The Washburn Guitars Forum

Washburn Acoustic Guitars Forums => Acoustic Guitar Players Post Comments & Questions => Topic started by: nurseshelly on September 06, 2017, 03:00:07 PM

Title: Which guitar to buy for 13 year old
Post by: nurseshelly on September 06, 2017, 03:00:07 PM
I have several options for a guitar purchase for my 13-year-old son as an upgrade from a cheap-o guitar that he has been playing. 

1)  Oscar Schmidt (by Washburn) OG2CE with a hard-shell case for $110
2)  Washburn WLD10SCE for $369 no case
3)  Washburn 2003 WD-42S $350 no case in mint condition - really beautiful guitar - too much for a 13-year-old?

What would you buy?

Title: Re: Which guitar to buy for 13 year old
Post by: YerDugliness on September 06, 2017, 04:21:00 PM
How large of a 13 year old is he?

I ask because the Oscar Schmidt offering has received great reviews from one of our most prominent members. He used the OG2ce for all of the kids in his families.

The other two are "dreadnought" designs...very large guitars that were developed as the era of the "orchestra" was dying out...the smaller parlor guitars of the day just did not have adequate volume to project over the din of the orchestra, but the Dreadnought did!

If you think he'd like playing the guitar and would make a long-term effort at learning to play, I'd say it would be hard to beat the WD42S, even if it is perhaps a bit too large for him right now...he'll most likely grow into it. That may not be enough, though...if the guitar is too large right now it may be difficult to play and he'll likely lose interest. My suggestion would be to take him to a guitar shop and let him handle the acoustic guitars to see which size feels best in his hands...and which are too large.

Do you think he'll be playing onstage and need to have electronics built into the guitar so he can plug into an amplifier or a PA system? If so, the WD-42S is not for electronics. When the last two letters of the model designation are "CE" the guitars are equipped with a "cutaway body design" and come factory fitted with Electronics for public performances.

Here's a unique idea...why not consider both the WD42S as well as the OG2CE? You would not be in too deep compared to the cost of just one WLD10SCE and he'd have not only the OG2CE at a time when it would be right for him size-wise while he is learning the basics, so hopefully by the time he's grown a bit he'll be ready for the larger size of the WD-42S.

Most of us guitarists develop "licks" as we grow more proficient on the guitar. It is the job of the soundboard to translate the vibrations of the soundboard into an auditory event and the construction can certainly have an impact on how difficult it is to develop those individual playing preferences. One of the most common methods of gaining a bit of accuracy and a tendency for the guitars to improve tone-wise from the ageing process (which is a different topic altogether) is to make sure the guitar has a soundboard that is made of solid wood. Any Washburn that has a solid wood soundboard will have a "S" in the model designation. Of the two you are considering the only one that does not have that advantageous construction technique is the has a "laminate" (a fine grade of plywood) soundboard and those do not develop the improved tonal characteristics with age.

Like most, I suspect you expected a simple answer...sorry, it's not so easy until the guitarist develops knowledge and preferences regarding at this age and size there are LOTS of options, but he will soon outgrow many of them.

I'd like the WD42S if I were has a solid wood soundboard and having been produced in 2003 the soundboard is (hopefully) showing the benefit of the ageing process with increased tone...not to mention that the 42S is one of the mid-line guitars and not one of the entry level offerings such as the others (the higher the number in the model designation, the better the guitar's build quality from the factory).

Just curious...have you considered a classical guitar? They are fairly small bodied and they do not have the steel strings that can create sore fingers...they use line that looks like clear fishing line and it is not sharp like steel strings, as well as having a wider fingerboard so that the learning process is easier (as long as his fingers are long enough for that size fingerboard...see how important size is?). A case for the WD42S would cost less than $100 and would be good "insurance"...we parents know how careless our teenagers can be.

My sincere apologies if I have confused you...all this depends on his level of interest and his size.

Please feel free to ask for clarification, and I'd definitely be interested in hearing what choice you made.


