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mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
10/2/20 1:57 p.m.

Looking for some help for kid's 10th bday present. He plays for about 2.5 years, used craigslist one. Would be his first new one. 

I don't know anything about music or instruments, so turn to you for some help. 

 

Our local store recommended the following:

  • Yamaha JR1 3/4 Size Steel String - Natural
  • Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy Acoustic Guitar
  • Fender FA-15 3/4 Size Steel String Guitar
  • Taylor BT1

 

Prices seem to be $140-$180 or so. 

 

Any thoughts or opinions?

barefootskater
barefootskater UltraDork
10/2/20 2:09 p.m.

In that price range, I'd just try them all out and see which is the best for feel and sound. 
That said, I am partial to Gretsch, and generally dislike Fender acoustic. 

*edit. Just looked them up. I'd get the gretsch just based on looks, but that's a personal thing. 

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
10/2/20 2:22 p.m.

Yamaha is a lot of guitar for the money.  My son was not fond of his because the action was pretty high.  I suppose that could be fixed.

EDIT:  I do NOT hear good things about the bottom end Martins.  I know little of Taylors.  The BT1 is a $350 guitar.

Son recently picked up a slightly used Gretsch Electromatic hollow body electric.  He likes it.

Son's favorite guitar is a Seagull.  Made by Canadians in Canadia.

mtn (Forum Supporter)
mtn (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/2/20 2:27 p.m.

Disclaimer: I have an unfair disdain for Taylors. Not the guitar for me. 


Out of the guitars listed, the Taylor is the best one, and if you can get it for $180, definitely get it. If it is actually $350 or so, where I'd expect it to be, I'd go with the Yamaha. The Gretsch may be the better guitar, and have him play them to see which he likes, but I've played a lot of these cheap Gretschs and their quality is really hit or miss on the acoustics. With a Yamaha, the worst you'll get is a playable guitar. 

 

I'd also consider spending a little bit more and getting a more "adult" guitar. Take a look at the Taylor GS Mini, Martin Dreadnaught Jr., and other 000/OM, concert, or 00 guitars. You'll have to stretch the budget some, but it will last him longer. Start with Yamaha, then these brands are all hit or miss, but Tanglewood, Blueridge, and Recording King. Make sure you find a solid top, preferably solid back and sides, and get him a humidifier in his room (especially important for the first 4-5 years of the guitars life).

 

mtn (Forum Supporter)
mtn (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/2/20 2:50 p.m.
1988RedT2 said:

Son's favorite guitar is a Seagull.  Made by Canadians in Canadia.

Seagull is another good suggestion, along with Art & Lutherie, which is owned by the same parent and I believe also made in Canada, although in a different plant the last I looked. 

The Seagulls are going to be more Taylor like and often have smaller scales, which will be better for your son. A&L are, for lack of a better phrase, more Martin like (good for me, not necessarily good for a 10 year old).

logdog (Forum Supporter)
logdog (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
10/2/20 3:01 p.m.

I own one of the Gretsch Jim Dandys.  Its my "living room" guitar.  Its a nice little player and if one of my neices or nephews decided they wanted to learn, it would be the guitar I would give them.  So it gets my vote!

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
10/2/20 3:09 p.m.

I apologize guys, the Taylor, as you all pointed out is $350. 
 

one other note - we are not tied to these only.
 

These are the recommendations of the family owned store - which has been in neighborhood for 60 years. 

 

I welcome other recommendations if you guys have 

 

as far as budget , I am Willing to spend up to $500. 
 

didnt  know about humidifier - thanks for that 

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/2/20 3:15 p.m.

I'm not that much of an acoustic guitar person, but for electrics it's usually recommended to budget also for a setup and not only for the guitar itself to improve playability.

Might be worth budgeting something similar for an acoustic?

mtn (Forum Supporter)
mtn (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/2/20 3:27 p.m.
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) said:

I'm not that much of an acoustic guitar person, but for electrics it's usually recommended to budget also for a setup and not only for the guitar itself to improve playability.

Might be worth budgeting something similar for an acoustic?

Yes, definitely. Arguably more important on an acoustic? It isn't necessarily needed, but I'd say for this price range it is necessary 7/10 times. 

In any case, the family owned shop will be able to do it - it should be done already if it is a good shop - but there is probably "the setup guy" somewhere in a 30 minute drive that everyone goes to because he/she is the best. 

barefootskater
barefootskater UltraDork
10/2/20 3:58 p.m.

Up to $500 gives a lot more possibilities. 
 

