What would you choose and why? Money is no obstacle for this discussion!
Remember, just one ... for the rest of your life. Period.
PS: I know it's a hard question, LOL. But, that's why it make an interesting point of discussion.
Just an opinion... if I had to choose ONE guitar for the rest of my life... Just one, right?
They say "time is money", so, assuming that time wouldn't be an obstacle either, I would get in touch with one of those four or five great masters (Jose Romanillos, to name one) and humbly ask him to make an instrument for me, and wait for five years, or more. I'd play some other guitars for him, so that he could see, and listen to, the way I play. I'd have long talks with him, give him my suggestions, hear his advice, discuss all the "likes" and "dislikes", visit him often during the construction process. At the end I would have, not the perfect guitar - that doesn't exist - but an excellent guitar, that would make me play better in my own way...
But that is the kind of instrument you just don't "own". You simply keep them and play them... and money wouldn' be a problem: such a guitar would cost less than a medium-priced automobile (that includes the cost of travelling and staying a few days in Spain), and it would satisfy a true basic necessity - which of course an automobile does not.
The second best choice would probably be to take the first train, or plane, to Madrid, search the yellow pages for "guitarreros" and take all the time possible to choose the best available guitar. The third best would be to visit all the guitar makers in my area, and choose the best available guitar. The last choice would be, of course, a top class factory-made guitar.
But, in all cases, the choice would be the best CLASSIC guitar available. Why? Because Classic guitars simply are the most versatile kind of guitar. You may play almost anything on them (that's why they're Classic), and I personally get fascinated for all kinds of music...
Nice to meet you, Jud!
Yes, it's a thought out response, and I'll tell you why: I happened to have the privilege of learning to play in a good quality, luthier-made guitar. By that time (1963), the instrument was stringed with metal strings (my father bought it from a professional Fado player), but, by 1969, I stringed it in nylon. I bought my first electric (a Teisco) in 66, and, later, a Yamaha steel string and other instruments, but none satisfied me as much as that first luthier-made classic. Then, I started making my own istruments, namely Portuguese guitars. So, by now, I play in Custom-made instruments: I choose the woods, the dimensions, the decoration, the neck profile, et coetera. Another great privilege! But, in 1996, I was lucky enough to attend a guitar making course given by José Romanillos. There, I could see excellent guitars being made - and played. The real thing! The classic guitar I made there is by far my best instrument. But I was given the opportunity to play other guitars, namely one made by José Romanillos himself. You know, some guys just "play in another league"! So, if I had the time and the money, I'd approach him again and humbly ask
him to make one for me. And, while waiting for it, I'd have classes and practice to get myself able to play it properly. At the end, I would not own the instrument, I would just play it and keep it to the next generations...
I already have mine!! and it was purely accidental. I know very little about acoustic guitars I just like playing.
In 1997 I walked into a GC store because it was time for a better guitar.
Had no favorites or brand preference. Tried a lot of different brands then spotted one hanging on the top row.
It caught my eye so I asked to try it. Thy got it down and as soon as I felt the guitar i felt right. As soon as I played it it sounded right. Instantly I knew I found my guitar but it was way over my budget.
I felt strongly enough about it to make the investment anyway and now 14 years later I don't regeret it one bit and am still quite happy with my choice. Love the tone and the neck profile has a V shape that feels perfect to me.
00-42 Martin would be my choice.
Martins do have a unique and pleasant smell don't they? It was one of the first htings I noticed.