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Thread: What size guitar?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Ames, Iowa
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    Default What size guitar?

    My wife has an old guitar that I think I want to learn to play. So I'm going to give it a try in a couple of weeks when I don't have anything ukulele oriented on the horizon. But just thinking ahead, that guitar is a dreadnought size and it is huge. I'm a big guy, and I could hide behind that guitar. So what about the 3/4 size guitar? Is that considered a kid's guitar, is it considered a lady's guitar, or is it just considered a small guitar for people who don't like a guitar the size of a billboard? I don't want to buy something later on just to find out that there is some stigma to playing it for whatever reason.

    Also, just as an added note, I kind of want to play bluegrass with it. I've showed up to a couple of bluegrass get togethers with my ukulele and it was not particularly well received. I don't want to buy a guitar that gets the same lack of enthusiasm from the bluegrass community that I want to play with.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
    Posts
    4,629

    Default

    If you're worried about what the "real" bluegrass crowd is going to receive, then ask them. Personally, my only "guitars" now are tenor and baritone uke-sized bodies. Anybody that's going to look down their nose at me for that choice, I don't care to play with. But that's just me.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, A, EJ45LP

    !Flukutronic!

  3. #3

    Default

    Bluegrass people can be a little snobbish about playing with "proper" instruments. I try practicing bluegrass at home anyway just because I love Banjos but don't have hands that can fret them. Wish they made small banjos.
    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Blaine, Washington
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    Default

    I play lead in a bluegrass group. I use a George Thomas parlor and a 1893 Bay State Parlor guitars. The Bay State, as small as it is, puts the Martin Dreadnaughts to shame. I continually get comments how much volume that little guy puts out. String type and pick material play a large part in the sound.

    It's not the guitar a person plays but how well they play it. Someone with a vintage Martin D28 who can't play it well would be shamed much more than someone with a faunky guitar who can play the heck out of it.

    I am looking at a '58 Martin D28 and '47 Gibson J45 or 50 an elderly gentleman wants to sell. Will never buy a Martin or Gibson later than '73.
    Last edited by Patrick Madsen; 11-03-2019 at 11:13 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hanks View Post
    If you're worried about what the "real" bluegrass crowd is going to receive, then ask them. Personally, my only "guitars" now are tenor and baritone uke-sized bodies. Anybody that's going to look down their nose at me for that choice, I don't care to play with. But that's just me.
    Yes, I might agree with you except that I want to learn to play bluegrass on a guitar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Madsen View Post
    I play lead in a bluegrass group. I use a George Thomas parlor and a 1893 Bay State Parlor guitars. The Bay State, as small as it is, puts the Martin Dreadnaughts to shame. I continually get comments how much volume that little guy puts out. String type and pick material play a large part in the sound.

    It's not the guitar a person plays but how well they play it. Someone with a vintage Martin D28 who can't play it well would be shamed much more than someone with a faunky guitar who can play the heck out of it.

    I am looking at a '58 Martin D28 and '47 Gibson J45 or 50 an elderly gentleman wants to sell. Will never buy a Martin or Gibson later than '73.
    Very good, thank you. What I'm looking for, someone with experience. I will look at parlor guitars. I'll probably start out on my wife's old guitar, just to learn, but when I progress to the point of getting my own, I don't want to be buying, and then buying again because what I bought isn't going to work for what I want to do.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Default

    If you want to play serious bluegrass with a group, I suggest you look for something bigger than a parlor. It's tough competing against a 5 string banjo and mandolin. I use a parlor due more to I'm sitting down when I play. 000 or OM is a good size if you don't want to play a dreadnaught. For a pick, I have been using the Charmed Life triangle CLT.075 up to a.092.

    The 1893 Bay State is 126 years old and light as a feather. I put on xtra light John Pearce 80/20's just to give the old girl a break. The Thomas has on med/light JP 80/20's. GAS is knockin' at the door so may go for a larger size this time.

  7. #7
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    Pickering, ON, Canada
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    Hey Rolli about 90% of bluegrass is played on dreadnaughts, sorry for the bad news. It is simple physics, a big guitar usually has a bigger sound. When you are playing with a lot of other instruments including banjo volume is king. That being said a 00 or 000 size is big enough to have good volume, I own both, small enough to be comfortable.

    Welcome to the dark side. I love the steel string sound and my time is now split between guitar and ukulele.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    16

    Default

    If you are just getting started in bluegrass guitar, you'll probably mostly be playing in jams. There are always a ton of guitars there so adding yet another loud as heck dreadnought isn't necessary. For that setting I like best my little Alvarez parlor guitar.

    If you're the only guitarist in an actual band, facing a banjo and fiddle, you'll probably need the dreadnought size to reach approximate balance. Even then, they have to throttle down when you are taking a guitar break.

    In my case I'm not tall but I've got long arms (5-9 height, 6 foot wingspan, yes I'm evidence we did in fact evolve from the apes), I don't really have any trouble playing the dreadnought size guitar, but I will agree that the parlor size seems easier to manipulate.

    I see an awful lot of women of modest stature successfully playing the big dreadnoughts so I wouldn't get too concerned about it. It'll take you a while to get accustomed to the playing position if you've been playing ukulele (which is on the completely opposite end of the size spectrum), but if you are a man of medium or greater size you don't need anything smaller.

    For sure I would not buy a short scale guitar (which I bet most of those called "3/4" are), unless for some very special specific use, or if you are a child.

    Finally, if you are just starting out on guitar, why not get started with what you have, and let your preferences form more fully before considering whether to invest in something non-standard? You may still decide to do it, but let that decision be based on some more knowledge.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by turf3 View Post


    Finally, if you are just starting out on guitar, why not get started with what you have, and let your preferences form more fully before considering whether to invest in something non-standard? You may still decide to do it, but let that decision be based on some more knowledge.
    I think that perhaps I'm over thinking it before the fact. I can't even play the guitar at this point. I'll play my wife's guitar for a while and probably get used to the size quickly. I'm not a small person. Well see where it goes. Thanks all for the advise though.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    289

    Default

    Play the guitar.

    A big guy can get away with playing any Uke but a kids sized guitar is just that a kids guitar.

    With the cash saved in not buying a parlour sized guitar you could buy another Uke.
    Col.
    From the UK with a bad case of MIAS.
    Korg PA700, Korg Kross 2, Gibson LP, Fender Jazz Bass,
    + Amps, PA, Boss GT100, mixer.
    Ukes - Kala KA-TEME and Risa ST electric solid body.
    Uke wish list, a Bass, make and model yet to be determined

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