Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

I in the market for a new acoustic guitar. Preferably a solid top jumbo electro acoustic cutaway. I have an old 20 year old Yamaha FG 332 which actually sounds quite good for a laminate (I use Drop D tuning) but I would like to upgrade. I live in NW Ireland but would be willing to travel for the right guitar.

Amongst the brands I have in mind are Takamine, Tanglewood, Cort, Simon & Patrick, Seagull even Yamaha! (I beleive their handbuilt LL6T is ok) but brand is really unimportant, sound is very important. I will be using it mostly in ITM sessions for backing but I figure if a pickup was already fitted all the better. I would like a guitar with a good deep sound and low action and which keeps in tune as you play up the neck (a problem with my Yamaha).

I have shop tested a few acoustics - a few Tanglewoods up to €800 approx (nice) and a Cort €500 not bad either. Of course a Martin I tried was lovely but it was also €2000 and outside my budget. I am not a €2K player! I would like to try a few more before making a decision. My budget is approx €700 but could stretch a little more if reqd or if I find a brilliant guitar at €400 I’d also be more than happy.

I have read the other discussions on this forum re the pickup and getting the best guitar without a pickup and I kinda agree so a pickup is not absolutely necessary.

I would appreciate if anybody can point me towards a good guitar shop on this island which has a good range of acoustics with some of the above brands on display and where I can try them out to my hearts content without being pressured by smooth talking salespersons shoving brochures and magazine reviews in your face!

Re: Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

Marcus in Royal avenue Belfast, The Guitar Emporium, Bradbury Place Belfast.

Re: Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

Why do you need a cutaway? I’ve never understood why so many people go for guitars with cutaways when they never play above the twelfth fret (I do, but still don’t play a cutaway). A cutaway adds a lot to the cost of construction and, in my opinion does, nothing for the sound (or the looks).

Re: Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

Pesky commas,,,,.

Re: Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

A ‘cut away’ actually can, i think, reduce the bass frequencies.
I have one, because i find some of the stuff i play up there much easier than without, for example,i play ‘hag at the churn’ in the high octave, this is hard enough with a cut away let alone without! and of course, as a lead guitarist i solo at the top end a lot. I play on a Spanish guitar or an electric[Godin].
I always recommend Crowley’s in Cork, good range and great folk.

Re: Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

I bought my son a nice yamaha semi-accoustic, it was reduced to about 600 euros, so I gave them about 45o for it. Got it in Marcus.

Re: Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

Have you tried the Canadian Seagul guitars? I’ve got one of them and find it very decent, cost about 700 euros.

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Re: Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

Some people on this site have had high praise for Blue Ridge, which are, I believe, Chinese made.
I played a "Walden" this week — also Chinese built — and was very impressed.

Re: Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

No, I dont really have to have a cutaway body but if it didnt compromise the sound too much I would probably go for it. Some pros use cutaways (Arty McGlynn does and he is on BBC NI right now!) and some don’t. Indeed I notice John Doyle uses a normal dreadnought ? Martin and he sounds ok. Nice action, tone and playability are more important.

I have heard both Seagul and Blue Ridge recommended but I need to be able to try them out. Walden I havent heard of but will research. I am not a brand snob and drive a Korean car! With a guitar, if it sounds good, plays good it is good no matter what the make.

A friend of mine from a local session recently bought a Martin somewhere in Cork not sure where. I think its an OM series?? and cost around €1100. Regular body not jumbo. Personally I am not impressed with this Martin. I dont mind travelling but I would like to head for a shop with a very good range.

Re: Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

Well cork has at least 5 music shops at my last count . The cut away will affect the tone. no doubt. If you play ampd up its not a problem, just up the bass on the graphic.I would hazard a guess that most if not all cutaways are semi acc. If you don’t play up there a lot and you play acc mostly then go full body.
I find an awful lot of brand snobbery in the guitar world.
have you taken your yam to a luthier for a set up?
Old guitars will often have the best sound due to the wood aging, and settling in.a good old martin can be had 2nd hand sometimes for a grand or so.
Personally i play Spanish guitar so cant really help for a steely.

Re: Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

Might not be what you’re looking for (no cutaway), but I’m selling a nice acoustic right now - it’s handmade in Canada, all solid woods (spruce top/rosewood back and sides) maker is "The Legend Guitar Co." which was set up by two former Larivee luthiers, "mini jumbo" body, ebony fretboard, and it has a Martin Gold Line undersaddle pickup. Nice case too. I’d take €800 for it. I can email photos if interested. I’m in East Galway. Contact: johnnie40coats@yahoo.com

Re: Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

Some of us who remember when God’s dog was a puppy cannot believe just how many decent guitars are on the market now. And this golden age of lutherie has finally extended into the entry level. There are so many nice guitars in the low and mid price range that it’s just a matter of what kind of sound you want. Well, that and a lot of shopping.

For a rich, mature sound (even on the cheap end), I really like the Blueridge models. I don’t kow how they do it, but even their bargain basement plywood models sound nice.

Don’t reject a guitar just because of the action. That’s easily adjusted.

