Other Guitars

fairly wowed by… a taylor 210e dlx

1

I'm on the hunt for an acoustic, as you know. Happened on a Taylor 210e dlx and also a Gibson J45 (mahogany).

Wow...

Dig them both, but I do like the shorter scale of the Gibson. The Taylor surprised me though--but spruce top, rosewood back and sides... Has it all.

Taylor more in my price range, but both expensive.

Opinions?

K

2

They'll both sound terrific once they fully open up. And it's amazing how you can tell aside from the added sustain when they open up...….they don't sound 'tight' when you play them. They're much easier to play.

I once had the opportunity to play a Martin pre-war D45 - '94 CAAS Convention - considered by many the holy grail of flattops. It played as smooth as butter, as they say. Despite playing a good many fine vintage guitars over the years, this was the second guitar that stood head and shoulders above all the rest. It tied, in my opinion, the sound and tone of a flattop from Linda Manzer I'd played a few years earlier..... They are the best of the best but you'd need very deep pockets for a top of the line guitar from Linda and a mortgage for one of those rare Martins.

3

Have you tried either, Windsor? Curious what you think about them in particular. The J45 feels mega comfy... the Taylor had that sing and I like the rosewood back and sides.

K

4

I love my Taylor 414ce. I have tried the 210e dlx as I was (was meaning the funds are not there right now) in the hunt for a dreadnought and was very pleased with it. It's very easy on the hands and fingers and has a rich tone with balanced mids.

I have tried the Gibson but it is a bit more expensive. I do know that Taylor has been discontinued so grab it while you can!

5

Have you tried either, Windsor? Curious what you think about them in particular. The J45 feels mega comfy... the Taylor had that sing and I like the rosewood back and sides.

K

– Konrad

No, I haven't played that Taylor as Rob points out that it's out of production so you may want to search online for one some store has a NOS and get a great deal. Last year during the Taylor Tour, at my local L&M store I played all the guitars they'd brought along at the end of the evening's demo and Q&A and played a 200 model - can't recall which one exactly - and worked my way up the lineup as it were. There wasn't a bad guitar there. One thing about Taylor guitars is that the quality of construction is superb along with high quality materials and their own developed PUP system. The same care used to make the top of the line exists in the entry level versions and I appreciate that about the company. Taylor has a wide range of guitars both in style and features and woods used. They have a lock on their own supply of ebony so you won't see a faux fretboard on any of their guitars. They appear to have a guitar to suit every taste.

I find them to be very subtly elegant guitars as well. If you can play one that's well broken in, you'll be blown away by their tone and resonance. A very sparkly clean tone and well balanced across the range.

Now with Gibson, I've played new J45's and a number of vintage ones and the difference is stunning. New ones always have a tight sound - not opened up - and along that, a bit harder to play. I find I have to almost 'squeeze' the sound out of them. After a few years they are more relaxing to play and sound much, much better and are easier to play.

IMO, I think they're priced too high - all Gibson acoustics - perhaps the result of their long standing reputation. Vintage ones really hold their value but then their sound is wonderful. It's been Gibson's bread & butter model since WWII. I find Gibson acoustics to also be well made and lovely looking guitars. I will say though that I find some Gibsons may be a bit boomy on the bass end of the spectrum but in my experience, it's a guitar to guitar basis, not necessarily by model. Once opened up and with at least medium gauge strings, they have a strong voice.

When looking for a guitar, I've always looked for used ones but that are in mint condition and always been fortunate, through patience, to find what I wanted; and at a much cheaper price than a modern equivalent would go for. My suggestion for either brand you're considering, would be to look for a non-new and private sale near mint version of those models or similar models. I say non-new rather than used because quite often guitars come up for sale that have very little to any playing time and have been just put away, received as a gift but lost interest in learning to play. I found a Gibson Country Gent that way that was local too. Hadn't been out of the case for 15 years! You may be able to find a beautiful similar model or even a higher end model used, for the price of a lower model new.

