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MISC ACOUSTICS AND AC/ELEC GUITARS
Bill Lawrence Soundhole Pickup, older model by one of the legends in pickup design. Mounts easily in soundhole with a long cord attached, 1/4" jack, and volume control mounted to pickup. $75.
BBE Acoustimax Acoustic Instrument Preamp, (close-up), (back panel). Excellent studio or stage tool to tweak your acoustic tone, while providing BBE processing to your tone. I could write a 500-word essay trying to describe the BBE process but just know that it makes your guitar sound crisper, cleaner, with each note sounding more distinct, while making your guitar "jump" out of the mix if desired. Here's a simple video recorded direct, and with the BBE on, using no EQ'ing, just the BBE. The Acoustimax has a 3-band recording-console-quality EQ with sweepable mid and low frequency notch filter, as well as phase reversal, ground lift, line level out, dedicated tuner out, TRS effects loop, and a pre/post switchable DI output with pad. This adds up to a unit that shines in both the studio or stage. This unit lists for $392, selling well discounted to $199. This one's mint in the box for $125.
Aphex Acoustic Xciter, (pic2). Excellent sounding acoustic preamp and DI. Doesn't have quite as many features as the Baggs I posted last week but is much more compact and the fidelity is just as good. Features built-in Aphex Aural Exciter with "Big Bottom" technology. Active/Passive switch, Lo Tune - Lo Blend - Hi Tune - Hi Blend controls, 1/4" or XLR outputs. Like other Aphex units, your acoustic voicing will be clean and open, with better articulation, clarity, and projection with the feeling of a fuller reach to the lowest notes. This will probably go to a guitarist but please note that it's made for ANY acoustic instrument including violin, cellos, saxophones, flutes, accordions, xylophones, and keyboards. In Harmony-Central reviews (link), scored a 9.2 overall, 9.4 on sound quality. Click here for a YouTube demo by Tom Bresh on how he sets his Xciter. Perfect condition, not a scratch, but it does have two strips of Velcro on the bottom. Very nice unit for the money, $99.
Aphex Aural Exciter 204 with Optical Big Bottom, (front), (back). Don't confuse with other Exciters - Aphex is the original and the best. I remember when the first Aphex Aural Exciter came out in the 80's; a 1/2 rack unit that did magical things to a recorded mix. These units sold themselves at Hotlicks. We'd tell customers to bring us their demo tape, inevitably a cassette, play it in the bypass position, and then when we would engage the Aural Exciter their eyes would bug and they'd inevitably buy it on the spot. In fact, I have one of the original 1/2 racks and the later full rack in stock for you old-schoolers. As with the original 1/2 rack units, professional audio engineers use the Aural Exciter to increases loudness and clarity - brighten up sound dulled by analog equipment, got lost in a wash of effects, and now to liven up the mix during an analog to digital transfer. Now, with the Model 204, Aphex has brought back the Aural Exciter in an enhanced, 2-channel version PLUS included the Optical Big Bottom. While the Aural Exciter works on the whole mix, the Big Bottom focuses on the low end, providing deeper, more resonant bass with little or no increase in peak output. Briefly, the 204 increases presence and clarity of highs and lows, extends high frequencies with no added noise, gives low notes greater resonance, and does all this with no increase in peak volume. With a list price of $399 the 204 sells new for $249, but this one is barely used, in original box with manual, and a good investment in your tone at just $159 - and this unit is made in America.
Dean Markley West Coast La Jolla Active Acoustic Guitar Pickup System. Very good sounding complete active unit, with soundhole pickup plus under-saddle transducer, and preamp built into the end-pin jack. The La Jolla Active pickup system perfectly unites the Gold River Accelerator Jack with two world-class pickups, the Dean Markley Tahoe magnetic sound-hole pickup and the Barstow Gold-Plated transducer pickup. The Barstow transducer pickup is connected to a discrete Class A preamp housed inside the Gold River Accelerator Jack. The Tahoe (a passive pickup needing no preamp) is wired to the passive channel of the Gold River, going directly to your amplifier system. This specially designed Gold River Accelerator Jack increases headroom, expands tone and output, and is completely internal. We have several of these in stock which we're using as an affordable mod to transform any of our acoustics. With a list price of $259 but we can install these on any acoustic in stock for $150, including parts and labor.
