Published by Patti on 14 Sep 2011

Training Your Ears

It makes me raise my eyebrows a bit when guys here tell hopeful buyers that their all laminate ibanez sounds amazing, or that their Epiphone Hummingbird sounds as good as a Gibson.  Sure, we’d all like to think we have something good, but honestly the Epi model doesn’t compare favorably to the Gibson – really – and Ibanez all laminates sound cardboardy and quiet compared to some other entry level lams like Yamahas or Mitchells. It’s all about comparing guitars enough to “train” your ears, and it’s well worth doing. Continue Reading »

Published by Patti on 29 Jul 2011

What is a Fast Neck?

I’ve often heard guitar players talk about guitars that have a fast neck.  Usually they’re talking about slender necks that are often the approximate shape and width of a standard electric guitar neck.  Funny thing, though – personally I play a lot faster and cleaner when I play on a neck wide enough where I don’t have to work too hard to be precise.  When playing a guitar with a 1 5/8″ or 1 11/16″ nut, my fingers seem a bit squeezed together, and that slows me down.  A guitar with a 1 3/4″ to 1 7/8″ nut has enough room to let my fingers fly without being as wide as a classical, which is a bit too wide for me. Continue Reading »

Published by Patti on 06 May 2011

Let’s Talk Laminates

If you’re looking for a guitar under $500, there’s a good chance you’ll run into some – or most – that have laminate back and sides or even a laminate top.  But you may not know what a laminate guitar is or how laminate wood affects tone.   Want to know more?  Then read on!

First off, what is the laminated wood used in guitars?  In most cases, it’s a thin veneer of the wood – usually mahogany, rosewood or spruce – you’ll see listed by the manufacturer that’s glued on top of at least one thicker piece of wood.  In most cases, the thicker piece of wood is a cheaper wood that’s not a common tonewood, although in rare cases it is the same wood.  Something important to know – not all laminate woods are equal.  (765) 271-1926

Published by Patti on 18 Apr 2011

A Humid Store Full of Acoustic Guitars

So you may have already heard how high humidity can cause guitars to sound muffled or just not so good.  Well, yesterday we went to a guitar store not that far from the beach.  It’s a store we go to a lot, to the point where I’m almost of a first-name basis with some of the higher end guitars and some of the others that take a while to sell.  I headed over to re-visit an inexpensive all-mahogany solid top, but unlike the two previous visits, it had an unpleasant metallic tone that sounded like it had recently been restrung.  Disappointing, but I moved to a an all-solid 12 fret Blueridge 000 I’ve been dying to try.  It also had that unpleasant thin metallic tone.  It also didn’t have the richness I was expecting from a rosewood Blueridge.  New strings again, perhaps? (419) 688-9602

Published by Patti on 27 Jan 2011


Up to a certain point, my main feeling about Seagull Guitars was that the headstocks looked dorky, but if you read a lot of acoustic guitar boards and magazines, you’ll see that the Seagull S6 comes up again and again, so I tried a few.  At first, before I went into my guitar-trying frenzy, I didn’t notice much.  But after a short time, I did notice that the S6 wasn’t disappointing to me, even right after I had played really good guitars.  A lot of guitars under $500 are a real let down if you try them right after a $3000 Martin or a boutique guitar, but while the S6 doesn’t sound as good as a high end guitar, it does sound good, and doesn’t leave you feeling let down when you play it after the good stuff. 516-645-6362

Published by Patti on 22 Jan 2011


For years, I thought all guitars were similar in sound quality.  Mostly that’s because when i’d go into a guitar store, I’d only play the ones I could afford or could nearly afford.  Also most of my friends were broke, so many owned $600 or less guitars.  The ones with the best guitars didn’t know their guitars would sound better if they were kept between 40% to 55% humidity – they hadn’t considered that humidity isn’t good for guitar strings and high humidity that causes some muffling of the tone.  The bottom line is that I never sat in a room, pretty much one on one, and played a good guitar sounding at its best. Continue Reading »

Published by Patti on 11 Apr 2010

DR Rare Phosphor Bronze Strings

So my husband wanted a less  expensive guitar with LOTS of bass to try some percussive playing.   What he found was a used Ovation 1778TX Elite T (more about that later), and it definitely had massive boom when played.  Actually to me, it lacked top end but it had very tasty bass.  He also picked up some strings we hadn’t tried before – a set of DR Rare Phosphor Bronze Strings 10’s. Continue Reading »

Published by Patti on 25 Mar 2010

Voyage-Air VAOM-06

When I first saw the Voyage-Air VAOM-06, I didn’t quite get it.  It had a nice tone and sounded good, but although I had heard it folded, I didn’t quite see how.  To be fair, I also didn’t really look.  I just had a good time playing it, and I must say that it sounded pretty much like any of the better OM sized guitars  with a lammie back and sides sounds.   It felt good, especially the neck with its 1 3/4″ nut, perfect for finger picking.  Continue Reading »

Published by Patti on 23 Mar 2010

Rogue Starter Acoustic Guitar

If you’re on a budget and need a full sized guitar with pretty good sound and a good amount of bass, the Rogue Starter Acoustic Guitar is probably the cheapest fully playable steel string guitar around – and for the money, the one I got was quite good.  Better than other entry level guitars I’ve tried, with a nice tone and no issues.  It’s even fun to play! Continue Reading »

Published by Patti on 15 Mar 2010

Yamaha JR1 3/4 Folk

The Yamaha JR1 Folk guitar is an inexpensive small guitar perfect as a child’s guitar, travel guitar or for anyone looking for a smaller guitar to play.  I’ve played one many times, and while this is definitely one of the quieter guitars I’ve tried – which makes it perfect for late night hotel room playing – it is definitely an instrument, not a toy.  And it can be a lot of fun.  Let me tell you a little about it first. Continue Reading »

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