Topic: Guitar Requirements

What are you minimum requirements for a guitar if you are in the market for a new one.

Personally  I like ebony fret boards, Mahogany Necks , solid front and back , laminated sides are fine and seem stronger than solid, and I use both cedar and spruce. I use cedar more and use spruce for certain songs. All of mine are classical and I have a brand preference.

Music is what feelings sound like.
Music is life, that why our hearts have beats.

Re: Guitar Requirements

Well, I play a lot differently than you do CG.  I used to have a classical guitar, an old Yamaha  whose model I can't remember. I've since given that to my sister. I love the sound of the nylon strings, but since my preferred playing style relates to a lot more strumming than yours, the wide neck of the classicals wasn't working too well for me.  However, what I did like about classical guitars was the relatively flat neck profile (on the back where your thumb goes), and I think that's the thing I like best about my Guild D40. It has a flattish neck back that feels a lot like that old classical guitar I had, but the neck is narrow and more conducive to the quick strumming I do, but it's still wide enough to allow for fingerpicking. Now I've just said that what I liked about my Guild is a flattish neck, but oddly I played I think it was a Gretsch that had an almost pyramid shape to the neck. It wasn't a smooth radius, but had a distinct break in the curve at the high point. I really liked that too. My thumb has a tendency to wander, and having a point I can feel helps me to keep it positioned better.  So I can't say that I want this feel or that feel too easily, but when I hold the guitar and play it, I have to like what I feel.

In general, I like a solid top. I have a cedar top guitar which is the guitar I think I play most. It has mahogany back and sides. It's got an unusual body shape that Takamine had a name for and which I forget, but it's very, very, very comfortable to hold. That's the next most important thing to me - comfort in holding.

It's got to sound good. So many pretty guitars, or guitars that feel good don't sound like much to me. I like a steel stringed acoustic guitar to ring out and have a good bass resonance. On too many, the bass is muddy.

Lastly, I want a guitar that looks good. This is entirely subjective and changes guitar to guitar. Joey and Detman have acoustic guitars with stickers on them, and they just suit their personalities so well that they look good for them, but I don't intend to put any stickers on my guitars. My cases are a mess, but not on the guitar itself. I don't mind scratches and dings and wear. I don't put them there intentionally, but signs of use improve a guitar's appearance in my opinion - but oddly like the stickers I don't want to see that when I"m buying a guitar.

So I guess it comes down to these criteria for me: feel, sound, look.

Granted B chord amnesty by King of the Mutants (Long live the king).
If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome! - Mekidsmom
When in doubt ... hats. - B.G. Dude

3 (edited by Tenement Funster 2018-03-05 12:30:13)

Re: Guitar Requirements

Great question, CG ... here's my own list of must have's for an acoustic guitar:

1) All-solid-wood... laminates don't resonate overtones the way solid woods do
2) Wide nut ... my large hands and thick fingers won't handle anything less than a 1.75" nut
3) I prefer a flatter 14" radius neck to a 12" radius
4) Ebony does make a better fretboard than rosewood (harder = more sustain, less dampening)
5) Cedar top on a classical ... Engleman / Adirondack / Sitka spruce top on a steel string (in that order of preference)
6) Solid build quality throughout

The price has to equate with the true value, which is why I usually shy away from "big name" brands. It doesn't matter to me if a famous guitarist endorses a particular brand (they're paid to do that), or if they have a slick marketing campaign, both of which costs will have to be built into the price.

How it sounds and how it feels will usually line up where I want them, if 1 thru 6 are in place.

