Guitar Comparison

Want a new one, but which one?

I haven’t ventured to the local GC yet but, since they have a zillion different makes and models, I would like to have some idea of what I’m looking for before I get there.

Does anyone know of an accoustic that compares to the old Epiphone FT-150 (size and pearl inlay on the neck’s edge, big sound)? From what I’ve been able to price out, the AJ200s and DR200s seem comparable for about 150 - 200. I haven’t played any yet, just wondering. Any suggestions? I currently have a yamaha.



ive noticed some recent blemish epiphones on MusiciansFriend site ,they were in the 300.00+ range,for guitars that listed for 3 times that, i know its not the way ya wanna buy one,but you do have 45 days to decide if ya like it or not,they had some alvarez too and a whole lotta makes of acoustic guitars,i bought a blem dean acoustic bass,which when i got it and looked it over,i couldnt really find anything wrong with it,114.00 plays great,i also bought for my grandkids rogue brand had a mandolin /acoustic6 set for 99.00 bux,which aint to bad either for the lil shavers

I was looking on MF too and saw a blem Epi that looked pretty good. I’m just a little paranoid about buying a guitar without playing it…

I’ve made it a hobby for many years to try to pick out good sounding inexpensive acoustic guitars. My experience is that brand name is not very helpful when you are in this market. You have to hear these guitars to know anything about them.

Here is my approach. The first thing that I do when I get to the guitar store is to walk down the row of guitars, ignoring the brand, tapping each one lightly with my fingernail in several places around the bridge. I do this for every guitar in the shop. If I hear a crisp snap with deeply resonant overtones I make a mental note that that guitar is a possible candidate. Then I go back and examine the neck, setup, etc. of each one. At this point I’m still ignoring brand AND price. I make a mental note of which ones met the click and look tests. Finally, from this subset, I pick out some of the low price guitars and I play them, and then for perspective I’ll play a high-end instrument that I know well. Brand IS helpful for picking out high end instruments. I usually try to use a high end Martin for comparison.

The interesting thing to me is that in a rack of 10 inexpensive guitars of the same make and model, 1 may be a great guitar and the rest junk. I recently bough a cheap Kona guitar that sounds very much like some of the well loved Gibson acoustics that I have played. Its finish is flawless. Great neck. Nice tuners. Everyone that plays it says wow. I was in the same store a few days ago, and they had a new rack of Konas that were total junk - I mean totally unusable and dog ugly. This is the most extreme case that I’ve ever seen - I really wonder if there wasn’t some kind of bait and switch scam pulled on the guitar shop. Anyway, if you take your time, play a lot of guitars, and don’t get caught up in labeling too much you can find a gem at a good price. Trust your ears and hands.


PS: It is amazing how good the ‘tapping test’ is at picking out good sounding guitars. I know that is sounds bogus, but try it.

T, that sounds like a great test. The observation about the one good cheapo among the 10 dogs - I’ve had the same experience. We needed a 100 beater guitar to have lying around the house, so I went and played a bunch of Takamine Jasmine guitars at the local guitar store (not GC), and it was funny, I played 6 or 7 and mostly they sounded like crud, but there was one that really jumped out. Dunno how good it will sound in 5or 10 years, but for now, for a beater, it sounds really quite fine.

Ya’ know, I think this is true of pretty much all guitars made in factories! I know if I play a dozen Mexican Strats at the local chain store, one will be a fine guitar, two or three will be good guitars, and the rest will be varying levels of garbage.

More to the point, be sure to take a look at any of the low-mid priced Corts and Samicks. I have seen several lately in the $200 - 300 range, and they all sounded pretty good, and several even had solid wood tops, so there is some hope they might sound better as they age…

Good luck!
Tony W

Sounds like T’s tapping test is a good way to narrow down the choices. Funny how the same brand, make , model can sound different on 2 out 10 guitars. Maybe the pieces of wood just aren’t the same or something…

I will give it a try this weekend. I also came across a local guitar repair shop that also sells on consignment… A friend picked up a nice GC there for $100. Seems I never come across those deals…


Speaking of guitars, I ordered a “custom” Warmoth guitar in early Januay and it should come in any day now. It’s basically a PRS copy but I’m putting mini-humbuckers and/or P-90’s on it.

For anyone that doesn’t know about Warmoth, you basically order the parts & assemble the guitar youself. Mine will be all mahagony with a chery burst flame maple top.

I can’t wait.

Some PRS guitars come swith p90s.


Some PRS guitars come swith p90s.

That’s correct - a McCarthy Soapbar. My guitar will essentially like this guitar but a LOT less expensive. Plus, I’ll have the satisfaction of assembling it.

And it will probably sound #### good, too. I love soapbars. :D

I don’t trust myself to even attempt to put a guitar together. I’ve never even messed with a trussrod. I played an EPI AJ200 over the weekend. I had been thinking that is what I wanted but it was pretty laborious(?) to play. Do you think it would play better if the neck were “setup”? Should that be free on a new guitar?


Some “neck problems” can be corrected by setup. Some can’t. Be sure to spend enough time scrounging the net for info so that you can tell the difference before you decide to buy. (Or take along someone who can.) But be really sure that it is a ‘fixable’ problem before you put your money down. A bad neck will defininitely spoil your fun.

Most guitar shops will adjust setup for a price, some will do it for free on a guitar they sell. Maybe you can get them to adjust the setup before you buy with a promise to purchase if they can correct the problems.


You might want to try this one. Maury is a great guy and does a wonderful set up on each guitar. In addition, he gives a much better price on the phone (he only lists MAP pricing). If you are looking for a rosewood sound, then you might want to try the BR160.

In case you are unaware, the Blueridges have a wonderful tone and are very, very loud instruments.

Take care,


Quote (tspringer @ Mar. 12 2007,16:13)
Maybe you can get them to adjust the setup before you buy with a promise to purchase if they can correct the problems.


Thats what I was thinking…

@Doc: Thanks for the tip on the Blueridges. But, at that price range, I will have to be on the lookout for a used one.

Thanx all ,