Re: Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

Just a note about ply vs solid top. Ply can be a lot sturdier!, a solid top can have a better sound but is more fragile.
Bob, good point about set up,however, 1} if its not set up well, then it can be hard to know how it will play when it is, and 2}If its not set up well that could reflect on the care gone into production,or lack of!
Personally for me a guitar needs to be up for both serious rhythm playing but also loud clear lead playing, different matters altogether.
triplets gtr sounds interesting,

Re: Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

A few thoughts:

1) Go for a guitar without a pick-up pre-installed. Stock pick-ups are usually under-saddle transducer affairs, and not normally good ones - really it isn’t going to be the sound you’re going for. You usually end up overpaying for a guitar that has a pre-installed pick-up. That said, I don’t really get pick-ups for acoustic guitars - to me unless you’re prepared to spend decent amount of money for a twin source system then you’re never going to get a great sound.

2) A cutaway will have a negative impact on your tone. It also raises production costs, so the materials used for the same price will be less good.

3) Fret height can have an odd effect on the playability of a guitar. Old Yamahas did have oddly low frets, something I really don’t like. It sort of makes the guitar harder to play, as you need to push the string down further to stop it behind the fret. New guitars tend to have higher frets, but it’s something really worth being aware of.

4) Set up affects both volume and tone. A quiet guitar with a good tone and a low action will become louder if the action is raised - and usually the tone will become brighter or at least stay the same. Similarly a guitar with overly hard action that sounds quite loud and has good tone will become quieter and loose some of it’s edge if the action is reduced.
* Bad set-up isn’t always to do with bad production - guitars that are shipped from different climates over water can need a while to settle down to life in this climate. And sometimes it just means carelessness.

5) Sort of similar to 4, but if you’re usually in altered tunings check what it sounds like. Sometimes, a guitar needs plenty of tension across the top to make it ring - if you’re tuning down you’ll loose tension and might loose the resonance of the top.

6) In your price range, you should go for a solid wood top and, if possible solid wood back and sides. Certainly avoid laminate tops.

7) Spruce Vs Cedar tops: spruce is usually a bit brighter, but requires a good couple of years of playing in before it reaches it’s maximum potential. Cedar is normally good within 4 months, but the end result isn’t quite as bright.

Finally, always "rattle-test" a guitar before you buy it. Give it a good firm shake, preferably upside down (you can always claim to have lost a pick in the guitar). If you hear any rattles, run away very very quickly (or at least, ask what it is).

Hmmm, that should have been "lose" Curious how thinking about elk lead me to moose and from there to writing loose.

Re: Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

A moose once bit my sister.

Good point on the “rattle-test”, Andy. I mostly agree with you, except for a few things.

The fret height thing is something I studied (from a purely personal point of view) in some detail before my last re-fret job. For me, lower frets work better and I think it’s mainly because I don’t form thick, hard calluses. Taller frets mean the string wants to dig deeper into my fingertip, which is uncomfortable and curbs my endurance. Also, I don’t press any harder with the lower frets. Tall frets let you finger a note a little farther back behind the fret than with short frets. If you’re accustomed to this, you’ll find yourself pressing harder with low frets. If you’re accustomed to low frets, you’re probably also accustomed to fingering the note a little closer to the fret.

Theoretically, a cutaway ought to have *some* effect on the sound, but I’m not at all convinced that it’s negative or even detectable. A fair answer to the question would require a scientific investigation that is unlikely to ever be performed.

I’ve heard variations on the spruce vs cedar case for many years and the only thing I’m moderately convinced of is that a spruce voice does change more in the first couple of years. But they will both keep changing slowly for a long time. Whether one is naturally brighter, warmer, sweeter, louder, or whatever is still an open question. The more guitars I play, the less I believe the conventional wisdom (which, itself, keeps changing). Again, a true scientific comparison is not going to happen.

Re: Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

Thanks everyone for that advice. I have certainly learned a few things. I am going to get a luthier to look at the old Yamaha. It needs a few frets anyway and perhaps bring the action down a bit. I have already done a bit of work on it a few years back and its better than it was off the shelf but I would like a pro to look at it. I also use Elixir nanoweb coated 12-56 strings and they are great too.

Sometimes melody players say to me ‘theres a grand tone out of that guitar!’ It really is good for a laminate so I would be sad to part with it.

I think there are a couple of luthiers in Galway, Paul Doyle and Kieran Moloney and they also sell new guitars so I will spend some time with one of them in the next couple of weeks.

I will keep it even if I buy new and perhaps use it to experiment on different tunings.

Re: Recommended mid budget acoustic guitars and guitar shops Ireland?

Just came across this post and wanted to add something I know its late… Regarding the ‘Andy V’ who says: "Go for a guitar without a pick-up pre-installed" Absolutely Do NOT! For two reasoins: One, the cost escalates to put in a good pickup like a Fishmann and, Two: Most reasonable guitars come with a Fishmann or proprietary feedback (such as Takemine’s System). Yes they’re piezo but there is absolutely No deterioration in sound quality and you will find it more tidy and a hell of a lot easier than having some ‘unknown guy’ drill holes in your new guitar after to put a pick up in it you could have had factory installed and tested! Some of the systems also come with a Feedback cut out switch which if you play mic’d up a lot can be invaluable in small loud-volume gigs. so if you value your sanity don’t go for a guitar without a pickup preinstalled - there are some incredible systems preinstalled out there. Furthermore, cut aways can have a miniscule impact on tone if you have an audograph handy! It anal to say they do. The main concern is the wood and construction of the guitar. Soldi top if your budget will stretch. The rest of the comments I have to agree with though 🙂