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Discussion Starter #1
hey all, I’m looking for a guitar for my dad’s 70th, got it down to a takamine gd30 or a Yamaha fs800. I was about to buy the tak but then I started thinking that a dreadnought may not be ideal or most comfortable for someone just learning to play. I’m really torn; which would you get?
Thanks!
 

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I would definitely take the size of the guitar into account. As a healthy, average sized male of 5'10, I won't play a dreadnaught. The Yamaha would probably be good due to its smaller size or maybe even one of the parlor guitars: Roadhouse
 

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Thanks for that. I was looking at an art & lutherie ami spruce top, good deal too at $200 with a fitted case. But I started thinking the sound will be much smaller and potentially less gratifying to someone who will be learning to strum chords for old Neil Young songs... the Yamaha really is a perfect size; comfortable and still sounds full. But that one I’ll have to buy new, case and tuner too, which would be double the price of the Ami. What do you think?
 

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What about a Godin semi hollow like the A6 Ultra? Super light, great acoustic sound and can be plugged into a small amp for when he moves into Van Halen riffs :)
 

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Thanks for that. I was looking at an art & lutherie ami spruce top, good deal too at $200 with a fitted case. But I started thinking the sound will be much smaller and potentially less gratifying to someone who will be learning to strum chords for old Neil Young songs... the Yamaha really is a perfect size; comfortable and still sounds full. But that one I’ll have to buy new, case and tuner too, which would be double the price of the Ami. What do you think?
I found when playing my parlor that I didn't miss the lack of low end. This is usually when I am playing by myself. Once the noise level starts increasing in the environment I am playing in, then the bass disappears and I find it lacking.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What would you get between the Ami and the FS800? For an all arounder I’m leaning towards the Yamaha.
 

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I've got a GD30 and love it to death. It's the only acoustic I own. I had a Yamaha previous to the Tak and upgraded to this. I probably A/B demo'd 50 guitars before settling on the Tak - I just found I couldn't beat it for the money sonically (although everyone is different). That being said, the only store that I tried out guitars in that carried both Tak and Yamahas was out of stock on any comparable Yammys, which is unfortunate as they definitely make a great instrument.

It would probably be best if you could find somewhere to demo both (if you haven't already done so) side by side and figure out which one you think sounds better and would be comfortable for your old man to play. I remember Yamaha making a smaller body guitar years ago with some onboard electronics. I think it was the apx500. No idea how these sound, but might be worth a look.


Good luck hunting around - I'm sure your dad will be super happy with whatever you settle on!
 

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You could take him with you and try out out some of the guitars in the acoustic room at L&M for size and comfort. I love going into L&M with my kids, looking around and trying out the guitars. Of course any local guitar shop would do if they have an acoustic room where they just leave you alone to try out different guitars from economy to higher end. On the plus side, you get to have a fun outing with your Dad which I'm sure he would enjoy also.
 

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Well, I do confirm a Mrs dread is readily attractive but not so comfortable.

Does he have fine long fingers or my short clumsy bigger fingers ?
Since he would begin, what do you expect him to play ? Chords or fingerstyle ?

My point is nylon, easier to fret (especially if compared to a low entry steel strings) with wider string spacing should be considered for a beginner without calusses.

Once again, my firm belief is that inappropriately high action on a steel string is "the enemy to kill" for a beginner's guitar.

Godin La Patrie or Yamaha nylons could be great options, nearby steel orchestra shape and there are usually many on kijiji market.
 

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You could take him with you and try out out some of the guitars in the acoustic room at L&M for size and comfort.
This for sure and then consider giving him a gift certificate. At the very least, be sure of the store's return policy. A guitar is a very personal item for many reasons.

Please let us know what you decide.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks so much for all of the input and advice guys! It’s really helpful. Originally I was going to have the mij tak my dad gave me for my 18th b day in for a refret and give that one to him. I think that would have been super sentimental for dad, and that guitar did me really well for a long time. But the 12 fret has a really long wait time in service and I decided we might as well bring a new axe into the family, and if he takes to playing we can hand down this guitar to my son. So in the end I am 95% sure I’m going to grab the Yamaha fs800t. I will definitely check out the return policy, but I can’t imagine he’d be anything but thrilled. I would love to take him to the store and try tones of guitars, but at this point he doesn’t even know how to strum a single chord; he might feel awkward in that environment. Heck, Ive been playing since the late 80s and guitar store dudes make me feel awkward.... anyway, thanks again to all of you for chiming in. I really appreciate the community here very much!
All the best guys, and happy holidays!
 

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I'd go Yammy. Great quality for the price. I'm not sure your dads's size but I'm 5'9" and don't enjoy wrapping my arm around a dreadnaught size. I have a Baby Taylor (smaller still) and a Simon &Patrick Woodland Pro (smaller than a dreadnaught). The Yamaha would offer that smaller size and a sweet tone to boot. Just my two cents.
 

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I would consider a concert size guitar ( like one of the Godin brand acoustic "Folk" sizes). I would also consider strings - go for a lighter gauge 11-52s - rather the the usual 12s.
 
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Another vote for the Yamaha.. I bought one for my dad a while back and I was really impressed with it for a guitar that was only a couple hundred bucks.
 

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One of the issues for older players, particularly beginners, is that they may not have the same level of hearing as younger people just starting out to learn guitar. This can really impact the learning curve, as not being able to distinguish subtle mistakenly dampened notes in a chord for example, can really hinder their development relative to their typically more sound-of-hearing younger peers. Acoustic instruments of course, completely lack the capacity to compensate for such challenges, unless properly outfitted with some sort of pickup system, and a Marshall stack.
 

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It’s all about the neck. The size of the guitar is insignificant.
I disagree. I have a jumbo and a few smaller guitars. The jumbo is very uncomfortable to play in comparison (I play sitting)

I think it is very personal choice (body size, neck, action, tone etc...)
 
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