Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Guitar experts

Hey everyone,
I’m to the point I need my own steel string acoustic. I’ve played guitar a long time. My first and only steel string acoustic has been a borrowed Taylor (not sure of model) that I got from my brother in law. I love playing, but hate shopping- looking through guitars and dealing with salespeople (there are exceptions). So, I’m hoping someone might have a bit more background so I don’t have to spend too long in a store. I have a few things I want in a guitar that the Taylor doesn’t have.

  1. a wider fingerboard
  2. a bit of a a low end (and)
  3. good projection

The things I really like about theTaylor is

  1. the neck is thin
  2. great clarity
  3. very comfortable overall (other than when I’m fingerpicking)

Also, I’d prefer to spend under $3k on the thing. My brother in law has a Dave Matthews Martin he spent a ton of money on that I don’t care for. Like the sound better than the taylor, but not a fan of the overall feel of the guitar. I’m more familiar with classical guitars. The classical guitar I bought and loved is a Manuel Rodriguez Jr Rio (and had to sell when I was a very poor grad student). I also really like Hill guitars, if that helps.

Finally, if anyone knows of stores near Washington DC that aren’t quite as loud and obnoxious as the big box guitar shops please let me know. Thanks.

See if you can find a local Taylor dealer and try some out. Sounds to me like you have one of the cheaper “Baby” models probably. Can you look inside it and get a model number?

You’d probably be very happy with something like a 214G and you’d only have to spend about 800 bucks.

Have you ever been to this place in Catonsville?

If I lived in your area I’d probably take a drive out there, doesn’t look to be super far away and they specialize in bluegrass, very cool.

Thanks for taking a look. I’m at work, but e-mailed my brother in law and he said it’s a 410ce. I’ve been “borrowing” it for the past year or so (just borrowed his banjo, too :confused: ). It’s a great guitar, but I don’t think it’s right for me. I still like to play jazz, classical, country and bluegrass. I’d like to get a guitar to do everything. I’m definitely not a collector. I feel bad complaining about a great guitar, but there are a couple things I don’t like about it.

Maryland is always a little confusing for some reason. I’m looking at a place in VA that has most of the same brands as the store in Cantonsville, called Melodee Music. They have a few brands I want to try: Collings, Larimee and good selection of Martins. Looking at Collings I might have to go up in price if I want one. I really want the wide fingerboard, almost like a classical, really good expression and some low clear tones…umm…like a nice classical guitar. Maybe I can’t get the same things from a steel string guitar and will have to buy a classical and a steel string guitar.

Thanks for the reply. I’ll definitely put that one on the short list. Looks like a nearby dealer has a Golden Era. :mrgreen:

Long ago, I owned Taylor 410 and at 1-3/4", the nut was already pretty wide. From what I’ve seen, wider nuts on dreads are kind of unusual.

Wow. That sounds like a seriously nice guitar. Did they make you wear an apron to play it? Did you get to play a Collins CJ? Tuesday or Thursday I’m heading to a store that has Collings, McPherson and Martin. Exciting stuff. I’m sure when I get to the store something will sound right.

ldpayton: I might have to give up on that last 1/4 inch or buy another classical guitar.

Ben, you guys are so lucky with all the great guitar stores in Nashville. I was about to drive over there just to visit Artisan and Gruhn before I found my guitar.

The new standard D-18 (they just modified it this year) also has 1 3/4" nut. They are getting rave reviews, but I have yet to find one to play personally. Ditto the positive thoughts on the D-18GE. Mine is the loudest guitar I have owned. It’s has a surprisingly balanced sound as well.

There is a lot of praise for the D-18GE on this thread and on other threads and I have to concur. My friend has one and it’s wonderful to play and hear. It’s like a comfortable, broken in pair of shoes.

I would also recommend the D-18GE if you want the 1 3/4" nut but if you really like the thin neck on the Taylor you’ll probably find the GE neck more than a handful.

