If you've been a guitar player (especially an acoustic six-string player) for a considerable amount of time, you may relate to the feeling of eventually getting to a point where you're...well, bored of the typical six-string, standard-tuned guitar. No matter how versatile of a player you are, there is only so much you can do tonewise without pedals or effects or gimmicks. Generally, acoustic players like to find the balance between tonal variety and functional simplicity. But, a capo can only do so many things for higher-register tones, and you can only tune about a whole step down or so before the set-up on your acoustic gets goofy.
That being said, if you've found yourself coming down with a case of mid-range malaise, we here at the shop - or, to be more specific - our good buddy Lamb Chop has a couple of recommendations for you! Here are two alternative six-stringers we have to expand your acoustic six-string repetoire...starting on the looowwww end:
Used Avante Baritone Guitar: ($399.99)
Lamb Chop and I both agree that this is a pretty cool find. The Avante Baritone guitar is essentially the brainchild of several master luthiers from Veillette Guitars, born out of the gooey, communal-mind genius of a master design team. It doesn't take a long look to notice and appreciate the unique qualities of this guitar, but the heart of its interest is found in its voice and tone. And because I can't do it justice verbally, listen for yourself with these recordings made here at the shop earlier this week to best demonstrate the sound:
As you can hear, this thing emits a deep, warm tone that many people find to be a refreshing departure from the predictable. The thing is tuned down to B Standard, the largest string getting almost as low as a bass guitar. The affect is a rich, resonant sound that still pays compliments to the organic tone experienced acoustic players prefer. Much of this is due to its solid North American spruce top and mahogany back, sides, and neck. This is an excellent value for a well-crafted baritone guitar and has been only lightly used, making it a real unique find and just waiting here for the discriminating taste of an adventurous acoustic player looking for a new sound. Come on by this holiday season to check it out!
But let's say you want to head in the opposite direction...
Used Tacoma Papoose: ($399.99)
The disappointingly brief but highly regarded career of Tacoma guitars produced some of the coolest guitars out there that we know of, and one of the most characteristic examples of their alternative instruments is the Papoose. This little guy, which is often mistaken for some sort of six-string ukulele or a baby-Taylor rip-oof, is actually just as goofy and interesting as it looks. It is registered at a fourth-step higher than your standard acoustic guitar, putting it up at A-to-A tuning. Think about how it sounds when you put your capo on a the fifth fret, or better yet, think about the sound of a very full mandolin. The Papoose is a folk-muscian's dream if you're looking to fill the higher registers. Check out some of the recordings and hear it for yourself:
The Papoose features the iconic "paisely soundhole" that Tacoma was known for as well as a very sweet-sounding cedar top. It is certainly worth checking out this holiday season. If you're on the hunt for six-stringed alternatives to keep things interesting in your music, you can certainly trust Lamb Chop's taste! And if not, you're welcome to hit him over the head with it if you don't like it....
...Don't tell him I said that...
Stay excellent and have a good week!