Advice on new mid-range classical guitar

emma_guitar
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Advice on new mid-range classical guitar

Post by emma_guitar » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:02 pm

Dear all,

I have read many threads on this forum concerning buying new instrument but can't quite find anything answering my specific question, so here goes:

I have been playing classical guitar for just over 10 years. I did not study guitar at college-level and unfortuately don't think I ever will. However, I spend a great deal of my free time playing and expect to do so for many years to come. In case it's relevant, I believe I play approximately at college entry level.

My first guitar was a very basic student model (Yamaha C40). I currently own a Vicente Sanchis 38, which I bought new about 8 years ago for 600 euros. It has a solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides and ebony fingerboard. It has beautiful clear trebles which work especially well for Renaissance / Baroque pieces. I believe I got excellent value for my money.
However, in the past years, I have noticed that with some pieces, a certain warmth is missing in the sound of my guitar. Although this is probably in part due to my own tone production, I recently played my teacher's guitar (obviously a concert model) and had no problem getting a warm, round tone.

Since then, I have been considering buying myself an upgrade. My budget would be about 1200 euros. I wonder, how much improvement in guitar can I expect from this budget? Or would you advise me to save up a little longer and buy a more expensive instrument? Do you have any specific recommendations? I'm planning to travel to a classical guitar shop soon to try out a few.

Thanks!

Laudiesdad69
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Re: Advice on new mid-range classical guitar

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:07 pm

I don't think that for 1200 you are going to see a large improvement as what went for 600 8 years ago is likely going to be 800 or 900 today. I'd say to try different guitars in the 2000 to 3000 range and find out what you really like, then wait and save. Also, consider looking at guitars that are 2 to 3 thousand new, but finding them used.

If you don't like the tone you are getting from your current guitar, try some different strings. What strings are you using? 1200 euros really isn't a lot of money, when it comes to guitars. But if you can bump up your budget another 3 to 4 hundred, there are a lot of good guitars that you could have in the previously owned category, that cost 2 to 3 thousand when they were new.

I bought my daughter's Ramirez 2NE used from my favorite local dealer, for $900. It passed my luthier's inspection prior to buying it and it has been great. They go for about 1700 new. I also acquired my Ramirez 4NE new from the same dealer, for $2000 dollars last year. It had been hanging on his wall for 6 years when I bought it. He had knocked 1000 dollars off the price, and it passed the luthier's inspection and I bought it. Great deals can be had if you happen to have the money when one comes along.
Last edited by Laudiesdad69 on Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Jacek A. Rochacki
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Re: Advice on new mid-range classical guitar

Post by Jacek A. Rochacki » Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:19 pm

Dear Emma,

I think that sensible advice depends on where you are situated/based. If you are in Eu, please take a look at web pages of Casa Luthier in Barcelona, Spain. It will give you sensible IMO orientation in guitars within your price range.

And what @Laudiesdad69 says on prices is true. But let me respectfully add that the prices also depend on:
- price directly from the maker vs price at the shop
- price in Europe - EU) vs price in other continent.
The guitar that sells in USA for close to $ 3000 is sometime offered in mentioned Casa Luthier, Barcelona for ca. 1300 Euro. And I may imagine how much it would cost at the workshop.
Antonio Picado, model 60, 2015, Cedar/IRW. Scale 640 mm.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Advice on new mid-range classical guitar

Post by Michael.N. » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:06 pm

Seems like your Sanchis is on the bright side? which is no bad thing for renaissance and baroque pieces. Maybe you just need to find a guitar that gives a darker more bass orientated presentation. You might get that for 1200 Euros. There's no way of knowing until you go out and try. It may not be any 'better' than your Sanchis but it may give you the rounder tone that you are looking for. Don't discount the strings either, you can do a bit with string selection to alter things.
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andreas777
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Re: Advice on new mid-range classical guitar

Post by andreas777 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:17 pm

Hi Emma, you write that you have been playing classical guitar for over 10 years, and it seems to me that you have a clear opinion about the sound of your new guitar. Therefore it makes much sense to me that you try to find a guitar that you can play before you buy it. If your are looking for a guitar with a 'warm' sound, then you should probably prefer one with a cedar top. With your budget of €1200 I would look for a used instrument because a new instrument won't be much better than your Vicente Sanchis. I just searched the online ads in Holland and found an Asturias that could match your requirements. I can send you the link if you want. Otherwise the dealer 'The Fellowship of Acoustics' could be an option for you.
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emma_guitar
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Re: Advice on new mid-range classical guitar

Post by emma_guitar » Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:50 am

Thanks so much for all the useful advice!

Concerning strings: I use d'Addario pro arte high tension strings. I have tried Hannabach and Augustine strings before but didn't find that much difference in tone and they seemed to get old much quicker.

