View Full Version : Thinking About Learnng to Play Guitar. Info Request.

01-15-2012, 04:14 AM
Hi Everyone!

I've been playing Uke for about a year and a half now and I am thinkIng about picking up guitar as well. I don't want to get a crappy instrument. I've been looking at getting a Dean Performer A/E Koa (a nod to my Uke roots). I've seen some new on eBay for about $300. I will obviously not be able to play before I buy if I go this route and I want to know if anyone has played this instrument before. Any info on Dean in general? This specific instrument? Any advice? Am I better off buying one I can play first at a Sam Ash or something?

01-15-2012, 04:28 AM
At the $300 price point. You're probably getting a guitar with laminate wood. For inexpensive guitars I think Yamaha guitars are great bang for the buck.

01-15-2012, 05:00 AM
Important questions:

What kind of music do you want to play? (Give us examples)
Is $300 your budget? (We'll assume that you're willing to buy new and used)
Do you have any previous experience?
Do you have a friend or a teacher who can help you get started?

01-16-2012, 08:32 AM
I would like to keep it at $300. While I am aware there are amazing instruments tha cost significantly more, I am sure that I can learn well on a $300 guitar. Also, I have a bnch of people who can help me learn to play, but the know surprisingly little about the actual instruments beyond a good set up and laminate vs. solid wood. Each swears by their own brand too. The have Yamaha, Crafter, and another brand that begins with an F. Regardless of brand I want it to sound nice, look nice, and make me motivated to play.

01-16-2012, 09:49 AM
I've had mixed experiences with Dean acoustics. Most of them have been pretty good, but the bad ones I've seen have been real bad...if that makes sense. $300 will get you a solid top Yamaha. I've never run into a bad Yamaha.

Personally, I would take that $300 and go to Guitar Center or Sam Ash and play everything in my price range. You may find a nice used guitar that strikes you're fancy. Oddly enough, one of the prettiest guitars I've ever played was a used Dean exotica at Guitar Center.

Good luck.

01-16-2012, 09:49 AM
Here are few to get you started. I've played them all and they are all nice sounding with good playability. To me playability can be so much more important in picking a beginner's guitar vs a starter uke. Given the larger size, steel strings, wider fret spacing, etc can contribute to being a tough instrument for a beginner. Many find it even painful to switch if it's not an easy fretting instrument. As a uke player going to guitar, the first thing you'll say is, "Holy @#$%! this is way bigger than a uke!" It'll seem like you could drive a truck between the first and second frets.

Given that, there could be an argument to be made for going with one of the several compact/travel sized guitars (Taylor Baby, Martin LX-1, etc) or even a classical or other nylon stringed instrument. But given we don't know what style or music you want to play, I'm assuming a full-size steel string is what you're looking for. The first 3 fit your budget. The other 2 push your budget a bit. At $300, I liked the Yamaha best. I think they make great student level instruments. Personal opinion of course.

(Yamaha FG730s) http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/yamaha-fg730s-solid-top-acoustic-guitar
(Epiphone Hummingbird) http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/epiphone-hummingbird-acoustic-guitar?CJAID=10381297&CJPID=2621307
(Alvarez AD410) http://www.the-music-store.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1462

For a little more, with electronics: (Takamine 340c) http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/takamine-g-series-340c-acoustic-electric-guitar?CJAID=10381297&CJPID=2621307

And about $400: (Seagull s6) http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/seagull-the-original-s6-acoustic-guitar/512120000010000

01-20-2012, 12:44 PM
If you like smaller sized guitars...

Recording King RP-06 $260 ish
Yamaha FG-700S $199 ish
Art & Lutherie AMI $300 ish

I think any would make for an easy transition from Ukulele.

01-20-2012, 01:13 PM
My 2 cents - in your price range I would recommend only 2 guitars: Yamaha and Takamini. For the money the Yamaha will be your best bet. Also, Yamaha's are selling used because of people moving up or out :-) If you buy used, take good care of it, and take your time selling, you will not lose money. Yamahas sound and play nice. My first guitar 35 years ago was a Yamaha, and if I still had it I'd be happy. Be sure the neck is straight and there is no separation between the neck and body at any point. Do not buy one that is not strung and in tune. There should be no more than an almost imperceptible amount of wave anywhere near the bridge. Also, when barring the 1st fret, and strumming hard, there should be no buzz (strings touching frets up the neck) If you have a friend that knows guitars, take them with you to look. You won't go wrong with a Yamaha if you do your homework. The FG series Yamahas already suggested are great.

01-22-2012, 05:52 PM
Recording King is a great brand to look into. 1920s Martin styling with a solid spruce top at $250 is hard to beat.

01-30-2012, 01:26 PM
Do you have extra $$$ for a good setup?

A lot of guitars have terrible setups that totally ruin playability. Since you're playing a uke, you'll have some idea about playability, although steel string guitars will have greater string tension usually.

So I agree with going to Guitar Center and trying out what's there. Bring someone along who plays guitar too and let htem try out the ones you like. Laminate guitars are okay if they have a solid top, but all laminate guitars can be great learner/beater instruments. You don;t need to spend a ton of money on a decent instrument. Plus you can return a Guitar Center guitar at no cost if you take it home and decide this one's not for you.

