While shopping for my first guitar recently, I came across an Art & Lutherie Cedar Black and a Cedar Antique Burst with the puffy sticker rosette at a local Austin shop. I had a friend play them and we both loved the sound of the cedar. And he said the action is very nice. But I just couldn't get over the applique. Later and at another shop that carried new and used Seagulls, I recognized the Godin manufacturing label on an Entourage Dread Q1T. It has that same sweet sound and action without the crappy rosette. It is also my impression that the Seagull is the better made guitar overall compared to the A&L. I then noticed they had a used Entourage with the puffy sticker rosette and we figured that A&L and Seagull must be paternal twins from a design standpoint.
Bottom line for me -
I have set my sights on a Seagull Q1T (no puffy rosette), but could use some input before buying. I have an amateur music background, but no experience with guitars other than appreciating what loveliness can be poured out of them.
Questions, questions. And more questions...
(OK, I know I'm really piling on, but it never hurts to ask. Right?)
Any input is welcome. Can you please help a newbie out?
The Rainsong in the AG magazine is $2532 ($1,899 street) that's a lot of dough for any guitar. I think I will stay with wood. That great video of the US soldiers playing the Rainsongs in Iraq shows they have their place.
You guys are rockin' it!. I appreciate all the helpful input you have offered in such a short time. Keep it coming!
I had it in mind to purchase this week as I am a bit ancy to get started, but I now think I will take more time to weigh the decision a little more carefully. Based on my earlier shopping, research and the great responses to my questions here, I am still pretty comfortable with the Seagull decision. Though I won't turn a blind eye to another quality choice.
I didn't find warranty info on the Seagull website, but if they do in fact have a credible lifetime warranty, it may factor into the decision.
I won't be testing any guitars by playing them myself since I don't yet play, but I will continue to digest the input you all have offered and get back to shopping with a friend who plays. I think it will be similar to my earlier experience listening for the sound that's pleasing to me and get his input as to the playability of the different models.
And of course there's still that chance that a primo deal will surface along the way.
I'm in a similar boat in shopping for my first new guitar; you may have seen my thread here from last week. If not, you may glean a few things from reading it and the responses. Here is a page that covers a lot of warranties on major brands that you may find helpful: http://www.musiciansbuy.com/Warranty_Info.html#S
From what I can deduce, a "limited lifetime warranty" at least in some cases translates to a two-year warranty. And humidity damage is not covered (understandably). I'd imagine there are exceptions, though.
After researching for a month, I can tell you that reading a lot of user reviews on various online sales sites — and just reading forums like this one — really helps. And watching demo videos. You learn terms and what is desired from a good guitar. Reviewing the same items a few weeks later yields yet more insights. (Just like playing and re-playing the guitar/s you are looking at does.) In the meantime, I'd suggest borrowing a friend's guitar or finding a beater to get in some lessons.
By learning on any guitar, even over the space of a few weeks, you start to form your own likes and dislikes and that all goes into your buying decision when you get yourself a decent one. (At least, this is what I've found by learning on an old Yamaha student guitar.)
I had the same thoughts on new vs. used (what if I find a killer deal on a used model?). I decided it best to go new unless you're on a very limited budget restriction or really know guitars. As for cedar vs. spruce and 1.72 vs.1.8 nut size, I've found the wisest advice is just play both and your ear and hands will tell you what you like. Case: I have a TKL dread-sized hard case that is solid as a rock. If anything happened to it, I'd buy it again.
I'm also looking at the Entourage dread. (Toying with the QI idea but will probably stay acoustic at this point). I played its twin A&L and the puffy sticker also turned me off (what they're thinking with that I'm still trying to figure out from a marketing and aesthetics standpoint). Also looking at Tak 300 series, Yamaha 700 series and casually at a few others.
I keep going back to the Entourage as it's made in Canada, is extremely well-constructed and has larger nut width options than others in this price range (standard nut seems to be 1.68 as was mentioned earlier). I want to stick to a max of $350ish (hopefully less) for my first guitar. Assuming down the road I'll get another one and will know that much more at that time...that will make me feel more comfortable spending more if I feel the need to do so.
On the deal front, I'm thinking with Memorial Day approaching, we'll see some decent options.
New unless you get a good used -- with discount (15% from Musician Friends or GC during their periodic sales), the price of new is only slightly more and no worries about bad guitar.
Cedar or Spruce. Both sound good. If you want a gull, go with cedar.
1.8 or 1.72. For a beginner with regular hands, 1.68 to 1.72 is about right. 1.8 is probably too big.
SG or GT. Go with Seagull S6 slim or Entourage Rustic. Both are semi gloss. I have an Entourage but I think the original S6 slim is prettier. Both are nice.
CW or not. I don't like CW and unless you want to play the upper frets, not need for CW.
If you get new out of box, strings will last for a few months or days.
I like the nice Seagull gig bag and I don't like the Tric case. You can get after market hardshell case or even the hybrid case (weight of a gig bag with zipper).
