adds a challenge!!

Best of luck in your search... I will be watching the thread too as my son's birthday is next month. Just a few weeks away.

Please let us know what you come up with... I know the music shop in our town is always getting trade ins maybe that would be the way to go.. or craigs list in your town..
Good luck!

Skitzic
01-25-2011, 09:02 AM
Okay, here are my suggestions:

The Yamaha Gigmaker is a good basic starter pack for $160 (natural) to $170 (sunburst). Nothing outstanding but Yamahas are usually good out of the box. You probably won't have any problems with this guitar. This one is an all-laminate guitar.
http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Yamaha-GigMaker-Acoustic-Guitar-Pack?sku=519040


The Yamaha Gigmaker Deluxe offers a solid-top guitar for $200. I would go with this if you're willing to spend the extra cash.
http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Yamaha-GigMaker-Deluxe-Acoustic-Guitar-Pack?sku=519041

There are other "Value Packages" out there but I have no experience with them. IMHO, Yamaha has the best quality control among the budget acoustic guitars.


You missed a really good deal on the Recording King ROS-06. This is a wide-nut 12-fretter with a solid-top and a bluesy punch. If you think your father might be more of a fingerpicker than a strummer, this would be an outstanding starter instrument. It was on sale for $191 up until yesterday. It's now back up to $248. You could try calling Musicians Friend or Music123 and ask if they might still be able to give you $191 price. Explain that you just heard about the sale but you missed it by a day. If you find a sympathetic rep, he/she might give you a break.
http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Recording-King-ROS06-Classic-Series-12th-Fret-OOO-SolidTop-Acoustic-Guitar?sku=423803

The Yamaha gigmaker deluxe is a very good instrument. I'm a big fan of Yamaha.

GVlog
01-25-2011, 09:34 AM
He's been playing electric for a little over a year now. His instructor told us to get him a steel string... not nylon. We found a beautiful and sounds beautiful Ibanez, he played it and loved it.
If he's been playing on electric, I would get him a steel-stringed acoustic. I like Ibanez's electrics and basses but I don't have that much experience with their acoustics and acoustic-electrics.

Lefty? Eh! That will limit the choices. I don't know the lefty guitars. :(

If your son's birthday is next month, you might need to do the shopping now while the retailers are clearing-out the excess winter inventory in preparation for their 2011 restocking now that NAMM is over.

Pippin
01-25-2011, 09:40 AM
Yamaha is a good recommendation. For $150 you can sometimes find the F335 at Musician's Friend. It has a laminated top. but it is the best player in that price-range.

Solid-topped guitars start at around $200, but, most are in the range of $400 or so. I have a Parkwood PW320M, solid mahogany back and sides, solid Sitka spruce top. Online, they sell for about $550, I got mine for $368 out the door at Guitar Center in Columbus, Ohio. It was the best sounding Auditorium-body in the acoustic room on the day I bought it.

If you look at Mitchell, Dean, the Tak Jasmine, and cheaper Fender acoustics, like the DG-7, you have to be really careful and play them first to make sure that everything is fine before buying. Most guitars at that price range leave a lot to be desired.

GVlog
01-25-2011, 09:54 AM
For $150 you can sometimes find the F335 at Musician's Friend. It has a laminated top. but it is the best player in that price-range.
Yes. The all-laminate F335 at $150 and the solid-top FG700S at $200 are good choices if you just need the guitar. I used to have a great contact at our local Guitar Center who would give me great deals on almost any instrument. I wish he hadn't left. He let me have the Yamaha FG730S for $251 out the door and that included 9.75% sales tax. That was a great buy considering that I was able to compare four of the same model and pick the best one!

The Gigmaker bundles are my recommendation if you want a light gig-bag, tuner, strap, picks, and spare-strings thrown-in. There's also an instructional DVD but it's very unimpressive to me.

dnewton2
01-26-2011, 02:49 AM
Thank you all for your responses. I think I am going to call my brother and mom and see if they want to throw in some $$$ to get a nice student model for him. I do like the Gigmaker bundles with the extras included.

Tor
01-26-2011, 05:14 AM
I think the best bang for buck beginner guitars are Yamaha, Seagull, Art and Lutherie.
New they maybe just a tad high but the used ones (Ebay, Craigslist) are ubiquitous.

I agree with the above. (btw Seagull/Art and Lutherie are both from the same factory).
For something like Ibanez only go for the solid-top models if it's a full-sized instrument. Thinline/smallbody Ibanez models are actually better, just different (and cheaper) in my opinion.

However: Acoustic steel string guitars are not particularly cheap. For what would be considered the first level of good quality you could _easily_ buy a couple of quite good electric guitars. It's much more costly to make a good-sounding acoustic steel instrument.

Most importantly: Get someone who have played guitar for some time (not a beginner) to come with you and check out the guitars. And evaluate intonation and setup.

For a beginner on guitar it could well be that a nylon string acoustic guitar is better. It's certainly easier on the fingers. And if you shop around you can often find good instruments much, much cheaper than comparable steel string instruments. I found a very reasonably priced Spanish solid-top (and solid top makes as big difference in guitars) nylon stringer with wonderful tone, particularly when I started putting extra high tension strings on it. I did have five guitars to fool around with in the shop though - I picked the one which happened to have the action I liked and the best sound.

georgio
01-27-2011, 01:34 AM
Best Yamaha guitar for the $ is the FG-700S It has a SOLID spruce top and is well regarded among acoustic players including myself. Street price is $199, but it can often be found on sale for $149, shop around. Dad will love it!

