collapse

* Member Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

* Like Us on Facebook

It wasn't so much that I would ask them how to play. A lot of the stuff I knew from old records.... What they usually talked to me about was how to conduct myself as a person. They tried to keep me away from all the things they went through. They tried to keep my nose clean, and they succeeded pretty good - Jerry Ricks, on time spent with the Old Ones, interview in Blues Review No. 46, April 1999

Author Topic: buying a guitar soon....advice?  (Read 1555 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Mark Miller

  • Member
  • Posts: 50
buying a guitar soon....advice?
« on: June 29, 2015, 08:29:09 PM »
My only guitar is a Blueridge 160 Dread.  I love it, it sounds great for bluegrass and Carter-style, which was my first love affair on the guitar.  But I've been doing more fingerpicking than ever, and Mississippi John Hurt, Big Bill Broonzy, and company are calling me more and more.  I'm about ready to spring for a nice guitar, and instead of a Martin D-28, which is what I always used to think I'd get, I'm now thinking that my Blueridge is good enough for flatpicking, and what I need is a guitar that's better for blues fingerpicking (not so much Delta blues as Piedmont and more ragtime-inflected stuff, and when I can get around to it, all those regional styles John Miller has been documenting and teaching).  So forget the D-28....but then what?  A Martin OM?  or OOO?  Or a Gibson---what?  A Jumbo?  I know it finally will come down to trying a bunch of them and seeing what feels and sounds right, but I'm a bit lost starting out, there just seem to be so many options, I was hoping you folks could give me some advice for starting the quest.  Thanks!

Offline harry

  • Member
  • Posts: 583
Re: buying a guitar soon....advice?
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2015, 01:41:00 AM »
A small OM type guitar is in my opinion the best choice for fingerpicking. But I heard/read that others thought a dreadnought is just as good for fingerstyle guitar.
I think Mance Lipscomb and Rev. Gary Davis played a Jumbo.

Since you already have a dreadnought I would go for a OM.
I have a Martin OM-1 myself. It was marketed at the time as "the best possible tone for the lowest possible price" or something like that. I think the guitar is discontinued now.

« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 01:53:51 AM by harry »

Offline alyoung

  • Member
  • Posts: 326
Re: buying a guitar soon....advice?
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2015, 03:16:45 AM »
I not too long ago bought an OM-21 which is great for the likes of John Hurt, Robt Wilkins, Frank Stokes, etc... a friend of mine calls it "the Memphis guitar". For the heavier end, including a bit of slide, I use a 00-17, which is all mahogany and has a great blues sound. Dunno if Martin still makes the 00-17, but today's 00-15 is virtually  the same guitar, and most of the ones I've played have sounded great. Plus I think they're not too expensive. (Martin also had an all-mahogany small-body 12-string which I'd like to have heard and played, but it seemed to be on the market for only about 10 minutes. Anyone ever met one?)

Offline slidnslim

  • Member
  • Posts: 54
  • Howdy!
Re: buying a guitar soon....advice?
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2015, 04:17:07 AM »
Why forget the D-28???  I've heard lots of ragtime played on them,I happen to prefer playing Country Blues on big bodied guitars myself,,,,

Kenny, O0

Offline frankie

  • Member
  • Posts: 2441
    • DoneGone.net
Re: buying a guitar soon....advice?
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2015, 04:18:08 AM »
You didn't say what your budget is.

If the dreadnought is a good sounding and playing guitar, there's no reason it would object to any kind of blues being played on it.

On the other hand, if you want a guitar that feels and sounds different than the dreadnaught and will be good for just general playing, look for something with these characteristics:

scale length less than 25.4 inches
body width less than 15.625 inches

OMs and OOOs ( particularly modern OOOs ) don't necessarily feel markedly different than the dreadnought to me, but I'm fussy about scale length. Getting under 25 inches of scale length and 15 inches of body width and, in my opinion, you really start to find other voices that are radically different than what you can expect from a guitar with a longer scale and larger body cavity of any shape.

OMs and OOOs are great guitars - they just won't be radically 'different' from what you have, imho.

Offline Mark Miller

  • Member
  • Posts: 50
Re: buying a guitar soon....advice?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2015, 12:40:13 PM »
Thanks to everyone for the feedback.  As to the dreadnaught question, the limitation I'm finding is twofold:  1) when I really lay into the bass to get that driving rhythm, even with palm muting, it tends to overwhelm the melody line a bit; 2) for faster numbers, the guitar has so much resonance and sustain that the sound gets muddy, just too many notes ringing all at once.  It sounds great fingerpicking slowly, so I'm only starting to notice this problem as I improve to the point where I can play notier numbers up to speed.  In other words, what makes it great for flatpicking fiddle tunes doesn't work so well with everything that's going on at once in fingerpicking.  My understanding is that an OM or 000 would be more balanced and have a little less sustain.  Not sure about a Jumbo, but I see Stefan Grossman and Gary Davis and others playing those so I figure I should include them in the mix.

As for budget, I think I can sneak something in the 3,000's past my wife.  2,000's would be better but not an absolute ceiling.  4,000 and she'd think I was crazy and never listen again when I complain about the credit card bill.