All of which are worthless. In my opinion, which isn't worth anything. All but the baby Martin stuff. Never touched one I didn't love. 
My only acoustic at the moment is a used Epiphone, which I paid $300 for, (and would have paid more for a Martin if I could have found one locally. I refuse to buy a guitar online. Superstition.) And I bought a $100 case. My favorite electric is also an epiphone, and my next purchase will be an epiphone. Seems like they can't get it wrong lately. 
But for your needs, I'd be looking at Martin. 
And I know you said you wanted to buy new, but used is a great way to save money and if the instrument was well cared for, it'll be just as good or better (the wood will be more settled, action already set up, or come with goodies like a case/tuner/humidifier) than new. I read an article on that a few years back. I'll see if I can find it.

https://reverb.com/news/10-reasons-you-should-buy-used-music-gear

granted, reverb says to buy used because that's what they sell, but the points and arguments in the article are still valid. 

mtn (Forum Supporter)
mtn (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/2/20 4:10 p.m.
barefootskater said:

Up to $500 gives a lot more possibilities. 
 

All of which are worthless. In my opinion, which isn't worth anything. All but the baby Martin stuff. Never touched one I didn't love. 
My only acoustic at the moment is a used Epiphone, which I paid $300 for, (and would have paid more for a Martin if I could have found one locally. I refuse to buy a guitar online. Superstition.) And I bought a $100 case. My favorite electric is also an epiphone, and my next purchase will be an epiphone. Seems like they can't get it wrong lately. 
But for your needs, I'd be looking at Martin. 
And I know you said you wanted to buy new, but used is a great way to save money and it the instrument was well cared for, it'll be just as good or better than new. I read an article on that a few years back. I'll see if I can find it.

I agree with a lot of this. Epiphone though, is *really* hit and miss. I own 2 really, really good ones. I've also owned 3 that were just duds. 

 

You're looking at 3/4 size guitars. I'm going to take that to mean that he wouldn't be comfortable playing a full size guitar. I'd say, go with the Yamaha you have listed, and when he's 12, get ready to spend more on a Martin (or Taylor or Guild or Larrivee). At that point I'd recommend looking used. 

barefootskater
barefootskater UltraDork
10/2/20 5:35 p.m.

^^^this^^^

 

And I have to admit I have had a bad Epi. Found a mid range SG at the thrift store. It played well, looked great, and was in pretty good shape. But the lumber was dead. Bad cut or something. Some chords wouldn't sustain at all. Something about it just didn't work. Unplayable. I've had high end stuff that was bad too. Part of why I won't buy online. I need to feel the instrument. /digression

bigbrainonbrad
bigbrainonbrad Reader
10/2/20 7:02 p.m.

You will always get more for your money buying used. Yamaha is always a safe bet. Taylor and Martin are excellent instruments, but I'd be hesitant to go on on their entry level stuff.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/2/20 11:30 p.m.

May I suggest.... at 10 years old, a 3/4 size is probably not the greatest idea unless you'll be upgrading again in a few years.  The sooner you can get him used to a full-size body, the better.  I switched to full size at around that age and glad I did.  I went from a Martin 3/4 to a Yamaha full and I'm so glad I did.  I grew quickly, and we would have more or less wasted our money on that Yamaha by the time I was 12.

As far as which one to get, the Taylor in that list is clearly one of the better axes, but I wouldn't hesitate to just pick based on sound.  Don't pick based on its action, that can be adjusted.  About 15 years ago I set out to buy a great guitar so I hit all the shops, played a bunch.  I ended up with a multi-top Alvarez for $279.  The name and construction makes it seem like an entry level guitar, but I absolutely love the sound.  The midrange and bass with phosphor bronze is so smooth, like almost classical guitar with nylon strings smooth.  I went with medium brass strings just to add some pop in the highs, and the medium gauge lets me keep the action nice and tight without buzz.

But honestly, I try to not let the name sway me.  I have seen coffee shop hacks playing a $1200 Taylor, and I've seen Glenn Frey absolutely shred a beat up Epiphone.  It's more about what sound HE gets out of it.  Don't stress.  Unless he's overly worried about the name, I wouldn't be either.  I will say that all four of the brands you listed are fine quality boxes.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
10/9/20 10:22 a.m.
barefootskater said:

Up to $500 gives a lot more possibilities. 

But for your needs, I'd be looking at Martin. 

And I know you said you wanted to buy new, but used is a great way to save money and if the instrument was well cared for, it'll be just as good or better (the wood will be more settled, action already set up, or come with goodies like a case/tuner/humidifier) than new. I read an article on that a few years back. I'll see if I can find it.

https://reverb.com/news/10-reasons-you-should-buy-used-music-gear

granted, reverb says to buy used because that's what they sell, but the points and arguments in the article are still valid. 

Thank you.   It wasn't that we "have to buy new." The kids have been using used for 2 years. He had wanted one for his b-day, thus we figured we would give him a new one. New really isn't a requirement. But unlike cars/bikes, I know 0 about guitars, so not sure what kind I would even buy (this thread and you guys are helping). 