DiMarzio Soundhole pickup, older-style model that uses a flex arm in back to hold it in place. Hard-wired to a long cable. Excellent sounding pickup and a fairly rare model. $65(HOLD-guy who called 9/15/12)
Fishman AFX Reverb, (pic2). The first reverb stompbox to offer studio-quality spaces designed specifically for acoustic guitar. The AFX includes eight effect presets: Studio, Room, Plate, Chamber, Stage, Concert Hall, Cathedral, and Canyon. It has level, tone and decay time controls function for all effects, allowing you to tailor the sound to your instrument, room, and taste. If you want a full wash that decays in 2 seconds, just dial it in. Compatible with stereo set up with 1/4" stereo ins and outs. An input gain switch adds level boost. Built for years of use, housed in durable all-metal construction. Click here for a good demo by Fishman, and here for full features/specs. Sells new for $279 but this clean used one is just $195(HOLD-Erhard 2/6).
Fishman Aura Spectrum DI/Acoustic Pedal, (close-up), (sides), (bottom). Note: Another one - just like the other one... To call this a D.I. is an understatement. Sure, it does D.I. duties but just about everything else you want for your acoustic amplification including 3-band EQ, one-knob compressor, automatic feedback suppression with up to 3 notches, chromatic tuner, effects loop, and, yes, a high quality XLR D.I. It also features 128 pre-loaded "images" (nylon, jumbo, 12-string, OM, etc.) with 16 user-defined locations. It also features a USB interface for Image downloading from Aura Image Gallery (software included). If you have 8 minutes to spare, here's a great demo (link) on YouTube. This unit is in mint condition other the Velcro on the bottom which I can remove - and comes with rubber feet which have never been installed. Sells for $329 new; this one's $100 cheaper at $229(HOLD-Erhard 2/6).
Sabine Solo SL-820 Digital Feedback Eliminator, (close-up front/back). A must-have for players who are serious about acoustic amplification. You've tried the rest - now try the best - at least in the sub-$400 price range. Designed for single channels, the 820 offers 8 patented FBX Filters, 20-bit digital resolution and increased headroom. The 820 outshines virtually all other feedback controllers in accurately controlling feedback during live performances. Equally at home when hooked up to an acoustic/electric guitar, wired mics, wireless mics, monitors, harmonica mics, and multi-mic locations. It automatically senses feedback and quickly places a narrow 1/10-octave adaptive digital filter directly on the resonating frequency. Each of its FBX filters are 10 times narrower than 1/3-octave graphic EQ filters (which are actually one full octave wide, spaced out on 1/3-octave centers), so the FBX provides more gain before feedback without a loss in sound quality. In fact, the FBX gives back more than 90 percent of the power lost with using a graphic EQ to control feedback. This unit sells new for $319 ($369 list) but this one is "as new" in the box and a full $100 cheaper, just $219. If you want to say goodbye to feedback forever, without sacrificing tone, here's the answer. Full details - click here.
Taylor Prints, original dealer displays. I have the set of 5 (each one different) that I bought around 5 years ago. You can buy them unframed - or I can also include a solid oak frame that I purchased for each one. This was a very successful ad campaign that ran from late '99 with just a subtle reference to the advertiser being a Taylor headstock pictured in the corner. These are very high quality on thick poster stock, 23.5" X 16.5", large enough to be a center piece in your jamming room or den. Email me if you want pics of the 3 that aren't pictured here. Price for a poster and frame is $35 (you cut the mat).
Taylor X-12 Luggage Case, for your X-12 (312, 512CE, W12, etc.). Very heavy, very plush, and the best protection around for your prized Grand Auditorium size acoustic. Mint condition. $165.
Esteve 1GR07 Classical, 2003 – NEW, old stock, and another r-e-a-l Spanish classical. Features solid Western Cedar top and the same fan bracing and integrated neck-body construction of the GR08, except with laminated Rosewood sides and back. This one is also a new floor model, near mint 9.9 condition and with a retail price of $925, another exceptional value at just $525.
