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Discussion Starter #1
Hi new to the forum and am looking to buy a beach/campfire guitar, something I don't have to worry about. My budget is about $350.
I was in a L & M and the fellow there recommended the FG 325 at $199. It didn't sound terrible to my untrained ear.
There was a solid top FG 800 in on trade for the same money. He said the laminate top will handle the abuse and changes in humidity and heat better than a solid top.
Any thoughts on this purchase would be appreciated.
Thanks
 

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Welcome, & happy Canada Day!

(jmo fwiw)

Because campfire guitars often lead a hard life, I would be looking to take advantage of used (private seller) pricing.

But to answer your question, the lam' top would likely be more durable. Can't really go wrong with Yamaha*.

You could get a 'player' Yamaha L series 10 for $350 (kijiji here in the BC interior), or a used Big Baby Taylor, etc., & that's more the direction I would take personally. The Taylor has lam' back and sides/solid top, and I liked mine.

I'm kinda stuck on the, "New?" for a campfire. A funky vintage Yamaha FG series would make a worthwhile campfire guitar. Some are all lam', some are a combo, and others are all solid. I have a '79 FG-331 (all lam') that I purchased on this forum for $300 delivered. Played it as my main guitar for a year -- no hardship there. It's a slightly smaller guitar, which is nice when you're in unfamiliar surroundings, &/or old and stoned.

No (traditional) guitar, because of the glue, is going to appreciate high temps. So beach hot sand, and direct sunlight, will still require you to look after any playable guitar. An entry level Ovation (Applause) might be something to consider.

Best of luck with your quest.

*Edit: Jmo but I would stay away from any vintage Yamaha classical, especially solids. They can be quite delicate compared to their steel-stringed counterparts. Some are stunning to listen to, but imo a waste used as a campfire. And, while relatively rare imo, a high action on vintage FG's is really not worth risking, because the price of a neck reset is just too expensive, especially if epoxy was used.
 

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Because campfire guitars often lead a hard life, I would be looking to take advantage of used (private seller) pricing ..........

An entry level Ovation (Applause) might be something to consider.
I remember throwing a guitar onto a campfire back in the 70s. Not sure if it was laminated or not but it went up real good.

Yeah, used Ovations are a good buy. The US made ones tend to be professional quality instruments that are practically worthless when you try to sell them used.

They are durable guitars and usually easy to play.
 

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I remember throwing a guitar onto a campfire back in the 70s. Not sure if it was laminated or not but it went up real good.

Yeah, used Ovations are a good buy. The US made ones tend to be professional quality instruments that are practically worthless when you try to sell them used.

They are durable guitars and usually easy to play.
Took my Martin D-28p to its first campfire -- didn't do real good at all.

 

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If both are the same price pick the one that sounds better. Any vintage Yamaha will do the trick. IIRC Yamaha makes them to be a little more forgiving of heat and humidity for a worldwide market
 

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Took my Martin D-28p to its first campfire -- didn't do real good at all.
I have a few martin guitars and I sometimes think what's the point if I don't take them where ever I go which I pretty much do although I have a Sigma DR28V which plays like a martin and has similar voicing although nowhere near as good but when you plug into a PA it's good enough. So if I get mugged on the way home from somewhere in good old TO I ain't gonna be out a lot for the cost of the guitar.

On the other hand, I got an Ovation electric Balladeer in about 1975 and took it anywhere and everywhere - drunken parties and across the country a few times - there's hardly a scratch on that guitar and I still have it.

But times are different now.

Also have a Norman B20(6) which I think would be a good campfire rig - bought it in 2000 when I went in to buy strings...lol Always thought it was too bright but last summer I took a six-pack and a thumb plane and scalloped the braces as best I could. I think it has more bass projection now.

Might take another run at with the plane this summer if it ever stops raining.
 

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Personally, I would go with the FG 800 @ $199.00.

I played one of those recently and was very impressed with the tone and the feel of the neck. Apparently, Yamaha made improvements/changes in the new 800 series (to the previous 700 series).

Please let us know what you finally purchase.

Good Luck!
 

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Personally, I would go with the FG 800 @ $199.00.

I played one of those recently and was very impressed with the tone and the feel of the neck. Apparently, Yamaha made improvements/changes in the new 800 series (to the previous 700 series).

Please let us know what you finally purchase.

Good Luck!
So would I. I played one a few months back and couldn't believe how good it was for the price.
 
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I can see this being a potential issue for a full solid wood guitar vs. full laminate. But are changes in heat and humidity really that relevant or different for a guitar that has only a solid top with laminate back/sides versus a full laminate guitar?

For me, I would not rule out solid top guitars for your specific scenario. Although I'm no Acoustic expert.
 

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Personally, I would go with the FG 800 @ $199.00.

I played one of those recently and was very impressed with the tone and the feel of the neck. Apparently, Yamaha made improvements/changes in the new 800 series (to the previous 700 series).