Dugly 8)

Title: Re: Which guitar to buy for 13 year old
Post by: nurseshelly on September 06, 2017, 04:43:38 PM
Thank you for your reply.
He is 5'2" right now, so as tall as I am :)
I don't know that he really "needs" the electric part right now - he does have an amp, and his current cheap guitar is an acoustic-electric.
He is getting an electric guitar for his birthday this week (he is actually turning 13).
His cheap guitar is having issues and we decided to replace rather than repair (it was a $100 guitar because we didn't know if he would enjoy it or use it when we got it - he plays every day so we feel okay upgrading).
Of course, we already bought the bday gift when the cheap one started having problems (buzzing - don't want to spend $ on a luthier for that guitar).
We are going to go look at the Washburn WD-42S after school today, he can try it out and see what he thinks about size.
His current one is a "full size" Jameson Thinline Acoustic ... I don't know how that compares to a dreadnaught size.
The owner of the Oscar Schmidt isn't available until tomorrow.
Title: Re: Which guitar to buy for 13 year old
Post by: nurseshelly on September 06, 2017, 04:48:46 PM
I forgot to add he likes steel strings and hates nylon ... he plays both at school and he prefers steel, so I was specifically looking at steel string acoustics - he has been playing with them for a while so his fingers have built up callouses already.  He was sore for a bit there!
Title: Re: Which guitar to buy for 13 year old
Post by: YerDugliness on September 06, 2017, 04:55:31 PM
He is of adult size and should be able to use any of them.

If you just MUST have all of the bells and whistles, the WLD10SCE would have them...but the low model number identifies it as an entry level guitar. Most of us guitarists have both acoustic and electric, so if he's getting an electric for his BD he'll be all set with his current electronics.

If I had to bet a paycheck (and I'm NOT a betting man) I'd wager he'll find the WD42S to be quite the pleasure, and if he's interested in performing in public with his amps it would be of good enough construction that installing an electric pickup would not be cost-prohibitive. That 42S is a quality guitar and with good care it will serve him well for a lifetime!

That's great news about his shows that he is ready for steel strings and that is a good status! He'll adapt to all 3 of your choices easily. I'll search the forum for information related to the WD42S and if there is much I'll return and edit this post.

Cheers and appears you have a budding musician in your family and you have a great grasp on what he'd like! I'd say his size would make the OS model inadvisable.

Dugly 8)
Title: Re: Which guitar to buy for 13 year old
Post by: nurseshelly on September 06, 2017, 07:51:29 PM
Hi Dugly,

Thank you again for your replies!
We ended up getting the WD42S and he loves it!
We took it to a nearby guitar shop and had the strings changed and it polished up and checked out. 
It has the beginning stages of saddle lift, just a tiny bit on the bottom edge, so in a few weeks, we will bring it back to have it re-glued.
I got a humidifier sponge to use in the meantime to get it humidified (I'm in AZ so it's dry) and ready.
It sounds great and it's a really pretty guitar too.
My son is surprised at how much louder it is than his other guitar.
I have a happy boy :)
Title: Re: Which guitar to buy for 13 year old
Post by: nurseshelly on September 07, 2017, 10:41:25 AM
LOL, I meant the bridge is starting to lift ...I'm having to learn all of this stuff!
I'll be an expert by the time he learns to play well :)
Title: Re: Which guitar to buy for 13 year old
Post by: YerDugliness on September 07, 2017, 11:55:19 AM
I had a bridge lift on an Epiphone guitar...IIRC it was very inexpensive to have reset, like $35.00.

Congratulations on having made a GREAT choice!!!

Speaking of saddles and bridges, one of the most effective upgrades for guitars with solid wood soundboards is to have the factory plastic saddle replaced with one made of bone. The more dense bone transmits the vibrations more effectively than plastic. I mention this because the replacement saddle is cheap and the labor is not unreasonable. I would expect it could be added for about $20-$30 over the cost of the bridge reset.

It is the only upgrade I could see being advisable...and there will be no better time to get it done than while it is already on the bench...BTW, when the tech does the bridge/saddle work, he should also do a "setup", which includes adjusting the "action". Your son should be there for that operation, so that the action can be set to his preference. A setup every year is a good idea for someone who plays a lot...and I expect your son will play that 42S a LOT!

My first Washburn was a WD32S...a grade lower than your 42S. I gifted it to a promising young musician, sure wish I had it back! It had a gutsy growl that none of my other Washburns can approach. Your 42S should be even better!
Cheers to you, nurse Shelly!!

Dugly 8)

Title: Re: Which guitar to buy for 13 year old
Post by: Tony Raven on September 09, 2017, 01:02:11 AM
Any good-condition D-10 (or higher) after being seen by a guitar tech.