Manuel Rodriguez C1 Cedar Top Classical, (front), (back), (sides), (headstock), (appointments), (top/label). Excellent quality beginner/intermediate classic made in the traditional Spanish style by a respected builder in a long family line of Manuel Rodriguez. There's a good bit of info on this model and builder on google, click here for link. This is an older model, although very well maintained, and has some desirable features over the current model. The C1 features a carefully chosen, solid Canadian cedar top and laminated Indian rosewood back and sides, the C1 Classical Guitar is a beauty to behold and play. The headstock and fretboard are of Indian rosewood. Nickel-plated tuners and silver-plated frets are installed to last a lifetime. The body binding and wood rosette are on par with classicals costing ten times the price. Rodriguez guitars are hand crafted and glued to create precise balances. From the invisible careful sanding, even inside the body, that ensures a purity of tone, the beautifully unique rosette inlays around the soundhole and on the back of the neck, each guitar is a credit to its luthier and solid enough to hand down to the next generation. Rodriguez woods are carefully chosen and aged to guarantee the highest quality. No wood is purchased before the tree has been cut down, and at least 2 years must elapse before the tree is turned into lumber. The grain must be close and absolutely vertical. The shop is totally free from humidity. Other companies rush the process and go from fresh, green wood to finished guitar in a matter of months. For backs and sides, as well as the headstock, Rodriguez uses laminated Indian Rosewood, chosen as much for its beauty as its fine acoustic properties. For the top, the most important aspect of an acoustic guitar, they use Red Western Cedar, obtained from Canada and the Northwest U.S., hand-selected to ensure straight grain, devoid of faults. For the neck, Rodriguez uses cedar from Honduras as preferred over Mahogany, which is heavier and not as desirable on a classical. Lastly, it features an ebony fingerboard which feels sleeker to the touch and is a tad brighter than rosewood. The current C1 sells new for $399, which I maintain isn't quite as good as this model. This one is in excellent condition, with a pro set up, and one of the best classicals I've had for under $500. $319 and I'll include a well-padded gigbag or substitute a used hardshell case for $45 (pic).
Suziki Model 70 Classical, Japan, nice sounding classical, much better quality and tone than you’ll get for comparably-priced Chinese or Indoneasian classicals, $175
1990 Takamine EC132C Acoustic/Electric Classical Cutaway, (front/back), (headstock), (preamp). Excellent quality Japan-made Tak and if you're not afraid of a little Willie Nelson vibe (repaired crack), an excellent value. The crack isn't pretty but it's totally stable and poses no future problems nor does it affect the tone. Described as refined and elegant, the EC132C's tone comes from a hand-picked Spruce top on a Rosewood body for an excellent acoustic tone, and this older style preamp reproduces the tone very well for amplified use. Select Mahogany is used for the neck while the cutaway body design allows total fret access all the way up the 19-fret rosewood fingerboard. An exquisite three color mosaic wood marquetry rosette surrounds the soundhole. This model currently sells for $949 ($1375 list) but this one is player priced at half-price; just $475(HOLD-Scott G 10/28/12).
2002 Yamaha APX-5NA, (front), (back), (front/back), (preamp/battery/jack), (binding/rosette). Very popular performance acoustic electric, sleek and lightweight, with the APX's signature oval shaped soundhole and high gloss finish. The APX5NA is actually an improved version of the APX6NA, with a slightly deeper body, different neck for greater comfort, and improved electronics over the earlier 2-band EQ with "pop-up" knobs. Features include 25 9/16" scale, 1 7/8" nut width, spruce top, nato back and sides, nato neck, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, mid-depth body that's 3 1/8" to 3 9/16", slotted headstock, gold tuners with pearloid buttons, multi-piece wooden rosette, and 6-ply top binding. Unlike most companies whose imports are coming from Korea, China, Indonesia, and Vietnam, Yamaha has for years used their factory in Taiwan to build the majority of their guitars. From my experience, they have been the most consistently good imports over the longest timeframe, of any other brand/factory. Amplification is especially difficult with classical guitars but this one sounds rather natural when plugged in. It features an under-saddle piezo pickup with the Yamaha System 46N 1 way Preamp with 3-band EQ plus Yamaha's AMF (Adjustable Mid range Frequency) control that allows you to select any mid frequency between 80 and 5K Hz and cut or boost it up to 12dB. With this simple system you can dial in a very natural tone and with some minor adjustment, it's rather impervious to feedback. Battery is easily accessible via a small door on the side of the upper bout, a vast improvement over inside-the-body mounting. Here are a few of many YouTube performances on the APX5NA (here and here and an acoustic here). This guitar is in excellent condition and an excellent choice for classical stage work at $399. Add a nice forfmit SKB-30 case, superior protection with full length neck support, for just $75.
