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I have been playing for almost two years (and still stink ... lol). But, I find myself migrating toward fingerstyle a lot. I like to "feel" the strings. I like the versatility. I like playing multiple lines at once.

The search is on now for my next guitar, and I want a good one (Were it not for being financially challenged, GAS would have set in long ago and solved this problem.) I am presently torn between three options. 1: a Martin HD28, possibly a HD28V, 2: a Martin OM28V, or 3: a custom or small shop work of art.

Can't go wrong with a good Martin. Presently leaning away from the OM. Though historically a great fingerstyle guitar, I find I want a richer sound, more bass. That has me leaning toward the HD28. Between the two, I may have already made the choice. But what about that third option?

Are there any great small shop guitars out there, in the $5K or so range, that will/can provide the rich, full, round, sweet sound? I know the names, Collings, Petros, Foggy Bottom, (all of which may be out of my price range anyway) but have never been able to see or play one.

Before I make the final decision, I WILL play one for a bit. Maybe I will find myself at a guitar show somewhere. But for now, I am curious as to your feedback. Thoughts?

Is there anything else I should be considering?

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Replies to This Discussion

I've been playing for 3 years. Started with a takamine G series as a gift. My kids wanted me to have something to occupy myself so I would leave them alone! I quickly realized I liked fingerstyle ( David Hamburger on Turefire) and realized I had the wrong guitar with a very thin neck. I went on a 9 mnonth search (while I saved some bucks). My favorites were the Taylor, Martin and Breedlove. I didn't even consider the custom shop models like Collings. My very favorite was the Martin OM28. However, in the process I realized I liked the woody bass sound of solid Mahogany back & sides. I ended up getting A Breedlove Revival OM-M. The price was right $1,700 and it was available at a local shop so I could play it, which I did for about 3 hours one day, then 1 hour the next before I bought it. I would of liked to try the MArtin OM28 in Mahogaony, but the only ones I ever saw at the shops were the Rosewood. I travel so I stop in guitar shops whenever I have free time on the road and I still ( 6 months later) am very glad I got the Breedlove. I love the sound and ease of play. I also like the size. It allows me to hold it on my right leg when playing blues (which is my musical passion) and on my left leg in classical style to get softer tones for some jazzy pieces I'm starting to learn. (Less nail more skin). Already considering my next guitar after I pass some milestones in ability. I'm leaning toward a Nylon string crossover, but that's 1-2 years away. Who knows where I'll be by then in ability and musical preferences. Since starting to play I've noticed that I now like music for more than just a certain sound (ie: Blues). I also now like any music that is fun to play on my guitar. So now I'm enjoying jazz, folk, even some new age (That's a hard one for me to admit. I feel like I came out of the closet on that one). My newest song is Ashokan Farewell (Civil War Theme), which I play classical style on my OM.
Have you considered Lowden they are very fingerstyle friendly a little more generous in finger board width
I have played most of the brands listed by everyone else that has replied to this. I didn't see Stonebridge listed so far and thought I would throw that into the mix as an option. I've owned Martin, Taylor, Larrivee, and Collings. I've got to say that for a fingerstyle guitar I lean very heavily to Stonebridge guitars. Tone that you just can't beat, and some of the best craftsmanship I have ever seen. I used to LOVE my Taylor GS-RS, but now my Stonebridge GS-23 CR Cut is my favorite fingerstyle guitar. The price is the best part, you can get into a higher end guitar for less than a Larrivee 05. You can find a Stonebridge like mine for around $2000-$2500 range, and I think their line tops out at around $5000 US.Give them a look and see what you think. If you have any questions about these guitars, feel free to contact me.
As many fine players have proven, it is certainly possible to use an HD-28 for fingerstyle (as I sometimes do on my D-18GE), but my own preference is the OM. I have an OM-42 that delivers great volume and tone with plenty of bass, and the long scale makes it work well for flat picking as well. Which ever guitar maker you choose, it's hard to go wrong with an OM-sized guitar for an instrument that does just about everything.
If you're thinking custom, take a look at Circa guitars. They may be a bit beyond your price range, but John Slobod builds a great guitar. There are sometimes used ones out there, but they go fast. I have a 00 deep body maple on order now. The wait list is a year plus, but they're worth the wait.
Great questions and thought process. When considering a guitar (for me), I never overlook the vintage route. Some good options and finds out there at reasonable prices (gotta try them each has a distinct character...of course). I also was surprised by the sound and feel of a Bischoff guitar I tried at the Montreal Guitar Show. The Bass(ier) sound you mention, might be supported by rosewood back'n'sides...Enjoy your choosin' and don't forget the WOW factor...

One of the things I have come to enjoy about this community is the wealth of knowledge accessible just by reading or posting a message. Thanks to all of you for your responses. I was impressed by the depth of almost everyone, as well as the new suggestions.

I ended up finding an HD28V locally that I got to play with for a bit. It did not take long to pull out the plastic after that! I played that one next to it's HD28 cousin, even had the sales guy play each for me so I could hear them from the front. Ended up going with the HD28V. It just sounds sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet for what I want to do with it. Of course, that does not preclude any future purchases. I still have to check into some of the luthiers you folks mentioned (Hmmmm, I feel a road trip for a guitar show comin' on.).

Joking with my girlfriend, I have named the guitar: Jacqueline Secunda. If BB King can name his, I can name mine, right? 'Jacqueline' is my favorite female name, and 'Secunda' represents my second guitar. Corny? Sure! But it's all in good fun.

Thanks again for all your input.

Until the next post, ...
Congratulations! Great choice!

BTW - all my guitars are named, and all my guitar buddies name their guitars. Mine are all named by other people. The Collings is "Rose" because it was my first all rosewood (back and sides) guitar and I talked ad nauseum to a dear friend about how much I wanted an all rosewood guitar - so she named her. My Perlman nylon is "Twinkle" - my son was 8 when I got her and he said her name should be "Twinkle" because she she sounds like a twinkling star should sound. Pepe Romero has names for his guitar too. I think one is "La Catedral". So, it's not corny at all! :)


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