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First accoustic for teenage learner

Postby mick.n » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:46 am

Eldest grandson (14yrs old) has shown an interest in learning guitar & wants an accoustic. Just wondered if any body here could recommend an accoustic up to the £200 mark.

Don't want to spend a silly ammount in case it turns out to be just a fad & ends up being stored away somewhere for the next 20 years. ;)
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Re: First accoustic for teenage learner

Postby blinddrew » Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:17 pm

Hmmm, I was going to recommend an Epiphone AJ 220 SCE, I bought mine new a few years ago for £135, but I see they've now doubled in price! :(
To be frank though, it's a really competitive part of the market and I'd be surprised to find a duffer from any of the major manufacturers - Crafter, Epiphone, Fender, Ibanez, Yamaha etc.
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Re: First accoustic for teenage learner

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:31 pm

Yup, same here, I'd also advise getting a set of extra light strings (10's max) fitted and make sure the action is low even at the cost of a little buzz to make it easier on his fingers. Unless he's a big lad I'd also suggest a small body, either one of the 'baby' style (think Ed Sheeran) or a 00 or 000 size rather than a Dreadnaught or Jumbo. Finally, if the nut is high a cheap fix is to stick a capo on first fret, better to get the nut hight correct but the capo is usually cheaper.

If the shop does setups the I'd ask them to do the work if the cost is reasonable, reversing the bridge hight with a shim and fitting bigger strings is an easy DIY job later when he has calluses.
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Re: First accoustic for teenage learner

Postby Albatross » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:27 pm

I'd go for a Yamaha. The quality is really consistent and they always sell on. F310, F370 perhaps if he's thinking about a steel strung folk type'a'thing..
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Re: First accoustic for teenage learner

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:20 pm

All good advice above. Also check out LAG and Vintage (the brand, not the estate agent term for "outdated and knackered anyway").

Don't waste money on anything with a pickup, cheap ones are usually rubbish and construction costs should be used on wood and playability. If he wants a pickup there are many great after-sales options which are much better and not very expensive.
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Re: First accoustic for teenage learner

Postby CS70 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:36 pm

mick.n wrote:Eldest grandson (14yrs old) has shown an interest in learning guitar & wants an accoustic. Just wondered if any body here could recommend an accoustic up to the £200 mark.

Don't want to spend a silly ammount in case it turns out to be just a fad & ends up being stored away somewhere for the next 20 years. ;)

Go with him to a store and talk with the people there about your budget. The process and pleasure of picking up "your" guitar is very important. I remember how I lusted for the first acoustic I bought, as opposite to inherit...
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Re: First accoustic for teenage learner

Postby Dynamic Mike » Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:34 am

Albatross wrote:I'd go for a Yamaha. The quality is really consistent and they always sell on. F310, F370 perhaps if he's thinking about a steel strung folk type'a'thing..
I'd agree Yamaha is always a safe bet if you don't know much about guitars. They simply don't make a bad one and I've never bought one that wasn't reasonably well set up out of the box. I would probably go APX for the extra £30. They're just easier to handle and not too loud to use in a family home.
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Re: First accoustic for teenage learner

Postby SecretSam » Fri Apr 09, 2021 6:40 am

Just to confuse matters further, add Tanglewood to the list.

Mine's a twjfe. It was cheap after haggling and it's brilliant.
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Re: First accoustic for teenage learner

Postby SecretSam » Fri Apr 09, 2021 6:50 am

Sam Spoons wrote: capo

He's corrupting the yoof.

He'll be encouraging non- binary neo-pronouns next.
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Re: First accoustic for teenage learner

Postby Wonks » Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:38 am

I wouldn't suggest an APX myself as a first guitar. It might be easier to handle but it's thin body produces a thin sound. Fine if it's plugged in, but less so if just used acoustically. If he's going to have lessons with other kids, then having a guitar that is quieter and thinner sounding isn't going to be very encouraging and he's more likely to give up.

It's hard to find an inherently bad guitar these days, especially once you get to the £150 mark. But finding a well set-up acoustic is a lot harder. I can set guitars up well myself so cost of a set-up doesn't affect me, but if you can't, then I'd put some of your budget aside for a good set-up and go for a slightly cheaper guitar. Any guitar that's easy to play is going to be used a lot more than one with a high action that hurts the fingers.

As most of the playing to start with will be to do with first position chords, then make sure the guitar is set up with strings that are low over the first few frets, and not with nut slots that leave the strings 2mm above the first fret. 0.5mm is about the maximum you'd want. If the action higher up the neck isn't so good, then that's less of a worry to start with, but the guitar has to have the ability to have the action lowered later. So you'd need to look at the neck angle with relation to the bridge and saddle to make sure that the ability to reduce the saddle height is there.

Too many decent brands out there to name any, but I would recommend getting one with a solid top if possible. Laminated sides and back are fine, but a solid top is much nicer than a laminated top and achievable in your budget.

All the best with the selection process!
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Re: First accoustic for teenage learner

Postby Dynamic Mike » Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:48 am

I guess it depends on circumstances. I spent my youth being told my practicing was annoying other people in the house so developed a technique of playing quite gingerly. Great for fingerpicking but it stunted my strumming style and still does to this day. That's why I suggested an APX. If he's got somewhere he can play without annoying others in the house, then I'd agree with your suggestion.

Also there are guitar shops that will sell you what they need to sell, rather than what you need. That's why I suggested sticking to one brand. I heard a salesman in Chester talking some young lad out of the guitar he wanted by basically making stuff up that made no sense. I struggled not to intervene and ended up just walking out because I was so annoyed.
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Re: First accoustic for teenage learner

Postby shufflebeat » Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:06 am

Dynamic Mike wrote: Also there are guitar shops that will sell you what they need to sell, rather than what you need.

I agree.

Best "trick" is to go with a checklist including price, size, no pickup and (long way down the list), decent looking. Be nice, don't pretend to know about these things, your lack of experience is your excuse to not make your mind up without trying other places. Ask the salesperson to make up a shortlist of 5, then ask him to leave you and the young fella for half an hour while he/you decide. At that point he has nothing useful to add.

Before agreeing, ask if there's a case, set of strings, etc. If not there's many cases that'll do the job on Scamazon. If you're not 100% then folow the same process in other places.

Make notes, drink tea, decide.

Much of this is personal chemistry and I suspect when he tries the right one he'll know straight away.
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Re: First accoustic for teenage learner

Postby al_diablo » Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:40 am

I don't have much to add to the advice above, it's all excellent.

Might I ask where you are based, in case anyone has any recommendations for specific stores to try?

Definitely worth buying in person and not online, you may pay marginally more but it is worth it to find the instrument he connects with
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Re: First accoustic for teenage learner

Postby FrankF » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:29 pm

There's an excellent Tanglewood acoustic model in "Whisky Burst" finish that sells for around £100: I tried two of them in the same shop, and was impressed by, well,
EVERYTHING.
Both of them were well set-up, sounded great, and the dark stain looks magnifico.
I asked the shop owner if they'd been tweaked, and he said no, that's how they came out of the box. (With apologies to the friendly people at Music Inn, Nottingham: I felt guilty about not buying one, they were so helpful.)
And yes, get to a shop if you can, or even two, and if they're not friendly and helpful, go somewhere else. Your High Street needs you!
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Re: First accoustic for teenage learner

Postby Albatross » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:30 pm

Forget everything I said earlier and just get him a Les f'ing Paul!!! :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PD-MdiUm1_Y
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