Archive for the ‘acoustic guitar’ Tag

Taylor 114

Taylor 114Sometimes you pick up a guitar and right after the first few notes you go “Yes!”. This Taylor 114 was one of those guitars when in 2012 I went to Elderly Instruments in Lansing (a true heaven for guitarists, by the way; I rarely saw such a big choice of top range instruments and you’re allowed, even invited, to play them all).

I live in the Netherlands but my girlfriend lives in Michigan. 2012 was the third summer I was travelling there, and the fees for excess luggage had been going up so steeply that I figured it would be cheaper in the long run –  and safer for my guitars –  to just buy one in the US and leave it there instead of taking one on the plane every time.

I wanted to buy a second hand one (most of my guitars I bought second hand), and I discovered that Elderly instruments actually had about five second hand ones available. Within minutes it was clear to me that out of five candidates it was going to be this 114 or a slightly more expensive Taylor 210 series. It was this one that sounded the best though.

The 100-series being the cheapest series of Taylor guitars, it still has your typical chrystal clear Taylor sound, but with warm basses as well, and equally typical perfect playability. It’s got laminate sapele back and sides and a solid sitka spruce top.

Em11/Stewart-MacDonald Dreadnought acoustic

ImageThis Em11 (named after a chord that I like) is a so-called kit guitar from Stewart-MacDonald. I had been wanting to build a guitar myself for some time, but especially with building acoustic guitars there’s a lot that can go wrong. Subscribing for a course and building one from scratch was an option, but then I hit upon this thing called kit guitars, where the parts that require expensive machinery to manufacture come more or less prefab, which you only have to finish or make to size. That seemed to be a more flexible way of working to me, so I opted for that kit guitar.

I chose a Stewart-MacDonald kit, because their kits come with an extensive manual and a demo DVD, which is something you really need with your first build. They had only two models to pick from, a Dreadnought model based on the Martin HD-28 or a Martin OM model. I picked the dreadnought because that was a model I didn’t have yet (I opted for the rosewood version).

It has been a great experience to build it, and if I ever have time for it again I’ll build another one. I was very pleasantly surprised by its great, deep sound as well, the materials for this kit are really top notch. The hardest and most critical part is to get the neck set up right (which is why I picked the bolted neck rather than the dovetail construction). Second hardest thing is to get it finished nicely, in which I didn’t succeed entirely. That’s typically a matter of experience.

The kit and additional materials cost some 450 euros and I spent about 550 euros on tools. So in total this cost me some 1000 euros, but it definitely sounds as good as many guitars of such a price, and I also have played more expensive ones that weren’t as good (also cheaper ones that WERE as good; there’s quite a wide variety in price-quality ratios with acoustic guitars). It definitely sounds a LOT better than my 550 Euro Crafter GAE-30, but without its pickup system that guitar would cost less than 500 euros, to be fair.


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A peaceful, melancholic tune with acoustic guitar, mandoline, strings and a mellow electric lead guitar melody.

Gypsy Guitar Swing – royalty free

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Cheerful, uptempo gypsy guitar swing tune, with two acoustic guitars, acoustic bass and subtle drums. Includes main theme and some fast solos.

Soft Guitar Melody – royalty free

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A gentle, slow melody played on Spanish guitar, initially accompanied by acoustic steelstring guitar and strings, later drums and bass join in. It develops in a warm orchestral sound, creating a warm, romantic atmosphere.

New Day – royalty free

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This is an upbeat, uplifting energetic tune in medium tempo with a melody played on piano with initially only acoustic guitar, bass and drums as accompaniment, but gradually building up with strings to a full orchestral sound halfway through the song, creating a mood of expectation and new things to come.

Breakthrough – royalty free

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This is an upbeat, energetic rocktune with somewhat britpop sounding electric guitars, acoustic rhythm guitar, bass and drums. Could be used in corporate presentations or videos as an introduction tune or interlude for a motivational, energetic effect.