Topic: Triangulation and GAS
I am zealous but terrible guitar player. However I do suffer from occasional fits of guitar acquisition syndrome (GAS). Today GAS caused me to visit my favorite guitar store, Dirt Cheep Music (http://www.dirtcheepmusic.com), located in the bustling metropolis of Smyrna, Georgia. A combination of time, interest, and proximity created a triangulation effect rivaling Dealey Plaza in November 1963.
Upon entering the store, I found myself among a flock of Seagulls (one of my favorite brands) and all three new Recording King "Dirty Thirty" models. While I will always take the time to play a Seagull guitar, I've really wanted to get my hands on the RK "Dirty Thirty" instruments. (Recording King is another of my favorite affordable brands.) After exchanging pleasantries with the always-friendly staff I excitedly reached for the RK ROH-05 (000-body). Of the three models this is the one I most interested in.
It felt lightly-constructed (a good omen), fit and finish were excellent (this is a $199 guitar), and the playability was, as they say, "like butta". I was instantly enamored with this instrument and found myself dreaming of walking out with it today. My playing was limited to noodling with fingers only, no pick (plectrum for the purists), so I can't describe how it might sound when strummed. But with only the fingers, I liked it. I definitely would recommend this instrument to any beginner or as an addition to any burgeoning guitar collection.
Next I reached for the RPH-05 (0-body) guitar. I expected it to sound boxy as affordable small-bodied instruments often do - that's why many like them - but it sounded very similar to the 000. I imagine a pick and vigorous strumming would quickly differentiate the two however. The RPH is a 12 fret design and its compactness made it even more comfortable than the larger 000. I would recommend this instrument as well.
I did not touch the RDH-05 (dreadnought) as I am not in the market for a dreadnought and generally don't prefer the looks of a dread. (Their sound is another story.)
My general impression of all three is RK hit a home run with these instruments. Sound, playability, fit and finish are excellent. The price is affordable. Heck one could buy all three for the cost of a Taylor 110 or Martin Road series. From a distance they are very appealing. Up close the impression, especially at the headstock, is toy-ish. and the satin finish (which I love) is prone to smudges which I find unsightly. This propensity to gather smudges, etc. will likely cause me to look elsewhere.
And look elsewhere I did. I have also been looking to get my hands on a Seagull Folk guitar and this trip satisfied this craving. The Seagull Coastline Folk guitar is a delight. While I love the S-6, the folk offers much the same but without the dreadnought body which I find disinteresting. This guitar is a strong contender for the next Mrs. GAS. While I can buy a used one for less, I am slowing joining the camp of playing before buying so I might be willing to pay a little more for an instrument I could audition before buying. This would also allow me to support my favorite guitar shop. Win, win, win.
Those of you patient enough to read my posts can probably guess a guitar purchase is imminent. You'll be the second to know.