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Christmas 2013: unfinished business


Dannyalcatraz

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I intended to buy myself a guitar for Christmas, so I did: a Fernandes Ravelle SHIN Koi that was on clearance. Aaaaannnnd shortly after Christmas, I got an email saying that, on final inspection, they had detected a major flaw in it, and were refunding my money. It was the last one they had.

 

So I looked around some more, and found a used Reverend Rick Vito sig in black...and before I could pull the trigger, someone else wisely purchased it.

 

Now, I could buy either guitar at full price in any number of places, but I started thinking...maybe its finally time to buy amy first acoustic 12-string like I've been thinking about for years.

 

Each time I look, I keep coming back to 3 brands: Seagull, Breedlove, or Ovation. I've tried each kind, but never had the opportunity to do so side-by side.

 

I've owned an Ovation for more than 20 years. I like their sound & feel. I also like that they're seemingly as bulletproof as Superman.

 

I would have had a Seagull almost as long, but when I was shopping, there was a 6 month backlog for the guitar I wanted. I have never rectified that.

 

And Breedloves? Well, they just sound as nice as they look, IMHO.

 

So I'm looking for input: what would you buy for yourself in this situation? One of those electrics or an acoustic 12? And which?

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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+1 on 12...you have plenty of electrics and have been thinking of that 12 string acoustic for too long now. I think you should try all 3 side by side and pick the one that feels the best. I know Breedloves sound great, but I've never played one to see how they feel. They will probably all sound good plugged in to a PA (if equipped with electronics)...so, Go For It!

 

 

 

 

Take care, Larryz
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I`m partial to Seagull but Breedlove would be a fine choice too. A bandmate had an Ovation Legend that seemed nice enough but they have never been a first choice for me, for one thing they have always seemed more for electric players who need an acoustic.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

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Me, personally, of those three, I'd go with the Breedlove, followed by the Seagull; most Ovations kinda leave me cold, but "YMMV".

 

How about an Alvarez AD60-12 or AD60-12CE?

http://www.alvarezguitars.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/full_0014_AD6012_large.png

http://www.alvarezguitars.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/full_0013_AD6012CE_large.png

 

Or how about combining your original want for an electric, AND an acoustic/electric 12-String... ?

 

Carvin AE185-12 12-String Acoustic-Electric Thinline

 

____ http://www.carvinmuseum.com/images/instockarchive/old/guitars/ae185-12-spruce-60780.jpg

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I have one 12-string, and for a dedicated EM guy, I picked an Alvarez with no onboard electronics, because it was simply the nicest playing and sounding 12-string I could afford at the time. Mine is the now-discontinued MD80-12, all solid woods, beautiful tone. FWIW, my only other pure acoustic is also an Alvarez, a Model 5039, from the early or mid-80's, MIJ.

 

I LOVE my 6-string Ovation Legend, but their 12-string necks were pretty wide, even for my hands, and I'm not a small guy. Also, make sure you're getting a U.S.-made Ovation. About ten years back, they changed the headstocks so that even the cheaper Celebrity line says "Ovation" on the headstock. If the model number starts with a "CC", that's a dead giveaway you're looking at a Celebrity model.

 

Seagull comes from the same parent company as Godin - hard to go wrong with their stuff.

 

Breedlove has two lines now - the Atlas line is imported, IIRC, and cost somewhat less - not sure what differences there may be in woods, QC, or other factors. I've only gotten to play one Breedlove, very briefly, and while I was impressed with the sound and feel, I can't say I had my hands on it long enough to form a more useful opinion.

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

http://www.novparolo.com

 

https://thewinstonpsmithproject.bandcamp.com

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Unfortunately, none of the brick & mortar places I shop carry all 3 brands, much less all 3 in 12-string configuration, so a true comparison simply isn't possible.

 

Yes, I must agree that my "side by side" 12 string comparison suggestion is out of the question. You might still be able to try a couple of them one at a time, if you call around maybe. If not, try some comparable 6 strings that will give you a little idea of the different brands current quality, feel and sound. Then again, if you find some other 12 string brands at a brick and mortar, you might consider giving them a try too. Sometimes there are surprises in the offerings...

Take care, Larryz
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Over the time I've been looking at 12s, I have played the Breedloves & Ovations sbs, and the Seagulls & Ovations sbs, but never Breedlove & Seagull. And since those would be he most similar acoustically...

 

And I'm not going after an electric 12 unless and until I have an acoustic one. The few places I play outside of my own house would be more acoustic friendly than electric. I do like the Carvin 12s...but if I get an E12, it would face some stiff competition from a Ric (of course), an Eastwood, and HiTone (a local builder who once built a STUNNING 12-string Tele).

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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I had a Fender Coronado 12 with the hockey stick headstock back in the 70's that I kind of wish I had never sold. But I found it was just not the right guitar for me. If I ever bought another electric 12 it would have to be the Ric just so I could play Mr. Tambourine man...

 

Since you've played all 3 (some of which sbs), what order would you place them in considering price, feel, sound, etc.?

 

 

Take care, Larryz
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All three have their own unique design aesthetics. As I recall, the Seagull is the cheapest, the Ovation a couple hundred more, and then the Breedlove another $100-200 beyond that. I think the Seagull is the only one made in North America- the other 2 are MiK. (Nothing wrong with that, IMHO.)

