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Best acoustic guitars for country and bluegrass

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This topic contains 28 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by Devin Devin 8 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #530917
    Devin
    Devin
    Keymaster

    Anybody have suggestions about the best acoustic guitars for country and bluegrass?

    We had a good discussion going with tkeibler on another page https://countryguitaronline.com/monthly-giveaway-video/#comment-1010000 but I wanted to post the topic here in our new forum.

    My whole life, I’ve been all about Martins, but right now I’m loving the tone of my new Collings D2H with John Pearse phosphor bronze medium strings and a BlueChip TP60 guitar pick…nice rich rosewood sound and plenty loud. Also recently discovered Atkin guitars made over in the UK and they’re the real deal. The Atkin White Rice model looks interesting.

    Here’s the Collings D2H that you see it in the latest lesson videos. Looks and plays like a Martin D-28 but I think I’d choose the Collings D2H over a Martin D-28 for some reason.

     

    • This topic was modified 10 months ago by Devin Devin.
    • This topic was modified 10 months ago by Devin Devin.
    • This topic was modified 10 months ago by Devin Devin.
    • This topic was modified 10 months ago by Devin Devin.
    • This topic was modified 10 months ago by Devin Devin.
    • This topic was modified 10 months ago by Devin Devin.
    • This topic was modified 10 months ago by Devin Devin.
    • This topic was modified 10 months ago by Devin Devin.
  • #530935
    Justin
    Justin
    Participant

    I’m such a Martin fan.  I have a hd28v which is just awesome.  However I also have a Yamaha and Taylor  which for the money is great. I think it depends on your style.  Atkins for me are superb however for finger picking Lowden are hard to beat.

  • #530939
    Ron
    Ron
    Participant

    My advice is a Martin D-18V. This is a great bluegrass guitar. I have been playing mine for a long time now and it will ring loud enough around my banjo and mandolin friends. I like both the D-18 and D-16 but my poor ears can hardly tell a difference.

    • This reply was modified 10 months ago by Ron Ron.
  • #531092
    Avatar
    Scooter d.
    Participant

    My issue is rarely the make/model of the guitar.  It is more about learning to play the guitar in hand.  I hope to someday have the pleasure of playing a D-18 but I still need to work on the basics.  I do play primarily a Larrivee D03R and that seems to work well, but a bit boomy for some songs.  I also play an Alvarez that was signed by Ray Benson and the Asleep At The Wheel band, but that sound provides more treble which can fit some songs.  Seems usually the guitar I covet the most is the one that I do not have…

    Advice for new players might be to buy the best you can possibly afford at the time and then take good care of it.  The better the instrument, the more incentive you will have to learn and play, because it provides such good response for you.  But, also don’t totally overspend, because there are a lot of good medium-priced guitars around.  Confused ?  Welcome to the club…  🙂    Often it’s best to just stay in love with the one you have your arm around.

  • #531414
    Jocelyn
    Jocelyn
    Participant

    I’m a Martin D 28 fan too but I just can’t afford, too expensive for now. Now I have a Gibson J15 and it’s sound good. Someday I’m going to get a Martin for sure…

  • #531858
    Justin
    Justin
    Participant

    Rosewood or Maghogony woods for bluegrass guitar playing. What’s people’s tboughts?

    • This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by Devin Devin.
  • #532101
    cassarta11
    cassarta11
    Participant

    I really like godin’s guitars . I got a old D-20 norman from the godin factory.

    They really worth it. Not expensive and such strong notes.

    I tried a seagull last time and was really impressed as well. So people looking for an affordable guitar , (seagull , norman) have a try and let me know !

    Good session everyone

     

  • #532288
    Jim
    Jim
    Participant

    I’ve got a Collings CD3H.  Bought it at Elderly’s in Lansing, Mi. in 1997.  It seems to have more ring on the high end than a comparable Martin.  It really comes down to personal preference.