Offline Pan

  • Member
  • Posts: 1891
  • Howdy!
Re: buying a guitar soon....advice?
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2015, 01:09:58 PM »
Hi mole

You could spend some time exploring this part of the forum:

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?board=26.0

Cheers

Pan

Offline Stuart

  • Member
  • Posts: 2581
  • "The Voice of Almiqui"
Re: buying a guitar soon....advice?
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2015, 01:18:51 PM »
I'd look at a mahogany OM. The extra scale length gives it a little more punch than a OOO. Mahogany isn't quite as bright as rosewood and tends not to have as much sustain. Generally, the OOO and OMs tend to have better separation than the dreads. Not muddy, as you say.

Since you have a few bucks to spend, it might be worth looking at what some of the individual builders can do for you. If possible, play what other folks have--or at least listen. The workshops might be a good place to see and hear a range of instruments.

No matter what, I'd definitely play before I'd buy--or at least buy something that has an ironclad money back return policy in the event that in spite of everything, it turns out that it just isn't the one for you. Sometime the geographical distance is just too great and the guitar appears to really fit the bill, but...you  know the story.

Several years ago, Johnm had a custom Martin OOO made to his specs and Stu Herrick in Seattle sold them through his shop. The two I played impressed me as a fine instruments. Sometimes guitars cycle back around, so if one is available, I'd give it a close look and listen. John will know if any are available.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 01:27:36 PM by Stuart »

Offline Rivers

  • Tech Support
  • Member
  • Posts: 6920
  • I like chicken pie
Re: buying a guitar soon....advice?
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2015, 07:06:31 PM »
Assuming you're wanting an x-braced fairly modern instrument and can find one try a Martin 000-15S. 12 frets clear, slotted peghead, all mahogany.  I've really enjoyed the times I've spent playing them. They come in two flavors, sapele mahogany (stripy) and real mahogony (short grain no stripes). I haven't compared the two.

If you want to get closer to what a lot of our heroes played don't discount old ladder braced small guitars. But that's a huge discussion. It sounds like you're just wanting to rein-in the sound you're getting with the dread and transfer it to a nice smaller equivalent. That'll work real good.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2015, 07:08:07 PM by Rivers »

Offline Slack

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 8788
Re: buying a guitar soon....advice?
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2015, 08:19:56 PM »
Mole, I think if you have between 2-3k to spend, get something _really_ special , get a Fraulini.  A number of, lucky, players here, have one.  You night have to wait a year or so - but that's part of the fun.  Todd Cambio is a helluva builder.  http://www.fraulini.com/  And not to diss other builders - there are many fine builders in that price range.  My vote is for the small independent builder.... whoever strikes your fancy.

Offline Lastfirstface

  • Member
  • Posts: 383
Re: buying a guitar soon....advice?
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2015, 06:36:32 AM »
I would also check out Collings' new side brand: Waterloo. They're making ladder and x-braced versions of the L-00/Kalamazoo kg-14 body and they sound great. Don't know what your price range is, but I've seen them around $1800 I think.

Offline onewent

  • Member
  • Posts: 382
  • Mr. So and So
    • vintagebluesguitars.com
Re: buying a guitar soon....advice?
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2015, 08:53:50 AM »
At that price range, I'd look at 60s Martin 0s and 00s, since you'll retain much of your investment, if not all, and get a guitar well-suited for ragtime picking. 
I played a Waterloo at the Philly show last weekend, and, expecting another dull sounding 'new' guitar, was pretty impressed with the sound, fit and finish.
Played a nice Fraulini, too.

Best case scenario is to go to a bunch of shops and shows and test drive a bunch and see what 'fits'.

Tom

Offline Mark Miller

  • Member
  • Posts: 50
Re: buying a guitar soon....advice?
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2015, 06:28:07 PM »
I found a used Martin OM-28V locally and I like it a lot.  My once concern is that there are some glue marks on the neck near the 6th fret, and it appears that the treble side of the 14th fret has been glued down.  Does this indicate some further problem, or weakness in the guitar that I should be worried about?  I have no experience with this so I don't really know what to look for.  There's also a new OM-21, a OOO-28, a OOO-18, and a OOO-18 Golden Era, so I plan to try out all of them before I make a decision.

Offline Stuart

  • Member
  • Posts: 2581
  • "The Voice of Almiqui"
Re: buying a guitar soon....advice?
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2015, 10:50:55 PM »
It might indicate that the fretboard shrunk as it dried (or the slots were too loose to begin with) and a couple of frets loosened at the ends and glue--possibly Cyanoacrylate (Superglue)--was used to hold them down. I've seen it done. IMHO, it's not the best way to address and repair the problem. (Do it right the first time.) Opinions vary, however. Here's a link to Stew-Mac:

http://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Online_Resources/Neck_Building_and_Repair_and_Setup/Super_glue_your_frets_for_better_tone.html

A web search will turn up more info. Tell the shop about it and ask them if they'll do a proper repair--AND guarantee that any further fret lift will be properly repaired for free if you buy the guitar. Get it in writing.

Offline Mr.OMuck

  • Member
  • Posts: 2604
    • MuckOVision
Re: buying a guitar soon....advice?
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2015, 11:42:19 AM »
Mole, you got the right brand, wrong guitar. For around $650. you can get a 000 sized solid rosewood Blueridge that'll take you right to Broonzy land.
Of course if you can swing a Fraulini you will get a totally unique and superior sounding instrument. Other things you can try are putting lighter gauge strings on the Bass side of your present guitar,  and experimenting with fingerpicks, plastic or metal.
Truthfully you can usually NOT go by make or model as the variations between instruments of the same make, model and year can be vast in terms of sound and playability. Find one you really enjoy playing and that you like the sound of and forget the rest.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Tags: