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Folk Guitar

trianam 07 Mar 06 - 06:01 AM
Big Al Whittle 07 Mar 06 - 06:26 AM
kendall 07 Mar 06 - 07:51 AM
mooman 07 Mar 06 - 08:28 AM
Tootler 07 Mar 06 - 08:45 AM
ChrisE 07 Mar 06 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,Don Meixner 07 Mar 06 - 09:23 AM
JudyB 07 Mar 06 - 01:39 PM
Clinton Hammond 07 Mar 06 - 01:44 PM
jeffp 07 Mar 06 - 01:45 PM
Bert 07 Mar 06 - 04:39 PM
Kaleea 07 Mar 06 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,Obie 07 Mar 06 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,Obie 07 Mar 06 - 06:51 PM
GUEST,John from Tarneybackle 08 Mar 06 - 03:52 AM
Once Famous 08 Mar 06 - 07:52 AM
GUEST 08 Mar 06 - 08:16 AM
Clinton Hammond 08 Mar 06 - 12:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Mar 06 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,Don Meixner 08 Mar 06 - 05:29 PM
Cluin 08 Mar 06 - 05:33 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 08 Mar 06 - 07:51 PM
Once Famous 08 Mar 06 - 11:27 PM
GUEST 09 Mar 06 - 05:24 AM
Grab 09 Mar 06 - 10:34 AM
open mike 09 Mar 06 - 10:47 AM
GUEST 09 Mar 06 - 11:03 AM
Strollin' Johnny 09 Mar 06 - 11:09 AM
Strollin' Johnny 09 Mar 06 - 11:20 AM
Clinton Hammond 09 Mar 06 - 11:25 AM
ChrisE 09 Mar 06 - 11:29 AM
ChrisE 09 Mar 06 - 11:31 AM
mooman 09 Mar 06 - 11:45 AM
Clinton Hammond 09 Mar 06 - 11:49 AM
Strollin' Johnny 09 Mar 06 - 11:55 AM
Bert 09 Mar 06 - 12:10 PM
Anonny Mouse 09 Mar 06 - 09:56 PM
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Subject: Folk Guitar
From: trianam
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 06:01 AM

Hi Folks,
I want to buy a new guitar and I wondered if anyone could give me some tips for good folk-guitars. At the moment I have a Seagull which is a great guitar, but after my trip to Ireland and some sessions there my guitar survived but with a lot of "bruises".
However, I already tried some...like Larivee or Guild. But Larivee sounds too brilliant, I mean nothing dirty in the sound. And Guild sounds very grounded and good in the bases. So I'd need a mixture of both. Next I wanted to try Martins.
What guitar would be best? Which guitars do folk musicians like Christy Moore or Andy Irvine play?
Thank's for your help,
Chris


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 06:26 AM

Christy plays a Takamine. Andy brought three bouzoukis to the last gig I saw him do - personally I thought any sort of guitar would have been welcome.

Your best plan is to go to a big guitar fair like the Avoustic Avlon in Leicester and try the lot - they all do good ones and even really good ones don't suit everybody. Pick one that you like - don't bother if its less than you can afford.


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: kendall
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 07:51 AM

"Buy the one YOU like". Good advice.


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: mooman
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 08:28 AM

There are loads to choose from. The advice "buy the one YOU like" is really the best advice. As to makes you might like to look at as well as Martin and the ones you mentioned:

Gibson (quality control has improved again in the past few years), Lakewood (biased here although I recently sold mine), Avalon, Lowden, Santa Cruz, Taylor, Alvarez-Yairi, Landola (Finland), Brook, Northwood, Furch (Czech Republic - excellent), Fylde (consistently good), Yamaha, Blueridge, Alhambra (Spain - top steel acoustic models are excellent). If you have a vast amount of money I have seen and played nothing better than a Linda Manzer (Canada).

These above are just a few I am familiar with and remember. There are many others. Also innumerable individual luthiers who will produce one-off instruments (I have three such).

Good luck with your search and buy what you like rather than any particular make.

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Tootler
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 08:45 AM

I am not a guitarist, but two other bits of advice I have been given and have found good are

Buy the best you can afford from among those you like. If one you really like is too much over budget, is there another one you like (almost as much) and which close to your budget?

Take someone with you. Another opinion on an instrument, especially from someone who knows what they are talking about and you can trust to give fair advice, is invaluable. You don't always have to agree, but their comments can be really helpful if you are a little unsure.

The last instrument I bought was actually found by the person I had taken with me and I have been really pleased with it. It was the one I liked, BTW :-)


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: ChrisE
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 08:55 AM

Thank's for the advice. Yes, of course I will buy what I like...it's just that I only know those 3 types pretty well (Seagull, Guild, Larivee). I know all the guitars you mentioned above but only by name and not by playing them. So I thought that there might be favourite guitars for this style of music.


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Don Meixner
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 09:23 AM

It all depends on the quality of guitar you are after. But I'd do and have done the following.

Take some one with you that plays like you and listen to them play the guitar. You want the guitar to sound as good to the audience as it does to you. Then you play it.

Then you decide if the sound is what you want. Play a bunch that way and set them aside.

Now play them again and be aware of the fit of the guitar. Is a Dreadnaught the right fit or is a OO or OOO better. Set aside.

Now play again for the feel of the neck and frets. This is the least important of the program. All of the previous qualifiers are not changeable. The set up is. Unless the guitar is a real wreak of an instrument, the necked twisted and the intonation is so bad as to be hopeless the strings can be brought down to a playable level.

The guitar can be refretted and the finger board adjusted.

And when it's all done with if you are like me I'd settle for the Guild F-30 M or RNT.

Don


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: JudyB
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 01:39 PM

Just to complicate things, I have three similar Larrivees made of different woods - and they do sound different. And if you find one that sounds perfect, make sure you find out what kind of strings (brand, weight, etc) are on it - different strings will change the sound.

Enjoy!
JudyB


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 01:44 PM

You already own my favourite kind of guitar...

For the $$ I've never found ANYTHING that beats a good Seagull.....


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: jeffp
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 01:45 PM

Don has given you a lot of excellent advice in his post. The only thing I would add is to be sure your friend can play the type of music you will be playing. That way you can assess whether or not the tone is suitable to the type of music you will be using it for.


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Bert
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 04:39 PM

And what's wrong with a few bruises?

Look at that thing Willie Nelson plays.


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Kaleea
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 04:50 PM

About a gazillion years ago just before I bought my 1964 Gibson-used(!), my brother reminded me that a new Guitar (& most other wood instruments) will take a few years before the sound "mellows" & I would have the same sound in 20 years. Well, it's been more than 20 & the same sound is still there.
Also, You can play 20 guitars of the same brand & there can be remarkably different tone qualities from one model to another.


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 06:45 PM

Chris,
   I must say that I agree with Clinton. The Seagull line is about as good as anything you will find at 1/3 the price. If you want something a bit different check out the Normans. The high end of either will put many a Martin or Gibson to shame . They are both made by the same company "Godin" in Canada. If you look to the orient the Blueridge from China has a lot to offer, but with all things equal my choice would be a high end Norman.


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 06:51 PM

My reason for choosing a Norman over a Seagull is entirely subjective I like the peghead better. They are basically the same guitar except for style.


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,John from Tarneybackle
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 03:52 AM

It is all down to personal taste.

I use a Lowden 32C mostly. It is great for fingerstyle and is very balanced across the 6 strings.

I also have an old beaten up Guild dreadnought style. As with all D's it is bass heavy. It is great for strumming and flat-picking.

Best way to choose is to take another guitarist with you to play to you, then try the ones you like yourself.


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Once Famous
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 07:52 AM

All guitars aspire to be a Martin. They were and are still the standard by which most everything has to measure up to.

It is the benchmark.

I find the D18 which is the basic Martin Standard Series model to be a perfect folk guitar. You should definately try one.


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 08:16 AM

Martin guitars may well be a benchmark, but benchmark is not synonymous with "ultimate" or "Holy Grail".
A benchmark is simply a standard against which you measure something.
The benchmark can be surpassed, or fallen short of.
Many guitars fall short of the Martin benchmark and many guitars surpass it.
Such slavish devotion to Martin is most unusual these days, I could understand it if we were back in the 70's ...


