Need some advice for an acoustic guitar for my 11 year old son - small scale or full

Discussion in 'The Acoustic Cafe' started by Guitar1969, Mar 7, 2011.

    Mar 7, 2011
  1. Guitar1969 Little Hot Wing

    I have been teaching my 10 year old son guitar seriously for about a year now. He is using a 3/4 size Jay Turser guitar(kind of a cheapo, not full sounding, and not acoustic/electric), but holds tuning, as well as has my old Kraemer Strat Clone and a old modeling Amp I had. He knows the common open chords, 6th string power chords, and right now we have been focused on full barre chords. He knows that its harder to learn on an acoustic but wants to make sure he develops those skills, therefore wanting to continue to learn on an acoustic and not take the easy way out on the electric. He's a pretty good singer and we are working on him doing both at the same time, as he performs at our church for worship(just singing at this point, but will add guitar later).

    His B-day is coming up and he wants a new acoustic. It needs to be an acoustic/electric but sound good unplugged, something he can play for quite awhile and budget at this point is under $350(At least in my mind), which is more than what I spent on my acoustic(more of an electric guy). He is also a bit small for an 11 year old. He will be performing with this guitar at our church - will probably play more acoustic than electric when he is singing as well

    I having been checking out the smaller scale acoustics like the baby taylors, and am fascinated by the Martin LX1e which is a 23" scale, has fishman electronics, gotah tuners, but laminate. It gets pretty good reviews for what it is and it looks like alot of musicians play it as a travel guitar and sometimes even perform with it and say its pretty good for that(but it is usually a secondary guitar), but unplugged is a bit weak. Because it is laminate(I believe the top is Sprouce but the back and sides are laminate) I am not sure if its the best value for the money since MArtins are a bit overpriced for what they are.

    My real question is, as my son's primary acoustic, should I go this route, or would he be better served with a full size guitar/scale at his age and skills development, but maybe a thinner body because he is smaller, but will be growing in the next few years.

    It sounds like the Martin LX1e is a fun little guitar and he would probably hold onto later in life, but I don't see him getting another acoustic any time soon so I am wondering if I should go full size but find something easy to handle. I plan on taking him to GC in the next few weeks to play some guitars(But I wont buy from them as I cant stand GC)

    So at the age of 11 and beyond the basics, what would you recommend - one of the minis, or a full size but thinner body Electric Acoustic - Any recommendations.

  2. Mar 7, 2011
  3. Mark Wein :mad:

    Some of the other guys can be more specific about brands but my suggestion is to get something that he can reasonably play. I'd assume that if you get something at that price point that it will be lacking in some area but if you are shooting for an instrument for him to use on stage at church then what you are paying for are the electronics....
  4. Mar 7, 2011
  5. Prages User Error

    At that age he'll grow into a full size in no time. I say go for a full scale. I hear great things about Seagulls, though they are wider necks than some.

    My best sounding acoustic is a POS Fender Catalina that I paid about $250 or so for. My advice when I bought it was to get the best non-electric one I could afford and then add the pickup. I don't know if that's still the case or not, but it worked well for me.
  6. Mar 7, 2011
  7. Guitar1969 Little Hot Wing

    Yeah I've kind of figured out that I should just go with a full size grand concert or some other smaller size which is a bit thinner but still full scale. Now the question is finding him one that is a good value for the money. There are plenty in the $300 range that look like will suit his needs. I still play a Washburn cutaway that I paid $175 for in 2003 - It was a Mars Music special that some music shop on ebay bought the lot and were selling them - Easily worth over $400 at that time. I would like a new acoustic(interested in the Breedloves) but eveytime I have some extra cash, i end up buying a new amp or effects, etc since I still have an acoustic.

    I seem to recal Takaminis were popoular for the younger performing crowd, but can't recall models, etc.

    Its hard to pick out a guitar for someone - What I may like is a bit different than what he would want, but he's not advanced enough to know.
  8. Mar 7, 2011
  9. Modern Saint Starve your Fear, Feed your Dream!

