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A very close friend of mine has a daughter who plays guitar because of me! That's right, I inspired her to pick up the guitar when she was 6, and now at 17 she's still at it.... and very good! No shredding ala Orianthi or anything like that.... she is a "strummer", but has a great meter for rhythm playing, and singing. She's had a few starter (and step up from starter) guitars, but now she wants a "real" guitar. She's a good singer, so she plays at her church a lot. She needs an electric/acoustic. They live in the US, so I can't just pop down there and help shop for a guitar.

She has eyed this: Amazon.com: Fender T-Bucket 300CE Ice Tea Burst FSR Acoustic Electric Guitar: Musical Instruments

I have my opinions on Fender acoustics.... however, there are a few good things in the specs of this guitar. But I don't think this can be her "forever" guitar. She will need to upgrade again if she goes much further. I am trying to talk them into something more permanent, and will hold value, like a Tak, or even a Yamaha, Epiphone Dove/Hummingbird.... or equivalent. Needless to say, seeing the price, this is the range they are in. They're willing to go a bit higher, but a Martin/Gibson/Taylor are out of the budget.

My best advice is to go play one. Regardless of where they actually purchase it, go to a brick and mortar store and play it! Play it for a long time.... plug it into a PA and listen to the electronics. Unfortunately, she just broke her arm, so that won't happen for a while, but this is go! She's determined to upgrade her gear and start playing live.
I looked but could not find one single unbiased review. The only write-ups were on sites actually selling the guitar, so to me, that means it's not good enough for an independent reviewer to bother.

Does anyone have any experience with this, or Fender acoustics?

My reputation as the cool "uncle" is on the line here!

Thanks
 

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To me that is just another starter guitar. Tell her to save her money until she can afford something that is truly a step up. The brands you mention are all reputable, but in that price range, she won't find a huge improvement over that one. If she's a strummer, the cutaway is just an extra expense that she doesn't need. I also recommend that most people shy away from dreadnaughts unless that's what they really, really, really want.
 

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Last year at the French edition of The Voice, in Montreal, I was amazed to see a few Epi, namely Hummingbird and J-200. Were they contestants' own or borrowed by the producers from dealers, I do not know how these thing work. But the guitars were there.

Maybe she could look at used Martins, Gibsons, Taylors ?
If it were not of our poor $ and CITES, I would surely find some great deals...
Would you believe Martin 000-18 or Taylor 512 under 1500$ US ?
I am quite sure she can find something interesting in USA.
 

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As long as she’s comfortable playing it, i.e. the action suits her, that guitar will be fine. It’s a little bit flashy, but not over the top. In a sea of young girl performers she will stand out from all the others with less flashy guitars. At that price range, plugged in they all sound pretty much the same. At this point if she wants to perform, standing out in the crowd is as important as how she sounds.
 

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I am cleary and proudly a Canadian guitar player. I started in 79 with a Yamaha Fg335 and I have owned a handful of imports but there is now no reason to look beyond our borders for a great intermediate guitar. The Godin line of Seagull guitars is the direction I would steer any young Canadian player to. They are ok for us old farts to.
http://www.seagullguitars.com/en/products/151-new-s6-original
http://www.seagullguitars.com/en/products/13-maritime-sws-concert-hall-semi-gloss
http://www.seagullguitars.com/en/products/23-natural-elements-cw-folk-sg-amber-trail-t35
And so on and so forth
http://www.seagullguitars.com/en/products/guitars?series=21

My avatar is my $1099 Canadian made Halcyon Walnut/ Sitka AJ. They are $1599 now but still a good buy.
 

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I've played that Fender guitar. Well, it was the sparkly BLUE one that I played, but they are basically identical aside from the color.

It's a laminate top with a high gloss finish, and it sounds like it - very tight, plasticky, not really resonant, not really musical. It's pretty, but it really doesn't sound very nice.

In that price bracket, you can't beat the entry-level solid top Yamaha guitars for sound.

FG700MS is discontinued now, replaced by FG800M. I have both, and they're simply unbeatable in this price bracket. $199US on Amazon.

Adding a pickup would cost extra, for sure, but starting with a solid platform makes a lot more sense to me than buying a poor quality instrument that's already got a pickup installed.

Of course I am biased, and the sound means a LOT more to me than the bling.

I recently bought a K&K Pure Mini pickup, and I'm planning to install it in one of my $200 Yamaha guitars. Yes, I like the instruments THAT much.
 

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I guess the question is "why does she have her eye on that one". Without knowing anything about her, I'll have to assume that it's aesthetic. Maybe you should ask her that question and go from there with what you know. Your suggestion of her playing as many as possible at some big box store is hopefully something she'll consider very heavily, as well as her parents if they're involved in the purchase. I kinda get why she'd target that, as I have an 18 year old daughter myself. It's a really sweet looking guitar that you do not see on typical acoustics. Maybe it would be acceptable for you to talk to her on the phone or through Skype a number of times to guide her along. You're obviously a huge influence on her. Use it to both her and your advantages in resolving this properly. And by "resolving" I mean make sure she gets a damn keeper.
 

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.....replaced by FG800M. ....simply unbeatable in this price bracket. $199US on Amazon.

Adding a pickup would cost extra, for sure, but starting with a solid platform makes a lot more sense to me than buying a poor quality instrument that's already got a pickup installed.
See post #3...
 

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Personally I would recommend that she buy a decent used all solid wood guitar, something like the Epiphone Masterbilt line. Then you can easily put a pickup in after and have something she will enjoy both onstage and off.
 

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While I agree that all of us would prefer a better guitar we are forgetting who the guitar is for and why she wants it. She wants to perform. She is a teenage girl. Bling is important. Standing out is important. Sound and the quality of the guitar is probably secondary to her. I would try to steer her towards a Yamaha apx series but if she likes the Fender it is a suitable guitar for her.
 