I think the line of thought that I may not get a better guitar but could get one more suited to me tone-wise, is very relevant.

I am planning to visit a guitar shop this week that has a decent supply of classical guitars (even in the built up area I live in, it's so hard to find a good selection of classical guitars!), they have several models on their website which I am interested in;
- Burguet 2M cedar or spruce (slightly over budget at 1500)
- Alhambra 8P
- Bernabe Antonio Lopez spruce
- Ramirez 125 (used)

I also plan on trying some guitars that are way over budget; I suspect I'll be easily convinced to save up for a while and buy a more expensive guitar.

CathyCate
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Re: Advice on new mid-range classical guitar

Post by CathyCate » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:37 pm

It may be a good idea to have your teacher weigh in on this matter. If your teacher is not available, find another classical guitarist willing to help you out. Ideally, if you can arrange a tryout of several instruments in the presence another set of trained ears, you can test your opinions and be confident in making your purchase. Good luck and have fun!

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Advice on new mid-range classical guitar

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:42 pm

On your shop visit, be prepared to walk away and think about it, and go back again another time. And tell the shop assistant you intend to do that - it can make them work harder.
If easy to do, take your current guitar along for comparison.
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joachim33
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Re: Advice on new mid-range classical guitar

Post by joachim33 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:08 pm

Ring them to confirm they have interesting stock. Here many shops list stuff on their website for mail order which they do not carry in their inventory. If things get ordered they order it from their Grossist.

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souldier
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Re: Advice on new mid-range classical guitar

Post by souldier » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:50 pm

I see you are looking for a guitar with a "warm, round tone." Just keep in mind that getting a more expensive or "upgraded" guitar does not equal warm and round. In fact you can spend tens of thousands of euros and still get a guitar that is very bright with a less forgiving tone. So my key advice for you would be to definitely try a guitar thoroughly in person while comparing directly with your current guitar to guarantee that you get what you're looking for.

Secondly, don't be too swayed by price. I believe it is very possible to find the sound you're looking for at 1200. Don't worry too much about woods used, brand, price, etc. but judge each guitar on its own merits. If it has the sound you're looking for within your budget or less, that's what matters most.
"Success grants its rewards to a few, but is the dream of the multitudes.
Excellence is available to all, but is accepted only by a few." - Christopher Parkening

emma_guitar
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Re: Advice on new mid-range classical guitar

Post by emma_guitar » Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:40 pm

I am delighted to see all these kind and useful replies to my question!

I visited a guitar shop this afternoon and tried several guitars. I ended up not buying any and am going to have a long think and come back another time.

Some of the guitars I tried:
-Ramirez 125 anos: beautiful warm tone but perhaps a little too muddy.
Alhambra 8p cedar and 10p spruce: both very balanced, I especially liked the 10p.
Burguet 2M cedar: surprisingly, a little disappointing, didn't find its tone that special.
Vanessa burguet spruce: beautiful guitar, really loved its clarity, I think if I had to pick one now this would be it.

Funny how I set out to pick a really warm-sounding guitar but ended up preferring the clearer sounding guitars.
One thing that's certain: the guitars in this price range (between 1000 and 1500€) have far better projection /sustain than my current guitar.

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Adrian Allan
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Re: Advice on new mid-range classical guitar

Post by Adrian Allan » Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:13 pm

If you can get the price limit up to around 1700E, I know somebody who will make you a top quality handmade guitar
D'Ammassa Spruce/Spruce Double Top

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souldier
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Re: Advice on new mid-range classical guitar

Post by souldier » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:15 pm

emma_guitar wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:40 pm
I am delighted to see all these kind and useful replies to my question!

I visited a guitar shop this afternoon and tried several guitars. I ended up not buying any and am going to have a long think and come back another time.

Some of the guitars I tried:
-Ramirez 125 anos: beautiful warm tone but perhaps a little too muddy.
Alhambra 8p cedar and 10p spruce: both very balanced, I especially liked the 10p.
Burguet 2M cedar: surprisingly, a little disappointing, didn't find its tone that special.
Vanessa burguet spruce: beautiful guitar, really loved its clarity, I think if I had to pick one now this would be it.

Funny how I set out to pick a really warm-sounding guitar but ended up preferring the clearer sounding guitars.
One thing that's certain: the guitars in this price range (between 1000 and 1500€) have far better projection /sustain than my current guitar.
Interesting experience. Goes to show that the best approach is to always try the guitar before assuming you know what you really want. Clarity, projection, sustain, etc. is important, but I find it is the guitar with the most alluring tone that keeps me coming back.
"Success grants its rewards to a few, but is the dream of the multitudes.
Excellence is available to all, but is accepted only by a few." - Christopher Parkening

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