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?
I had the similar experience with the Seagull Entourage that demonstrates the benefits of playing the guitar you buy. I auditioned several used and new CW guitars of this model and 1 non-CW and all sounded a little different. I didn't note any diminished sound between the CW and standard dread.
They all sounded good, but one of the floor models had a particularly warm, smooth tone that sounded great to me, so I knew it was the one.
Bogey, well you put up a lot of questions and have some very good advice already. some conflicts slightly, but that is what discussion forums are all about. I'm just going to touch on a few of your questions as you already have good advice accross the board.
I did a little review on cases a while back and learned a lot in the process. The Hiscox is my first choice for a hard case. It fits the Seagull dread-size box exceptionally well, and seals up with the best of them retaining humidity and temp. Not a cheap case but it will protect your investment very well (and without the super high price tag of many others) It fits much better than the Gators line up (again for the D size Seagull) You still have to choose which box size you want before you can go after a case. Think of the case as an insurance policy with a handle and my advice is "don't scrimp on your case". While they aren't under 150 you can usually get one for 225.
As to finish, most folks can't hear any difference. If you amplify the instrument and play solos then you might be able to discern the different tonal qualities of the two. Which finish do you like to look at? That's the one to get. The finish BTW is nitrocellulose lacquer like they use on high end violins and such. Scratches are easily repaired in lacquer compared to other sprayed-on finishes.
If you aren't set on a specific box size yet, I would suggest you find a shop that has the D size and the Mini-Jumbo. Listen carefully and also close your eyes and "feel the fit". The MJ's are pretty special and most folks don't know it.
As to new vs. used I'll offer this; New, while having the higher price also comes with a lifetime warranty which you won't get on a used instrument. This is a big factor for some folks.
Play with your eyes closed to hear the sound better - it really works.
Get an intermediate level friend to shop with you and play the same song or progression on each instrument. Again, close your eyes and just listen to the guitar's voice. It will help you choose the one that's right for you.
One other thing I have found in my quest for "the one" is that old strings on an instrument that has been hanging on the rack a long time will disguise the real voice of the instrument. It is tought to get music shops to put new strings on an instrument before you buy it, but you won't really hear what the box has to offer until you hang a new set of strings on her.
hope this helps you some.
I had the opportunity to get either the dread Performer or the mini-jumbo - I liked the mini-jumbo's "feel" better, but the dread had more bass unplugged. As I was getting this guitar primarily because I had a Roland AC-90 amp, but no guitar to plug into it (how sad...), the guitar's "feel" should have been more important in my decision than the unplugged sound - but I didn't make the decision that way...
Anyway, I don't regret getting the Performer dread, but I should have gotten the mini-jumbo...
And, if you look at my 5th Avenue archtop, it is pretty much the mini-jumbo shape anyway - so I sort of have one... ;-)
Very good point about the strings in a shop. A good shop will change them for you if you ask. A good relationship with a shop owner is always an asset. If they won't help you out then leave, your money is as good anywhere else.
Get a s6 with a TRIAC case, you will love it. The s6 is affordable & very playable. As a "newbie", you want the best equipment you can afford. Dont worry about it being shiny. Shine on an acoustic usually equals choked sound. S6 is a very well made instrument, easy to play & it's all up to you to make it sound good. It won't fight you along the way. It exceeds you now, but will compliment you as you grow as a player. Go with light gauge strings & no matter what you buy, invest in a set-up. Many a new player has given up in despair because guitar was "too hard to play' when all along a 45 dollar set-up would have probably leveled the playing field. And when you get your new s6, remember; learning how to play a musical instrument is one of the most psychologically difficult things you will ever do, even when you become advanced. It also happens to be one of the most uplifting, gratifying things you will ever do.
+1 !!! Great advice!
Well, except for the TRIC case :-)
When did you become such a TRIC-case hater? ;-)
I have tried to buy one at least three different times and everytime I start to march up to the register, I end up putting the TRIC back and grabbing a traditional hardshell case instead. I have no rational explanation ... it's psychological.
Yep, I'm pretty much in the national indoor humidity sweet spot most of the year ! And I have to admit, the space-age element to the TRIC sort of turns me off as a traditionalist. Sort of the same reason you're not likely to find me shopping foir a Rainsong.