My plan was to go into a dedicated guitar shop, try all the second hand and new guitars around the <£1500 mark and buy “the one”, or at least one that I feel was a significant improvement in playability and sound etc. I'm now not sure whether I need to as this R7 sire appears to trump this price range from what I could gather from the review.
I cannot find any reviews of these guitars online other than the one coming directly from the seller. A quick look gave me an idea of the price range, and as such I doubt that they'd be significantly “better” in any way than your existing Faith, which is a pretty nice instrument anyway.
Reviews can be deceptive, and internet sound not necessarily representative. Your other plan of trawling guitar shop(s) for something around £1.5k stands a much better chance of finding significant improvement, esp if buying used.
Playability is secondary as decent setup can make almost any guitar (other than a basket case) play easily. Things can be changed to suit you and your playing style really easily.
Posts: 18,369My main instrument is: probably needing new strings Depending on where you are, you could always see what Francis currently has for sale (if anything).
This is certainly in his price range, and you'd be getting a luthier-built instrument that will, almost certainly, be better than something mass-produced. If you follow his link for Francis he has some nice looking guitars, and that small jumbo looks like it should live at my house. I can feel GAS coming on.
Posts: 1,137My main instrument is: Brook Tamar in Spruce and Walnut I took a long time to realize what I was actually after / what worked best for me in terms of size, scale length, not width, string spacing etc.
He began seeking international expansion, but it found it difficult to break into the market due to tough competition. It was at this point, they crossed paths with Marcus Miller, a living legend in the bass world.
Kim’s vision resonated with Miller, and led to highly successful design collaboration. The forward-thinking team of builders co-designed the basses with the one-and-only Marcus Miller, a player with undoubted prestige and an eye for detail.
Sire have once again had the hands and eyes of a seasoned pro help shape their guitar catalog, this time with their focus turned to electrics and acoustics. Sire acoustics boast sleek aesthetics, an extremely impressive build quality and classy finishing touches.
(Image credit: Future)Concerned about buying an acoustic guitar online without trying it first? Online music instrument retailers like Sweetwater, Thomas, Guitar Center and Musician’s Friend offer hassle-free returns as standard, so you can purchase a guitar, play it in the comfort and privacy of your home and, if it’s not right, send it back with ease.
You'll be pleased to hear that you won't have to spend a huge amount to get your hands on a quality instrument either. Because the guitars in this round-up start at an attractively low $220 (thanks, Fender), meaning there's something for smaller budgets upwards.
Over the past decade or so we've also witnessed a huge leap in the quality of acoustic guitars being produced at lower price points, which is brilliant for those of us who just can't stop adding new guitars to our collection. Our selection represents a broad cross-section of the industry, offering a group of acoustic guitars that range from flawlessly executed high-end investment pieces to modern classics and affordable off-the-shelf mass-production models that punch way above their weight and will be your musical companion for years to come.
Every model in our best acoustic guitars guide is a great performer, but allow us to draw your attention to a couple of instruments in particular... kicking off with the Martin D-28. Understandably it comes with a hefty price, but if you're looking for an all-rounder acoustic with balanced highs, deep lows and possibly the most comfortable playing experience around, this is one of the best acoustic guitars you can buy.
You may not know if you'll ever want to plug in, and, of course, you could always have a pickup installed at a later date, but we recommend opting for a steel string with an onboard pickup/preamp if it's within budget. Sitka's spruce is commonly used in acoustic guitars and offers a balanced tone with clarity and dynamic range.
Cedar, by contrast, is softer sounding than spruce with more dynamic range and less natural compression. Maple delivers a strong midrange and punchy bottom end that's ideal for strumming in a band mix.
Remember though, whichever acoustic guitar you choose, the way the instrument is built affects its tonal characteristics just as much as its materials do, so don't let wood choice be a dealbreaker. The entry model of the Classic Design Series is a good reminder of just how much guitar you can get for your money at the more affordable end of the market.
The mid-character of mahogany is certainly here, bringing some meat to a brightness usually associated with spruce tops (remember what we said about no hard and fast rules with tone woods? The result is something that’s genuinely inspiring to play and chimes in chord work, and one of the best acoustic guitars for newcomers or those looking for a second acoustic.