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I played a Fender F80-12 from 1979 to about 2000. Tone was good and aside from changing strings, I never had to touch it, Neck was stable, body never bowed, action stayed low, frets never buzzed. Overall, a good experience.

I like going into an acoustic room and playing everything on the wall. Fenders I've played that way in the last 10 years or so have not excited me as far as tone goes, but very few on the walls do excite me. I'd say they were on par with the masses in that price range. Better than a lot names actually. I can't comment on long term stability because I honestly don't know anyone who owns one. IMHO you're not going to sell a teenage girl a Seagull because they have no bling. I agree with @Kerry Brown that maybe a Yamaha APX is going to catch her eye.
 

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Fender is trying to get a little more accepted in the acoustic market with their Paramount series but I have seen good and bad reports about them.

There are some excellent acoustics at great bang for the buck prices. Tell her Uncle Steadfastly suggests she check out.

Alvarez Artist or Masterworks series
Blueridge
Eastman
Martin X series
Yamaha FSX800 or FGX820

There are a number of dealers across the USA for all of these but if there is a Guitar Center close to her, she could order what she thought she might like, take it into the acoustic room and play it and if she likes it, keep it and if not return it on the spot, no questions asked.
 
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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all your feedback.

Most of you have confirmed my initial thoughts. This guitar is pretty, but not a "keeper".

Very happy to hear Yamaha in a few of the posts. I own an old F-310. It was given to me by a woman at work who "just wanted it out of her house". I took it to Folkway Music, and for $90 it is now one of my favs. That was almost 10yrs ago. I took the open geared tuners off and added some Grovers. Other than that, just strings. I've often thought of putting in a p/u so I can play it live. Come to think of it, that is the guitar she usually gravitates to when they all visit.
Yamaha is probably the line I will steer her parents, which should help steer her into getting. They can also come in "flash" colours and finishes.

Thanks again, a huge help.
 

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Thanks for all your feedback.

Most of you have confirmed my initial thoughts. This guitar is pretty, but not a "keeper".

Very happy to hear Yamaha in a few of the posts. I own an old F-310. It was given to me by a woman at work who "just wanted it out of her house". I took it to Folkway Music, and for $90 it is now one of my favs. That was almost 10yrs ago. I took the open geared tuners off and added some Grovers. Other than that, just strings. I've often thought of putting in a p/u so I can play it live. Come to think of it, that is the guitar she usually gravitates to when they all visit.
Yamaha is probably the line I will steer her parents, which should help steer her into getting. They can also come in "flash" colours and finishes.

Thanks again, a huge help.
Right, I forgot to add Yamaha to my list. The LL16 is stunning but that's $1000.00. An FSx800 or FGx820 is quite good as well and is in the $300.00-400.00 range.
 

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I haven't been very impressed by the Yamaha APX and CPX models I've tried in the past, but it's been a few years since I was shopping for a guitar like this, so maybe the current models are better.

As a general rule, I find that the glossy sparkle finish guitars tend to have that tight plasticky sound, lacking resonance and projection. That's been my experience, anyway.

One of the most surprising budget guitars I tried was a Hannah Montana model in Toys R Us. It was woody and open and resonant and played quite well. I think it was a Washburn. That was some years ago, and the product may have changed over time. I don't remember it being painted purple, for one thing. I think it was a natural top with a mahogany-colored stain. I'm not seriously recommended a 3/4 size $99 guitar for this person, just pointing out that you never know what you're going to discover until you go to the store and play the instrument.
 

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I haven't been very impressed by the Yamaha APX and CPX models I've tried in the past, but it's been a few years since I was shopping for a guitar like this, so maybe the current models are better.

As a general rule, I find that the glossy sparkle finish guitars tend to have that tight plasticky sound, lacking resonance and projection. That's been my experience, anyway.

One of the most surprising budget guitars I tried was a Hannah Montana model in Toys R Us. It was woody and open and resonant and played quite well. I think it was a Washburn. That was some years ago, and the product may have changed over time. I don't remember it being painted purple, for one thing. I think it was a natural top with a mahogany-colored stain. I'm not seriously recommended a 3/4 size $99 guitar for this person, just pointing out that you never know what you're going to discover until you go to the store and play the instrument.
The APX model is a thin line body and this is not a popular sounding acoustic with many people as it lacks the projection that a dreadnought gives.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Again, thanks for all the great feedback. I spoke with my "niece" today. I have successfully steered her away from the Fender! WIN!!

I spoke with her (on speakerphone with her mom), and nudged again for the likelihood of a Tak. Mom was still a little unsure. She gets it... her kid could certainly do something with her abilities, and having the equipment now, is not a "waste", but hey, money is money. I sent a few links for a couple Yamaha's, and I overheard a lot of... "ooo, that one".... "mom, look at this one", etc... so I'm getting there. I have determined though that she wants a dreadnought. A good start as far as (potential) tone when not plugged in. As I said, she recently broke her arm, so this is on hold. I did say I'd possibly venture a trip down there when she was all better for a little re-con.

Both of my kids attempted music because I play. I never, ever forced, pushed, or nudged them towards it, but encouraged as much as I could when they expressed interest. Neither one took. It just didn't appeal to them. They are both really good in the things that did catch their fancy, so I encouraged that as well. My friend (who I am closer to than my actual sister) having a kid that plays because I inspired her to do so, is super rewarding. I have been consulted on all of her guitar purchases, and all but one (the last Fender acoustic) they have taken my advice. With much success, I might add....

I can't thank you guys enough for helping me out on this.
 
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