Yamaha CG-150CA Classical, (pic2), Yamaha, in Taiwan, builds some very nice guitars and they're generally the best of the Asian imports, with quality above Korea and lighyears ahead of China and Indonesia. This is an excellent classical for the money, especially for a solid cedar top. Other woods Ovangkol sides and back, mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard and bridge - with wide 2-1/16" nut width, wood body bindings, wood rosette, rosewood headstock overlay, and gold tuners. This guitar is exceptionally clean, plays well, and sounds very nice. If you need a classical and you're on a budget - don't buy a new junker when this nice one's just $250
UPGRADE TO ACOUSTIC-ELECTRIC: Need to amplify your acoustic? Any of these can be changed to an acoustic/electric with a variety of pickup systems - just inquire as to what's available at any time. We can do anything from an easily removable Seymour Duncan "Woody" Single Coil Soundhole Pickup for less than $50 - or for $150, something like this dual element system (saddle piezo and soundhole pickup with preamp built into endpin jack): Dean Markley West Coast La Jolla Active Acoustic Guitar Pickup System, or as simple as a Fishman Acoustic Matrix Natural I (active) with the preamp built into the endpin jack. Again, we usually have a variety of new and used systems, so feel free to inquire.
B.C. RICH U.S.A. ACOUSTIC - THE ULTIMATE GUITAR FOR THE B.C. RICH COLLECTOR: (Bernie Sr's. Last Guitar), (pic2). More pics and full description at this link: www.chrisguitars.com/bernie.html. Owned by Martin Miranda, my world-class tech, who was a close friend of Bernie and this was the last guitar that Bernie ever built, albeit not quite finished, and he was working on it the very day of his untimely passing. Click the link for a full description and feel free to email Martin Miranda directly at the address on the page.
1998 Breedlove SJ25/W Jumbo Cutaway with Fishman Blender, (front), (headstock), (back) (back-close-up), (Fishman), (case). Breedloves are finely crafted instruments, built in Central Oregon's high desert, a perfect climate for instrument building. Breedlove's designers have consistently been pioneers in combining traditional techniques with new ideas and their master luthier skills combine to build instruments with unsurpassed tone, feel, and striking visual appeal. While the prices on their American-built guitars might be higher than some of their competition, I think if you were to A/B them with a similar Taylor, for instance, you will see that the price is worth it. Breedlove's "S" Series (Performance) is considered their "hot rod" line, with bold performance, but understated aesthetics. They come in SC, SD, and SJ deep body styles which are their Grand Concert, Dreadnought, and Jumbo, respectively, each offered with either a "20" (non-cutaway) or "25" (soft cutaway). Thus this SJ25/W is a deep-bodied Jumbo with a soft cutaway. Unlike some other brands which can be somewhat ungainly to hold, Breedlove jumbos are very comfortable, with a shape that places much of the body volume below the waist of the instrument. This SJ25/W pairs a spruce top with a body of beautiful walnut, all gloss finished, for a tone with a strong, focused bass and a warm, prominent midrange. Its sides are bound in black plastic, the neck is build of one piece of carved mahogany, while the pointy headstock has and ebony overlay with the “flying B” logo, in the older style with "& Co.". The ebony fingerboard, is bound in polished ebony with an art deco inlay pattern of small mother of pearl dot marker inlays – 5 on the bass side of the board and 4 on the treble. It features a pinless bridge, 25.5' scale, wide 1.75' nut width, jumbo 17" lower bout, 3 5/8" to 4 5/8" body depth, lovely abalone soundhole rosette, and chrome Grover mini-Rotomatic tuners. This SJ25/W is in beautiful condition, having been adult-owned and maintained since new. The walnut used on this guitar is beautiful, with streaks of red, tan, light brown, and dark brown. Installed on this guitar is a fine amplification system - a Fishman Rare Earth Blender ($266 new), which features a Rare Earth magnetic soundhole pickup - combined with a condenser mic suspended inside the guitar's body. The system combines the percussive attack and controlled sustain of the magnetic pickup with the resonant, ambient qualities captured by the condenser. They combine for a 3-diminsional sound that's not possible with a simple soundhole or piezo system. You can vary by a "Mix" by means of a small thumbwheel extending just slightly from the soundhole. It's not a permanent modification so if you want it stock, it's a simple job, with no leftover evidence. The guitar has the full tone and big bottom of a jumbo, but is overall well balanced which, along with the wide string spacing at the saddle and nut, makes it an excellent choice for fingerstylists. I also appreciated the amazing open-string bass response as well as lush sound with dropped tuning. The tone does compress with heavy picking so it's probably not the best choice for bluegrass, but for medium strumming and finger style, it's a total winner. If you're looking for a great sounding jumbo with the comfort of a cutaway, here's your guitar. For a Breedlove SJ, nicely priced at $1850 with the Fishman system if you want a straight acoustic, $1799 for the guitar without the Fishman. Includes original case, warranty sheet, Breedlove polishing cloth, and manual. Note: Want a dreadnought?
