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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My one son wanted an acoustic guitar for Christmas, urged on by a friend at school who convinced him to take guitar in music (grade 9). He’s 14, but already over 6 feet tall so he wasn’t interested in small beginners guitars.

So I looked and looked at new, but I know that better value is out there with used.
I considered the Epiphone Pro 1, Yamaha FG800, a Fender beginner pack at Best Buy and the really cheap Segovia at Spaceman music.
I also looked at 4 used guitars. 3 used Norman’s and a very bad Yamaha FS700 that was a total waste of time (“I just noticed that crack this morning....”. Broken headstock!)

In the end I found this B20 with a HSC for $250 cash - the same money new would get a $80 case and a $130 guitar. SN starts with 99, is that 1999 then?

Not a scratch or mark on the body. Some slight fret wear on the first few frets, but very small. Dirty fretboard but I’m cleaning it. Needs strings. The action was high but the bridge had never been sanded. I’m learning how to set up an acoustic now too, so that’s a bonus in all this.

So, my dilemma... is this too good to take to and from school a few days a week for a few months? Would a 14 year old rather see a brand new in the box Yamaha with a soft carry case, or this? I didn’t go through this as a kid and I can’t tell if a good used guitar would go over better then a decent new one. I’m also worried about rough treatment going to and from school, on a bus once a week. ( and I’m starting to think maybe I should have a good acoustic...and sell a surplus electric and an amp or two! )
Advice?
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Nice guitar. I really like Norman dreads. If the serial number on the back of the headstock started with 99 then that's the year it was manufactured. Godin switched things up in 2013 but anything made before then you can tell the year by the serial number.
I've had a few of these and they're great guitars. My two cents is give it as a gift. They have a solid spruce top but laminate back and sides so they're fairly durable. And a guitar with history is so much cooler than a new Yamaha. No one says you can't play the heck out of it before you give it to him though.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I’m trying to surprise him, but I’ve asked in a roundabout way and his answer was as cheap as possible so there’s money left for other gifts ( like video game crap) I’m hoping he’ll be impressed with it and take it up more seriously.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Nice guitar. I really like Norman dreads. If the serial number on the back of the headstock started with 99 then that's the year it was manufactured. Godin switched things up in 2013 but anything made before then you can tell the year by the serial number.
I've had a few of these and they're great guitars. My two cents is give it as a gift. They have a solid spruce top but laminate back and sides so they're fairly durable. And a guitar with history is so much cooler than a new Yamaha. No one says you can't play the heck out of it before you give it to him though.
Thanks good advice. I’m leaning towards gift, and shop for a good used Yamaha for me over the next few months. But, I’ll get it set up and play it as much as I can before the 25th.
 

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I have a B20 that I bought new in 2000 for about $300. It has remained structurally stable even after I scalloped the braces. I would describe it as a very good student guitar.
 

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Give it to him. If you want a good acoustic for yourself, there are always good deals to be had, especially a few months after Christmas.
 

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Still have and play my B20 from 97. That case will protect it from the back and forth much better than a gig bag. It will sound 5 times better than a new one for the same price. Give it to him!
 

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Just another thought. If you go shopping for a good acoustic for yourself in the not too distant future, take him along. He will likely enjoy the ride.
 
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Ya. Give it to him for sure. 14 was the age I got into guitar...perfect age to begin. Don't worry about school. If he likes it, he'll keep care of it.
 

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I was lucky enough to take guitar in school back in 98 I think. It was a bird class for me which was good given the rest of my course load was advanced level stuff! I had been playing for four or five years at that point. I remember at the end of the year my teacher pulled me aside and said "You can't actually read a note, can you!" I had been playing everything by ear all year and faking that I was actually reading the sheet music. He was cool about it and didn't change my grade. He did say that I had missed out on a good opportunity to learn to read music (he was right). He had been an aspiring musician in the late 70's and enjoyed singing Neil Young tunes for the class while I played.

As for your son, I think this is a great guitar to give him to get started on. You don't want to make the mistake of giving him something too cheap for a first guitar. Cheap guitars usually have issues such as tuning stability etc and you don't want to give him more things to struggle with while he's just starting out as it may cause him to get discouraged and quit. If he doesn't stick with it you can either take the guitar back from him or he can sell it later. As far as taking it to school, I think at that price point he should take it and enjoy it and not worry too much about it. Tell him he needs to show it respect and be gentle with it, but we aren't talking about a high-end instrument. If it gets worn out after a few years of being dragged around, so be it. At least he will have had the fun with it. I opted for a soft case back in my high school days as this allowed me to lock my guitar in my locker after music class so I didn't have to stash it in the back of the room at my other 3 classes that day.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
He likes it! But he wasn't too surprised either as he heard me playing it a few nights before Christmas, and I promised to get him one.
I did lower the bridge and put on pretty light strings so it's not too hard to play.
Great story GetRhythm. I hope he makes music a permanent part of his life, either with piano or guitar. That's an opportunity I didn't get as a kid, and I know first hand that picking this stuff up at 50+ isn't easy (but it's still fun).
 

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Time for an update!

Did he play it?

The B20 is a beauty of a guitar to play, the sound is huge and warm.
 
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