In general, I would think that there are more Taylors around and about than Gibsons. If you want to stick with a Gibson for the scale length and you find one used but not at the price point you'd be happy with, give them an offer and if they aren't interested, leave your contact info with them in case they will sell it cheaper but remind them you're continuing to search while they wait.

Edit: you may want to look at a Santa Cruz guitar as they're very high quality and rival Taylor for value for the money.

6

There’s a big difference between rosewood and mahogany acoustics. One rich with overtones, the other drier, thumpier, and more direct. You’ll want to figure that preference out first (kind of like single coils vs humbuckers, but no swapping later on).

Both guitars you’re discussing are fine models. Earlier 210s were made in the US with solid tops. They offer phenomenal value, but are creeping up in price on the used market.

7

Thanks guys--I liked them both.. I know the 210 back and sides are rosewood laminate, but okay. Really was surprisingly impressive. The Gibson was easier to play... and yes a different sound with mahogany.

I always preferred rosewood back and sides and spruce top a la Martin... but... that Gibson was sweet.

Expensive though. But then again, so was the Taylor, really.

Thinking. Not sure I can afford either, actually.

K

8

Konrad, You should find the Taylor a significant bit less expensive. What I remember seeing when I looked it the Taylor $1100 USD vs the Gibson which is over $2000. I know there are Taylors for less that $1000 on the Reverb site.

Windsordave -- I'm a Dave just like you!!! You referred to me as Rob but us Daves have to stick together! Great insight on the breakdown of both and love the recommendation of the Santa Cruz models.

9

As of 9/15/18, Guitar Center used has 3 Taylor 210ce guitars priced around $650. One is marked 'Great' condition.

10

Konrad, You should find the Taylor a significant bit less expensive. What I remember seeing when I looked it the Taylor $1100 USD vs the Gibson which is over $2000. I know there are Taylors for less that $1000 on the Reverb site.

Windsordave -- I'm a Dave just like you!!! You referred to me as Rob but us Daves have to stick together! Great insight on the breakdown of both and love the recommendation of the Santa Cruz models.

– NJDevil

Sorry about that Dave! Just got you and Rob (DC) juxtaposed!

Beatbyrd's description of the 3 Taylors for sale at GC is a good example of going the used route I mentioned and finding the guitar you want for a substantially reduced price. And the bonus with GC is that you can return it if you aren't happy with it.

It would appear to me that Gibson's pricing policy has never woken up to the fact that their place in the market of good acoustics over the past 30-odd years or more, has been displaced or at least joined by the rise of many excellent companies that have much cheaper offerings along with fine quality. For example, Takamine, Santa Cruz and even some Yamahas offer good value for the money and have for decades, been used by popular musicians. Taylor is a little different in that they have entry level guitars, albeit a bit more expensive than Yamahas offerings, right up to high quality professional levels and even a custom shop. Too many guitars in competition with Gibson and I'm willing to bet - no risk really! - that sales numbers would reflect Gibson being way behind the competition that they seem to be continue to be oblivious of. It comes as no surprise the company has been in financial trouble for quite awhile now. A sure way to fail in business is to ignore your competition, but Gibson has gone one step further in not even acknowledging, beyond Martin, they have any competition!

11

Well--I know what I should find, but the reality is that in Poland (and Europe) prices are high and generally all over the place. So the Taylor (which is impressive for a "low-end" Taylor) comes in at 1500, and the Gibson at about 2200.

Crazy, eh?

Which is why I'm leaning toward the Gibson, although I have always had a distrust of mahogany acoustics. Generally, for me it's been rosewood back and sides a la Martin... but I did have a friend with an old J-45 that was just unreal.

But then there is the reality that I don't really have that kind of money to spend right now. If I did... well, it would be a stretch. On the other hand, I'm 51 and playing better than ever. If there was ever time to get serious with an acoustic (I mean gig wise), the time is now.

Hard choices. Funny, but I kind of thought that when I was at this age I would be able to afford something like this without breaking out in a sweat.

K

12

Well--I know what I should find, but the reality is that in Poland (and Europe) prices are high and generally all over the place. So the Taylor (which is impressive for a "low-end" Taylor) comes in at 1500, and the Gibson at about 2200.

