So yesterday my brother and I went out to go and find a new guitar. I’d like to share the journey with you in finding a great guitar and I’ll give you a hint: it was a great success! The store we went to is The Fellowship Of Acoustics in Dedemswaart (https://www.tfoa.eu/), a very nice looking building, packed full with electric and acoustic guitars.
So let’s go find a guitar!
In the store, we were guided to the second floor where all the acoustic guitars were. The floor was divided in several smaller rooms where the walls are filled with guitars. One room with Martins, one room with Gibsons, one with European guitars, etc. So once the budget was explained, we were guided through the rooms to collect a selection of guitars that fit the budget. Since I had no clear preference for a make, wood type or form yet, the collection to start with varied quite a bit. I’ll go through all of the guitars and describing what I’ve noticed. Note that I am not an expert on guitars yet, so don’t expect any nitty gritty details.
Martin D-15M Sunburst: This guitar has a unique color and sound, since it is all Mahogany wood. It plays great and sounds really warm. It also has a lot more bass in it compared to others.
Martin DCPA4: It has a nice color, a round cutaway and a built-in pickup. However, it does not play so good or smooth. It could be that the action was not yet correctly set and that it is a new guitar.
Martin D17M: The sunburst color on this guitar looks amazing. It plays terrific and sounds amazing. The sound is a full and complete sound and if you strum it harder, then it gives a great punch to the sound.
Huss & Dalton RD-R: The wood looks great on this one. It plays nice and has a good robust sound. Perhaps it has a bit more punch than others.
Eastman E10D: This guitar looks amazing, with a full ebony fret board and they did not save on good quality woods. It is made in China, which might make it lose more value. It plays okay, not superb, but that also might have been because it is new. The sound is good and solid.
Gibson J-15: This one has a bit of a unique form, with a slim body. Is plays great and the sound is good. Though the sound is a bit flat.
Larrivee D-09: This was a used guitar, which makes it sound awesome. It has a pickup built in (at a later time) and the looks and finish of this guitar are great. It plays really nice and smooth.
Larrivee OM-02: So this was the only not Dreadnought (Orchestra Model) for a very fair price. It plays nice and sounds brighter than others. But that is probably because of the OM form.
So while playing with these guitars, I had to be really strict on my choices and criteria. Because they are all great guitars (in their own way), it can become a hard choice if you are not strict. After playing through all of them for a first feel, 4 guitars were left. The Gibson J-15, Larrivee D-09, Huss & Dalton RD-R and Martin D17M. After taking a break to give my ears some rest, I continued playing those 4 guitars and came to the conclusion that there were 2 guitars that really stood out from the rest.
The Martin D17M and the Larrivee D-09. They both sound terrific, play like a charm (the Martin was a bit rough, but that is probably because it is new. However, I generally do like new products over new ones; to make them your own and be the first to use it. On the other side, the Larrivee has a great finish with silver inlays in the headstock and the overall finish is very nice. Both sound great, with the Martin having more punch and the Larrivee having a great overall balance. The Larrivee also has a Fishmann pickup built-in, which is nicely tucked away and sounds good (as far as I can tell at the moment). This was the hardest part. Choosing between the two, two great guitars. It probably took the most time (we were in the store for over 3 hours total).
So finally I made the choice: the Larrivee D-09. In the end it still might be a second hand guitar, but it already sounds amazing since it has been played for some time already. It also came with a great price, since it was a second hand. It was really hard deciding between the tow, but I am very happy with my choice. The people at The Fellowship Of Acoustics were a great help and had a lot of patience, so that was awesome.
Now on to improving my guitar skills. 😉
Stay in tune!