Pippin
01-27-2011, 09:49 PM
Best Yamaha guitar for the $ is the FG-700S It has a SOLID spruce top and is well regarded among acoustic players including myself. Street price is $199, but it can often be found on sale for $149, shop around. Dad will love it!

There are also a lot of newer Yamahas on the used market. Watch out for the older ones though. Lots of old Yamaha acoustics out there need neck resets.

Mauimaster
02-06-2011, 04:33 PM
Personally, I think Fenders are the greatest guitars. Getting one below two hundred dollars however, may be a struggle. Their acoustics play well, but their electrics are the best. Another good acoustic guitar would be an Ovation. Again getting one below two hundred dollars may be hard. You may want to get a used guitar from Ebay.

Tor
02-06-2011, 10:31 PM
I've always found Ovation guitars lacking in acoustic tone when unplugged. Plugged in they sound great though. My old Ibanez solid-top guitar from 1974 sounds much, much, much better than an unplugged Ovation, although that old Ibanez isn't playable anymore due to a warped neck.

TicToc
02-17-2011, 10:04 AM
For under 200, I would go with Jasmine Line by Takamine. Very good guitars for the money in my opinion. I love my Jasmine.

savagehenry
02-18-2011, 02:01 PM
Make sure you go to the store and try them. Years ago when I bought my first acoustic, I took it back after two weeks because it was just to hard to play. It's gotta be easy to play and feel right or you won't play it. Check out some of the Epiphone or Ibanez acoustics. They are usually easy to play and look nice.

lookingforcurly
02-21-2011, 09:37 AM
Best bet is a Seagull, but not for $200. Anything in the $200 range will be more frustration then it is worth due to intonation and other issues. $400 is really the bottom end for a usable guitar.

brickerenator
03-08-2011, 01:51 AM
So I have been thinking about buying a guitar for my dad for his birthday. I would get him a uke but he has said he has thought about buying a guitar to learn on. So I know very little about guitars and was wondering if anyone had any advice.

I am thinking acoustic, probably a solid top, would like it to be around $100 but would consider going up to $200 for it.

Any advice on brands or specific guitars would be greatly appreciated.

I think it's awesome that you want to do that!

If he's already thinking about getting one, why not pool your money and get him a nicer one? Make it a fun experience. Memorize a few guitar chords (G, Em, C, D), then go to a music store and try them out! Each acoustic sounds and feels different!


Things to look for, and avoid:

Stay faaaaaar away from "Beginner Packs", waste of money IMHO. Run your fingers along the edges of the fretboard, feel any overhanging frets? Don't get it. This is a sign of either poor craftsmanship or improper humidification. Plus, those frets will scratch your hands as you play, very uncomfortable. Look for any dings, dents, swirls or glue overruns. Why? The more eyesores on the guitar, the less you will like it later (that being said, my acoustic has many dings from gigging, but that's ok).

Check the intonation. With a tuner in hand, pluck an open string, then fret it at the 12th fret and pluck it again. Do this for all the strings. Are the tunings much different for open and 12th fret? This is a recurring issue in most cheap guitars. If your dad doesn't ever plan on playing with anyone, it doesn't really matter. But if he ever plans on jamming with you, it's nice to have a guitar with good intonation.

Yamaha, Ibanez and Takamine make fairly good guitars. But you have to decide what works for you!

austinlee
03-15-2011, 08:37 AM
I've played guitar for years, my first guitar was a Yamaha F335 ($150). I still have it, never had to adjust anything out of the box, it has been banged up, scratched up, left out in the rain, etc. etc. etc. Still plays great. I can't imagine a better guitar to get started on. And with a laminate, you don't have to worry about keeping it humidified so it doesn't crack.

And people who say you can't get a decent guitar under $400 are full of it. There are plenty of good guitars in the budget range, sometimes the guitars need a little setup, but thats it, just give the guitar you get a good once over.

barbos01
03-15-2011, 09:45 AM
I will second (or third of fourth) Yamaha for a less expensive guitar. I have a cheapo-creepo Yamaha classical guitar that still sounds great 15 years after I bought it. Their QC is usually spot on, their guitars are remarkably consistent.

ceviche
03-15-2011, 01:01 PM
The Yamaha gigmaker deluxe is a very good instrument. I'm a big fan of Yamaha.

I'll chime-in a vote for Yamahas. My first was, I think, an FG335. Maybe a 135, I don't know (all mahogany laminate body). What I do know is that it was perfect out of the box. Great sound! No need for any additional set up. No string buzzes or stuff like that: The neck and frets were true from the nut through well past the 14th fret. I later added a bone saddle to bring up the treble a touch. That was worthwhile and a very inexpensive upgrade.

If Yamaha offers a solid top for around $200, it would probably be worthwhile. BTW, I played the crap out of my for 7 hard years before I finally bought another guitar. By then, the frets were clearly scalloped deep under the 3 high strings and around the 2nd and 3rd frets. I think another year or two of playing would have set the strings to buzzing. I've since given it to my nephew (maybe 10 years ago?). He still plays it when he isn't on his Strat. That Yamaha is still the workhorse!

--Dave E.

luvdat
03-22-2011, 12:06 AM
Best Yamaha guitar for the $ is the FG-700S It has a SOLID spruce top and is well regarded among acoustic players including myself. Street price is $199, but it can often be found on sale for $149, shop around. Dad will love it!

Recently just picked up an FG-700S which for lack of a better word seems "anointed." Amazing guitar. Also, the day later a now discontinued but still great Yamaha CG131S nylon. BTW, I've owned 3 Martins, a Guild and a $3000 Breedlove. Got to the point I wanted guitars I loved and sounded great but could take anywhere.