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Thread: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

  1. #1

    Default Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    Hi,
    I know... it's a guitar question on a mando site, but this is my go to chat forum and I've learned so much here. And I know there's a bunch of guitar pickers here.......

    Sooo, I was wondering what is the best guitar for under $2000ish. Martin? D18, D28? Used Collings? D1? D2?

    I play bluegrass, country blues, fingerstyle, a little jazz/bossa nova/gypsy/dawg, etc. Basically anything rootsy. But I want something that really projects at a bluegrass jam. A real canon.... But $$$ is tight. I have a Collings MT and basically looking for the "Collings MT of acoustic guitars". Something with a solid reputation for killer tone, volume, and affordability and something I'll keep for years.

    Not buying now...... but sometime in the next year or 2. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks cafe people!!

  2. #2
    Registered User Fstpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    A used Martin D-18GE. Very versatile and it will cut through easily. One of the most respected models in Martin's line-up for around $2K.

    Jeff

  3. #3
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    Have a good look at & play one of the 'Blueridge' Guitars marketed by SAGA. They first came on the market a few years back & were very well received indeed. Guitarist magazine was so impressed that they even hinted that they'd give the standard Martin range of Guitars a run for their money - they were that good. Unless you really 'need' to have a Martin,there are several makes of very high quality Guitars available for around $1,500. My own acoustic Guitar is a Tanglewood TW-1000 SR (solid Rosewood back & sides).It cost me 800 UK ($1,200 US) & it's superb in every way.It sounds every bit as good as a friend's Martin (don't know which model) & it's louder as well,even with the light gauge strings that i use for finger picking,
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    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    When I was shopping for a guitar I was looking for the same instrument that you are. I think I found it in a Martin D35. The low end of a D35 is between a D28 and a HD28. I'm sure that used ones sell <$2K since new sell for > $2K. The upper end Blueridge guitars are very good instruments but they are in the <$1K range and in my opinion generally don't have as good tone, volume or projection as a good Martin D18, 28 or 35. There are always exceptions but I teach students in a music store that sells both brands and I've played several models of each. Collings guitars are some of the best instruments I've ever played but I don't know if I've seen used for <$2K.

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    Registered User Dan Margolis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    You might find a used Collings D1 or even a player's D2h for around 2k.
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    The Recording King guitars are the very best bang for the buck on the market today. For under 1K you can get one that will stand head to head with production Martins all day long. I would suggest checking them out. The same guy designs the RK line as did the original Blueridge line. The main difference is the quality in the RK line is much higher than the Blueridge line. That is my personal opinion and I have been a dealer for both. Lots of pros playing the RK guitars and many of the studios in Nashville are using them on the recordings even though there may be a Martin on the album cover.
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    I'll second the Recording King recommendation. I don't have their guitars, but I have one of their ukuleles that is as fine an instrument as anything the pricier builders offer. If their guitars are as good as their ukes....

    You shouldn't have too much trouble finding a really nice guitar for two grand. That money can buy some really nice instruments.
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    Registered User littledonnie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    Look at a Taylor, the 300 or 400 series. I have a 310 and it's a great guitar. And when someone else is playing it, it sounds good too!
    "Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence."

  9. #9

    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    I would look for a used Collings. I'm not sure what Martin has changed their machine heads to, but the newer ones have some pretty cheap tuners. At least with the Collings you'll get Waverly's. I have NFI. I'm a long time guitarist and have owned and own some of the best guitars available.
    Matthew

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    ******* Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    Don't forget about Larrivee guitars.
    ...

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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    I agree with Ivan, the Blueridege is a GOOD jam machine , lots of punch,volume,and tone. I have lots of respect for Big Joe, and would like to hear an RK. I have played their banjos, and thought they were okay at best, but would be interested in hearing their guitars. Actually, I think you got good advice from all posts. good luck
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    I second the suggestion for considering Larrivee. I think they are great values, particularly in the used market. Here is a mint used D-5 with a starting bid of $1199 and a buy in now of $1399 (NFI).

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    Registered User Dan Margolis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    I'll second the Recording King recommendation. I don't have their guitars, but I have one of their ukuleles
    No ukes are currently listed on the RK website. When were these available?
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    RK makes a resonator ukulele.

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    Registered User Dan Margolis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    So they do. Thanks.
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    aka "Hydrilla" Darren Kern's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    +1 for the Taylor. My 410 I bought new in 1994 is amazing.

