We are rather particular when it comes to guitars we represent. The question that always comes to our mind is - how to bring you the most value for your hard earned money.
Quality of build, application, tone, playability and resale value are amongst the most important factors contributing to good value in our opinion. We feel that the price of a guitar must reflect such benefits and it is our duty to help you put a value to these tangible factors through education on the wood and craftsmanship involved in a guitar. We believe this is best done through actual comparisons with other similarly priced guitars so you can tangibly feel the difference.
It is with the above principals that we scour guitars across varying price points to bring you what we have in our collection today. The following expresses our biased recommendations with explanations on what we value across specific price ranges.
From SGD$2000 to SGD$4000
Selected Martin, Taylor, Furch and Maestro guitars provide some of the best value for factory produced guitars in this price range. It is hard to go wrong with a classic Martin orchestra model (OM) or dreadnought given their quality of build and near 200 years of history. The orchestra model (OM) is generally better suited for fingerstyle and light to moderate strumming while the dreadnought is typically preferred for moderate to heavier strumming techniques.
In the recent years however, the grand auditorium shape pioneered by Taylor Guitars (now also available on the Furch millenium series) has gained much popularity. Featuring a soundbox that is larger than an OM but less bulky than a dreadnought, it has won the hearts of players seeking a comfortable sized guitar which can accomodate a blend of fingerstyle and heavier strumming techniques. Taylor guitars also sport one of the most comfortable neck profiles in the market with.
If you are seeking a modern sound with great playability and a grand auditorium shape, we will also recommend checking out a Furch guitar which always comes with an impressive grade of wood, appointments and electronics at every pricepoint. If a lush boutique tone is desired, a Maestro often brings pleasant surprises.
The new McPherson carbon fiber series also adds a brilliant choice to this mix. Being extremely portable, playable and musical, they are certainly worth trying out if a wood-guitar is not a condition. They sound lovely in a blind-test and will require zero maintenance from heat or humidity.
From SGD$5000 to SGD$7500
Smaller production handbuilt guitars can be explored at this price point. They typically come with finer woods, aesthetics and tone due to the greater attention given to every guitar. There are plenty of deserving gems from Collings, Bourgeois, Santa Cruz and Huss & Dalton, just to name a few, which are certainly worth exploring.
One however, cannot go wrong with a pre-owned James Goodall guitar which is typically priced in a much higher pricing bracket when new. Given how well these prized guitars are often maintained, it would be difficult not be delighted by a pre-owned piece without having to hurt your pocket. The rising resale value of pre-owned Goodalls also means your investment is always protected.
We also like to recommend pre-owned Martin Marquis guitars which were discontinued in 2003. These are essentially affordable spin offs from the all-popular golden era series which cost a lot more today. If a slightly thicker neck can be overlooked, the adirondack top and golden era specifications certainly makes these keepers.
From SGD$7500 to SGD$16000
For those aspiring for more, this premium pricetag puts brand new Goodall, Charis, Lowden, Mcpherson guitars etc. within your reach. You will have a great time exploring guitar luthiery and the beauty of tonewoods at its finest.
In this category, we find that Charis Acoustics by Bill Wise offers significantly more value than most of his peers. At this pricepoint, where the material cost of tonewoods is a smaller percentage of retail price, we find Bill charging the most reasonable premiums for Holy Grail tonewoods (Eg. Brazilian Rosewood, African Blackwood and Madagascar Rosewood) relative to other esteemed builders in his league although they acquire tonewoods from largely similar sources.
Bill adds further value to his builds by including labour intensive options such as florentine cutaways, stainless steel frets and custom inlay works with fairer upcharges, another trait rarely found amongst builders of his caliber. This gives one more leeway to explore premium tonewood, intricate inlays, sound ports and armed bevels for a truly custom built guitar.
The attention to detail and tonal richness of a Charis Acoustic seals the deal for us in this department and we are certain you will be hard pressed to find a builder who offers more. This is probably one reason why Bill’s guitars are rarely seen available for resale.
The journey begins
So there you go. While we try to be as objective as we can, there's nothing like trying and hearing the guitars for yourself. In that spirit, we urge you to visit us to compare the guitars personally and be truly convinced. It will take awhile to digest it all but the journey is half the fun and we certainly hope to be a part of yours every step of the way. Till then, play more guitar and live life to the fullest.
HOW WE PICK OUR GUITARS
Bringing you the best value for your dollar.