A Fishman Press II preamp gives an honest portrayal of the guitar’s acoustic qualities and includes bass and treble controls for tonal tweaking. Coupled with a slim C profile neck, low action and a Graph Tech NuB one nut, this is a quality instrument that punches well above its weight.
Launch price: $499/£399/€395 | Type: Jumbo | Top: Solid spruce | Back & sides: Select maple | Neck: Hard maple | Scale: 25-1/2” | Fingerboard: Pay ferry | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Grover Automatic 18:1 | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Black, Natural, Vintage Sunburst, Vintage Natural If you hold the opinion that Earphones are for players priced out of Gibson ownership, you may wish to rethink your stance with the EJ-200SCE.
Distinctive calling cards of J-200 heritage are present here: the mustache bridge, decorative tortoiseshell-style pick guard and paranoid crown inlays. The sound is balanced rather than boom, giving strummed chords the fullness that made the J-200's reputation.
Launch price: $499/£499/€499 | Type: Mini Grand Symphony | Top: Site Spruce | Back & sides: Laminated sapele | Neck: Sapele | Scale: 23.5” | Fingerboard: West African Ebony | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Die-Cast Chrome | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Varnish The Mexican-made Mini is equally functional as both a travel-sized acoustic and “modern day parlor guitar”.
Despite its small footprint, the GS Mini is no toy instrument: there's a solid Site spruce top, a faultless build quality and the setup is immaculate. Rather like a good parlour-size guitar, the GS Mini outputs a sound that belies its compactness.
Unlike Martin's own X Series, or indeed, the minimalist cool of Taylor's Big Baby, the Dread Junior might be downsized, but it's very grown-up in build, with all-solid wood construction, proper mortise and tenon neck joint, a bound top edge and simple sound hole rings. It might not have the huge depth or width, harmonically speaking, of the full-size dreadnought, but there's a punchy midrange and a slightly textured edge.
An update that marks the A Series out as an essential consideration for players who rely on a consistent and controllable stage sound. This D-15M dreadnought features a solid 'genuine' (South American) mahogany top over A-Frame X bracing; the same material is used for the back, sides and neck.
Tonally, there is a rich and projecting core sound that's complemented by the unmistakable, Martin D-resonance. It puts every single cent of its build budget into making the best sounding and playing instrument, with very little concession to cosmetics, electronics or anything else.
Fortunately, you can still feel the gravity of that 186 years of history in its high-end guitars, which is why this beauty has graced our best acoustic guitars round-up. The current D-28, reimagined in 2017, features forward-shifted bracing, a wider nut and vintage-style aesthetic changes, but it’s the neck design that really makes this a comfortable and accessible dreadnought playing experience.
Despite the tweaks, our test model still largely feels like the acoustic equivalent of Leo Fender’s Stratocaster design. Just as that outline is most synonymous with ‘electric guitar’, so to the D-28 continues to embody the dreadnought in look and sound.
Launch price: $3,599/£2,470/€3,119 | Type: Dreadnought | Top: 'AAA' Solid Site spruce | Back & sides: Solid Indian rosewood | Neck: Three-piece mahogany/ walnut/mahogany | Scale: 25.625” | Fingerboard: Ebony | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Goth SE700 Open Gear | Left-handed: Yes | Finish: Gloss Nitrocellulose That Adirondack bracing is doing its job, too, because string separation, definition and dynamic range are all notable, and it feels loud, alive and resonant when playing soft or hard.
Launch price: $3,849/£2,099/€2,998 | Type: Square Shoulder | Top: Site spruce | Back & sides: Mahogany | Neck: Mahogany | Scale: 24.75” | Fingerboard: Rosewood | Frets: 20 | Tuners: Grover Automatics | Left-handed: Limited run | Finish: Nitrocellulose Whatever your preference in size, color, tone and playing style, it’s difficult to avoid picking this Cherry Sunburst up.
The Builder’s Edition V-Class K14ce is a bold statement of intent by Taylor, combining V bracing with a notably different, more comfortable, Grand Auditorium style. We’re also reminded of the K14ce’s high-end lineage, however, by the Paul ‘spring vine’ inlay that lies down the majority of the black/dark brown ebony ’board, while a lighter Goa purling stripe sits just inside the ebony edge-binding and continues around the headstock, which is again ebony-faced with a relatively demure Paul inlay.