Looking for an acoustic cannon...

any opinions?

I have $800+ put aside for a really loud acoustic guitar. I have read and heard great things about the Greg Rich designed acoustics (ie. Blueridge guitars and Johnson Carolinas). Also, many people swear by the new Guild GAD50 and the Epiphone AJ500. Keep in mind that all I really want is an acoustically LOUD guitar. I have plenty of great sounding instruments, but none of the acoustics I own can keep up soloing with a loud banjo and mandolin, even with medium strings and an extra heavy pick.

So what say you all and why?


i wanted something on that order too a few years back while i was doin a solo gig ,and although i never bought what i figured would be a loud acoustic,in my reading i was led to believe that the larger the box,the more sound,sound correct? i thought one of them gibson jumbos would be the ticket,but could never afford more then an alverez or the cheaper ovation,i compensated by going wireless to a small pa,that way a guy didnt have to beat the #### out of his ax so the room could hear it,iwent the heavy gage string and pick route to,but i usually have them on my lectrics too,so that was no thing,but beating an new acoustic to be heard put big grooves in my frets in a matter of 3 months,mind ya i was playing sometimes 60 hours a week,an sumthins gonna give on a cheper ax,
im thinkin your going to only get so much out of an acoustic,and if there’s louder acoustic instruments that yer competing against,you’ll get frustrated in no time flat ill bet,and too if your trying to play loud all the time,whats that do to the dynamics of yer playing?ya cant play anything soft or muted ,cause it wont be heard?
i wonder if charlie christian felt this way with all the horns around ,and him goin through a 5 watt"r,

Yairi perhaps? And maybe you’ll throw eggs for this, but a solid top mid depth Ovation with the upper bout sound holes (a mid depth Elite)… try it in a mix before you poo poo it. And I am talking acoustic, not plugged in. What everyone hates on the Ovation unplgged is exactly what makes it stick out… It is sort of high and mid rangy so it cuts where as an old D28 is tubby and gets lost. Think of it like mixing. What sounds good soloed doesn’t necessarily sound good in a mix.

Bubba’s braver than me… I was gonna suggest an Ovation but didn’t want rocks thrown at me. Those rascals can really standout in a group. Hard-core grassers will look at you like you are the devil incarnate if you show up with a bowl back though…


The loudest guitars are Dreadnaughts & the loudest one I ever played was a Martin 40’s D-18. Man - that mahogany aged very nicely.

Do any of your existing guitars have built-in pickups? If so, for $800 you might consider getting yourself a good acoustic amp, e.g., California Blonde.

Wozz, the Epiphone I mentioned is a GIbson “advanced jumbo” style. So is the Blueridge BG160. Seems they are coming out of the same Chinese factory and that they are doing a good job. I can attest to the better quality Chinese guitars these days… I love my JT134 Quilt.

Bubba and Diogenes, I just can’t bring myself to buy an Ovation; plastic back and all. I have played and worked on hundreds of them over the years an I never heard one I liked…never. But I bet you are right about them being heard in a narrow band of frequencies that no one else inhabits. There might be a reason that no one wants those frequencies… :p

Mr. Soul, most of the guitars I mentioned are dreads. In fact, both the Carolinas and Blueridges use “pre-war” style forward shifted, scalloped braces like the pre-war Martins. In fact, Greg Rich very closely copied those guitars in his design of the Blueridge and Carolina lines. So they are often compared to the pre-war Martins in tone and styling. I have narrowed down my choice to 2 guitars, the Blueridge BR-180 and the Blueridge BG-160 . I was toying with getting a solid mahogany B&S BR-140 or the BG-140, but decided against it…I think. hmmmm…

i have to agree bout the sound of the ovation,simply put,it eats it,and the shape of the neck hurt my hand,i had bad pain playing all them hr’s and once i got the alverez that was over,
wood over plastic i say,an that big jumbo body prolly is the answer.


Mr. Soul, most of the guitars I mentioned are dreads. In fact, both the Carolinas and Blueridges use “pre-war” style forward shifted, scalloped braces like the pre-war Martins.

Yes I understand that but unless you actually play the guitar that you might choose, you’re running a big risk that it won’t be what you want. My suggestion is to get a nice acoustic amp & use one of your existing guitars. The acoustic amp will also provide a mechanism to do solo stuff but it accepts a mic as well.

i think get the new ax an do the amp too,its always cool to getta new guitbox, i know how some of them “acoustic jams” go though,some of them guys like to think theyre purists and frown on any kind of amplification,
hey man,what about one of them guitars like djangles an los lobos plays,one of them giant mex jobbers?

DrG, I sure like the looks of that 180. I’m with you, Ovations sound like plastic buckets to me. I despise most acoustic sounds other than those one gets with a mic in front of lots of big wood anyway. Really don’t like bridge pickups. Wish I could afford something like the ones you are looking at… :)

I’m tellin ya, the best guitar I have ever heard in a live mix (meaning all acoustic, nothing plugged in) was an Ovation. It was a flute, guitar, and cello trio. The Ovation that sounds like a bucket soloed sounds shimmery and fits in a mix many times I find. Fine, have fun with your bassy thuddy low end dreadnaughts. At least get a parlor! :p I am starting the anti-dreadnaught league. I hate dreadnaughts… poor balance, thuddy on the lows, murky in the mids, highs, what highs? Ugh. In the steel string world give me a parlor or 000 any day.