    I say Taylor Baby. I got my son one when he was about 10 or 11. He doesn't play it now that he is 17 but I do. It is a great practice guitar and the tone is superb.
  10. Mar 8, 2011
  11. Johnny N. Kick Henry Jackassowski

    I am far from an expert but I like the idea of a full scale with a slimmer body like the OM or grand auditorium size. I think you are right to take him out to play some guitars but I would take him to more than just GC. Let him play everthing in your price range and see what feels best. I found that when I went to the mom and pop stores, they carried some brands that were great value for the money but were not Martin or Taylor. I ended up getting one of the Greg Bennett designed Samick acoustics and I think it is fantastic quality for the money. If you can find a shop with a decent selection, they are worth a look. There are probably a bunch of good options from Takamine, Yamaha, Washburn etc. in that range but I happen to have experience with these so I am just throwing it out there.
  12. Mar 8, 2011
  13. Guitar1969 Little Hot Wing

    Good idea on the smaller shop - We have Rockit music in Brea, which I have gone to from time to time(There used to be well know ex-Fender Custom shop guy that was a Luthier there - Had him set up my acoustic). The only thing I like about Guitar Center is they pretty much leave you alone and I dont feel as bad if I don't end up buiyng from them.

    By the way, what is OM size? What does that stand for?
  14. Mar 8, 2011
  15. Mark Wein :mad:

    Rockit is cool...I've bought gear from them and send customers there sometimes...:thu:
  16. Mar 8, 2011
  17. Help!I'maRock! Radical Sandwich Anarchist

    Seagull. check out one of their grand concert sized instruments. also, the Takamine G series.
  18. Mar 8, 2011
  19. paulskirocks Blue Zone Compliant

    A Les Paul and a Marshall stack... Oh wait... Sorry... Out of Lounge... Anyways, you know he really wants an electric...
  20. Mar 9, 2011
  21. Prages User Error

    A good compromise there would be a Big Baby. I have one, and it does sound pretty good. It's a full scale with a 7/8 size body.
  22. Mar 9, 2011
  23. Johnny N. Kick Henry Jackassowski

    I think it stands for orchestra model. I guess it is similar to a grand auditorium. Smaller, thinner body than a dreadnaught. I would actually like to get something that size for myself.
  24. Mar 10, 2011
  25. Modern Saint Starve your Fear, Feed your Dream!

    Never heard of them. Looks I may have to check them out soon.
  26. Mar 13, 2011
  27. Guitar1969 Little Hot Wing

    Well I placed an order for a guitar after taking him to play a few at GC. Not sure if it is what he really wants but I bought him a Fender CD360SCE which is auditorium sized cutaway. The thickness is a bit more(Runs 4" to 5" tapered) but I am hoping the auditorium size of the body will work out after all. A Grand Concert size might be a better fit. We played all the thinbodies and smaller guitars in our pricerange and they just didn't really excite us unplugged because of the depth, but they also had the Fender CD140SCe which was a bit bigger and seemed like a good instrument being solid Sprouce on the top(all the thinbodies are Laminate tops) and Fishman Electronics. Unplugged it sounded pretty good to my ears over all the thinbodies. I also tried the baby Martins and Baby Taylors and they sound like toys to me unplugged.

    I ended up finding a great deal on the Fender CD360 which is a big upgrade over the CD140 he played but same size, and due to a price match I found online, got it for the same price at MF. Unfortunately we couldnt play one. I ordered it on musiciansfried and figured if it doesn't work out, we could send it back after he opens it for his Bday because of the MF return policy, and then can go the smaller routes if he wants. I know Fender is not really known for acoustices, but their line on entry intermediate guitars look pretty good at a $300 price point. The only other stuff out there that looks any good is the Ibanez at that price.

    If he can handle the size it should serve him for quite a few years and not be an overly expensive instument that he will be stressed out about using.

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