That’s true, the GE has the modified V-neck and people tend to love 'em or hate 'em. I have that profile on two guitars (they are similar anyway), and I tend to like them. If you want 1 3/4" nut with a less tapered and thinner neck, the new standard D-18 has the PA profile which is very similar to the Taylor. I think that profile was probably developed to try to grab some market share from Taylor. I wouldn’t be surprised to see all the standard Martins go to that over the next few years.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to buy an instrument for $30,000! I’m sure it would be different if I was playing
professionally, then I could justify it. But, it is just a hobby, so I’ll just dream about it.


I know what you are saying Jim… that’s goofy money. I don’t want something so expensive that I am afraid to play it. On the other hand it was about 10 years ago when people were saying $100k for a Loar F5 is ridiculous. The “idiots” that bought them, now have something worth closer to a quarter of a million bucks. I don’t buy guitars because I think they will appreciate, but at the same time, it’s eases my mind to know that my guitars have done better in appreciating than most places I could have put the money. It’ makes purchases less troubling when I can buy a guitar, enjoy it for years, and most likely, I’ll be able to get my money out of it and then some. If I could just figure out a way to put investment grade instruments into a 401k, I’d be dangerous.

Find a Taylor 210-CE you will be amazed at the volume this one puts out it sells for around 900 and is a nice looking guitar with built in electronics . As soon as I sell my 1989 strat I will buy one . I was impressed and played Martin and Gibson while there and not even half the volume, and tone of this one .I don’t know how they would stand up to a lot of playing but it sounds great. I will own it soon.

— Begin quote from "welder4"

I don’t know how they would stand up to a lot of playing but it sounds great.

— End quote

I’m glad you found a guitar that you are excited about. Taylor makes great guitars and they will stand up to as much playing as you want to give them. As with all guitars, strings get dead and frets get worn, but other than that, the more you play them, the better they get.

Really getting close to buying a Mcpherson. Haven’t picked one yet but ready to make a trip to Mandolin Bros and leave with one. Probably within a week or two. Comments or suggestions ???

I think I have played about 4 or 5 McPhersons. Every one of them was as well finished and setup as could be done. All of them had nice tone, but one really stood out. A couple were stunning looking. They have so much variety in tonewoods, I wouldn’t get in too big of a rush unless you already know what you want. They can also make it to your spec (which would be pretty cool). You might want to shoot Ben a note and get his thoughts. It seems he really enjoys his.

Good information and advice. I didn’t realize how many wood options existed until I got serious about buying. That’s me
I have only played a few also and remember liking the less expensive model the best out four of them when I was at MB a year or two back. (I avoided the word cheaper :wink: ) My wife has okayed this purchase but I am still a little nervous about the cash.
One thing for sure is I will play it, gigs and all. No Glass Case guitars for me.

— Begin quote from "jbsjr"

Really getting close to buying a Mcpherson. Haven’t picked one yet but ready to make a trip to Mandolin Bros and leave with one. Probably within a week or two. Comments or suggestions ???

— End quote

Well, since you asked: Try to be as open minded as possible. Play other high end guitars other than the McPhersons you are seeking. Give them all a fair shot (one may surprise you). Then if a Mcpherson is still the one calling you the most, you’ll feel more sure about your purchase. Take your time like Mike said. It wouldn’t hurt to take a break for an hour or so (lunch maybe) and then return and re-try the ones that impressed you the most.

I tried two or three McPhersons at Wilcutt Guitars in Kentucky about three years ago and they impressed me a lot, but so did a particular Collings Rosewood Winfield model and a Martin D-28 Marquis (and I’m not much of a Martin guy). I didn’t buy anything that day, but any one of them would have been a pleasure to own. The McPhersons are incredible guitars but seem overpriced to me. But so are Blue Chip and Red Bear Picks and I buy them. So it’s what you can afford (or what you want to spend) on something that will bring a lifetime of joy that counts.

Good Luck and let us all know what you get.