Seeking advice on acoustic for thumbpickin style

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Seeking advice on acoustic for thumbpickin style

Postby Larry Lenhart » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:34 am

I have owned a Gretsch CG for years and lately have been wanting to get a good acoustic for thumbpickin style. It seems with age ( 72)that my old hands feel more comfy with a slim neck and I definately want a cut away. I am sure this question has come up before and I (hope) I will get lots of recommendations. BTW my budget is no more than $1800. all brands considered.
I know the best way is to play in person and hopefully I will have that opportunity when I am in Phoenix next month.
Thanks in advance for any and all input...much appreciated...long live Chet and Merle !!

Lately I have been doing my thumb pickin on a Washburn Jseries WEs Montgomery clone...$400 bucks and it feels and plays amazing ! So I know you dont have to spend big bucks to get a good instrument.
Larry Lenhart
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Re: Seeking advice on acoustic for thumbpickin style

Postby Tom Workman » Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:17 pm

Larry, I love Taylor acoustics for thumb & finger-style, however they have a 1.75" nut-width which I actually prefer but, the necks on them make for easy playing IMO. They have a couple of series with solid tops and laminate backs & sides that would fall within your budget and they sound pretty good. I have a 414ce that I bought in 2009 and it's a "keeper" for sure. Regards, Tom W.
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Re: Seeking advice on acoustic for thumbpickin style

Postby Steve Sanders » Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:59 pm

Larry, you owe it to yourself to try out an Alvarez acoustic guitar. I have the lowly RD8 and it is a "great" guitar!!! And they make an RD8C cutaway! There are more expensive and elaborate Alvarez guitars, namely the Yairi models and are much more expensive. The necks are very comfortable and easy playing. I just did a fret level and recrown on mine and it is even better!! And I paid a LOT of money for mine....$60.00! I would bet on it in ANY A/B blind audio comparison with ANY guitar no matter of make, brand, or cost. Maybe I got one of them "one-in-a-million" guitars that "got away" at the factory but I have since played other Alvarez guitars and they are good too, just not as good as mine. Good luck with your search! Please come back and let us all know what you decide on. We "gots ta know"!!! Steve
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Re: Seeking advice on acoustic for thumbpickin style

Postby Ray Bohlken » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:52 pm

Larry, I am having similar problems with neck widths and scale lengths. I found a Gibson model that has a cut away, a slightly smaller body, and the Gibson 24 5/8 scale and a slightly narrower neck. I got mine used at the Guitar Center used site. It comes with an LR BAGGS pickup that sounds great to me. It sounds fine with just acoustically, too. Whatever you decide, check out the Guitar Center used site. They have some decent prices and you can have them shipped to a nearby store and check it out there when it comes in. You can decided there if you want to keep it and get your money back if you don't. I sure like mine. It is easy to play and sounds fine...even when I play it.
Good luck with your search.
Ray ... 15-w-13805
Ray Bohlken
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Re: Seeking advice on acoustic for thumbpickin style

Postby Larry Lenhart » Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:18 am

Thanks to each of you who has taken the time to respond....I am keeping an open mind and also keeping a list of guitars have been suggested, so that when I walk into a store that has a big inventory I can compare them side by side...there are several such music stores in the Phoenix area and I am looking forward to test driving them :D
Thanks again for your time and consideration...I think the hunt will be a lot of fun !

BTW, I checked out a Riversong, made in Canada, at a local shop and it definately had the kind of neck I am looking for..but the action was pretty high for my taste and I didnt want to ask the owner to adjust it for me, since it was his personal guitar...altho that is a feature that makes this guitar unique...anyone purchase one of these and have an is so unusual that I am a little hesitant about them.
Larry Lenhart
Posts: 132
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:05 pm
Location: Ponca City Ok

Re: Seeking advice on acoustic for thumbpickin style

Postby Larry Lenhart » Mon Dec 24, 2018 11:08 am

I am starting to lean towards less expensive Epiphone, Washburn, Takimine, etc....Anyone have advise on these ? These can be gotten for less than $1,000. Looking forward to the test drives next month.
Larry Lenhart
Posts: 132
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:05 pm
Location: Ponca City Ok

Re: Seeking advice on acoustic for thumbpickin style

Postby LMark » Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:21 pm

Larry, some of the older Yamaha's deliver a real bang for the buck, and cost almost nothing. The dreadnaughts from the late 60s and early 70s deliver some serious Travis ooomph! I do not own one, but have played several and know several owners. They can have a pretty narrow fretboard. Can you live with that? Yamaha also makes an "LL" series, These are extraordinary guitars for the money, and can deliver a real Travis sound as well. They tend to have a wider fretboard, I believe. I passed on an LL-15 a while back; it was probably a mistake. (See this pic of one with cutaway: ... p?t=503098) But any LL series will deliver value way beyond its cost, I believe, especially used. You could save money and buy a lot of strings. Also the low-line Taylors from Mexico have a great sound. FWIW, LMark
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Re: Seeking advice on acoustic for thumbpickin style