  17. #17
    Registered User 300win's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    I have a Blueridge BR-140, solid woods, mahogony sides & back, spruce top, bone nut, bone bridge, all standard, and the only change I did was put bone pins on it. Awesome guitar !, loud, beautiful tone, plays easy, and I've had it for 7 years, no problems. I gave $500 for it brand new, and will put it up against most any new regular D-18 Martin out there. I have a D-35 Martin and it is more of a Bluegrass guitar than it is. But I do agree, the best under $2000 guitar I've played is the D-18 GE. A friend of mine had one and offered to sell it to me but I could not afford it. It was among the top 3 guitars I've ever held in my hannds, the others being a pre-war D-18, a new D-42, and a pre-war D-28, but none of them were $2000.
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    Quote Originally Posted by 300win View Post
    I have a Blueridge BR-140, solid woods, mahogony sides & back, spruce top, bone nut, bone bridge, all standard, and the only change I did was put bone pins on it. Awesome guitar !, loud, beautiful tone, plays easy, and I've had it for 7 years, no problems. I gave $500 for it brand new, and will put it up against most any new regular D-18 Martin out there. I have a D-35 Martin and it is more of a Bluegrass guitar than it is. But I do agree, the best under $2000 guitar I've played is the D-18 GE. A friend of mine had one and offered to sell it to me but I could not afford it. It was among the top 3 guitars I've ever held in my hannds, the others being a pre-war D-18, a new D-42, and a pre-war D-28, but none of them were $2000.
    I'll second this- I've got the same Blueridge and I'm crazy about it (beautiful aesthetics, sounds good, not too heavy, comfortable neck, etc). Having said that, I love every Collings and Santa Cruz guitar I've heard, so if you're already in the $2000 range, you might look for one of those, used.

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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    The most important thing to do is determine the guitar you want to listen to and to play. You have a good idea in taking time to choose. Play as many different instruments as you can, new and used. Particularly the latter category among the people that you play with. If you haven't already you might want to join the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum, a great resource for all guitars not just Martin.

    This most of all, it doesn't matter what other people think about your guitar if you don't like it. Everybody might agree a guitar is a real tiger, a banjo killer if you will, but if it's akin to running your fingernails on a chaulk board to you, you won't play it.
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    This forum rocks. Great stuff here. Not going to by anything for a year..... hopefully not much more....... But all your advice is helpful. The Martin D-18GE sounds veryyy interesting, but GWR3's advice to great... "Play as many different instruments as you can, new and used." Thanks y'all.

  21. #21
    Fix-R-Up-R Jake Wildwood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    Mh, if you're interested in vintage, you can get a heck of a lot of bang out of old 50s/60s Martins... prices were starting to go up a LOT but have since leveled out and even gone down some.

    Don't limit yourself specifically to D-size instruments. I've played many, many, many smaller-bodied older Martins (and similar-sized Gibsons... ie B-25s, etc) that simply out-gun their larger brethren across the board.

    You can also still get many steals out there... some of the 1970s Gibson models with the double-x bracing are undesirable on the vintage market for various reasons (mostly bad press), but if you can get your hands on a J-40 from the 70s, give it a try. I've worked on a few of them and I've always been incredibly surprised by how well they project, as well as their tone... they also cost a heck of a lot less than $2 grand, too... can pick them up in the $400-700 range a lot of the time... and are essentially in the same tone and volume profile as an old D-18.

    Basically... try everything... and don't be swayed simply by brand names.

  22. #22
    Okay, I'm with you fellas tburcham's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    Eastman E10 or E20 $1000

    Gibson Advanced Jumbo used $1500 - $1800
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Margolis View Post
    No ukes are currently listed on the RK website. When were these available?
    They make a resonator uke (that compares very favorably to other more expensive ones). My comment was about comparative quality. On second thought I probably have should have kept my mouth shut and not confused the thread, but it's the only Recording King input I have.
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    Registered User Jesse Harmon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    I went to a bluegrass event in or around Mooresville N.C. a few years back in a high school auditorium and I didn't feel I could hear any of the guitar breaks well enough. There were I think 28 top rate groups so I wonder if some of the problems relating to volume on both guitar and mandolin could be helped by a little more finesse with the back up and the louder instruments? I went for a Collings because of a remarkable sustain although it would be a tossup with a used Martin if you could find either at that price.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Best acoustic guitar under $2000ish

    My (totally unbiased, as always) vote is for a Guild dreadnought, Rhode Island vintage. I think there are plenty of 'em out there, and you can walk away with $1500 in your pocket.
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