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 12:42 PM

I've yet to find a martin guitar I liked...


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 03:29 PM

Trying out guitars in shops or tents is sometimes harder than it sounds as if it should be. Especially when it is just a little out of tune, and the guy hangs around looking nervous while you try to tune it, or insists it's already in tune...

The best place to try out a guitar is when a friend lets you have a go in a session. Of course that doesn't solve the problem that different copies of the same guitar can feel and handle different, but it's a way of getting a clearer idea of what you are trying for.


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST,Don Meixner
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 05:29 PM

Clinton,

I've found many Martin's I like, I own two but only one that I love. And I have this old Guild that will never leave my side.

Don


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Cluin
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 05:33 PM

I never met a guitar I didn't like.


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 07:51 PM

I've met a few I didn't like. I distinctly remember a Washburn D-10 that I would have driven a truck over if it had been mine.


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Once Famous
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 11:27 PM

"Such slavish devotion to Martin is most unusual these days, I could understand it if we were back in the 70's"

Ah such is life in a vacuum. Or how life is for one who has never been to one of several hundred bluegrass festivals each year. 99% of them must be living in the 70s. Including the 20 somethings with their HD-28s who weren't even around then.


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 05:24 AM

I am told that the Blueridge really has the Martin on the run as a Bluegrass tool. It is said to have a better sound at a fraction of the price. People who tell me this though say that the Martin was better in earlier years, but now seems to depend on it's name for sales.
I am no expert but I do seem to be seeing more and more Blueridges out there.


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Grab
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 10:34 AM

Do you play with a pick or fingerstyle or both? Do you prefer the "boom" of a dreadnaught or the more focussed sound of a "jumbo"? Do you have hands like a gibbon or like a pygmy marmoset? Do you like bigger guitars with great resonance or do you prefer smaller ones (which are often more practical to play)? Do you mostly play fully acoustic, or will you be playing on stage and therefore need top-of-the-line pickups?

And most importantly, what kind of money have you got to put into this? Clinton's right about Seagulls - unless yours is a poor example, you'd better prepare for spending some serious coin (over £1000) to get anything significantly better. If you're checking out Guilds and Larrivees then I guess you're prepared for that.

Don't get too pinned down by woods. So long as it's solid top and back, that's the main thing. Generally cedar tops are more mellow than spruce, and mahogany backs are more mellow than rosewood, but you'll find that most of the difference in guitars is down to how they're made (and who made them), rather than what they're made of. You're best to find a make that suits first, and then fine-tune with the right wood selection afterwards.

Martins are a decent flatpicking guitar, but they don't cut it as a fingerpicking guitar - the sound is all wrong. That's why hundreds of bluegrassers play Martins, and why hundreds of folkies *don't*. And there are better flatpicking guitars around if you've got the money (Collings springs to mind immediately).

Taylor are OK for fingerstyle, but there's no "dirtiness" in there either.

Like John, my choice is a Lowden O32. If you play fingerstyle folk, I *strongly* suggest you play a Lowden (any wood, although rosewood back is best IMO) before you commit. Avalons are very similar too and are slightly cheaper.

There have been tons of previous threads on this topic. Search the forum for "guitar" and see what you find.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: open mike
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 10:47 AM

WHAT?? you mean we are not in the 70's any more....!!??

Gibbon, Marmoset...great way to describe hands..

my martin serves me well and has done so for 30 years
and that suits me fine. (it is an unusual style..D-35-S
with 12 fret fingerboard and slot style tuning pegs
and a 3 piece back)

It has a super wide neck, so it difficult to barre chords,
and requires a capo made for a 12 string, the action is
just right, the bass is bassy, and it is easy to strum,
pick or finger pick, and it also has a pick-up so I can
be amplified... so i guess that about covers it..

the pick up i recommend is one once called a mini-flex.
made locally. i think it was sold to another brand..
GHS strings.

good luck and let us know what you decide on. Laurel


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 11:03 AM

the 'all solid wood' Crafters
made in Korea
might be worth a look


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 11:09 AM

It's all about what turns you on personally. Statements like "Martins are no good for fingerstyle" and "Lowdens are the best for this that and the other", or whatever, are simply expressions of an individual's taste, and carry no more weight or authority than any other opinion.