Please let us know what you finally purchase.

Good Luck!
My vote right here too. I cant get over how good the low end Yammy's are....amazing value for the buck.
 

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I bought a Tatra acoustic (nylon string classical) at a yard sale for $5 once. If I go to the park with my kids, that's the guitar I take. It was made in Czechoslovakia and built like it (like a tank). I would never take a new guitar out by the campfire. The Tatra is a bit of a bear to play admittedly but it strikes the right cost/risk balance for me.
 

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I have a few martin guitars and I sometimes think what's the point if I don't take them where ever I go which I pretty much do although I have a Sigma DR28V which plays like a martin and has similar voicing although nowhere near as good but when you plug into a PA it's good enough. So if I get mugged on the way home from somewhere in good old TO I ain't gonna be out a lot for the cost of the guitar.

On the other hand, I got an Ovation electric Balladeer in about 1975 and took it anywhere and everywhere - drunken parties and across the country a few times - there's hardly a scratch on that guitar and I still have it.

But times are different now.

Also have a Norman B20(6) which I think would be a good campfire rig - bought it in 2000 when I went in to buy strings...lol Always thought it was too bright but last summer I took a six-pack and a thumb plane and scalloped the braces as best I could. I think it has more bass projection now.

Might take another run at with the plane this summer if it ever stops raining.
i would be interested in hearing a bit more about the norman project
 

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I can see this being a pointential issue for a full solid wood guitar vs. full laminate. But are changes in heat and humidity really that relevant to a guitar that has a only a solid top with laminate back/sides versus full laminate?

For me, I would not rule out solid top guitars for your specific scenario. Although I'm no Acoustic expert.
Well, the Yamaha FG820 has a solid top. A few of us are not ruling it out and I agree with your point.
 

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i would be interested in hearing a bit more about the norman project
It is a straight braced guitar so I used a very small plane to shave the braces under the top and the braces on the back as well so that they look more like my guitars that have scalloped bracing. Like for example the 2012 D18 which has scalloped braces v. the pre 2012 straight brace D18. The idea is to get more low end out of the guitar. I think it improved it to the point where I decided to keep the guitar for a beach / campfire rig should the need for such a beast ever arrive ...lol

Mass of the bracing effects sound. A standard D35 gets it's characteristic sound I would say mainly from the fact that it has thinner braces than a D28. Then when you get to an HD35 which has thin braces that are also scalloped plus forwarded shifted bracing you have a guitar that'll stampede cattle and rattle the walls.

I wouldn't do this to an expensive guitar but I was going to sell the Norman as I didn't like the sound although it plays well enough. But for all I'd get for that guitar it wasn't worth selling so I figured I'd give this a try.

Basically you just reach inside and shave the braces down. The trick is not to take off too much and compromise the structure. I think I'm gonna take a little bit more out of it.

You can have it done professionally. I read somewhere that Neil Young's D45 sounded like a box of socks when he first got it and they did a lot of work on that guitar which I think included the braces.

I had some pictures but I deleted everything on my PB account yesterday while I could still get access to it.
 

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I went with a solid top on my "campfire special", but only because it sounded so much better. It was used, so if there were going to be cracking issues, they probably would have shown up already. I also went with a parlour size so it fits in my canoe more easily.

Play them side by side if you can. If you can live with the difference, go with the cheaper one.
 

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A used guitar out of the Godin stable (A&L, Seagull, etc.) might make a good choice. It's not uncommon to find one sub-$200, and they are durable and sound better than the price would indicate. Lots of them out there without electronics - perfect for a campfire specialist.
 

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I also went with a parlour size so it fits in my canoe more easily.
Most people buy a case to put their guitar in. I take it this must be a grand parlour.:D
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Personally, I would go with the FG 800 @ $199.00.

I played one of those recently and was very impressed with the tone and the feel of the neck. Apparently, Yamaha made improvements/changes in the new 800 series (to the previous 700 series).

Please let us know what you finally purchase.

Good Luck!
Hi all ,
Bought the FG800 Matte finish and am very happy with it. I have always wanted to learn the dark art of guitar set up so am going to try it out on this $199 beauty. I shaved a bit of the saddle and that improved it quite a bit. I think it is still high at the nut but am confused as to how to proceed. Remove nut and sand down the back or file the grooves. Suggestions?
For 200 bucks I don't think you can wrong with this guitar. It is a bit bright but that's ok for around the campfire.
It will be brighter than me by the end of the evening:)
 

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Bought the FG800 Matte finish and am very happy with it.
CONGRATS!!

Pleased to hear that you are enjoying it. I was playing one again recently and remain impressed.

I am not experienced enough to advise you re: the nut.
I think sanding the bottom of the nut (as you did with the saddle) would be the easier approach..but it might be the wrong approach...LOL. Wait to see what others say.
Is the nut reasonably easy to remove?
 
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