ACOUSTICS:  Cordoba D10-CE / LaPatrie "Concert" / Takamine GD30CE-12 / Norman ST30
ELECTRICS:  EP Les Paul Custom Pro / Gretsch Streamliner G2420T / EP Thunderbird Pro IV bass
AMPS:  Traynor YCS50 / Peavey "TF" VK212 / Traynor AM150T / Fender Rumble 150
EFFECTS: Boss ME-80 Multi-effects / Ibanez WD7 wah

Re: Guitar Requirements

I like the question also. Because we all have different taste.
I'm kind of picky in what I want. I'm driven by the quality so I tend to hit the big names . Not to say lower cost guitars haven't impressed me. And I have a wish list.
1). Neck profile. I like slim necks so all of mine have the same feel.
2) Solid wood
3) Sound.
After that  I like Ebony fret boards, Electronics on acoustics, Abalone inlays but not too much.
I don't like weird Pick guards or weird headstocks. Most colors are OK ,But not all.
I like the overall appearance to look balanced.

Re: Guitar Requirements

Yes  the guy with the long nail is a lefty.  From the look of his nails he must have layers of hardener on then  too,  Personally if  you know how to play those long nails are more for looks than being practical. I play some very good pieces and have never use long nails.  Another guy I know who can not grow out his nails goes to a nail salon and has false nails attached and thinks he plays better. I sounds more tinnie than mellow.

Music is what feelings sound like.
Music is life, that why our hearts have beats.

Re: Guitar Requirements

At a bare minimum I want a solid wood top but prefer solid wood all around. My first guitar (35 years ago) was all laminate. I was poor back then and couldn't afford an all wood guitar. Then again, I didn't really know the difference. At the time it was the best thing I had ever heard. A couple years later I traded a bicycle for an Alvarez 12 string. It has a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides. The sound was so much fuller and cleaner but I attributed it to the extra strings. I later found out it was the solid wood that really made the difference.

I'm not too particular on nut width. I bounce back and forth between the 6 and 12 which of course have different widths. It just takes a few songs to adjust to the wider neck.

I'm not that picky about the fretboard material either. My 35 year old Epi with rosewood has minor depressions in the first 5 frets but doesn't create a problem yet. So rosewood works well enough for what I do.

Like Tyson, I don't like a flashy pickguard or mountains of fret inlay. But I have to admit, I want fret markers. I like the way some makers have started putting them on the edge instead of the face of the fretboard.

The neck shape I am particular about. I don't like the V shape at all. The U or D shape is tolerable but I prefer the softer, smoother curve of the C. It just fits my hand better.

https://s15-us2.ixquick.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=http%3A%2F%2Ft0.gstatic.com%2Fimages%3Fq%3Dtbn%3AANd9GcQ1VD7sJ5d8NEaiUS2FAU1pNpPK8wHTqMDZkg0nPMta3euMwUatlQ&sp=10c0f4ff88021edc61e287219d11dc6c&anticache=294638

Overall my main criteria is the feel of it in my hands and sound quality. Like TF said; big name brand does not necessarily mean the best guitar. I played a couple Martins and Taylors that just didn't fell comfortable and I've never come across a Gison that I would want to own. While my Alvarez, at a fraction of the cost, plays like a dream and I would take it over many models of the big names.

__________________________________
[b]Today Is Only Yesterdays Tomorrow[/b]

Re: Guitar Requirements

unclejoesband thank you for mentioning neck sizes and shapes. I  should have mentioned it in my original post. There was a long time when I only bought  Luthier made custom guitars and the cost seemed justified. The only problems I had was with 8 guitars I had my favorites and played all of them. The neck shape varied even with  the same custom builders. They sounded wonderful and I believed at the time they made me a better player. Them when a collector offered me much more than I had invested in them I sold all of them to one collector. I had already bought two Yamaha upper end classical guitars that I used when doing a concert at a place I play yearly. No one in the event could tell a difference and the ones I bought played exactly the same. I have since bought a total of 8 of the same models, 3 spruce and 5 cedar.  So for the first time in years all the guitar feel and sound and play exactly the same.  They feel the same, sound great, and play wonderfully. Best of all no venue I play can tell the difference. I use two to practice with, and then the others I use for venues and when I change strings I tune them until they no longer stretch  and use those for concerts and venues. The neck sizes are the same  and are smaller so they are actually easier to play for longer times.  So neck sizes do matter.