 

I generally like Ovation build quality and durability. Tuning stability is like Excalibur set in stone- nothing makes them lose tune except a force applied to the tuners. I attribute part of that to the manmade materials that make up the bowl- it won't fluctuate with temperature & humidity like wood does. They handle alternative tunings with aplomb. To my ear, Ovations have an almost "scooped" tone. They project well across the entire spectrum, but the lowest and highest notes just seem to ring out. The neck is more like an electric than any other acoustic I've tried.

 

Seagulls are, IMHO, some of the best value for money acoustics out there. To my ear, they sound as good as or better than guitars 2-3x their price. I would say the Seagull's voice is mid-ranged...the Goldilox tone. The one downside: AFAIK, Seagull only makes one 12-string model, and it is a standard body- no cutaway.

 

Breedloves came across as having the best overall deep note resonance. This sets them apart from not only the other two above, but from most of the other 12s I've tried. As I recall, their fingerboard may be the widest (I could be wrong, though).

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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All three have their own unique design aesthetics. As I recall, the Seagull is the cheapest, the Ovation a couple hundred more, and then the Breedlove another $100-200 beyond that. I think the Seagull is the only one made in North America- the other 2 are MiK. (Nothing wrong with that, IMHO.)

 

I generally like Ovation build quality and durability. Tuning stability is like Excalibur set in stone- nothing makes them lose tune except a force applied to the tuners. I attribute part of that to the manmade materials that make up the bowl- it won't fluctuate with temperature & humidity like wood does. They handle alternative tunings with aplomb. The neck is more like an electric than any other acoustic I've tried.

 

I have to jump in, here. If the Ovation model in question is MIK, and costs more than the Seagull, I'd generally say pass, although I'd be very curious about what model it is. Anything you've had for twenty years, with "Ovation" on the headstock, came from the Kaman plant up in Connecticut, and I agree, they're generally well-made, and stand up nicely to alternate tunings - the more recent Celebrity models (MIK & MIC) are neither as durable, nor as forgiving. I'd seen a number of those guitars with caved-in tops or slowly rising bridges, in the shop where I worked, particularly the models with the 'leaf' epaulet soundholes. Unlike their American cousins, they were highly susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity, and didn't adjust well to change.

 

I also have to wonder if the Breedlove isn't part of the Atlas series, their more affordable import line, in which case, I'd still lean towards the Seagull; I've seen and played enough of them to be convinced. Jimi Photon, however, had a very different opinion, regarding the Seagull tone, so maybe he'll chime in here, as well.

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

http://www.novparolo.com

 

https://thewinstonpsmithproject.bandcamp.com

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I have two seagulls (six string) and both play and sound great. I played an ovation in a store a few weeks ago and i did not think it compared well. You might consider recording each playing roughly the same stuff and listen to the play back to compare them. Sound is funny and it may sound different to the player than someone a few feet away. Jim
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I didn't mean it like that- I mean I'm a lazy schmuck!

 

I have a Tascam GT-R1, and I have never bothered to record myself with it.

http://tascam.com/product/gt-r1/

 

On top of that, I could record myself on my old smartphone or iPad2.

 

Yet I have never done that, either. And as a result, there are certain pieces I have composed that I have forgotten how to play.

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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I like the idea of taking a small Tascam like yours when checking out acoustic guitars. What you hear behind the sound hole is different than what people hear on the other side out front. You could take the recordings home and think about which guitar sounded the best with you doing the demo, before making a final decision...

 

I have the opposite problem and have been forgetting little pieces of my old cover tunes. So I have decided to spend more of my time writing some of my own tunes and cutting down on playing in front of an audience. I have forgotten many of my grand ideas from the night before, just because I didn't record them. So, I'm getting out the old looper and putting it back in line to capture those moments of muse. I may have to get a portable like yours as sometimes I get inspired while driving around and forget what it was before I get home...I think I'll call my first song senior moments! LOL.

 

Update: Went to a birthday lunch and guess what my daughter and son-n-law just gave me today? a cute little Teac VR 20 portable recorder...

Take care, Larryz
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Went to my favorite local music store and a nearby GC and got to try an Art & Lutherie, a Guild, a Taylor, a used Takamine, a Breedlove, an entry level Martin, and a used Ovation Adamas.

 

The A&L- from Godin's entry-level line- reminded me of jut how good thenSeagulls really are.

 

The Martin was a surprise at just under $600, but it didn't feel...right.. My hand seemed to drag along the neck & fingerboard.

 

The Takamine was very bright. Beautiful, but unbalanced.

 

The Guild was great...and well outside of my price range, even with my "favored customer" discount.

 

The Ovation Adamas was also great sounding, and in my price range. But it was affordable because it was clearly well loved- someone's go-to 12-sting.

 

The Breedlove had a well-balanced sound across the board, and was a new guitar that was on clearance because it had been sitting there a while. It may well be the best bargain I saw today.

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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The Adamas was in pretty rough shape. Very tempting, but ultimately, too worn for me.

 

So, unless I find something elsewhere in the area, its down to the Seagull and Breedlove.

 

 

 

I must say, though, that one of the salesmen put a 12-string Gretsch Electromatic on my radar for if/when I want an electric 12...

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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I must say, though, that one of the salesmen put a 12-string Gretsch Electromatic on my radar for if/when I want an electric 12...

 

Even though the Electromatic series is Gretsch's budget line, they are very fine, very affordable, mostly Korean made guitars. I'm sure the 12 string would be a great axe.

Scott Fraser
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