A while back I wrote in this space about the various guitar sizes and according to my stats page that entry remains my most-read. So I have to conclude that many people are confused or want to know more about the different sizes and shapes of guitars and how they relate to sound and ease of playing. I thought I'd boil it down to one of the most basic questions. Which body size offers the maximum amount of sound? Which one feels "right" in your lap and doesn't require something like a wrestling match to play? For me at least it comes down to D-size vs 000 or Grand Concert size.
Back in the 1960s when I started playing there was no question which guitar size most acoustic guitars hoped to own (or did own): the Dreadnaught size Martin or jumbo Gibson, with the Martin D-28 being far and away the most lusted after. This remained the case until the 1980s when some very fine finger style players began showing up on the music scene with 000 or OM size instruments by various manufacturers. The reason was pretty simple. As wonderful dreads are in terms of volume, they are unbalanced in sound in most cases, severely lacking in the treble end. Great for strumming and rhythm guitar playing, not so good for subtle and complex melody-driven finger style music.
Those OMs and 000 (and more recently the 14- and GA series from Taylor) sometimes had pretty decent volume but rarely could keep up with other instruments in a band situation without on-board electronics. They were much easier to hold though for most people, especially women. Martin even went one step further a few years ago and came out with the "Women in Music" series - a 00 size instrument designed for people with smaller hands.
On a personal level, my quest for the last ten or so years has been to find a Grand Concert or similar size instrument that has most of the volume and resonance of a dread. Not that I dislike D-size guitars, far from it. Right now I have a Taylor 810, which is the same size as a Martin D and it is an astounding instrument with that rare quality in Ds of sparkling, clear treble along with deep bass and solid mids. But this instrument is an extreme rarity in D-size guitars. As much as I love its sound I still would like to find a slightly smaller guitar that exhibited the same sound qualities.
I've come darn close a few times. For quite a few years I played a Martin 0000-28H that was great but it had the standard Martin 1 11/16th" nut width and I've come to like the 1 3/4" much more. I also had a recent Martin GPCPA1, one of their new Performer Series that had all the elements to achieve greatness with time but I was unwilling to wait. So the quest continues.
I've read that some Goodall guitars have what I'm looking for, but having never played one I'm reluctant to shell out at least $2500 (and in some cases, much more) to find out.
I guess it's all about compromise. But I hope I've pushed you toward asking yourself just what it is you want in a guitar before you plunk down your hard earned cash to buy one, based only on reputation, bling, or perhaps the fact that your favorite artist plays a particular instrument.
Peace & good music,