You MUST try as many guitars as you can, and buy the one that presses the right buttons with you. Ignore other people's advice - trust your own ears, eyes and wallet.

Incidentally, I've had cheapo guitars (i.e. £500/$850 or less) and got rid quick. I now have a Martin J-40 and a Lowden O25. I play both of them fingerstyle and sometimes flatpick them. They both sound great, however played. Very different, but great.

S:0)


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 11:20 AM

And I'm a folkie (they don't like Martins apparently!).   :-)
S:0)


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 11:25 AM

"I've found many Martin's I like"
Bully for you.... want a cookie to go with it?

"I never met a guitar I didn't like."
Oh I have....

"You MUST try as many guitars as you can"
Hear hear!


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: ChrisE
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 11:29 AM

Thank's a lot for all the postings! I decided to go to the biggest music store here in Austria and will stay there a couple of days ;-)
I'll let you know my choice then.
Chris


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: ChrisE
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 11:31 AM

what I wanted to add: the most terrible guitar I ever had was also a Washburn *gg*


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: mooman
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 11:45 AM

In defence of Washburn (I've never owned one btw), Brendy has one and, in his hands, it sounds phenomenal.

But that might be the player rather than the guitar of course.

Peace

moo

P.S. Clinton... did you know that, in Iceland, baked seagull is a culinary delicacy


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 11:49 AM

Some fuckers'll eat anything...


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 11:55 AM

A guy I know has an old Washburn (known affectionately by his mates as 'The Washboard'). Looks nothing, sounds great.
S:0)


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Bert
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 12:10 PM

I remember when I bought my old Yamaha in Saudi Arabia, of course the store didn't have a great selection, so it was a choice between that or a more expensive one. I couldn't tell the difference, so I bought that cheap one and promised myself an upgrade when I could HEAR the difference.

Unfortunately, that day never came and I still have bloody tin ears.


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Subject: RE: Folk Guitar
From: Anonny Mouse
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 09:56 PM

Well, we'd all like to go get us some Martins! But if yer just startin' out or looking for something a bit more economical, the brand I hear mentioned the most in these here parts are from Godin (Seagull, Norman, Art & Lutherie, Simon & Patrick). Since you already have a Seagull, you know what I'm talkin' about. Some of Martin's lower end instruments (the 15 & 16 series) get good reviews...but they aren't a low priced, and some feel once ya get below the "18" series, you may not get the best bang fer yer buck or pound!

Frankly, I ain't real crazy about the China brands--read lots of stories of possible "green" wood used, and cracks and the like-and Blueridges, while driving some Martin nuts nuts, only have a 1 yr. warrantee. I think ya gotta also watch out for the Guild "GAD" series as they're made in China too-probably the SAME PLANT as the Blueridge/Johnson gits. Breedlove has the "Atlas" series-reasonable, but Korean. Cort-another decent, but imported git. Personally I gotta say I've been most impressed with Larrivees of late, esp the lower end ones which are solid woods thru and thru...usually satin finish. Since FMC bought up Guild and Tacoma, they're both made out west in the Tacoma plant--and those gits were pretty sweet too, but the bridges look a little weird on 'em. But they're resonably price-wise-the Tacomas-and I played a reeeeeel nice little Tacoma OM that was SWEET sounding. I'd avoid Gibsons if they were from the Norlin years--they really screwed up a vaunted American brand...I think they're comin' back tho in the Q/C dept.

Thing is it's a smorgasbord out there now and there are even a coupla US luthiers who'll BUILD you a handmade git for under 2k-which is pretty good. Like everyone says--play a bunch of whatever, ignore what it says on the headstock...and get the one that sounds the best to you. Also-if you have a pal you can take along who plays, give the gits yer trying to him--and sit about 4-5 feet away and listen. It can make a lot of difference.


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