Postby emjaybee94 » Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:22 pm

You're right guys; you don't need to spend big bucks on an acoustic guitar. I've been playing an Ibanez EW20ASE for the past 4 years. Cost me just over £300 (don't know how that relates to US prices). It's a smart looking guitar as well. The top is quilted Ash, which gets a lot of admiring comments from other players. I play it through an AER Dual Mix preamp, which also provides an adequate echo. I think the AER cost more than the guitar, but it was worth it. I don't do too many gigs now, but last November I did 2 half hour sessions as support for a jazz quartet; playing through a Bose amplifier system (courtesy of a pal of mine and cost about £5000). The sound was amazing. I'm not saying you should spend that sort of money on an amp though .... my Maui LD 11 sounds pretty good as well. I'm afraid my Gretsch CGP spends more time in it's case now and rarely gets played.

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Re: Seeking advice on acoustic for thumbpickin style

Postby Pickin Palmer » Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:57 pm

Larry, told you they'd know.... lol My only concern with just going into a store and "trying out" what they have is that most guitar stores don't give ah..ah...ah..dang (whew, Pastor LMark - I made it without foul language - one of my many NY resolutions!) about setting up their guitars for "finger style" use. You will get a wide range of preferences here on the "bored" but I think most of us tend to (be older) and like lower action for our more "delicate" play. In that the stores sell a lot more to blue grass, country, and rock bangers - they set their stock up with fairly high action. (We've got a highly touted luthier here in Columbus who used to set up all Martins (and, Taylors, I believe) before they went to the local stores - and, he refused to set them lower than "factory specs" (even by PAID request) - which are about an INCH high at the 12th. Pompous IDIOT!!!) (Somewhat interesting story of an interaction I had with him, below - for those that have nutin' better to do.)

When are you coming back to CAAS, Larry? You would be assured of finding an acoustic that you would fall in love with. AND, they would set it up to whatever height you wanted...

Good luck with your quest,


PS - Da "Lo Action" Story - one of my favorite "in yer face" stories

I had already had a couple "go arounds" with this luthier here in Columbus, OH about his not wanting to set up my guitars with low action for my finger style strugglings - BUT, he was the most popular luthier in the area. So, when I ended up buying one of Roger's beautiful Stonebridge acoustics at CAAS one year - (in the "heat of the moment") - when I got home and had lost the "heat," I found it to be a little too high action for my aging mostly electric (ES-335 for 40 years or so) hands. So, I took it down and tried to get him to "lower the action." Now, unless you are Segovia or Eric Clapton, you don't actually get to talk to "the man" - you get to talk to a somewhat less pompous "front man" that sits out front - and, he then goes in the back (which one can easily see through a WINDOWED WALL) and discusses your quandry with him. "Can't/(won't) do it!" "Well, I want it lower!" Back and forth for several attempts - all the time watching each conversation through the glass wall. (Why he hell...oops..heck he didn't just get off, butt and come out and talk directly to me is beyond all understanding.) But, anyway he finally agreed to "give it a try" - probably just to get rid of me. (Kinda what most of you would like me to do. (lol) I went back to get it and - it was a little lower, but not much - and, definitely not "practicable" for hours at a time like us half-fast Chet wanna-bes need to.

Well, a few years went by and the amazing Adam Rafferty was in town staying with me for a week to see if Columbus could be a popular stop off for him and his new "hip-hop" finger style career. (An amazing player/entertainer!) He plays Maton guitars and like Tommy (from my understanding - at least at the time) after buying one he would not even take it out of the box - he'd just send it to this incredible luthier Joe Glazer in Nashville to put jumbo frets on it and set it up "as low as possible." He had two of them and they played like butter. You could almost blow the strings down on the frets. Soooo, my ADHD brain said, "Why not give it another try?"

I took Adam, my Stonebridge AND one of Adam's Matons down "High Street" (hint hint) and presented the "gate keeper" with, first, my Stonebridge, "THIS is your "lowest" action." Then, I offered up the Maton, "And, THIS is what Tommy and Adam play." He disappeared into the back (the WINDOWS had been FILLED IN (LOL.) Several minutes later he came back out and mumbled something like, "He would like you to leave your Stonebridge!" ----- Yes, he did manage to get it a bit lower, but still not anything close to butter.... However, in his defense - maybe those Stonebridges just can't be set up that low.

Ref: Joe Glazer - Adam Rafferty -
Pickin Palmer
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Re: Seeking advice on acoustic for thumbpickin style

Postby Roger_Pratt » Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:41 pm

Oh Palmer, YES THEY CAN!! I have one of the "Plays like butter" kind!!
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