What are the differences between the high end Martin, Gibson, Taylor guitars ($2500 street and up) and the Seagull top of the line Studio editions? How much of it is bling like in-lays and binding? The name and history must be worth a bundle as well. (I am in no way implying Seagull is number 4)
Of course Seagull isn't number 4, it is number 1 in our hearts!!
Seriously though, I think that certain versions of each manufacturer is good and bad, or should I say great and bad. Playing some of the mid-range priced pieces at Guitar Center was not very impressive to me. The $2000.00 and above room was pretty good, but still not great. Now I know all the Guitar Center cliche's everyone has. "Those guitars are abused and not taken care of!", or "The strings aren't very good on those guitars". I get that, but I have to say, I am pretty hard on my actual original Seagull S6 with a standard K&K pickup in it and it blows those guitars away.
I did find however that the levels of Seagulls vary as well. The Music-Go-Round here in Columbus started carrying Seagull and I found a Seagull S6 (just like mine at home) and a Seagull S6 Original (Is actually named that on the label in the hole) and the Seagull S6 is amazing, while the so called "Original" was not.
I am sure this will stir the pot up, so I'll stop here! Have a great 4th everyone!!!!!
Seagull has it's niche in the market. It makes quality, affordable, solid topped and sometimes solid body guitars. They play well and are available universally. That's quite the achievement. Martin, Gibson and Taylor also have their own markets. Martin has a tradition and status to uphold - like long time musicians have to maintain the level of their song output. A Seagull will probably never be considered a Bluegrass Cannon but it is the signature model for finger style guitarist, Peppino D’Agostino. I know Taylors are well loved and great guitars but I just don't like the feel of them and their sound. Same thing with Gibson, except maybe the J-45. So it's a matter of taste as long as the quality is there. Then you get into the exotic traditional tone woods, inlays, etcetera all adding to the cost of the big three brands and expected from them by the buying public. All the company's make guitars that cross over the price range somewhere. And Godin, Seagulls parent company makes some very expensive, innovative acoustic-electrics with their Multiac Series. So I think I will stick to buying the best I can afford that sounds good, plays easy for me and pleases my eye. I have played Martins that made me desirous of getting my hands one, just didn't have the cash. But my Seagull sounds and plays pretty good and I'm not afraid to take it in my car to play out and people always admire how well it sounds and looks.
The differences that I see between my Seagull Maritime and my fourteen year old Taylor 714 come down to overall impression. The Taylor feels like it was made with sharper tools like it was made with more care. Don't get me wrong, my Seagull is a good guitar and I play it all the time and enjoy it, it just doesn't feel like it's of the same quality. Over the years, I have found that Taylor guitars are quite consistent in their tone and fit and finish so I think their reputation is well deserved. Almost the same with Martin, though, I think their guitars aren't very consistent in tone, some can be real duds... However, Martins give me the same impression when I pick one up as the Taylors, they feel like quality instruments. Remember that part of what you're paying for with a Martin, Taylor, or Gibson is history, reputation, and their advertising budgets.
My friend plays a beautiful Martin made in 1966. It sounds scrumptious. He will play my Seagull sometimes just because it sounds so much like his. Now I am not sure if that is because we use similar pickups (LR Baggs) but he could ruin 3 of my guitars and still not have spent what his is worth. He likes the wider nut and my 25th Anniv. gull does sound awesome either acoustic or amped up. I have never seen him play any other guitar on stage other than mine. My friend is a professional musician and plays in 4 different groups. Writes children's music and makes me look very much the amateur. The only think I have over him is I can play almost all instruments just none of them very well. I play them well just not very well.
I just can't stick with one instrument long enough to get that much better or I just can't get that much better so I change instruments.
My newest toy is an Ukulele. Very fun to play.
Seagull makes very fine instruments that everyone can afford, I like that! Reminds me of companies like Hohner. Hohner makes great harmonicas and recorders and accordions that everyone can afford. From the beginner who can get a 4 dollar recorder to the pro who wants the very best and is willing to pay for it. I think that this kind of business model works the best for all parties. Of course they make a lot of junk as well but if it gets a youngster play music I am all for it.
Are you familiar with James Hill? Listen to what does onthis Uke! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KV2nZF-pZ1g&feature=BFa&list...
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. have a GREAT 4th
Basically the difference between a top-of-the-line Seagull (at maybe $1,500) and a $2,500 Martin/Taylor/Gibson is in a) the name on the headstock, b) the materials used, INCLUDING BLING; and c) the overall attention to detail and workmanship. At least I feel that way about Martin and Taylor. I have never owned and have played very, very few Gibsons.
However, I own a $1,200 Martin, a $1,200 Taylor and a $1,200 Seagull ... that's pretty much the street price incl tax on each one.
All of them have their own individual set of attributes and shortcomings.
When I first sit down to play, I have the choice of grabbing any of the three, but I almost always pick up the Seagull first.
It's my "go-to" guitar! Most days, the Seagull gets at least 35-40% of my attention. But, honestly, some days the Gull just doesn't feel right and I put it down quickly and move to one of the others.
Perhaps that explains in large part, why even though I host a chat forum devoted to Seagull/Godin, I'm open to discussing pretty much any make or model and willing to accept honest (but, mild!) criticism of Gulls. Owning the other more high-profile brands helps give me a pretty broad perspective.
I am lucky enough to have a relatively wide range of guitar types to choose from when I sit down to play - archtop, classical, 12-string, 6-string - it all depends on mood...and who might be asleep at the time... ;-)