Cut Price Guitars Offered From Major Guitar Makers
For guitarists all over the world, having an opportunity to buy a Guild, Martin or Taylor guitar is now a reality with cut price guitars being offered in scaled down affordable versions. These three makes cover a huge amount of the acoustic guitar market sales.
If you think that you’ll shortchanged then think again as Pete Madsen explores from Acoustic Guitar magazine.
From the April 2017 issue of Acoustic Guitar | BY PETE MADSEN Heads up, tiny-house nation—’tis the time of the tiny guitar. Scaled-down is the new “bigger is better,” a design aesthetic for guitars that are easy to transport, gig-ready, and quite attractive. Video Review: Guild, Martin & Taylor Are Offering Scaled-Down, Affordable Versions of Their Popular Acoustics
thumbnail courtesy of acousticguitar.com
This is a wonderful opportunity for guitarists who are on a tighter budget but are still looking for a quality instrument to play. There is a video review of the guitars in question at the site above although you will need to subscribe to view it.
Heads up, tiny-house nation—’tis the time of the tiny guitar. Scaled-down is the new “bigger is better,” a design aesthetic for guitars that are easy to transport, gig-ready, and quite attractive. These days, modern guitar players value portability in addition to tone, playability, and visual aesthetics, and the industry is responding with compact acoustic axes that travel easily, accommodate players with small hands or ergonomic challenges, fit into cramped living spaces, and suit modest budgets. And most mini and junior models come equipped with either a pickup system or you can easily have one installed. Of course, travel guitars are not a new concept; they’ve been around for decades, but the idea of major manufacturers scaling-down their prized products is fairly new. These days, three of the biggest American guitar manufacturers—Martin, Taylor, and Guild—are producing high-quality, scaled-down versions of some of their most popular models. Here’s a look at what they have to offer.
What Is The Verdict On These Instruments?
Although these are cut down and cut price guitars, they are not dirt cheap, but compared to the full price of these models they do offer a whole new strata of guitarists the opportunity to own these high end named guitars.
C.F. Martin & Co., which invented the dreadnought 101 years ago, has trimmed down the girth of that behemoth to create the Dreadnought Junior, introduced in 2015. Though smaller than a standard dread (it’s built to a 15/16 scale), it still plays like a Martin. This is due, in part, to the roomy 1 ¾-inch nut width, which is what you might expect from a full-sized guitar. Navigating the Richlite fretboard feels natural even though the 24-inch scale is a good inch-and-a-half smaller than a traditional dreadnought. String setup is on the low side, but there are no audible buzzes or dead spots. I play some bluesy runs up and down the neck, which feels silky smooth. The neck gives you ample space to fret chords and not feel cramped. Strumming in first position is comfortable and playing barre chords up the neck also feels natural.
The Mexican-made D Jr. E has that characteristic Martin thump and the brand’s rich tone, thanks to the solid Sitka spruce top, and sapele back and sides. (Also available in all sapele). The result is a slightly diminished tonal spectrum than you would get from, say, a Martin D-28, but you wouldn’t expect a big boom from a scaled-down dread, would you? Yet, the D Jr. E has a sweet voice. The Fishman Sonitone onboard piezo pickup system does an excellent job of reproducing the guitar’s acoustic sound. Separate tone and volume wheels mounted in the soundhole make for easy on-the-fly adjustments. This may not be the best guitar for a traditional bluegrass band, but it certainly has a lot of the appeal of a Martin dreadnought for space-challenged pickers or those with smaller hands.
Solid Sitka spruce top, solid sapele back and sides. X-pattern Sitka bracing. 1 ¾-inch Corian nut. Chrome closed-gear tuners. SP Lifespan 92/8 Phosphor Bronze strings. Nylon gig bag. Fishman Sonitone onboard piezo pickup system. Left-hand models available. $799 list, $599 street (also available without electronics for $699 list, $499 street).
Cut price guitars is a big headline, however, as you can see, the price is certainly not bargain basement. At the end of the day, you do get what you pay for and this just may well be the price point that tempts a lot of acoustic guitar players to plump for one of these beauties.