 

We have an appointment setup with the family store next Tuesday - to guy try out stuff. 

 

Will take the kid to what I imagine is "evil guitar box store" = guitarcenter today. We have a few very big ones locally. Just to give him a perspective and see some in person.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
10/9/20 10:24 a.m.
mtn (Forum Supporter) said:

You're looking at 3/4 size guitars. I'm going to take that to mean that he wouldn't be comfortable playing a full size guitar. I'd say, go with the Yamaha you have listed, and when he's 12, get ready to spend more on a Martin (or Taylor or Guild or Larrivee). At that point I'd recommend looking used. 

Thank you. We were lookin at 3/4 due to his teachers recommendation. For me, if I bought a 3/4 for him to use now, and at 12 we spend more money, his guitar wouldn't go to waste, as my younger son can use it as a hand me down. 

I personally (not knowing anything about music), LOVE the yamaha, due to a few yamaha engines in the garage hehe. 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
10/9/20 10:27 a.m.
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) said:

May I suggest.... at 10 years old, a 3/4 size is probably not the greatest idea unless you'll be upgrading again in a few years.  The sooner you can get him used to a full-size body, the better.  I switched to full size at around that age and glad I did.  I went from a Martin 3/4 to a Yamaha full and I'm so glad I did.  I grew quickly, and we would have more or less wasted our money on that Yamaha by the time I was 12.

As far as which one to get, the Taylor in that list is clearly one of the better axes, but I wouldn't hesitate to just pick based on sound.  Don't pick based on its action, that can be adjusted.  About 15 years ago I set out to buy a great guitar so I hit all the shops, played a bunch.  I ended up with a multi-top Alvarez for $279.  The name and construction makes it seem like an entry level guitar, but I absolutely love the sound.  The midrange and bass with phosphor bronze is so smooth, like almost classical guitar with nylon strings smooth.  I went with medium brass strings just to add some pop in the highs, and the medium gauge lets me keep the action nice and tight without buzz.

But honestly, I try to not let the name sway me.  I have seen coffee shop hacks playing a $1200 Taylor, and I've seen Glenn Frey absolutely shred a beat up Epiphone.  It's more about what sound HE gets out of it.  Don't stress.  Unless he's overly worried about the name, I wouldn't be either.  I will say that all four of the brands you listed are fine quality boxes.

Thats why I want to take him to a few stores - and have him try a full size. See how he likes it. The issue is I don't know "what sound" to look for. Alll my life I only listened to AM radio (and continue to do so). My wife is the same. 

 

My kid 1 - his dream is own a Prius that gets 60MPG. My kid 2, dream is Lambo. So you see the difference. Kid 1 is low key, doesn't care about brand, or anything.  Lets see what he leans towards, in the next few days, and I will post back to you guys, for the final say. 

 

Appreciate it as always Curtis

mtn (Forum Supporter)
mtn (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/9/20 11:20 a.m.
mr2s2000elise said:
mtn (Forum Supporter) said:

You're looking at 3/4 size guitars. I'm going to take that to mean that he wouldn't be comfortable playing a full size guitar. I'd say, go with the Yamaha you have listed, and when he's 12, get ready to spend more on a Martin (or Taylor or Guild or Larrivee). At that point I'd recommend looking used. 

Thank you. We were lookin at 3/4 due to his teachers recommendation. For me, if I bought a 3/4 for him to use now, and at 12 we spend more money, his guitar wouldn't go to waste, as my younger son can use it as a hand me down. 

I personally (not knowing anything about music), LOVE the yamaha, due to a few yamaha engines in the garage hehe. 

The other thing about 3/4 size guitars, they become decent travel guitars when you grow out of them. Anyone can play them, unless you have bratwurst for fingers - they're not just "kids" guitars, although kids are about the only people who play them full time. 


On Yamaha... Yamaha is the best engine/electronics/musical instrument company around. If you include my dad and my brother, between the three of us, we have 3 Yamaha electronics, 3 Yamaha outboards, 1 Yamaha powerwasher, and 2 Yamaha guitars. We've owned at least 5 Yamaha guitars, but it could be as many as 8.

Not to toot my own horn (strum my own string?), but I know good acoustic guitars. On an average day, I play about $5,500 worth of acoustic guitars. I went through probably 7 different Martin's, 3 Guild's, 2 Gibsons, a Larrivee, 3 Alvarez's (which I'll disagree with Curtis that the name implies low end), as well as a few luthier-built ones, and a bunch I'm forgetting to get to the guitars that I have now (5 of them). My dad and brother went through more. I've owned Yamaha guitars that I paid $50 for, I've owned one that I paid $800 for. They're really the Toyota of the musical world, and I mean that in a good way. You can buy a Yaris, you can buy a Lexus LS, they're really good for the price and they'll get you where you need to go reliably. Some are among the best of the best, but will be missing some unknown that you can't put your finger on that is making it not be an Alfa.