Problem is Bubba, I have plenty of acoustic guitars; a Martin 000-15, Cort Earth 900 (parlor), Martin M-38 (0000), Giannini thin line classical, a 1940 Regal archtop acoustic, Aria AC80CE spanish classical, Seagull M12. And only the Seagull is a dreadnaught (12 string). None of them can compete in an all acoustic bluegrass setting (which I find myself in a lot these days) except maybe the Seagull (but who wants to solo on a 12 string… :( ). Hence, the search continues.

If it is of any consolation Bubba, I agree with you about dreadnaughts. That is why I have never owned a dreadnaught acoustic in my 40 years of playing (except 2 dreadnaught 12 string guitars). But it has been made painfully clear to me that if I want to be balanced with the other instruments in this acoustic bluegrass group, I need a real cannon. That is why I am seeking a loud dreadnaught or a loud advanced jumbo.


Just waiting for the checks to clear to order the guitar… still don’t know which one yet… hmmmm


As always, when I buy a new instrument, I sell off ones I no longer use regularly. I have already sold an acoustic Aria and an Ibanez Roadstar II… the following is a list of the instruments I am willing to part with.

Regal Blonde Archtop, F holes, all acoustic (about a 000 size) (circa 1940) Ebony fingerboard, V shape neck, figured maple sides and back, Spruce top. Loud and full for this type of guitar. Very Good + cond.

Carvin SC90, Excellent+ cond. Neck thru body construction. 2 humbuckers with coil taps (even dead quiet in the single coil position). All electronics fully shielded, All blonde with quilted maple top. Abalone fret position inlays, ebony fingerboard, all gold hardware, sperzels, comes with a new tweed Carvin case. Plays like a wet dream…

Elvenwood A/F mandolin. F holed, A style body with F style headstock. Slightly warmer sounding than your standard F style with good chop. Solid spruce top. Plays easily and sounds great. Excellent condition.

Well, those are the last 3 instruments I am willing to part with right now. If you see anything you might be interested in, drop me a note. I always gaurantee any instrument I sell to be at least as nice as I describe it to be. I do all my own setup and my guitars always play amazing (the 2 I already sold, my students begged to buy from me)

I’ve gone a delicate shade of green. I have never owned such nice instruments as Dr. G. However, what I wanted to add is this: for acoustic instruments, big size = big sound is a general rule but there are exceptions. If the soundboard is stiff or over-braced it will not vibrate, that is move air, as much as a smaller but more lively version. Why is a banjo so loud? Because the skin moves more than a sheet of wood. I duetted for a while with a friend who had a big Gibson jumbo. My smaller Epiphone parlour guitar was louder.

What about the Django-style Macaferi/Selmer things? Don’t they have some extra internal soundboard gismo to pump up the volume?

Good luck with your purchase, Dr. G.

As a wise indian chief once said “That is all I have to say”.


I agree completely Tuster. I have a tiny old Martin style B mandolin (1920) that is much louder than any of my other instruments. If I could only find a guitar as loud…

As far as the Selmer style gypsy guitars (Django’s guitar), I do not believe that they have any extra soundboard gizmo. I could be wrong, but I believe that they are fan braced and quite midrangy to bright sounding. I think that is why they “cut” so well. Not quite a bluegrassy sound. Although I would love to own one, I am sure if I showed up at a bluegrass jam with one, I would be beaten to death with it. :p

Quote (DrGuitar @ Aug. 08 2006,00:38)
If it is of any consolation Bubba, I agree with you about dreadnaughts. That is why I have never owned a dreadnaught acoustic in my 40 years of playing (except 2 dreadnaught 12 string guitars).

So you want to join the anti-dreadnaught league? :D
Quote (Bubbagump @ Aug. 08 2006,16:59)
Quote (DrGuitar @ Aug. 08 2006,00:38)
If it is of any consolation Bubba, I agree with you about dreadnaughts. That is why I have never owned a dreadnaught acoustic in my 40 years of playing (except 2 dreadnaught 12 string guitars).

So you want to join the anti-dreadnaught league? :D

I would have just a few months ago, but I am learning that I may need to go the way of the 'naught to get the volume I want.

It's funny, I'm a decent size guy (6 feet, 200+ lbs), but I love smaller guitars. Dreadnaughts seem cumbersome and uncomfortable to play.

I guess I will have to get over that problem...


Just ordered the Blueridge BR180 from onlineguitar.com. The owner Dave promised that he would go through his guitar stock and find me a real cannon. I’ll give you all a review when I get a chance…

Going out of town for just over a week so play nice all :)



hmm, that was supposed to be green…

Dude, that green is awful… My brain hurts and the seizures it causes are no picnic either. :p