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so I guess my question is do you prefer a smaller sized guitar or a full sized guitar? And why? With modern electronics you can make a smaller sized guitar louder. So, old limitations don’t necessarily apply to modern situations. Perhaps in smaller and more intimate situations the parlour and other smaller sized guitars might be better by not overwhelming the listeners. Which may have been the reason for the development of parlour guitars.
The reason I am asking is because I am weighing whether to purchase a parlur, or smaller sized guitar, versus afull sized guitar - dreadnought size.
 

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I always prefered the look of a dreadnaught, which is why I bought them over other guitars, but as I age, I realized that the ergonomics of a smaller guitar make sense for me, even though I am 6 feet tall. My campfire/travel guitar is a parlour and it plays and sounds good enough - though not as good as my dreads - packs into a much smaller space, and is comfortable to play in any position. My next (and maybe final) acoustic guitar will be somewhere in the middle, probably a mini-jumbo, or similar. Certainly it is easier to get more bottom end out of a larger bodied guitar, but as you said, one can compensate for that reasonably well with electronics.
 

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My only acoustic is a Fender MC-1. It is a 3/4 size, nylon string guitar. It lives by my recliner, and gets picked up for practice every day.
When I win the lottery, I will have a custom parlor guitar built. It will have nylon strings, and solid mahogany back, sides and top...no binding, no inlays.
 

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I have many acoustics of different sizes, namely a quite big Taylor GS, a dreadnough, many GC and GA (concert) size to smallers Gibsons L and Alvarez AP, scale lenght going from 25,4 to 24 inches.

As I am an average height guy with average hands and a notable belly in addition to past shoulder issue, I will add three considerations besides sound projection (I play fingerstyle, I do not strum) :
- scale lenght needs consideration as shorter frets help quite much;
- twelve vs fourteen frets also matters as it changes the distance from first fret to body;
- body thickness matters as a thinner guitar is more comfortable to me.
So my biggest Taylors could be as comfortable as a smaller but thicker body guitar.

Add on : Sorry ! I did not really answer the main question : I prefer smaller ("orchestra") twelve frets sizes.
 

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ah, yes, almost forgot...must be 12 frets to the body...if I could time travel, I'd go back and buy a brand new Stella blues box.
 

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Looks like it depends on whether you are strumming or picking. I do have a small-bodied catalogue guitar from the Fifties, and it can hold its own in an acoustic jam with a hard pointy pick.

 

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I'm not a big guy--and didn't get a dreadnaught (12 string) until I was well into adulthood--and I love t & play it--but I wouldn't buy another dread or jumbo size guitar--as I find it more difficult to hold & to play.

And while I don't really want a parlour size, I could see myself going for an Concert sized guitar.
Something a bit bigger at least than a parlour & smaller than a dreadnaught
 

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If you are going to be playing plugged in most of the time then I would suggest a good parlour guitar like the Alvarez AP-60/70 or MP-60/70. If not, I would go up in size to a folk or dreadnought.
 

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Depends on what you want to do with the guitar too.

These days I’ve been going to a lot of acoustic jams where no one is plugged in - there is a lot to be said for just grabbing a guitar and out the door without a bunch of amps and crap to carry.

Anyway, I have four dreds that are in constant use and they all have different characteristics.

HD35 - big loud sound but does not cut in a jam situation for picking.

HD28V - loud and strong low end; good for vocal and cuts well enough but can be a bit muddy and string type is important to get good note separation.

D18 (2012) - loud, good strong tone, good for vocal and cuts really well. Great all rounder can handle any situation.

Sigma DR28V - loud, good tone, cuts ok, fitted with a K&K pickup and a DeArmond sound hole pickup. Good workhorse and two different pickup options. Good guitar to take if you don’t know what to expect when you get there and you won’t be out too much if you get rolled on the way home.
 

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I am still undicided about amplification. Thank you all for your kibbitzing. I really appreciate it.
You can always use a mic in front of your guitar. Some music stands have an accessory where you can attach the mic. I have one and it works well. Through a clean amp or a monitor you will get good to great reproduction of your guitar's tone and with a decent guitar amp, you can tweak that sound for your own preference. You have likely thought of this but thought I would jog your memory just in case.;)
 

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My shoulders (labor worn) always prefer parlors. Jmo, but the tone routinely isn't what I want to hear. I play the parlor often, but tend to head to a larger choice when I want to dig into the tone, or want more sustain. Sometimes the limited palette is liberating--other times I want all the colours. Dread's were my 'gateway', so I start jones'n when I try to abstain. I tell my wife, 'They're for a friend.'

If
limited to one guitar/size it would be OM.
 
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I rather dislike using electronics to compensate for a guitar's weakness, besides volume. If there's not enough bass or mids or treble, get a guitar that sounds great across the spectrum then amplify it. One of my guitars (the one in my profile photo, incidentally) has a much tighter waste than a dread but roughly the same physical volume so it has all the power of a dread with greater comfort on the lap. It's my choice when accompanying the violin or concertina in my duos, with a dread as second choice. For accompanying my own voice I'm not as fussy, but I have a (roughly) OM and 000 that work well...it depends sometimes on whether I'm recording.
 

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I prefer full size slope shoulder and square shoulder dreadnoughts. Parlors are comfortable but I haven't played one that I really liked the sound of yet.
 

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You need good speakers or headphones to get the best sound from these clips but what are your opinions on these two Alvarez models?


 

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so I guess my question is do you prefer a smaller sized guitar or a full sized guitar? And why? With modern electronics you can make a smaller sized guitar louder. So, old limitations don’t necessarily apply to modern situations.
I think there are a lot of assumptions relating body size to volume - "larger guitars just have to be louder because they are larger". It seems intuitive.

Over time, I've had that assumption disproven so many times that I've now dropped it. I've been at jams where 000 and OM guitars cut through much better than dreads and jumbos. It also has as much to do with wood choice as body shape. Some woods provide a more cutting, midrange response ('hog comes to mind).

I do find body shape makes a significant difference in tonal balance - dreads and jumbos are bassier. Make that bigger body out of rosewood and the spectrum really slants towards the bass side.

But I think the slightly smaller bodies project more forward while the larger guitars disperse more, meaning the energy is spread around the room more and not necessarily as focused forward as the smaller guitars. It is hard to make blanket statements because the wood used in the top and body, as well as the bracing (and even age) all contribute to the ultimate volume of a guitar, IME.

Again just something to think about. Listen with an open mind at acoustic jams - you may be surprised at what sounds the loudest straight out in front of you. Just like in speaker cabinets, assumptions due to looks isn't always valid. Sound has it's own way to work and it isn't always the way our eyes think it will.
 

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Great remarks @High/Deaf , especially about tonal balance. Although the guys I jam with play mainly dreads, I always tend to bring the Seagull with cedar top along to fill out the bass for the spruce tops. One guy also has a Mahogany Tenor Uke which tends to cover and cut through those midrange areas quite well in the mix. Even with 3 other dreads going at the same time.
 
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