Yamaha is still our recommendation for those who don't know what they're doing yet. I really can't recommend them enough. The consistency is through the roof. You often hear that "I'll put my Yamaha up against any Martin any day of the week". Well, I disagree with almost all of those people, but they do have good sounding guitars. I guarantee you that I can find a better sounding guitar for cheaper than any given Yamaha. I can't guarantee that I will find it within even a year, and the effort isn't worth it unless it is something that you enjoy - which I do. Probably why I've owned so many guitars that I've lost count.


Go with the Yamaha, if kiddo likes it.

Jeff
Jeff SuperDork
10/9/20 1:04 p.m.

I'm also a big fan of the Godin family of guitars, but don't know their availability in the States. Simon & Patrick, Art & Lutherie, Seagull, Norman, are all top notch guitars that punch above their weight.

I have an A&L Ami Cedar parlour guitar that is just fantastic. I paid 150 CAD used. It's a fine sounding guitar.

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) Dork
10/9/20 1:10 p.m.

I *still* use a 3/4 Yamaha as a kick around and practice guitar. It's decent for the money and plays a lot nicer than it costs.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
10/9/20 8:14 p.m.

Overwhelming ....

Having him play and try out .

 

guy here says to get yamaha FS800 $189 

 


 

 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
10/9/20 8:28 p.m.

Kid likes FG800 yamaha more 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/9/20 9:28 p.m.
mtn (Forum Supporter) said:
mr2s2000elise said:
mtn (Forum Supporter) said:

You're looking at 3/4 size guitars. I'm going to take that to mean that he wouldn't be comfortable playing a full size guitar. I'd say, go with the Yamaha you have listed, and when he's 12, get ready to spend more on a Martin (or Taylor or Guild or Larrivee). At that point I'd recommend looking used. 

Thank you. We were lookin at 3/4 due to his teachers recommendation. For me, if I bought a 3/4 for him to use now, and at 12 we spend more money, his guitar wouldn't go to waste, as my younger son can use it as a hand me down. 

I personally (not knowing anything about music), LOVE the yamaha, due to a few yamaha engines in the garage hehe. 

The other thing about 3/4 size guitars, they become decent travel guitars when you grow out of them. Anyone can play them, unless you have bratwurst for fingers - they're not just "kids" guitars, although kids are about the only people who play them full time. 


On Yamaha... Yamaha is the best engine/electronics/musical instrument company around. If you include my dad and my brother, between the three of us, we have 3 Yamaha electronics, 3 Yamaha outboards, 1 Yamaha powerwasher, and 2 Yamaha guitars. We've owned at least 5 Yamaha guitars, but it could be as many as 8.

Not to toot my own horn (strum my own string?), but I know good acoustic guitars. On an average day, I play about $5,500 worth of acoustic guitars. I went through probably 7 different Martin's, 3 Guild's, 2 Gibsons, a Larrivee, 3 Alvarez's (which I'll disagree with Curtis that the name implies low end), as well as a few luthier-built ones, and a bunch I'm forgetting to get to the guitars that I have now (5 of them). My dad and brother went through more. I've owned Yamaha guitars that I paid $50 for, I've owned one that I paid $800 for. They're really the Toyota of the musical world, and I mean that in a good way. You can buy a Yaris, you can buy a Lexus LS, they're really good for the price and they'll get you where you need to go reliably. Some are among the best of the best, but will be missing some unknown that you can't put your finger on that is making it not be an Alfa.

Yamaha is still our recommendation for those who don't know what they're doing yet. I really can't recommend them enough. The consistency is through the roof. You often hear that "I'll put my Yamaha up against any Martin any day of the week". Well, I disagree with almost all of those people, but they do have good sounding guitars. I guarantee you that I can find a better sounding guitar for cheaper than any given Yamaha. I can't guarantee that I will find it within even a year, and the effort isn't worth it unless it is something that you enjoy - which I do. Probably why I've owned so many guitars that I've lost count.


Go with the Yamaha, if kiddo likes it.

Wisest words in this thread, right here.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
10/9/20 9:31 p.m.

https://www.musictoob.com/yamaha-fg800-vs-fs800/

I don't think you can go wrong with a Yamaha.

mtn (Forum Supporter)
mtn (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/9/20 10:14 p.m.
mr2s2000elise said:

Kid likes FG800 yamaha more 

That would be the more versatile of the two. Definitely a solid choice. 

Support your local store, if they have one in stock, instead of the big box. I'd even pay a few $$ more.

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