    • #532345
      Devin
      Devin
      Keymaster

      Hey Jim – Do you have a link you could share that has some details on the Collings CD3H? I’ve played most of the Collings acoustics but don’t think I’ve ever run across the CD3H. Mostly curious about the woods it’s made of…

    • #532634
      Jim
      Jim
      Participant

      Devin – I’m sorry I don’t have any other information on the guitar except that number.  It’s very similar to the D-2-H  you have except it has a bound back, sides, and headstock.  The fretboard is plain with no markers or inlays.  The model number is the one that was on the label on the inside of the guitar and on the receipt form the store I bought it from.  I wish I was more knowledgeable concerning the back and side wood type.  I believe the top is spruce.  Like I said I bought it in 1997.  The label is D3H model rosewood with vintage style Waverly tuners.  Serial #71893.  I hope this helps.  I think the “C” does not belong as the model number.  That is something the retailer may have used for an inventory number.  I found some listed online as rosewood sides and back with sitka spruce top.

       

       

    • #1032733
      Devin
      Devin
      Keymaster

      Sounds like it’s a great guitar. I bet it has some extra punch with the adirondack spruce top that you mentioned in the comment below. Maybe the C at the beginning of the model number means Custom Shop…I’m not totally sure, but that would make sense if it says CD3H on the label inside the guitar. Either way, it’s really hard to beat a Collings. I don’t think I’ve ever played one that wasn’t top notch.

  • #532373
    Justin
    Justin
    Participant

    I’m a huge martin fan.  I’ve already have  hd28v which I just love, but I’ve just brought a martin d18e retro which I’m so impressed with.  It seems louder than my 28 and cuts through the other players whenot jamming. When plugging into a pa it’s awesome too.   At the min my fingers are blistered as I haven’t put it down for 3 days lol.

  • #532380
    cassarta11
    cassarta11
    Participant

    Bourgeois guitar seems to be great too… So many choices , never easy to have a try at local shop.

    have a good week guys !

     

  • #532406
    fransverboom
    fransverboom
    Participant

    Hey Devin,  your Collings D2H  sounds great . I can imagine that you only use this one or do you still like to play on your other guitars ?

  • #532451
    cassarta11
    cassarta11
    Participant

    i got a great website , shop coming from netherlands with a section bluegrass guitar.

    they have quite a full range of brands guitar. it s really worth it to get a glimpse.

    https://www.tfoa.eu/en/folk-bluegrass/

  • #532458
    cassarta11
    cassarta11
    Participant

    thanks for sharing this brand atkin ! i had a quick look on the one you mention ..the white rice model .;; oversized soundhole, which lets more air in and out of the guitar .. pretty sick !

     

  • #532524
    Jon
    Jon
    Participant

    I’ve never played a Collings before but a shop near me has a couple so I might have to give them a spin.

  • #532638
    Jim
    Jim
    Participant

    Devin – Correction.  the top is adirondack spruce, not sitka spruce.  I guess it’s much more desirable for the top.

  • #1533342
    cassarta11
    cassarta11
    Participant

    yes indeed , that s what the man from collings says in an interview i watched é days ago . His preference goes for adirondack top  jim. torrefied and you get a warm and responsive bass that will lead you to heaven

     

  • #1533396
    cassarta11
    cassarta11
    Participant

    because it s local , as you are from texas nope ? ^^

  • #1533554
    cassarta11
    cassarta11
    Participant

    otherwise , fairbanks .. i haven t tried , but their finish are just outstanding..;

    Have anyone tried one of this brand ?

  • #1533612
    cassarta11
    cassarta11
    Participant

    https://www.collingsguitars.com/custom-gallery/cw-mh-a-wheat/

     

    Devin , have a look at this one … thanks for sharing this brand , i didn t know it well

  • #2034984
    Avatar
    Olivier
    Participant

    Hi,

    Like Jocelyn, I play a Gibson, but mine is a Hummingbird Pro. I had it « fixed » (lower the action, etc.) and I simply love it. When I play with my banjo playing friend, I can hear myself very well. But when we play fiddle tunes and I land on the 1st and 2nd strings, they sometimes don’t ring enough… (but I use light strings).

