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GUEST,Sandy Andina Cheap solid-top guitar? (72* d) RE: Cheap solid-top guitar? 02 May 06


Cheap solid-TOP Martin? For just a little more (I paid $750 with case) you can get an all-solid wood one. Though the 15 series normally is all mahogany (or lately, sapele), they made a Sitka spruce-topped version just for Musician's Friend. For $700 you get solid mahogany back and sides; for $750, solid Indian rosewood. Granted, it's pretty barebones and plain-Jane in appearance (no neck binding, plain rosette, satin finish, mini-Schallers), but unlike the more expensive 16 series the bridge and fretboard are rosewood and not Micarta. And my D-15 Ltd. rosewood/spruce sounds better and notes truer than the 000-16 GTCE I used to own. It's much lighter in weight than the Blueridge dreads (which tend to be sloppily assembled--glue blobs, poor tolerances--despite the bling). It is the perfect guitar for festivals (though for really important ones I'll bite the bullet and take my D-18GE or M-36 if I'm driving, or if flying, the D-15 Ltd. or Taylor 414RCE in an ATA-rated flight case). I put in a Baggs M! passive soundhole/soundboard pickup (shortly afterward, they came up with an active version).

It sounds and plays terrific!

If even that's too pricey, look at the Simon & Patrick Pro 2 R--only the sides are laminated, and street price is about $350-400 (nicer looking & sounding than Seagull). And keep an eye out for old Gibson LG-0s---I bought mine used in 1980 for $125, and they haven't appreciated much since then. Some were all solid (as was mine), some had plywood backs and sides; but all sound sweet, warm and mellow though none too loud.

IMHO, steer clear of Art & Lutherie. They look, play and sound chintzy. OTOH, take a look at the Taylor Big Baby--a 15/16 sized dread with solid spruce top. Perfect beginner or picnic/holiday/beach guitar. (I won't take it if I expect to gig anywhere on my trip).

Whatever you buy, spend another $20 and get a bone saddle from Bob Colosi, and ditch the cheesy plastic bridge pins for ebony, bone, or fossil ivory. Heck, even the fake tortoise John Pearse casein or Tusq pins ae better.


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