View Full Version : Beginner Guitar

11-17-2009, 09:09 AM
I'm looking to buy a medium/low cost beginner acoustic guitar for a teenager. About ready to pick up a Yamaha F345 because I've heard from several sources they have an easy action, stay in tune and sound pretty decent. A lot of experienced guitarists say they play as good or better than many instruments that cost twice as much. Looking for opinions about that particular Yamaha and is there anything that jumps out at you as a recommendation for a good beginners guitar?

11-17-2009, 09:49 AM
Thanks for the input Norman.

11-17-2009, 10:33 AM
I have a Yamaha student model acoustic, an F325 if I remember correctly. Picked it up almost 4 years ago for less than $100 off of Craigslist. It was in good shape, the owner was graduating to a nice guitar. Mine sounds decent, certainly better than I am, or will likely be anytime soon. It stays in tune pretty well after the first 2-3 days with new strings. While I lust over the really nice Taylors at the guitar shops, I certainly have gotten my monies worth from this entry level Yamaha. Its also a pretty nice looking guitar as well.



Bruce Taylor
11-17-2009, 10:38 AM
I've heard from several sources they have an easy action

In a beginner's guitar, that's especially important. Strictly speaking, action is determined by the setup; you can't choose a guitar by brand and be confident that a particular instrument will be properly adjusted. That said, some instruments are less temperamental & easier to adjust than others.

I don't know the F345. Low end Yamahas are typically well made, and not too exciting. This one gets good reviews (several mention the "warm" tone, which translates to: Don't expect much volume or sparkle). The sycamore laminate top is attractive (but check that the teen likes a sunburst finish...some folks don't).

With a street price of $229.00, you don't have a lot to lose.

If I were buying for a teen, I might look for something with a built-in pickup (in case he/she starts playing with others).

Flying Orca
11-17-2009, 11:06 AM
Rick, see my response on the other thread - nothing against Yamahas, but I've never found the sound all that exciting. I do like some of the lower end offerings from Aria and Blueridge, as well as Beaver Creek if you can get to Canada to buy one.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
11-17-2009, 11:14 AM
If I were buying for a teen, I might look for something with a built-in pickup (in case he/she starts playing with others).

Yamaha have a fabulous reputation for building student instruments - parents on the other hand, have a dreadful rep for screwing things up - might pay to know what the kid wants, or thinks of, when he says "guitar".

Whole slew of possible questions - of the ordinary sort:
Solid or hollow? - if hollow, with or without some form of pickup? - Steel or Nylon? - Six or Twelve?

Of the Oddball sort:
Bass? - Dobro?

And the crucial ones:
Can he read music? - Do you know a suitable teacher?

I'd be very disinclined to buy an instrument without the kid being present.

Bruce Taylor
11-17-2009, 11:22 AM
parents on the other hand, have a dreadful rep for screwing things up

Having been on the receiving end of that, I strongly agree.

It starts with the music, of course. What does the kid want to play?

Bruce Taylor
11-17-2009, 11:40 AM
Let HIM pick it out.

What I wanted...


What I got...


11-17-2009, 12:25 PM
Rick, see my response on the other thread - nothing against Yamahas, but I've never found the sound all that exciting. I do like some of the lower end offerings from Aria and Blueridge, as well as Beaver Creek if you can get to Canada to buy one.

Thanks for the opinion FO I'll look into them. The Blue Water Bridge to Sarnia is less than two hours and Windsor is not much further. Of course shipping is an option too (just so it doesn't end up on United Airlines, lol). I'm confident acoustic guitars are a topic that you are clearly an expert on and I'm all ears. I'll do a search on what you just named.

Norman, some things are best left to a teen themselves, but don't think this decision is one of them. A good internet search along with some input from experienced musicians has got to be faaaaaar better than a starry eyed kid walking into a music store with a wad of cash in his pocket!

Bruce, he does want an acoustic to learn on, which I think is a good idea. As far as having a built in pick up for an amp I don't know and am open to ideas. My thinking is to get as much instrument as possible for under $250 and see if he has the talent and work ethic to become proficient. The Yamaha F345 seems to have a pretty good reputation in this department, but of course no electric capability. I've been looking on Craigslist, but it appears the good deals get snapped up in a flash. On a positive note if you are in a buying mode the Michigan economy is in a near depression so great deals on all kinds of toys come up frequently if a person keeps their antenna up.

Newt, the kid just wants an acoustic guitar, I don't think it will be anything like parents trying to buy hip clothing for a teen. :p


Bruce Taylor
11-17-2009, 12:53 PM
Newt, the kid just wants an acoustic guitar,

That's like saying "He just wants a boat." ;) The question is, "What does he want it for?"

A dreadnaught is tolerably versatile. It's good for flatpicking and rhythm, but not the first choice for fingerstyle, jazz & most blues, and all wrong for the nylon repertory (Brazilian, classical, flamenco, etc.)