Crazy, eh?

Which is why I'm leaning toward the Gibson, although I have always had a distrust of mahogany acoustics. Generally, for me it's been rosewood back and sides a la Martin... but I did have a friend with an old J-45 that was just unreal.

But then there is the reality that I don't really have that kind of money to spend right now. If I did... well, it would be a stretch. On the other hand, I'm 51 and playing better than ever. If there was ever time to get serious with an acoustic (I mean gig wise), the time is now.

Hard choices. Funny, but I kind of thought that when I was at this age I would be able to afford something like this without breaking out in a sweat.

K

13

It took me 45 years of playing to realize three things about acoustic guitars: the name Martin means everything historically, but nothing to me musically; dreadnaughts are very wrong for me, with a sonic signature so ubiquitous that though you can tell the diff between a very bad one and a very good one, it’s now invisible either way; and rosewood, while beautiful, does not produce the body tone I want to hear.

I find I much prefer parlor-sized guitars (though not the tiniest ones), as their tone combines intimacy, dynamic response, and often surprising volume without trying to blow the walls off the room - and the only Martin I’ve ever heard that wanted me to buy it was a small-body with 12th-fret neck join and slotted headstock. Being a little feller with small weak hands, I also get around on one better.

I didn’t have to learn anything about Taylor gradually, because - like PRS - by the time I’d heard and played maybe three of their highly regarded, reverentially esteemed units, I concluded that emperor had no clothes (at least that I wanted to wear). Twinkle twinkle little sparkle / I know Taylor is what you arkle.

Got no beef with Yamaha or Takamine - though I’ve seen rather more stiff and slightly hard-to-play Yammies than otherwise, and more too-easy but buzz-rattle-prone Taks than great ones. I’m stereotyping, which is what we casually half-informed goobers on the internet do with our anecdotal and incomplete experience, but Yamaha seem durable and boomy (if uninspired), Takamine a bit fragile, Taylorish in their bright signature (like maybe the tops don’t really flex), and at their best when amplified.

Alvarez has made many really superb acoustic guitars - but they’ve made so many for so long that’s probably inevitable. I don’t think I’ve run across a really terrible Alvarez at any price point (and I used to sell them, so I’ve seen a bunch), most have had balanced voices (if not always exceptional) and have proven stable and durable. The Yairi variants are usually a cut above, and among the best non-luthier acoustics available - or at least that was the case through the late 90s. What’s happened through their ownership turmoil since then I don’t know.

I have two Alvarezeseses. A DY77 herringbone Martin-inspired dread from 1977 has ruined me for any other dread, being the only one I’ve ever needed - or ever will need - simply perfect by any measure, and stable as Gibraltar through those years. If you’re feeling dreadful, and can find one on the used market, bet it would satisfy. The other is an AV2SB (I think), a Joe Veillette-designed baritone from the 90s - beautiful and unusual in design, and all the rich deep texture you’d want from a bari - though it could use a neck reset, as the action has come up some. It would be worth doing.

I also sold Seagulls and other Godin/LaSiDo acoustics in the 80s when they were just getting started. They’re always great value for the money, and usually sound bigger than you paid for. The wild cherry and cedar combination used on many of them sounds great new - bigger and more resonant than new spruce - but doesn’t really develop beyond that, remaining perhaps a bit darker and mellower than even I prefer while spruce over mahogany eventually deepens and opens out while retaining clarity. The cosmetic details and niceties of workmanship on Seagulls are often more utilitarian than deluxe, which is fine. But I’ve had eventual playability and stability issues with those I’ve owned, and they’re gone.

I’ve never heard or played a Blueridge which didn’t impress me with fit and finish, workmanship, materials, tone, and playability. They always feel and sound like they should have cost twice their asking price. But my J45 clone slopeshoulder - while beautiful and great-sounding - has broken my heart twice with instability. Action that wanders, neck apparently so flexy I just leave the truss rod cover off, and a top that has cracked (repaired under warranty by Saga) and then bellied. Most recently, I can get NO support from Saga for one of their bouzoukis; it just needs a tailpiece, and they WILL not sell me one - keep referring me to dealers who never respond. I’m done with Saga, and Blueridge with them.

