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Does Not Apply
To Solid Electric Guitars
There are several things that stand out in my mind when I am
buying an Acoustic Guitar!!!
Ed Roman Custom Shop 2009
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1. I always try to buy a
guitar that has been manufactured in the Northern Regions
Of The USA. Preferably Washington, Wisconsin, Oregon, New England,
Pennsylvania, & Michigan. There are very few exceptions to this rule! The
only ones I can think of, are a couple of very small companies that specialize
in less than 20 guitars per year.
2. When and if you
decide to buy an expensive Acoustic Flat Top or Jazz Archtop Guitar always make
sure it is made from solid wood (Not Plywood) there are some very large evil
companies out there that are still only using plywood on their $3,000.00 plus
guitars. (Overpriced Rip Off's)
(Buyer Beware). Click On (Overpriced
Traditionally the Slimline 335 styled guitars have all been
made for years out of plywood, Even some of the better companies like Guild,
Heritage, D'Angelico, Stromberg, Gretsch, Sadowsky only make slimline guitars
out of plywood. Savoy & Ribbecke were
the only ones I know about that actually made all solid wood Slimline guitars.
Now Ed Roman Guitars has come out with an affordable all solid wood slimline
guitar (Blues Deluxe)
Gibson has the excellent "Johnny A" model but it costs much more than the
Eastman and you can customize the Eastman.
3. Make sure the
electronics are non invasive. (Never buy a guitar that has a big equalizer cut
into the side of the body) You should never buy a quality flat topped acoustic
guitar of any kind that has any holes whatsoever drilled into the wood. We
try never to order guitars from the factory with factory installed electronics.
Sometimes they are OK but most of the time there are better non invasive, non
damaging, options available for much less money.
If you are buying a low cost or plastic backed guitar like an
Ovation or lower cost all solid wood great guitar like a Seagull it's of course
OK to include factory electronics.
Observe The Black Lines Drawn On
Pay Close Attention To Where The Guitars
Are Manufactured At.
Geographical Locations are
It Comes To Problems Of Finish Cracking,
Neck De-lamination & Fretboard
Even Gibson moved their
acoustic division to Montana but they still make the Archtops in
Memphis & Nashville. So be careful on the Jazz Boxes.
These lines are straight for visual purposes for example I'm sure you could get away building
acoustic guitars in upper Colorado
What We Have Found To Be The Best Acoustic
See Boutique Acoustic Guitars
Notes Regarding The Above Recommendations
When I say Best Solid Wood Archtop guitars I am not including
the 300 or 400 small boutique Jazz Guitar builders that are out
there. Many of these guys are really great builders so we could
not include them in our comments. Some of these guys are total
hacks so always exercise caution when dealing with a garage
When I say Best Solid Wood Archtop guitars you will notice I
have left several companies out. These companies may make some
very good guitars at their uppermost range but the pricing is
almost a crime. Heritage used to be highly recommended by
me. Today however Heritage quality has taken a major dump. Their
customer service is deplorable and they regularly lie to their
customers about delivery times. In fact I can give you names of
many people who waited more than 2 years to get repaired guitars
back. Then they discovered they were not even fixed.
On the Best All around
Jazz Guitar money being no object, I honestly cannot make that
call. I am simply not qualified to make that choice. My hat is
off to anyone who can actually answer that question. On the
Acoustic version I picked Rick Turners Compass Rose.
On the slimline, I had to pick the Eastman,
I myself have been striving to build the absolute finest
slimline blues guitar in the world for 10 years.
I had some
success with Heritage until their quality eroded. Although, I
never could make the claim "Absolute
Best". With the Eastman I am confident in the fact that it is the
"Absolute Best" sounding guitar of
it's type in the world.
Acoustic Flat Top Guitar
McPherson Acoustic Guitars
More Traditional Dreadnaught Styled Acoustic Flat Top
Martin Guitars still use the traditional double dovetail design neck joint.
Unlike some other guitars on the market that has stripped
Martin of their
Martin guitar s will still
mellow with age !!!!
We recommend Martin,
Tacoma V Series,
We truly believe these are the best guitars on the market at any price !!!!
Flat Topped Ovation Performance Guitar
These guitars utilize carbon bowl backs, They are very strong &
They actually sound very good because of
Ovation's higher than high tech
But they will never sound as warm as an all solid wood guitar.
Ed Roman recommends these for live use on a medium budget.
