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Singer Songwriter Guitar


mjg

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Subject question alert... But I would appreciate your opinions anyway.

 

What is the best Singer/Songwriter guitar? Before you answer, "Songwriter Deluxe of course", please consider all makes and models.

 

Think versatility, alone, duet or full band - mostly small ensemble though. Soft rock, blues, praise and worship applications.

 

Thanks all!

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You've really opened up a can of worms.

 

Yeah I know... I'm such a trouble maker =P~

 

I generally thought rosewood guitars were the choice for solo or duet vocal accompaniment, but Gibsons may just be an exception to that traditional line of thinking.

 

My style, for this guitar purchase, will be a medium to very rhythmic and aggressive right hand strumming technique, most of the time. I have my fingerstyle guitar.

 

Thanks all for your replies. I do like a J-45 but need to try some others.

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Maple jumbo, either 17' or 16'. Nice ring, cut (really helps in a group). Worked for those Everly bros. Hard to beat a H'bird for a warm vocal pad that still has some ring. Big midrange presence. J45 will also do (early Dylan and Everlys), maybe not so big a sound as the Bird or jumbo. RW gives the big bass. Will also generate a lot of overtones, especially with an aggressive attack (think Neil Young). I prefer warmth ring and cut myself. Good luck!

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Thanks all for your feedback.

 

Jkinnama uses the term "vocal pad" and that is very important to me. I have a tenor voice that I would like the guitar to support well.

 

The J200 is awesome, but I personally see it better cutting in a full band and not supporting my voice as much as rosewood or perhaps mahogany in a solo situation.

 

I do prefer a narrow wasted guitar for a more balanced tone over a dread. I saw a J185 rosewood video on You Tube that sounds very nice for jazz/blues runs etc. But I am wondering how it would do for vocal accompanyment and ability to handle a fairly aggressive right hand attack at times.

 

I am thinking that the J45 and J185RW are a good choice to take me from delicate fingerstyle to heavy handed in the same set.

 

But I need to get out there and play them side by side.

 

Again, I appreciate your insight.

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i recently watched a youtube of mat kearney playing in studio (song - nothing left to lose) with a j-45 and, even though the sound quality was wonky, you could tell this guitar was amazing. on the other hand, i have a SWD and i love it. it even smells nice when you play it. try the AJ's or the southern jumbos (northern jumbo, if you're canadian). they are lovely. there can be however, even at the top end, variation from guitar to guitar. there were two SWD's at my local shop and they were distinctly different. one a bit janglier than the other.

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I just got a 2006 J-45 Rosewood and it's outstanding... I personally like it better for both fingerstyle and strumming than the mahogany version... but that's just an opinion. You can dig deep (if you want to) when you strum but it also sparkles for fingerstyle. Lots of volume, too.

 

The only one I'd personally stay away from for singer-songwriter stuff is the AJ. They are fantastic guitars and I had one for a couple of years... great for playing lead and for fingerstyle but I found it lacking for strumming... loud, but chords just didn't sound great (to me) on it.

 

I'd definitely check out the J-45 Rosewood before you buy...

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i agree with the aj comment. it is loud and yet more suited to fingerstyle. the bass end doesn't have that punch. it does have plenty of overtone though, at least, the one i played at GC in detroit did. j-45 rw might be your thang. oh! how about the hunmmigbird?

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I would recommend a Hummingbird or an SJ200. A Rosewood guitar against a tenor vocal is going to be overly rich IMHO, so a Mahogany or Maple guitar would be just right. Maple, in fact, has a nice scoop to the mids, exactly where your vocal would sit, so that would give you a lovely all-round spread of tone.

 

The choice is yours. Try a Dove, too-it has that great Maple tone, plus is long scale so will hold up well to your frisky right hand playing without choking out. My Hummingbird is a brilliant guitar, but if you hit it too hard with a pick or fingers, it stops responding sweetly. My bandmate's Dove, however, can be driven harder and harder and keeps giving back. It is a very characterful guitar too.

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Agree with Eddie re the AJ insofar as the chords dont blend as purty (that's the long scale talking). Re rw J45s: those are rich all by themselves but not not have the cut through needed in an ensemble imho. As far as J45 vs Hbird, tones are similar, Bird has a bigger bottom end and maybe a little smoother. Question to ask. Are you comfortable with the size of the Bird? That's a lot of guitar to warp around.

 

ps Maple jumbos can work solo--check some Patty Griffin or EL Harris on the ytube.

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Agree with Eddie re the AJ .

 

My experience with my AJ is different from what people are reporting here. My AJ has plenty of bass, responds to many different playing styles, has a comfortable neck so I am not distracted from my vocals and serves me very well as my daily player and as an intermediate recording guitar.

 

I think different people have different approaches to playing - especially when singing at the same time - and I would encourage you to try an AJ as well as all the other recommendations here. Perhaps with your voice, as I find with mine (I am baritone/tenor as well), the AJ might provide a reasonable solution.

 

One recommendation about a J-200 for playing in groups is very insightful if that is your intention - but where you seemed to suggest you wanted something to work with your own voice exclusively I would personally stay away from the bold presence of a J-200 and go with the flow. . .

 

A Hummingbird is a really versatile guitar with a nice blended, plush tone that is often perfect for accompanying a voice. My experience with a Hummingbird, though, has been that the guitar's presence isn't there when I want to build a crescendo in a song - mine tends to weaken with heavier playing. Again, this is a style consideration and each person may have a different experience, so try as many as you can get your hands on.

 

What I feel would be my most helpful suggestion is this: Evaluate the acoustic singer/songwriter music you like listening to by people with a voice similar to your own. Find out what guitars/pickups/mics they are using and try those set ups first. Obviously, if your favourite secular performer is on a custom Collings, you might not want to get a second mortgage, but this process might help you along. My first Gibson round shouldered guitar was purchased after seeing two DVDs - one of Steve Earl and another of Lucinda Williams - because I could picture my music working well with that guitar tone.

 

Still, I didn't buy a J-45 or J-50 as I saw them playing - I got an AJ because that is what worked for me.

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If the action is not too low, most J45's have a very high ceiling, you can strum or pick very hard and the guitar will handle it. Take the same guitar and lower the action enough and a ceiling appears. The factory set action is usually a little on the high side, and the guitar can be strummed aggressively no problem. If the shop did a setup and put it lower, that may not be true. So headroom or ceiling for aggressive playing partly depends on action.

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i recently watched a youtube of mat kearney playing in studio (song - nothing left to lose) with a j-45 and' date=' even though the sound quality was wonky, you could tell this guitar was amazing. on the other hand, i have a SWD and i love it. it even smells nice when you play it. try the AJ's or the southern jumbos (northern jumbo, if you're canadian). they are lovely. there can be however, even at the top end, variation from guitar to guitar. there were two SWD's at my local shop and they were distinctly different. one a bit janglier than the other.[/quote']

 

In all seriousness, Mat Kearney's guitar recording on his "Bullet" album is one of the best sounding acoustics around, the J-45 of course. Check it out; every song has the acoustic present.

 

It sounds like some one found a massive, aged, hollowed out brazillian Rosewood tree and attached some steel strings to it and just started playing--the lows are unending, yet it has a deep, lush and woody voice.

 

I personally own and play a high-end Goodall, and i've played and practiced on many others (Mj Franks, Bourgeois, froggy bottoms, martins, Kevin Ryan, R.Taylor, etc.) but the recorded sound of the J-45 is probably one of the best--if not the best.

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