Breedlove CM/W - CM Classic - Asymmetrical Concert, (front/back), (headstock), (side), (binding), (case). Described as "ultimate expression of the Breedlove aesthetic." The CM Classic is part of Breelove's flagship series, the Master Class. It's an asymmetrical Grand-Concert body, with Sharp Cutaway in the Breedlove style, with beautifully figured Walnut back and sides, Western Red Cedar top, Master Class Bloodwood binding and abalone rosette. It's one of those guitars that are nearly as much a piece of art as it is a world-class acoustic guitar. Most of you are familiar with Breedlove by now but, if not, click here for their Master Class page, and have a look around the site. To most who have played them, they're clearly a cut above nearly all other USA manufacturers. Retail price on this guitar is $6799, sold with little discount but this one is immaculate, and a remarkable deal on a Master Class at just $3599.
1969 Harmony H-158 (Birch Jumbo), (front/back), (headstock), (case), (detail). The H-158, produced only from ca. '68-'69, was a budget jumbo flattop, featuring a birch body with a very wide waist and a forward-shifted soundhole. This guitar is totally playable and in very nice shape overall, although it does appear to have been oversrpayed and tuners have been upgraded from the original strip tuners. Dating on Harmony is easy - this one is stamped S-69 meaning it was made in the summer of '69. For more info, click here for a great Harmony site. Although the tone isn't what you'll hear coming out of an old Guild or Gibson, it's a decent sounding guitar and very reasonable for a USA guitar from this era. $175 and includes old chipboard jumbo case.
Ibanez Artwood AW20CE, very good quality acoustic electric at a price that's unmatched for a solid spruce top with Fishman system. The AW20CE has an attractive Antique Violin finish, Ibanez/Fishman preamp system, solid Spruce top with maple back and sides. Appointments include multi-ply body binding front and back, maple headstock overlay that matches body, and Venetian cutaway to allow easy access to the upper frets. One really nice appointment is an Earvana nut, usually found on higher end guitars and makes a huge difference on proper intonation. List price is an amazing $499 and sells in stores for $345, but if you can live with a cosmetic flaw that I can't even find, grab this one, fully setup and ready to gig, for just $275.
NOTE: 1972 D-18 sold, how about: 1971 Martin D-18, (front), (back), (sides), (headstock), (bone parts), (case). One of the true classic guitars from America's premier maker, with the D-18 making it's first appearance 80 years ago. This one-owner guitar is in lovely condition and with one pro neck reset remains an excellent player with the big projection you want out of a Martin dreadnought. Although at 42 years it's not terribly old by Martin standards, who first started building guitars in 1833, but it was still built in a time when production numbers were much lower and tonewoods were much more plentiful. Between 1833 and when this one was built in '71, Martin had built 280,310 guitars, which is less than the amount Martin built during the past 5 years (2008-2012) alone! The D-18 has remained largely unchanged since it's introduction in 1932 and has been Martin's sparsely appointed spruce and mahogany dreadnought. The tone is warm and full-bodied and it's a great guitar to play alone in your home or at a solo gig. Specs of the D-18 include solid spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides, 15-3/4" lower bout, 14-fret neck, 20 frets, rosewood fretboard, bridge and headstock overlay, dot fretboard inlays, Pat. Pending Grover Rotomatic tuners, 1-11/16" nut, 25.4" scale, black/white multi-ply body binding, and black pickguard. All original other than nut, bridge, and bridge pins replaced with bone (original black pins and original bridge are in the case). It's in remarkably clean shape for a '71 with only one small top crack repaired many years ago (shown here). Other than that, just some light finish checking. Areas that normally wear, such as the sound hole, are clean, and it doesn't have the typical pickguard cracks caused by pickguard shrinkage. If you A/B this with a newer one, you'll immediately notice a richness in the tone that you won't find on recent models. Assuming they were built with comparable quality tonewoods, they'll sound as nice one day but why buy new when you can get this 42-year-old model for $100's less, just $1599, and with the fresh neck set you'll be good to go for another 25 years. Martins are firmly established as heirloom guitars and this one is sure to be passed on through generations. Includes original blue-lined tolex hardshell case.
