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Hi. I'm looking to get a new guitar, preferably a mahogany or cedar top. I currently have a ZAD20 zager acoustic with spruce top. Ideally, looking for under $500 if possible, if I can find something decent. Anyone have opinions on a Fender Hellcat, Seagull Entourage Mini Jumbo, or GS Mini Mahog? Open to other suggestions as well. Can be with or without electronics.

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Thanks for your input. Should a S6 slim QI sound different enough from a entourage mini jumbo qi to warrant the purchase? I can get a s6 slim qi for $299. Figured the dreadnought will have more base than a mini jumbo. Or would it be more ideal to buy a s6 spruce top mahogany back sides?

The "ideal" seagull in my opinion is the Maritime solid wood series. You get more bang for your buck if you go semi-gloss. Mine is pictured here. Ask yourself this question; Am I going to play more unplugged or amped. Amped up, solid top W/laminated sides does a good job, but if you play mostly unplugged, solid wood provides the holy grail of sounds. There IS no comparison. If I were you I wouldn't be considering buying 2 good guitars, I would get one excellent one. I bought my first great guitar in 1978. It was a guild D25. I still have it & I still play it. It's ugly, the finish is gone, & I've re-fretted it twice, but it sounds fantastic. It has character & my DNA. You sweat, maybe even bleed when you play thus the guitar & player become one. I've been a gigging musician in one form or another NONSTOP since 1977 & I no longer have any of a number of bad guitars I have owned. You buy your first great one you'll probably have it all your life

A good amplifier can cover up a multitude of sins. I agree with the above - the wood choices are not as important, as you can adjust the output to make up for any tonal deficiencies. IMHO, get a nice all solid wood (or at least solid top and back) guitar with no electronics, and a solid-topped, laminate back and sides guitar to "plug in".
For your size, I would strongly consider the Mini-Jumbo and Folk sizes - IMHO, an all solid wood folk without electronics and a mini-jumbo with Q1 - and, since you prefer the 1.72" nut, you can check Normans, Simon & Patricks, and Art and Lutheries - all also made by Godin, all with the same dimensions, same neck feel, same construction quality - different wood combinations. Check out all lines at - then see what you can find used. You've got a lot of great options - especially if you expand your search to more Godin lines...

I'm with Richard, play everything you can something will stand out.

I know I'm a little late on replying, but my wife bought me an A&L Cedar dread about 14-15 years ago and to this day it is one of my favorite guitars and one of the ones I play the most and judge every other guitar against in regards to sound.  It has a since gotten a huge crack/split in the top (my fault and caused by me), and still chimes with beautiful sounds.  It has the cherry sides and neck.  I think back then she paid $300 for it, and now they cost more; but well worth a look.  I shimmed the saddle a little to raise the strings some so I can play slide on it and I use a lot of alternate tunings on it and it continues to have no problems and sound beautiful.  Great for flatpicking and finger style.

Also, I know this doesn't have a cedar top, and people argue over solid top versus lamanent; but I own one and it has a solide top (I have the natural one), and the Epiphone EJ-200 Artist is my favorite guitar that I own.  I have numerous very expensive guitars that sound great but this cheap no frills plays better and sounds better than almost everyone of them.  I did have to experiment with strings and found that D'Addario XLP Mediums sound and play the best on it.  It is a jumbo and every acoustic guitar I have is a jumbo other than fore mentioned A&L dread and the stripped down artist model beats all of them.  Everyone who has played it went out and bought them one and they love theirs also.

thanks. what kind of music do you play? do you recommend the EJ-200 for strumming and fingerstyle? Do you think it would compliment the Seagull Entourage Mini Jumbo or too similar in sound? Is the jumbo easy to play? I'm 5 8 and sometimes dreadnought can be uncomfortable. Also do you compare the sound of your jumbo to the dread and other guitars you've played?

I play all kinds of music.  I have no problem flatpicking or finger style on the EJ-200 "Artist", I do have a slight problem with the fancy EJ-200 (Which I also own) when finger picking.  Since the fancy EJ-200 is a more sturdier guitar then the EJ-200 "Artist" model, it has a more mellower tone, but the Artist model is loud and projects well whether I pick or finger pick.  It is pretty big, but actually it's only the "bout" part that is fairly large.  The middle is more of an 0 model and is actually fairly easy to play versus a dread, you just have more wood behind the sound hole and a larger area in the bout area.  The EJ-200 Artist is louder than the original EJ-200, and even an SJ-200, and I also have a Tak 523 Jumbo, and Guild Jumbo and it's louder than each of them and easier to play than all of them.

Returned the Seagull and picked up the EJ-200 Artist from Musicians Friend. Should be here on Wednesday so looking forward to it. What suggestions for strings & gauge do members recommend? See alot of people recommend Light-Medium or Medium nanoweb elixirs. whats your preference and do you like phosp bronze or 80/20 better? And are you a nanoweb or polyweb guy? Any other string suggestions...know its up to my own ears but a head start on which to try to find the perfect harmony is nice.

Judgestone, the D'addario mediums you mentioned above...did you mean EXP 16?s or is it a different brand? did you try any others with close results?

Sorry, EXP 17s Mediums is correct.  The EXP16 lights should work also, but I know on mine, the action with lights was "way" to low eventhough I like low action, the mediums give more projection and low end and the action was perfect on mine after changing them out.  Wait, I did put one small shim in the saddle to raise it slightly to get the medium action just perfect.  Since all I have played for years are medium strings, when I play light strings it just doesn't feel right for some reason.  I played my mother-in-laws guitar last weekend with extra lights on it and I felt lost trying to play it.

I got my initial Entourage Mini Jumbo. Its great plugged in. Unplugged seems to leave something desired, almost like its overdrivenwhen strummed, maybe too trebbly? Any suggestions on what I can do to improve sound? Should I try different pins? What strings do you like best with your Mini Jumbo (gauge & brand/model). I'm not fans of D'addarios typically. Should I consider the coastline folk or will that be too trebly too? Debating whether to keep this or return and try something else. With kids around I'd prefer to stay under $500 so upper end Seagulls are out of picture.


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