Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Buying Acoustic Guitars over $1,500

This post is a continuation of a series I've been doing on how to buy a guitar. You can read the other posts here:

Acoustic Guitars over $1,500

Now we're getting into the really good stuff. Once you hit this level, you're looking for hand-crafted instruments only, built right here in the US of A or Canada. I don't personally know of any premium quality guitar makers outside of the States or Canada. In this price-range, it's all up to personal preference regarding body style, tone quality, types of wood used, etc.

Personally, I prefer Gibsons uber alles (over all others). Next come Martins, then it's a toss-up between Seagulls and Taylors. I prefer the sound of Seagulls, but the Taylors appear to retain their value better. Remember, though, there are a lot more Taylors on the market right now, so conceivably that could mean they'll be worth less over time - which is not what you want when you're paying this kind of cash.

Guitars in this price-range - and especially over about the $2,500 threshold - are instruments that ought to appreciate in value over time. You aren't just buying a guitar - you're buying an investment. (And that means get it insured! Standard renters or homeowners policies often don't cover these items and require an additional rider.)

This price-range also means that you can seriously consider buying "used" - or as collectors say "vintage". The key here is to do your homework. Find out the make, model, and year of the guitar you're looking to purchase and then find out if the manufacturer fudged on quality or materials during those years, etc.

Go with your gut. If the instrument feels and sounds great, buy it. In some cases, you should do "blind" playing tests to see which ones you like best.

For vintage instruments, I steer clear of Craigslist, Ebay, and other online shops. I also steer clear of big-box retailers like Guitar Center and Sam Ash - especially in Chicago. (I actually don't buy anything from Sam Ash - ever.)

I go with guitar shops that specialize in vintage gear. And unfortunately, there aren't many like that in the Chicago area. Your best bet for vintage is to take a trip South. Make a weekend out of it. Go to Nashville. Even Guitar Center in Nashville has a killer vintage section (this is the only time I'd still consider a big shop for my purchase).

I don't have any specific shops in Nashville to recommend to you at the moment, but if you're serious about making the trip, I have a handful of musician friends who live down there and I'd be happy to get a few recommendations from them.

In addition to snagging a killer vintage instrument, there are other, great reasons for making the trip just to buy a guitar: the experience will be unforgettable, the prices are cheaper than Chicago (because of the high number of vintage pieces available), the variety is greater (you get to try out a ton of guitars before you decide what to buy), you'll meet and network with real musicians in Nashville.

Questions? Comments? Need to contact me? Visit my Guitar Lessons site and email away!

No comments:

Post a Comment