1979 Martin HD-28, (pic2), (pic3). Man, what a beauty...Insanely clean condition - one of those "under the bed" guitars that was played sparingly throughout the years and was likely put away for along time. All original finish and no repairs, other than the typical small crack caused by pickguard shrinkage (pictured here) which Martin fixed and then installed a new pickguard to prevent any future problems. One other mod, which will be a plus for anyone who might be using this for stage use - it has a Martin saddle pickup installed. It's a passive system so there is no 9V battery; just the strap pin changed to an end-pin output jack. If you don't need to amplify the guitar, we'll be happy to remove it and return it to a stock strap pin. I sometimes come across vintage guitars that weren't played very much because they don't sound good. That is not the case with this one. It sounds wonderful - very loud with lots of bottom end but not overly boomy. Definitely one of the nicer sounding old Martins I've had. The top has aged nicely and has a nice orange hue. Specs of this model include all solid woods with Indian Rosewood Sides and back, Sitka Spruce top, white body binding, herringbone top trim, scalloped braces, maple bridge plate, and Ebony fretboard with white pearl dot markers. A new HD-28 is going to set you back around $2500 ($3299 list) and I'm pricing this beautifully preserved, superb sounding vintage model for the same price--or less if factor in a saddle transducer--just $2499. Includes original Martin plastic case. (Note: I obtained an original Martin case badge which was installed after the pic was taken). If interested, inquire about a Fishman outboard preamp if you want a little more control in stage settings.
Morgan Monroe MMV-12CE Mini 12-String, (front), (back), (headstock), (preamp/endpin jack), (features), (gigbag). Nicely made, good playing 12-string in a travel size. Although it's a short scale, Morgan Monroe opted for a nice wide fretboard to make it easily playable for adult sized hands, with a 2" nut width. Part of MM's "Creekside" series, the MMV-12CE filled a void in acoustic guitars. I can't think of another travel size 12-string, much less a cutaway version with onboard preamp. It also has quality features such as a bone nut and saddle, and maple binding on the neck and headstock, with an etched/raised logo and etched soundhole rosette. Although small in stature, the tone wasn't compromised and it has a balanced response that isn't overly heavy in the mids and somehow produces ample bass and an overall very good volume level. With the Fishman Classic 4 preamp, you get sufficient tone tweaking with a 4-band EQ, volume, and low battery indicator. Other features include solid Sitka spruce top, mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard, rosewood saddle, stainless steel frets, and Kluson style mini tuners. I'm not sure how the factory setup is, but after some tweaking here, this is a very playable 12-string and a very fun grab-and-go acoustic. I don't know how they were able to build a model of this quality and features for a $539 retail but I would say it's one of the better values on the acoustic market. Offered in mint condition for just $339 with a nicely padded Morgan Monroe gigbag.
2001 Samick Greg Bennett Design D-9 Dreadnought with Baggs pickup, (front), (headstock), (back), (pickup/endpin jack), (case). Samick "Imperial Series" maple dreadnought equipped with a Baggs M1 soundhole pickup ($139 new) connected to an endpin jack. The M1 clamps down without alteration to the guitar so it's easily removable if you don't want it for some reason. It's a passive pickup so no battery is required, and the pole pieces are individually adjustable to match your guitar's frequency response. For a passive system it has very good volume and works great plugged into a hi-z input on your amp. I find it much more warmer and more natural than a saddle Piezo system. The D-9 is one of the acclaimed Greg Bennett designs. Although Samick is the largest manufacturer in the world, their own brand was lagging behind until they brought Greg onboard and he has turned the company around with the Samick-branded instruments. The D-9 features a solid spruce top with laminated maple sides and back, with a maple neck. It's nicely appointed, with abalone trim along the entire soundboard edge, as well as an abalone rosette, cross inlays, and Grover tuners. Tonally the solid spruce contributes to a lively sounding tone. It's also fairly warm sounding for maple, not too far from mahogany to my ears. Set up is very comfortable throughout the register. Cosmetically it's in very nice shape with the only flaw being a 1/4" crack (shown here) in the sound hole that we've glued and will never be a problem. They only made this model from '01 to '03 so there aren't a lot of them out there. For a nicely appointed solid spruce dreadnought with the Baggs M-1 and a hardshell case, this is an excellent value at $329(HOLD-Mark D 2/2) or if you just want the guitar without a case or pickup, $215.