Look, warranty, price, brand, country of origin, doesn't mean #$%^^&&*^%$#@..... When you strum that E, G, D, or F13-9 it's going to tell you that you and it are for each other (for now). No amount of research is going to tell you what the guitar is going to tell you!!!!
Does it move you?? Does it resonate your spine?? Does it make you tremble?? Do your knees get weak?? Do you salivate?? Research, specifications, materials, construction methods, finish: who frickin' cares??????!!!!!! Every once in a while Costco will have a guitar that will make you wet your pants, crying rivers of tears because it contains all the songs your never thought could have been written and you've never heard of that brand....
In ten years you're going to say, "yeah, that was a really good guitar," or "it wasn't".... and it's ok either way.
If you want to be certain you're getting a good guitar, get a high end Martin, Taylor, Gibson, Larivee, or some small shop model that costs at least $3000 so that, at least, your bank account tells you that you better enjoy this.
Just so you know where I'm coming from: I've had a Taylor for about 15 years which is the standard against which I assess all other guitars. I have a Seagull SWS which is pretty impressive. There was a Yamaha, I wish I still had, and an Ibanez electric which were both pretty amazing.
Don't expect your first guitar to be legendary. There may come a day after you've spent thousands of dollars on guitars that the one you wish you had is one you used to have....
Tommy Tommy Tommy,
you're takin' all the fun out of shoppin for that big first purchase. You are right on about playing a bunch of them and listening for "the one" that gives you chills with just a couple of chords.
But the research and the discussion for hours on end....ah that's the American beauty. We are so fortunate here in The States to have so many choices. We can not only pick from many brands but prices vary from full retail to the killer deal right near wholesale. Let's all celebrate that we have so very much from which to choose and besides, all this talk is what makes the Seagull Forum the most active one on the whole AG Community.
As to being certain of getting a good guitar, I'm not so sure about being able to pick just any of those brands you posted. I think they make duds just like everyone else. Maybe just not as many.
In any case I loved the chase that brought me to my 25th Aniv model and I would participate in "the hunt" all over again if it ever became necessary.
Cheers to Seagull's quality and making such an affordable instrument ane employing all the "local" folks.
I wholeheartedly agree!....the process is just as exciting as the purchase!
Yeah, I'm with you all, just trying to ruffle some feathers... I'm only trying to say that words, specifications, and reputations don't do justice to the experience of hearing and feeling a guitar. This seems to be a really good time to buy decent affordable guitars, especially compared to 20 years ago. While I feel that Seagulls are fine guitars, and have lots of aspects to commend them, I think it's important to keep our minds open.
The fun in searching out a new guitar is in playing them and finding out that, indeed, Martin does put out a dud occasionally... (in fact, I think they are the least consistent of the big name makers!). The fun can be finding that mahogany/cedar bodied guitar, which should sound sort of dark and mellow, turns out to be a bright cannon, or that a small body can sound really big.
A trouble with all the research is that a person can conclude that the only guitar to get is a rosewood/spruce dreadnaught and may not consider the mahogany parlor hanging on the next hook because it's not made to be a strummer...
Let the research take a back seat to the experience. Play them all...
+ 1 ... (agree 100%) ... Unless you just don't trust your own ears and fingers, don't put your all of your faith in anything you hear on the web. Way too much is simply subjective opinion.
Play lots and lots of guitars before you buy.
With all this said, I feel particularly sorry for two segments of the market. 1) People who don't live near a lot of great shops where they can actually try out a big variety of guitars and 2) left-handed guitarists who are stuck with either paying for a premium guitar like a Martin or a Taylor,etc. that perhaps they can't really afford, or settling for the one specific (usually mid-range) model that a brand like Seagull is willing to make in a lefty.
The Entourage sunburst mini jumbo is great value for the money and sounds great..
After taking the time for several more auditions, I bought a guitar over the Memorial weekend. I tried out many acoustic guitars including Alvarez, Ibanez, Yamaha, Takamine, Taylor, Breedlove, and Martin. I just kept coming back to Seagull and in particular the cedar top with the light semi-gloss finish. The Seagulls with the SG spruce tops were good too, but I really dig the mellow sound of the cedar. The closest rival for my taste was a Taylor with a SG maple top that runs more than $400 higher.
So here it is! A brand - spankin' - new Seagull Entourage CW with the Q1 electrics/tuner..
Guitar Center had competitive pricing and their Memorial weekend 15% off sale, so the price was only slightly more than I could find anywhere for a used one. Other than the CW, it fits the bill for me - acoustic with good action, a warm even tone, a built-in tuner and electrics providing means for good quality personal recording for critical listening while not playing. The CW wasn't so much a choice as availability since they didn't have a standard AE in stock, but at least it'll be ready to shred when I am.
Thanks to all of you here for your input. I really appreciate it!
On to the painful beginner stage of learning a musical instrument. I can't wait!
...and now I don't have to.