Rainsong All Carbon Fiber, Graphite Flat Top With Cutaway
Excellent sounding, probably the best of all carbon fiber acoustic
Their top of the line models are exceptional, Highly recommended for live
Classical Flat Top Cutaway With Electronics
This guitar happens to be made by
We disagree with the built in electronics on such an
Folk Guitar, Flat top Dreadnaught All Koa, Built in Electronics
Taylor guitars sound best in a loud noisy music store
They are bright & not recommended as a recording guitar.
They play well because the use a slim profile bolt on neck.
The Bolt on neck tends to inhibit aging &
Taylor is fully aware of this problem, they are currently planning a new
I will test it when and if it ever happens.
They do cost an exorbitant amount so many people assume they are very high
quality Read This
Taylor gets extremely high marks for advertising & image promotion.
Many people with untrained ears own Taylor Guitars
Ramirez Classical Guitar
Considered by many to be the best classical guitar
Takamine also does a great job for a very fair
Jazz Archtop Guitar
Flat Top Parlor Guitar
Custom Made Archtop Jazz Guitar
Eastman All Solid Jazz Guitar With Single Cutaway
Thinline Electric or Slimline Electric
With Double Cutaway
STILL WORKING ON THIS
||A fictional metal used to
describe The Rick Turner Ed Roman fretwire released in 2008. I
recommend these frets on any high end guitar acoustic or
electric. You may want to read the tongue in cheek description
on the Adamantium page.
It is impossible to patent a fretwire material. So we opted to
call it a fictional name instead.
||Refers to a raised or convex center of either a
solid body or acoustic guitar. Some better quality guitars
also offer arched backs.
||Refers to a bent piece of veneer that is bent over a
raised radiused top. These should be avoided whenever possible.
||This is the preferred wood for many builders to build
their masterpieces out of. There Are
Other Options Available
||These are the pointy little thingies that
hold your strings into the bridge. First you insert the
string then lock it in with a bridge pin
|Back & Sides
||Refers to the back & sides of the
acoustic or jazz Guitar. I know this sounds obvious but
people have actually asked me "What are back & sides?"
||The binding is usually a white or cream
colored plastic on the edge of the neck or the guitar. Better
quality guitars use real wood for binding,
||Carbon fiber is a graphite
material from which some guitars are made, Rainsong for
example, Usually these are pretty high quality instruments
||Short For Cutaway, Electric (Stay away from the
built in electronics unless it's a low cost guitar)
CE also stands for Consumer Electronics be careful if you see a
CE sticker on a guitar it tends to mean that the guitar came
from China, Vietnam, Thailand, India or Korea.
||Wide necked, nylon strings & Very
difficult to play, not recommended to learn on, Classical
guitars require a lot more technique to learn to play.
Today the few semi enlightened public schools are giving the
kids these to learn on. BIG MISTAKE
That's Why I said semi enlightened.
||This refers to the wood that has
been removed under the neck where the neck joins the body. It is
done to better facilitate reaching the higher frets
||The preferred wood by most builders from which to use to
build the higher quality instrument fingerboards.
||Originally used on violins & cello's the two
holes shaped like "F's" where the sound escapes
(You will see
these on Jazz Guitars & Slimline Guitars)
Many guitars use all kinds of shapes but even if they are shaped
like Dolphins they are usually referred to as F holes.
||On higher quality archtop jazz guitars the
bridge will be held on by nothing more than the string pressure.
||A fancy name for a plywood top, A cheap type of
wood used for flooring in homes and for tops backs & sides on
lower cost guitars. Costco, Sam's Club, Guitar Center,
||A decorative abalone or wood that goes all
around the top of the perimeter of the guitar, Binding goes on
the edge of the guitar
||Plywood is made from layers of cheap wood. The glue
between the layers doesn't do much for your tone quality
(Try To Avoid If Possible)
(Beware of glue on a guitar)
||Usually considered to be the best wood for
acoustic guitars to use on back & sides, many builders in an attempt at costcutting
also use it for fingerboards
||The decorative abalone, mother of pearl or
wood that is used around the sound hole of the guitar.
||Usually, this refers to a thin hollow body
like a Gibson ES335 or a Guild Starfire, or Heritage H-535,
(Most of these guitars are all made
100% from plywood)
|Solid Spruce Top
||This is generally
considered to be the best sounding most resonant wood that money
can buy. Most of my Blues Deluxe guitars are made with Spruce
Tops and Mahogany Backs.
||A thinner acoustic electric. Like Chuck
Berry, BB King
|Tone Pros Bridge
I put this Glossary together from memory and I am sure I will be
adding to it.
If you can think of anything I missed please let me know