How to step up when buying your next guitar

Bill-stl
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How to step up when buying your next guitar

Post by Bill-stl » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:45 pm

First off, let me say I am not in the market for a new guitar! (but always looking). I am just someone who plays for my own enjoyment. I have an Esteve Fernandez Valencia ( now a 4st, I believe) that I like. Curiosity has sent me to some local music stores to see what the had. Besides having a poor environment to try out the guitars, having to compete with drums, electric guitars, bass guitars, etc, it was not a great experience. While my guitar was not expensive, $300 used, I did not find much difference in sound or playability in guitars, like a Cordoba C9 or C10 selling for $850 - 1000, new. Certainly not enough difference to justify the extra cost. Which leads to my question, if you have a student guitar with a solid cedar top, or spruce for that matter, with laminated sides, what is the next logical step up.
My knowledge of high end guitars is nil, as is my talent. But I find the quest for THE guitar fascinating to follow on this forum.
Esteve Fernandez Valencia

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dta721
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Re: How to step up when buying your next guitar

Post by dta721 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:49 pm

Bill-stl wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:45 pm
First off, let me say I am not in the market for a new guitar! (but always looking). I am just someone who plays for my own enjoyment. I have an Esteve Fernandez Valencia ( now a 4st, I believe) that I like. Curiosity has sent me to some local music stores to see what the had.
... Which leads to my question, if you have a student guitar with a solid cedar top, or spruce for that matter, with laminated sides, what is the next logical step up.
My knowledge of high end guitars is nil, as is my talent. But I find the quest for THE guitar fascinating to follow on this forum.
IMO, I'd suggest your next step up is to ... upgrade your playing skills, either by taking lessons with a teacher, or join the online classes in this forum. When achieving certain level of playing, you would also develop your own taste and appreciation of different guitars, high end or not. At that time, you'll know what to select your next guitar that matches your preference.

Delcamp forum is great to exchange ideas but the other side of the coin is that it propels that Guitar Acquisition Syndrome, aka GAS :) , and before you knew it, you'd probably got yourself one guitar too many! :D, given your natural curiosity and the availability of guitars for sale!

Put it another way, assuming someone gave me a Cordoba Master Hauser model, it'll be a long time I can make it sound as good as Tavi Jinariu in this video, if that even happens.
My point: it's not the guitar but how you play to make the best out of it :wink:

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guitarseller345645
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Re: How to step up when buying your next guitar

Post by guitarseller345645 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:51 pm

Age can really do great things to a guitar and since your Esteve is meeting your needs you can afford to wait.

I usually shy from promoting or dismissing guitars but there are many used ''small workshop'' Japanese guitars available between 1K to 3K. They are all well aged and you can check out the Japanese guitars thread.

If this approach does not appeal, and you find your Esteve comparable to the Cordoba Luthier series, then the only logical alternative would be a luthier guitar. You can take your time to save for that :)

My 2 cents.

Bill-stl
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Re: How to step up when buying your next guitar

Post by Bill-stl » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:33 pm

Believe me, I know it is my skill level that needs the work and that a different guitar is not the answer to improvement. I was curious as to whether a shorter scale or narrower fretboard would be a good thing, but a capo quickly answered that question. Nope. I am working with Classical Guitar Corner on technique , warming up these old hands before playing along with stretching exercises found on this site. Alas, I am late to the game but know it.
I was more curious about the thought process others go through and how big of a jump they look for, if that makes sense. I assume it's like buying a new flyrod. When your skill level reaches a certain point, you will know. Then it is a matter of how much to spend.😊🤔
Esteve Fernandez Valencia

simonm
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Re: How to step up when buying your next guitar

Post by simonm » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:32 am

.... When your skill level reaches a certain point, you will know. Then it is a matter of how much to spend.😊🤔
You have mainly answered your own question. Unless you have GAS you buy when you, and your teacher if you have one, realise that the guitar is holding you back or at least slowing you down. The next step is to play a bunch of different guitars to see which one "talks to you" and whether you feel it is letting you step ahead. Then look at the prices. This is where one of the good dealers comes in - there aren't all that many so you might have to travel. No idea about your area. In the meantime try any guitar you can. Do not be impressed by brand names. Don't worry in the least about the wood in the back and sides as regards tone - by all means consider the appearance but ignore comments about how one wood is "better" than anther.

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Beowulf
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Re: How to step up when buying your next guitar

Post by Beowulf » Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:24 pm

You have a great resource close by which should be of help: https://www.stlclassicalguitar.org/
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Bill-stl
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Re: How to step up when buying your next guitar

Post by Bill-stl » Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:47 pm

Beowulf - you are correct. A great resource.
Simonm- your words struck a chord. As I said in my first post, I am not ready to buy another guitar. I think my post was a response to the bad experiences of some local music stores not specializing in CG. If and when the time comes, I now understand what type of dealer and help to seek, and a go in realizing price is not the relevant factor. Thanks. Maybe that explains why the CG market is so active. 😊
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souldier
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Re: How to step up when buying your next guitar