Recording Kings are in the Blueridge price class, with similar models and similar Asian build. I want to like them, and try one whenever I see it in a store. So far not a single one has recommended itself to me.

What I also learned after 45 years of hacking around is that Gibsons produce the acoustic tone most encoded in my DNA. Darker, mellower than the all-projecting Martin standard, with more string-to-string definition and less overall chime. And a slope-shoulder fits me better. This all adds up to the old reliable spruce-over-mahogany J45...often seen and heard, unglamorous, often overlooked. For me it’s the right answer.

In your case, between a Taylor and a Gibson...I know what I’d do!

14

Well, I got up the gumption to go... erm... check out the Gibson again.

Already gone.

DANGIT.

Oh well.

Funny thing is that I tried all of the taylors and various other guitars they had, and by far the best sounding guitar in the store was a USD 350 Epiphone AJ220 or something like that.

I doubt the electronics are worth anything, but it had a great sound and was great to play. Solid spruce top and laminate sides... so it does make me wonder if that Taylor is worth it. Maybe best just to shell out USD 350, but I do need a giggable acoustic...

K

15

I usually think of a "giggable" acoustic as being one that's durable, plays well enough, and with good-sounding onboard electronics. Whether it's the best-sounding mic'ed studio acoustic ever is way beside the point. It has to be tough (and maybe handsome enough).

The Alvarez probably does have good-enough electronics - but they're replaceable in any case.

16

I have an Epiphone EJ-200 - it's a great guitar for the £320 I paid for it (new).

17

Ah--the search is back on. Came across a westerly guild--F150 CE. Rosewood back and sides, sitka top. Fairly boomed. Action maybe a hair high, but I can live with it.

USD 1500--to be honest, it also blew the taylors away.

Anybody tried one of these?

K

18

Have to say that I quite liked it... Neck is a bit strange... kind of thin and flat (which always scares me re acoustics (I like thicker necks), but it seemed very solid, but very alive.

K

19

Went back and tried it...

I may have a keeper.

Just kind of speaks to me.

K

20

Please explain to me, anyone, why it matters if the back and sides are solid or laminate. While the type of wood, be it solid or the inside layer of a laminate affects the tone, the back and sides don't vibrate the way the top does, if at all. A harder wood will brighten the tone, maple as an example with cedar or mahogany giving a softer/darker tone.

21

I had an early 90s Westerly Guild jumbo, and loved the tone. Action was also a bit high - and then got higher over time as the top bellied up a bit. During a marathon playing session recording mostly 1st-position chords, I injured my wrist with it. Took weeks to recover.

I sent the guitar to Guild (which was FMIC at the time); I seem to recall they either reset the neck or took the bridge down to lower the action. Couldn’t fault the customer service. Couple years later, the action was painfully high again.

I loved the guitar - blonde spruce over blonde maple, bigger than the state in which it was made. I loved it especially because it WAS a Guild, a brand whose history I respect and whose guitars get every benefit of my doubt. But I have a strict rule about Guitars which break my heart (or wreck my wrist): twice is it.

I sold it, disclosing that its action was higher than I could deal with. Some guys like it that way. I don’t know if I personally would trust another Westerly Guild.

22

Dang.

You pretty much scared the hell out of me with that one. I had a Furch go bad on me like that years ago.

And this thing just sounds amazing.

Need to give it some thought, I guess.

K

23

Well, didn't mean to skeer you, but that was my experience. I'd been a Guild fan since college, when I played with a uniquely gifted guitarist who had a Guild 6-string. I always thereafter considered a Guild to be some sort of ultimate acoustic guitar. So when I picked this jumbo up in a store and new songs started pouring out of it, I took it home.

Upon which followed above-narrated adventure.

When I talked to that player again years later, he said he'd had to part with the Guild shortly after college...for the same reason, as I recall.


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