2003 Tacoma DM9 Dreadnought, (front), (back), (headstock), (case). 9-Series Dreadnought. The DM9 is probably the most basic of Tacoma's line and just your basic spruce and mahogany dreadnought - but the tone and playability are anything but basic. It's a wonderful sounding D-size, with remarkable bass response and not as mid-range heavy as many mahogany models, and the satin finish contributes to a very lively sound with good sustain. Again, all solid woods here with a solid Sitka spruce top; solid mahogany sides and back; plus one-piece mahogany neck; rosewood fretboard and bridge; chrome tuners; wide 1.75" nut width; 25.5" scale; 4-color herringbone rosette; tortoise shell top binding; abalone dot fretboard markers. This one hasn't been a case queen and has some honest playing wear, plus one repaired center seam crack (shown here), which has been professionally glued and cleated so it poses absolutely no future problems at all and has not affected the tone. Also, the clear pickguard has been removed. This is a nice playing, excellent sounding flattop for just $549. Includes TKL hardshell case and original paperwork. Made in Tacoma, Wash., USA.
Takamine EG523SC Jumbo Acoustic/Electric, (close-up), (back), (headstock), (preamp), (appointments). As above, unplayed condition, with plastic still on the pickguard. The EG523SC has identical specs to the EG523SC-12 in a 6-string version, and a different preamp, the TK4NT (specs here). Although this guitar is virtually unplayed, it did develop a short top crack which we noticed and stabilized before it grew, and re-lacquered over it. It's barely noticeable and I had to manipulate the colorization to get it to show up (right side pic), and is nearly invisible otherwise (left side pic) - shown here. Like the 12-string, this guitar has a fabulous set-up and that huge tone that you want out of a jumbo. With a list of $999, the EG523SC sells new for $699 without a case or gigbag. This one is in flawless condition and just $429. You can add this (Tak case), a $108 value, for $65 if desired, which is the top quality Canadian wood/Tolex model, better than the optional Asian case for their G-Series.
1997 Takamine FP350SM Acoustic/Electric Dreadnought, (front/back), (headstock/neck), (sides), (binding/back stripe), (preamp), (case). A truly fine acoustic/electric with great looks, quality tone, and superb craftsmanship. Like all of Tak's best guitars, this one was built in Japan with the quality craftsmanship that has earned a very high reputation for many decades. Although 13 years old, this guitar looks more like an '09 model than a '97 and it's obviously spend most of its life in the case. It's a very attractive model with a sunburst finish over a solid spruce top and flamed maple sides and back. Cosmetically it's somewhat understated but does feature multi-ply binding on top an back, with a nice inlay along the center seam on the back, and inlaid mother of pearl logo. Preamp is Tak's Accuracoustic semi-parametric (link here), which was Tak's top of the line back in the day, and features lighted dials for ease of use on a dark stage. It has a quality acoustic tone with excellent projection and clarity, and a very comfortable set up with low action throughout the fretboard. This model listed for $1500 back in '97, which was a pretty hefty price tag back then. In 2010 dollars, it's an excellent value on a quality Japan-made Tak at just $850 including hardshell case.
Taylor Guitars K4 Preamp & Equalizer, (stock photo), (close-up). Only $400 with purchase of a Taylor guitar. Designed by engineering guru Rupert Neve and voiced specifically for Taylor's famed Expression System (ES). Taylor has never been a company to jump on the bandwagon and they put considerable thought and R&D into every product before releasing it to the public. The K4 is Taylor's very first piece of outboard electronic gear designed for the next step in your guitar's balanced signal chain and raising the bar for stage and studio performance. It features a parametric EQ voiced specifically for the acoustic guitar, along with a Q control for pinpoint tone shaping. The custom circuit, designed by Mr. Rupert Neve, is transformer coupled input and output with pure analog tone shaping, doubling as a quality active DI with effects loop and tuner out. Building on the fully balanced output of the Taylor ES, the K4 is engineered specifically for the frequencies of the acoustic guitar, more specifically, for the Dynamic Sensors that are an essential part of the ES. You can now shape your guitar's tone by zeroing in on the notes or frequencies of your choice and then cut or boost them to perfection. It has low impedance, transformer-coupled balanced inputs and outputs which connect directly to the balanced output of an ES-equipped guitar. Features include: bass and treble controls, sweepable two-band Parametric midrange control with adjustable "Q", an effects loop with choice of "Pre" or "Post" EQ, phase invert, headphone jack with independent level control, mute feature and a dedicated tuner output. It is a well built and compact unit with polished aluminum chassis with a wood-trimmed top. For details and videos, check out Taylor's site here. Taylor recently dropped the price on these, With a list of $898 these sold in the chain stores for $779 before recently dropping for $499. This one is immaculate and a must have if you want the ultimate tone out of your ES-equipped Taylor. Nicely priced at $399 - or $350(HOLD-Erhard 2/6) with the purchase of any Taylor ES-equipped guitar.