Music is what feelings sound like.
Music is life, that why our hearts have beats.

Re: Guitar Requirements

My requirements depend on how I plan to use it.  Sound used to be my primary focus but since I've gotten older and an beginning to have arthritis issues, neck shape and width are more important for playing ease and comfort.  For guitars I use to write songs or to play solo gigs I prefer 00/concert or 000/auditorium body sizes with  a shallow C shaped neck 1.75 inches wide. I like the sound of different wood combos.  Some of my acoustics are rosewood/sitka, rosewood/adirondack, mahogany/sitka, mahogany/cedar.  Solid wood tops/backs are preferred.  For guitars I use to play bluegrass with friends, a dreadnaught body shape has more "boom"  as long as the guitar has the right neck shape/width, but shoulder issues I've developed from my whitewater kayaking days makes the larger body shapes a little uncomfortable for me to play.

I don't buy expensive guitars as I'm not a very good picker and it would be like putting a $100 saddle on a $10 horse (to quote something I heard in a cowboy movie long ago).  I keep a couple decent ones for playing out and also some cheap ones to play around campfires when camping.

I recently bought a small all-laminate guitar to take along on overnight  and multi-day river trips.  The sound isn't great but the body size fits into a dry bag and the laminate hopefully will hold up better in the wet environment and the heat/humidity inside a dry bag while riding in a raft all day.

DE

I want to read my own water, choose my own path, write my own songs

Re: Guitar Requirements

I think Dirty Ed may be the only one of us who has a requirement that the guitar has to fit in a dry bag. That's awesome.

Granted B chord amnesty by King of the Mutants (Long live the king).
If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome! - Mekidsmom
When in doubt ... hats. - B.G. Dude

Re: Guitar Requirements

Zurf wrote:

I think Dirty Ed may be the only one of us who has a requirement that the guitar has to fit in a dry bag. That's awesome.

That is incredibly awesome! Once I get the kayaks loaded down for a weekend fishing / camping trip with some buddies, I really don't know where a guitar would go. I've taken a mouth-organ (aka "harp") before, but I'm not very good with one so it doesn't last more than few minutes.

ACOUSTICS:  Cordoba D10-CE / LaPatrie "Concert" / Takamine GD30CE-12 / Norman ST30
ELECTRICS:  EP Les Paul Custom Pro / Gretsch Streamliner G2420T / EP Thunderbird Pro IV bass
AMPS:  Traynor YCS50 / Peavey "TF" VK212 / Traynor AM150T / Fender Rumble 150
EFFECTS: Boss ME-80 Multi-effects / Ibanez WD7 wah

Re: Guitar Requirements

I look for how much room it will take up in my house. Then playability and condition. Sound and action.  Other factors, where I am going to put it.

Enjoy Every Sandwich
Nothing In Moderation  -- Live Fast. Love Hard. Die Young And Leave A Beautiful Corpse. -- Buy It Today. Cry About It Tomorrow.

Re: Guitar Requirements

joeyjoeyjoey wrote:

I look for how much room it will take up in my house. Other factors, where I am going to put it.

Got a great chuckle out of your post, JJJ ... they say that half the battle with any addiction is recognizing it in the first place. You appear to be blowing that theory out of the water. lol

ACOUSTICS:  Cordoba D10-CE / LaPatrie "Concert" / Takamine GD30CE-12 / Norman ST30
ELECTRICS:  EP Les Paul Custom Pro / Gretsch Streamliner G2420T / EP Thunderbird Pro IV bass
AMPS:  Traynor YCS50 / Peavey "TF" VK212 / Traynor AM150T / Fender Rumble 150
EFFECTS: Boss ME-80 Multi-effects / Ibanez WD7 wah