    I plan on buying a new guitar soon (saved the money for months now !) : should I get the Gibson J-45 (the nicest guitar on the market in my opinion !), the Martin D-18 or the D-28 ? I heard that the wood on the D-18 creates more sound projection… And that is what I am looking for : a second guitar that I will keep all my life and that will have more « power » than my beloved Hummingbird.

    Thanks for your advices !

    Olivier

  • #2035041
    Justin
    Justin
    Participant

    Hi I’m lucky enough to play both a hd28v and a d18.   I find the mahogany definitely has the edge on the d18 over the rosewood of the hd28 and cuts through better when playing in company.   It’s a close call though They are both lovely guitars.

    • #2035059
      Devin
      Devin
      Keymaster

      Yeah I can see how mahogany could cut through a mix a little better depending on the guitar…Martins usually have plenty of bass as it is. Rosewood does sound so good when you’re playing by yourself. Collings usually has a brighter tone overall than Martin..I’ve owned a Collings D1 (mahogany) and now have the Collings D2H (rosewood) and I think the rosewood version actually cuts through great and the tone is much better to my ear since Collings is brighter overall. It kind of evens it out.

      On a side note — I’ve sent you a couple e-mails about winning the BlueChip guitar pick in October but I’m guessing they’re going to your e-mail spam folder. When you have time, e-mail me the pick you’d like with the right/left hand speed bevel option and I’ll mail it out to a good address for you.

      Thanks!
      Devin

  • #2035260
    Alex
    Alex
    Participant

    Hi Devin. Why don’t you post a new short vid to compare your mid and high end guitars i.e. Your 2 Martins vs your beloved Collings.

    Lets us hear the difference when you cross pick and strum.

    When I got my Blueridge BR-180N last year, I also played a 180A (Adirondack top) in the shop and quite honestly, I could not tell any difference at all with the 180N (sitka top, no ageing toner). The 180A was new and considerably more expensive, so I went for the 180N. It’s got a lot of bass and sustain, sometimes too much when strumming vigorously perhaps. Lovely rosewood tone though. Blueridge BR-180N

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by Devin Devin.
    • #2035299
      Devin
      Devin
      Keymaster

      Nice looking Blueridge you have there. I love the inlays and I’ve always wanted a guitar with a dalmatian pick guard…even considered trading out the pick guard on my Collings D2H with a dalmatian version. Really like that classic look.

      I could record a comparison video like that. I’d even like to hear the difference myself. Great idea. Might be a bit before I can get it posted but I’ll add that to the list.

      Blueridge guitars really are amazing for the price. They’re really loud and have great tone. It would be fun to do a blind fold test on somebody…make them put a blindfold on, hand them a high end Martin and have them play it for a bit, then hand them a Blueridge with similar woods and see which one they like best. I’d be willing to bet the Blueridge could win sometimes depending on the Martin. Eastman guitars are also amazing for the price. My cousin is always telling me about some amazing Eastman guitars that he plays at a local shop in Tyler, TX https://www.instagram.com/mundtmusictyler/ I’ve played some at Fiddler’s Green Music Shop in Austin and they’re all great for the price. Sometimes a bit heavy, but they even feel high end when you hold them.

      When I play the Collings compared to an Blueridge, Eastman, or other low to mid-range guitars, I can really tell the difference in note clarity and dynamics. I can really hear each note clearly on the Collings and if I want to add extra volume to certain notes, it is possible with the Collings. My Martin D-16GT has great tone but it doesn’t quite have the response when I pick the notes harder to add more volume. The notes are a bit more even.

      Hard to really compare brands and models because each guitar is so different and good for different things, but that’s why we’re not crazy for wanting to own several guitars even when other people tell us we’re crazy 🙂

      Hope y’all have a good weekend!

  • #2035280
    Justin
    Justin
    Participant

    Hi Alex that’s a nice looking guitar for sure I’ve been meaning to play a blueridge for a while now as they are getting such good reviews.

    I must admit I love Martin’s but I think they are all different and suit different people.   I too would be very interested in comparing high end guitars with mid range, good call 😀

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