Washburn EA8-Red Acoustic-Electric Cutaway (Cherry), (front/back), (headstock). Sold out of blue and green but I just found another one of these in a cherry finish. If you're looking for a decent acoustic-electric for under $200, look no further. The Washburn EA-8 offers killer looks in a good quality import with some nice features such as multi-ply body binding, bound neck, die-cast low-friction tuners, spruce top, and mahogany back/sides/neck. These come from the factory with so-so set-ups but after Martin does his voodoo, the result is a beginner-priced acoustic that plays like a much more expensive instrument, which is especially important for someone just starting out on guitar. This Festival Series guitar lists at $599 and is a good value in a budget acoustic/electric at just $199.
Washburn D6S Dreadnought - Solid Spruce, (front/back/side), (headstock). Excellent buy in a solid spruce dreadnought with a very nice in-house setup that puts it head and shoulders above anything in the stores or online superstores. Features solid spruce top with laminated mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard, tortoise body binding, tortoise neck binding, genuine dovetail neck joint, 1 11/16" nut, 25.5" scale, rosewood bridge, flat 16" fretboard radius, die-cast tuners, satin finish. Although a cosmetic second for reasons we can't find, this guitar is immaculate condition and not pre-owned. With a list price of $350, a very good buy at 50% off, just $175, set up and ready to play.
2005 Washburn D10S Solid Spruce Dread with Case, (front), (back), (headstock), (appointments), (case). Immaculate condition and an incredible value in a solid spruce dreadnought. It wasn't too many years ago that if you wanted a solid top you'd be shopping in the $800+ list but in this modern era, prices on import guitars keep going down while the overall quality is at an all-time high. The D10S came out in 2001 and broke the price barrier for solid tops, with a list price of $500, which was the list in '05 when this one was built. Since it's introduction it has earned a reputation for excellent value for the money. It was voted #1 in its price range by Acoustic Guitar Magazine and was the world's best selling acoustic guitar prior to being discontinued in 2010 in favor of the WD10S. It also features a mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard, gloss finish, multi-layer top binding, bound neck, parquet soundhole rosette, herringbone back stripe, and sealed tuners that stay in tune very well. The overall craftsmanship is on par with guitars at twice the price, with nicely applied body and neck binding, flawless rosette, quality fretwork, and evenly applied urethane high gloss finish - and a proper neck angle straight neck that allow for a very comfortable, low setup. I'm including a good quality SKB hardshell case with this one which makes it a great value in a well-made Chinese flattop at just $199(HOLD-Will Y 4/9).
1999 Yamaha APX-4A Acoustic-Electric, (front/back), (headstock), (preamp/battery comp.), (binding/rosette), (gigbag). Yamaha's APX series are designed as both a good quality acoustic guitar but really shines as a stage guitar, built for comfort and a quality amplified tone. I've had the earlier version, model 4 with composite body, and this 4A provides a far acoustic tone. The APX-4A is basically a cutaway dreadnought shape, except more shallow than a standard dread - plus the cutaway make playing the higher notes a lot easier. Features include spruce top, nato back and sides, unique oval soundhole with attractive wooden inlay rosette cap, 5-stripe bound body, 22-fret rosewood fretboard, pearl dot inlay, rosewood bridge with white pearl dot pins. A simple but versatile preamp includes 3 Band EQ with AMF (adjustable mid-range frequency), volume, battery light, and mute. An access door on the upper bout makes changing 9V batteries a breeze. Click here and here for a few YouTube clip of the APX-4A played straight acoustically, and here plugged in, although a bit buried in reverb. This is a well built guitar in the tradition of Taiwanese Yamaha's and a very good choice for a moderately priced stage guitar at $299.