Monday, November 10, 2008

Gibson, Martin or Taylor?

For a few years now I've been playing a 1956 Gibson LG1. I love the way the low-end fills the room when I'm doing an acoustic set. It feels amazing and it looks even cooler. The L.R. Baggs pickup accentuates the lows like no other and one of the coolest things is that I sold my Taylor 310 for $1,000 and picked up the Gibby for $400 on ebay. Needless to say the Gibson sounds 10 times better than that Taylor ever did.

But here's the deal. I just don't do acoustic sets very often. And... well... the old Gibson just doesn't cut through the mix very well. When you've got drums, bass, keys & an electric guitar, there's very little room (or need) for such a full bodied instrument. Not to mention every time I use a capo I have to re-tune because it's so old.

So Pastor Dave has been encouraging me to pick up a new guitar for a while now. You don't even know how cool it is to have a Pastor that cares so much about your tone! Or maybe it was just the tuning during his prayer time...? Either way, it's pretty cool!

So obviously I had to make a decision. What kind of guitar should I get? I've owned a few in my short time as a musician. A Harmony (classic!), a Takamini, a Taylor and a Gibson. And of course I've played a million over the years. So I did some research and narrowed it down to 2 guitars that have decent reputations, will cut through the mix and sell for under $1000. Here they are...



The Taylor 214CE



The Martin DM

Needless to say, due to my past experiences with Taylor and the tone I so often hear from the guitar of choice for worship leaders I went with the Martin. In fact, I went with Martin despite the fact that the Taylor came with a pickup already installed. I went with the Martin even though the Taylor is a little prettier. I went with the Martin when every worship leader I know was urging me to get the Taylor (not really, but I'm sure they would of had I asked). Yes, I went with the Martin for a few very distinct reasons... Dreadnought, Tone and Reputation. Not to mention my good friend Kreg is a Martin man.

A few other selling factors were that it came with a hard case, new strings and a strap. And with the "Church Discount" I got them to throw in the Fishman Rare-Earth pickup (one of the best out there) all for a smokin' deal! My dad always taught me not to take "no" for an answer. ;)

So far, it's my favorite guitar of all time... even if it doesn't have those sweet Gibson lows.

What's your favorite guitar of all time?

10 comments:

Vince said...

a while back i acquired a '76 Mossman. buttery tone dude.

for live playing with a full band, I have yet to hear better acoustic tone than this - http://www.renaissanceguitars.com/rs6.html

Tammie said...

It's almost embarrassing because I am very limited in my playing ability, but my grandmother bought me a Martin D35. I love it. I just want to be able to do more with it.

eric beeman said...

Like I said Vince, under $1000... ;)

That thing looks like a Chet Atkins... I bet it sounds great.

Tammie, don't be embarrassed. I've been playing for years now and I'm still just a chord guy. I let other people do the fancy stuff. ;)

Jay Sellers said...

I've had a 1998 Gibson CL-20 Plus since late 1999. Back then, I picked it up for $1400. They discontinued the model and reissued it as the Songwriter Deluxe Modern Classic. I wouldn't trade it for anything. The closest guitar to it, tone wise, is a Martin HD-28.

As a songwriter, what I look for in an acoustic is that mellow warmth that sings and yearns to fill up a small room, like a bedroom, where most songwriting is done. As a performer, I'd rather have a Martin Thinline going through an Avalon tube preamp and let the soundguy control the eq. Chunk onboard effects in the trash.

Good call on the Martin, then, based on my personal tastes. Taylor don't inspire me.

bobby said...

Me...Martin.

Good choice.

eric beeman said...

Jay... Yes, yes, yes on the Gibson. I agree. Even though my Gibson is an LG-1, it fills up the room better than any other guitar I've played. And it plays great.

The only Taylor that I've played that even compares is a $4,000 Koa Wood (not sure of the model). That was a pretty amazing guitar, but I still prefer the Gibson.

Thanks for the comments...

Karl said...

Love your Gibson. But imho, even though I think you already found a sweet guitar, Taylor's making the best guitars for the worship mix. They sit very nicely with the band...not too out front, and not lost.

The 514 with its cedar top is the closest one I've heard to bridge the gap between smiley Taylor and brooding Martin.

Just my few cents. ;)

Chris Stout said...

Well, following Tammie since I can't play the thing worth a darn, I love my Ibanez AEF30ETBK. Just wish I could dedicate some time to learning such a saweet thing...

Jeff T. said...

I play a Martin D-16RGTE and LOVE it! The highest compliment I can give is that I never wish I was playing something else. Yea, it's THAT good.

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