Flying Orca
11-17-2009, 01:08 PM
I'm confident acoustic guitars are a topic that you are clearly an expert on and I'm all ears.

Oh man, I wouldn't go that far. I've been playing 'em for thirty years or so, but I'm no builder and don't even do much maintenance on my own guitars - I turn to the real experts for that. But you're welcome to what knowledge I've obtained over the years, and as for opinions, I've no shortage of those either. ;)

11-17-2009, 01:29 PM
I dunno squat about geetars, but we just went through this with son Brendan. He is learning on an electric (ask me about "smoke on the water":eek:).

FWIW: There are all kinds of guitar reviews on YouTube. Search on a model that interests you. Folks that seem to know a few things and others that don't, play the instrument and point out likes and dislikes.

We thought it was helpful and you can learn a lot without the salesman breathing down your back.

Bruce Taylor
11-17-2009, 01:49 PM
(ask me about "smoke on the water":eek:).

Everybody's first riff (and mine, of course, in 1972. :eek:) Some things never change.

The sales guys at the music store say "Seven Nation Army" gave them some relief, for a few years, but "Smoke" is still the riff that makes them wish they'd gone into Law like Mom wanted...

11-17-2009, 02:29 PM
I'm inclined to agree with "let the kid pick it". There are some surprisingly good new inexpensive imports available these days but the kid might find a used one that appeals to him/her. Maybe an old beater that has some 'mojo' that just connects.

Some very general comments: an "OM" or "000" size might be a good choice for an 'all around' guitar. They are a little smaller body than a dreadnaught and many folks find them more comfortable to hold and play. OM's tend to have a balanced range of tone and their "presence and projection" characteristics work well playing inside. Dreadnaughts tend to be bassier, louder, and capable of more projection.

And there are the Yamaha silent guitars. They look cool, can be amplified, or played through headphones ... for endless hours of perfecting those "power chords". Not sure what used ones are going for.

11-17-2009, 02:39 PM
Yamaha would be a good choice in this situation!

I am still amazed at the snobby folks that think the axe makes the player ... and NOT vice-versa!

A guitarist will make a cheap guitar sound brilliant ... a wannabe will make a $20k guitar sound like crap!


11-17-2009, 02:41 PM
I'll stick with the 1959 Gibson ES355-TD in Cherry finish ...

(don't ask me to play though, because I cannot do so very well ... regardless of this fine guitar!!!)


11-17-2009, 02:52 PM
Brad, wanna sell it ???

I got one but i need another !


11-17-2009, 03:18 PM
I made that choice, as a 14 year old in 1965, and I was sorry for it. My choice was influenced at the time by the fact that it took me all summer to raise the $85... and the Epiphone equivalent to the J-45 (dreadnaught size) was $135, which I didn't have. I would have been much happier, both then and now, with the dreadnaught-sized guitar.

Well, no time like the present. :)

11-17-2009, 03:34 PM
I can't comment on the Yamaha.. but around 10 years ago, when my teenaged younger daughter wanted to learn to play, she ended up buying a Takamine... and was shocked at how good it was, for the price. It was a dreadnaught sized steel string accoustic, and if I remember correctly, she paid less than $200 new for it, with a hard shell case. Comparing it to my 40 year old Epiphone accoustic (genuine Kalamazoo), it was far better. Nice action, great bass response, etc.

I have a 13-Year-old Takamine and can't say anything bad about it. Mine was a high-end model at the time but the less expensive models Iíve picked up over the years at guitar center were always exceptional for the price with only one or two that didnít play well. My advice would be to never buy a guitar without handling it.

11-17-2009, 03:55 PM
For the money you can't beat the Blueridge line. I have two (an all solid dread-Martin knockoff and a laminated slope-shouldered Gibson knockoff) and both are surprisingly sweet sounding. I was shopping for a good-sounding guitar when I found my first one. The Taylors didn't have it nor did anything else in the shop except a $4000 boutique brand which I've forgotten. I got the $300 Blueridge.

As for pickups, you can easily add one to most any acoustic guitar.

11-17-2009, 04:24 PM
I got one but i need another !

Do you REALLY have one? Seriously! Tell me about it ... no kidding, that is AWESOME!!! Same year and moel???????

It will NEVER be for sale!

11-17-2009, 04:25 PM
BTW- Also have a 1973 335 Gibson ... blonde ... showroom new!!! (other than the hundred thousand hours of playing) :D LIKE NEW!!!

11-17-2009, 04:33 PM
Rick...I started with a guitar made by Yamaha very similar to that one, a bit more expensive....If you get that model, check out bronze strings the bext size....I think 12's come standard, get 11's.....I trade way up after a couple of years to their top of the line acoustic and I would say it's every bir as good as some of the more well known guitars. I am not a guitar player but sorta pretend....folk music from the 50's-early 70's only....
The Yamaha sounds as good as the Gibson according to my weird friends...