Post by souldier » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:51 pm

Some points:
-Expanding repertoire, improving technique, tone, musicality, etc. will enable you to know what your needs are in a new guitar and better assess the potential of a new guitar. Without these, you probably won't be able to determine what makes a guitar really great.
-Know what tonal characteristics are important to you. Try to rank things like volume, sustain, warm or bright, traditional/less traditional, slow or fast response, balance, separation, etc.... Over the years experience has refined my taste in instruments. As a beginner, I mainly looked for a guitar that had huge volume and felt this is what made a great guitar. Over time I came to realize that what really draws me to a guitar is its complexity and beauty of tone, so much that I'm willing to sacrifice some volume to have better tonal quality. The only way I came to this however was I improved my playing ability and tone. I remember when I first learned to properly file and polish my nails, I was just stunned how much that impacted tone production. Little things like this will move you forward in being able to evaluate a guitar.
-Remember price does not equal performance and pricing in the classical guitar market is highly subjective. As you have already discovered, you can spend a lot more on a new guitar and still end up with something only marginally better, or even worse than what you currently have. A beginner can easily make the mistake of thinking that a $10k guitar will sound 10 times better than a $1k guitar. So try before you by is always best. If you buy something blind online, be sure you have some sort of trial period/return policy. In many cases you may be surprised to discover that the less expensive guitar appeals to you more than a more expensive one.
-Travel widely. The problem with the classical guitar market is you won't find the best guitars at a store like guitar center. What is available to you will greatly depend on your location so you might have to travel far to have access to a decent pool of good classical guitars at dealers, classical guitar societies, etc. Play as many guitars as you can even in price ranges far above your budget to have a sense of what is out there. Again you'll want to take this step once you feel your playing ability will make it worthwhile to travel and test out a bunch of guitars.

Take what you can from these points, but in the end it really just depends on you. There are some who can barely play the guitar, but want to own as many high end instruments as they can for the sheer joy of it, and whose to say this is less valid?
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dta721
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Re: How to step up when buying your next guitar

Post by dta721 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:11 pm

souldier wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:51 pm
Some points:
-Expanding repertoire, improving technique, tone, musicality, etc. will enable you to know what your needs are in a new guitar and better assess the potential of a new guitar. Without these, you probably won't be able to determine what makes a guitar really great.

-Know what tonal characteristics are important to you. Try to rank things like volume, sustain, warm or bright, traditional/less traditional, slow or fast response, balance, separation, etc.... Over the years experience has refined my taste in instruments. ...

-Remember price does not equal performance and pricing in the classical guitar market is highly subjective. ..

Take what you can from these points, but in the end it really just depends on you. There are some who can barely play the guitar, but want to own as many high end instruments as they can for the sheer joy of it, and whose to say this is less valid?
I think Souldier pretty much covered everything for the OP's thought process to buy his next guitar, starting from "upgrading current playing skill level", to knowing what you want ...etc. However, in the end, why not take the plunge and a get a guitar you like, whether you can play it or not! :|

As I learned the OP in his retiring golden age, may even have issues playing, and that living in Central Canada, I think of Michael Lazar and his guitar still available for sale, why not cut to the chase and get it, no rhyme or reasons :)
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=123647&p=1318277&hi ... L#p1318277

The guitar has been built, ready for trial, which is a requirement for many; so why not?

Bill-stl
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Re: How to step up when buying your next guitar

Post by Bill-stl » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:22 pm

I agree that Souldier made some excellent points. I think his statement " Remember price does not equal performance and pricing in the classical guitar market is highly subjective. " really answered my original question.
As far as Michael Lazar's guitar, I will say again, I am not in the market for a guitar! Just exploring. I am afraid that a guitar like that would only frustrate me, knowing that it is what it is and that I don't have the ability to play it well. Although it looks very nice. I will stick with my own for now. Maybe when my wife turns her back😁. Besides, I am in St Louis, Missouri, not Canada! Somewhat close but it is cold and nasty enough here without going north! My desire to stay in and inability to practice for long periods without diminishing results is what led to the original post - too much idle time. 😁
By the way, am I the only one, or when viewing topics referred to in a post, as dta721 added, do you view that post as not logged in? Many times links within that post require being logged in to view.
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dta721
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Re: How to step up when buying your next guitar

Post by dta721 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:58 pm

Bill-stl wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:22 pm
...
As far as Michael Lazar's guitar, I will say again, I am not in the market for a guitar! Just exploring. ...
My apologies, I don't mean to push you into buying anything, I just want to echo the point that one can buy a guitar just for the sheer joy of it! :)

Dave

Bill-stl
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Re: How to step up when buying your next guitar

Post by Bill-stl » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:41 pm

No apology needed! While I am limiting myself to one guitar, for now, I have not shown the same restraint with my other interests!! Which is funny because I seem to spend more time playing my guitar than fly fishing or rc models. Many of those purchases were for the sheer joy of it.. Definitely not necessary! It seems that 45 minutes 1 hour of practice is my limit till I need a break.
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Big bird
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Re: How to step up when buying your next guitar

Post by Big bird » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:11 pm

If I don't take a break from practice every 15 minutes or so, my Bourbon gets watered down.... Must set priorities for practice! I have found that after 2 or 3 breaks, I sound much better!
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Bill-stl
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Re: How to step up when buying your next guitar

Post by Bill-stl » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:03 pm

I will have to add that to my practice routine 😊
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Dave Stott
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Re: How to step up when buying your next guitar

Post by Dave Stott » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:17 pm

What I liked in my 1st guitar was a good start in understanding a lot of things about my playing and my goals.

During the search for the next guitar involving knowing what exactly I wanted in the sound of the guitar as well determining which neck shapes & nut widths felt more comfortable in my left hand. There are some great guitars out there that simply did not feel comfortable when playing.

Then came the rabbit hole of trying different strings to achieve the sound I wanted. LOL
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