Need advice - 3 small acoustic options

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Posted by mikej on Mon, 06/07/04 - 07:19:56.

Looking for a guitar my wife can learn on that I will also feel comfortable playing. 3/4 size is a little too small, but "grand auditorium" seems about right.

I'm looking primarily at 3 guitars and wondered if anyone here had an feedback on them:

1. Fender GA45S - Grand Auditorium size (roughly same as the Taylor Big Baby). Solid spruce top, solid rosewood back, laminate rosewood side. Gloss finish. Die-cast gold tuners. Bound fingerboard. Found one new for a little under $300. List, apparantly, is around $750. From reading reviews, most folks have paid over $500 used. Seems like a great deal. Haven't actually played this one, but I have tried a lower grade version (laminated back and sides, fingerboard not bound, lower-grade tuners) of the same guitar, and even that one sounded pretty good. I imagine this one would sound better. Guitar is located about 1.5 hours from me. Was suprised to like a Fender accoustic.

2. Seagull Artist Grand. Parlor size. Solid Cedar top. Solid rosewood back. Laminate sides. Gold tuners. Gloss lacquer finish. Can't quite figure out a price on the Artist Grand. I've played around with the standard Grand (again, slightly lesser materials) and was not as impressed as a number of the reviews I've read seem to be. Maybe I picked up one of the few duds put out by Seagull. Seemed smaller than the Fender to me (maybe closer to 3/4 size?), but I don't know the exact specs on sizes of these guitars. I'm a little confused on the Parlor vs Grand Auditorium thing, and the names don't really help clear it up (Seagull's is called a "Grand," for instance).

3. Alvarez RP20S. Parlor size. Solid Spruce top. I think the back and sides are laminated Mahogony (but they could be solid, I guess). Overall, I like Alvarez. I recently bought an Alvarez 3/4 size (MSD1) for my son, and that is one incredible little guitar (solid spruce top, solid mahogony back and sides). This one, though, is from the Regent series, which is Alvarez's entry-level. I'm wondering if it is essentially a lower-grade version of the one I bought for my son (which was from the Masterworks series). I'm still a little unclear on size here. Also, not sure about price.

Seems to me the Fender is probably my best bet b/c the guitar needs to be a little bigger than 3/4, but not as big as a standard dreadnought. But maybe I'm wrong about the sizes. I've held the cheaper version of the Fender and the cheaper version of the Seagull. I really like Seagull, but the cheaper Fender seemed better to me. Maybe it was a size issue (different shops on different days, so I'm not sure). Have not held the Alvarez listed above (but am amazed by the one my son has and really like Alvarez in general).

I have not been a big Fender fan, but maybe I've just been wrong about them. My brother showed me the cheaper Fender this past weekend (he usually plays a Taylor Big Baby, which just seems too weak on bass to me), and we both found ourselves pleasantly suprised.

Anyone have any feedback on these 3 guitars?

Thanks,
Mike

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I like my Alvarez

I got the Alvarez RP20S. I like the small size for ease of holding. It doesn't have a lot of bass to my ear. But I still like the sound. It's big advantage is comfort. Seems to be a simple, well-made guitar. I may put a bone saddle in it someday and see what that does for the sound.

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