I would avoid ebay.

02-10-2012, 12:41 PM
I've been playing Uke for about a year and a half now and I am thinkIng about picking up guitar as well. I don't want to get a crappy instrument. I've been looking at getting a Dean Performer A/E Koa (a nod to my Uke roots). I've seen some new on eBay for about $300.

A good thinking. Buy a good guitar. You deserves that. But what is a good guitar? A guitar that is easy to play on, and sounds good. Koa?, - I love koa on ukuleles and to an extent on guitars if it's rightly done (Taylor and others), but in the 300$ range, forget it. You get veneers with an ultra thin layer of koa lookalikes, probably not koa at all.

Being an ukulele player, look for a guitar with about the same string spacing as an ukulele, that is look at the neck before the brand. I was in exact the same situation as you a while back. Bought a guitar for the looks, - bought it wrong. My interest is to finger-picking and open tunings. Not on my bare life could I get a clean arpeggio on that neck, 1 11/16 nut-width. Not with my fingers.

After that I replaced it with a guitar I choose after the neck spec. at least 1 13/16 nut with. If I could get a 1 7/8, I would have gone for that. For me, being a Norwegian and limited selections, I ended up with a Seagull Coastline Folk. That's about in the price range you think of, have a solid top, which is so important for the sound, have a slightly shorter scale (convenient for finger picking) and a rich 1.80 nut with. A slight adjustment of the factory set-up, and you have a good guitar.

02-10-2012, 01:21 PM
Recording King is a great brand to look into. 1920s Martin styling with a solid spruce top at $250 is hard to beat.

Yes, if it only was available here in Europe. I've red great things about Recording King.

02-27-2012, 10:05 AM
I was sort of in the same boat – I picked up ukulele and a couple years later decided to take up acoustic steel string. Since then, I’ve moved on to nylon stringed classical.

My best advice on anything (and contrary to some advice on here) is to try to avoid a crossover type instrument meant to be the best of both worlds – it usually ends up being the worst of both. Specifically, if you want to learn on a steel string acoustic, don’t get a nylon one with a narrower nut just because it is like a ukulele. Just go with a traditional steal string. You’ll get the sound you’re looking for rather than some sort of crossover sound that usually sounds like the worse version of either instrument.

I do agree with what someone said that guitars in that price range may have some playability issues stemming from high action. I don’t think this should discourage you since approx. $60 of professional setup will fix that – just be honest and specific when the tech asks you about your playing style. At the end of the day, I’ve heard people make $100 guitars sing like a $1,000 guitar (maybe not like a $7,000+ guitar of course).

10-15-2012, 06:16 PM
I have been to Carvin's factory in CA, and tried their Colbalt guitars. They are on my list of things I want.


My absolute favorite is my Ovation Elite 1718 Deep Bowl. I have tried their Celebrity line, and they aren't too bad. I've had that 1718 for over 20 years. I think I will be buried with it :D

I see the Celebrity's in the price range you are looking for.

10-20-2012, 08:15 PM
I live 15 miles from the Carvin factory and own two Carvin P.A. systems. They craft fine guitars in all categories. In your price range I recommend the Ovation Celebrity 57:


It's my workhorse acoustic/electric guitar and performs in extreme weather conditions. It has a laminate spruce top for durability and tonal resonance, along with a thin body Lyrachord back made from interwoven glass and hybrid resin materials. This combo gives great projection and allows the spruce top to do it's job in creating superb acoustic tone, rich with harmonics. The OP-4BT preamp with 3-band EQ and chromatic tuner allow you to obtain precise tuning and natural acoustic sound when amplified. For the best acoustic amplifier/P.A. you can get on a budget:


12-31-2012, 09:27 AM
Yes, if it only was available here in Europe. I've red great things about Recording King.

Possibly too late Ambrosius - but just in case!

I have just picked up a truly amazing Recording King RD-26 in Europe from Thomann.de who regularly carry stock - the price? 250 euros (around $330) - for an all solid instrument (Engelmann spruce/mahogany) with an outstanding sound and playability. It needed a little tweaking of the action to get it to the way I like it, but then again I have done that with every guitar I have ever owned.

I cannot recommend them too highly - and the company is courteous. polite and responsive to enquiries - unlike many a Yamaha dealer I have dealt with (this from the owner of a 40+ year old FG-110 that I will probably be BURIED with!)

If you havent made up your mind yet, I would urge you to take a look.

01-04-2013, 10:05 AM
Yes, if it only was available here in Europe. I've red great things about Recording King.


Looks like "ID Musikk" is the place you need to look at for Recording Kings in Norway. Hopefully that helps you, buddy.

02-20-2013, 04:26 PM
For $300 I would definitely look at the used market. You can get a lot more guitar for your money that way. I would recommend brands like Seagull, Recording King, and Eastman. Good luck with your search!

02-20-2013, 05:05 PM
If you are going from uke then you should get the best action you can afford. Either a Takamine or a Taylor will give you a better result if you are going to metal strings. Even a a $300.00 price point, the baby Taylors will give you a lifetime of service and great easy playing neck action.