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Author Topic: Hi Everyone, Looking at an SD 50 as my first Larrivee  (Read 915 times)
ty56
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« on: November 30, 2019, 01:26:33 AM »

Hello everyone. My name is Tim, I joined this forum some time ago due to my interest in Larrivee guitars. It took a while, but I am now looking at purchasing an SD-50.  It has a manufacture date of 12-30-2003.  According to what I have read, that is a very early guitar in the Traditional Series.  I haven't seen it yet but according to the person I spoke with at store where it is located, it is in excellent condition. I have always been impressed with Larrivee guitars and this one seems to check all the boxes.  I wanted a 12 fret, mahogany/spruce guitar.  I wasn't particular about the body size.  This SD-50 became available and caught my attention.  I haven't ever played a guitar with a 1 7/8" nut but I am focusing on mostly finger style playing and I understand that the wider nut is good for that.  My question is, is there anything other than the typical things one looks at when buying a used guitar that I need to be aware of with this particular model?  I will be auditioning it in a couple of weeks and want to be well informed.  Thanks for the info in advance.     
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2019, 01:57:19 AM »

Tell us a little more about yourself and your guitar experience: have you played for awhile? Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced player?

You said you want to focus on fingerstyle playing - a wider nut is generally good for that - BUT - again, what is your experience level with various guitars? Have you played some 2" classical necks? How comfortable are you with those?  A 1 7/8" neck is going to be just a little narrower than that, but not much. It's really about what YOU are comfortable with, not that a wider nut is "generally" recommended for fingerstyle.

Concerning the guitar: It sounds like you will have a chance to return it if you want. I strongly suggest taking it to a good guitar tech to look it over for you (and plan to pay him/her $25-50 for doing this - it will be well worth it to you in the long run; don't expect something for nothing). Have them check the action/set-up - in particular you want to know if the guitar may need a neck reset soon. This isn't too common on modern Larrivee's but you never know. Also make sure they look inside to make sure the braces are all intact (not loose), and that there are no cracks that aren't visible from the exterior of the instrument. 

What kind of guitar are you playing now? What do you like/dislike about it? Will the Larrivee be a big step up in quality, or a parallel move (like say from Martin, Gibson or Taylor)? The SD body is a 12-fret guitar as you said - some fingerstyle players want more access up the neck - but that's personal preference. It should have plenty of volume, although some fingerstyle players prefer the immediacy and tone of a smaller bodied instrument (including smaller bodied 12-fret guitars, like 00//00/OM models). Again, all personal preference.

Best of luck. You will probably be very happy with the SD-50 if it is comfortable for you to play and you can get far enough up the neck for the music you play.  Keep us posted.

And bring donuts (read the forum rules as a newbie!)...

 

 welcome
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teh
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2019, 10:10:48 AM »

Sounds like a nice guitar and as you described it; the combination of spruce over mahogany with a 12 fret neck will cover all of the bases.

My biggest concern is the statement that you will be auditioning it in a couple of weeks. Do you have it on hold? We are entering the holiday buying season and I’d hate to see this turn into another  “the one that got away” story. I’d try to play it sooner or ask if you can put a refundable good faith deposit down to hold it so the seller knows you are serious. Also take a guitar playing friend along so they can listen to you and then have them play it so you can hear how it sounds.

One other thing. You will find that hanging out on this forum often leads to a condition for which there is no cure. Once you have one guitar, you will read about someone else’s guitar or find another one that strikes a chord in you (bad pun bit appropriate). This may be your first but it probably won’t be your last. At some point, I will probably end up with a used Forum III, another 12 string with maple back and sides or a 6 string to match the specs on my 12 string.

Good luck and let us know if you get this guitar.
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ty56
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2019, 07:52:24 PM »

 
Hope thats enough to go around! Forgive me for having to be reminded. LOL.  Thats a nice tradition. Thanks for the responses. 
Mikeymac, I am about to turn 63, I started learning to play guitar when I was 12.  When I was young, I was consumed by it.  I played professionally in a couple of bands and then went on to work as a sound engineer in the studio and live performances.  I have played mostly electric.  My guitars are a 1972 Gibson ES-335, 1974 Les Paul Custom and a 1979 Strat.  I have a couple of acoustic guitars, a 60's Goya dreadnaught from Sweden and a Breedlove Atlas AD-20SR Plus that I bought about 12 years ago.  After the kids came along, guitar playing took a back seat to soccer practice and other family activities.  Both of my daughters are on their on now and I have the time and resources to return to my first love. I have been playing on and off for the past several years and just sort of got serious about playing again recently.  Not serious like playing gigs, just serious about playing well and being able to play songs for my family and friends if asked to.  I would rate my ability as intermediate.  However, I have taken on learning a completely new style of playing and I am still a beginner at that.  The Breedlove I am playing now has a 1 11/16" nut so the SD 50 would be a definite increase in that respect.  With the Breedlove, it does feel like I could use a bit of extra room on the fretboard for fingerstyle work. 

teh, I am well aware of GAS and truthfully, I am pretty well past that.  I just want an heirloom quality acoustic that plays well and sounds good to play for the rest of my years and pass along to my grand kids when I am gone.  I withheld securing it as I wanted to see if there was anything negative that I didn't know.  I will probably call them today and pay for it as they have a fair return policy. 
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2019, 06:56:09 PM »

Thanks for taking the time to share that background - that helps. We're around the same age (I'm right behind you; I'll turn 62 in January, and I started playing when I was 12/13 also).

You should find the SD to be a great sounding, great playing guitar. As mentioned before, I would have a good tech check it out at some point (even if it doesn't seem like it "needs" anything right now). They can dial in an acoustic for your personal playing style.

One other thing to know about older (and most current Larrivees up until the last year or so): they require a special truss rod adjustment tool. If one comes with the guitar, perfect, if not, you can order one from Larrivee for around $5-10. You might check with the store when you purchase it and ask them if it happens to be in the case (every Larrivee comes with one because they're unique).

Looking forward to an update after it arrives!

It should be a very

 nice guitar
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All guitars are left-handed:
1979 L-19 (converted to lefty); 1988 L-09 FM (converted to lefty); 1992 OM-05; 2010 RS-4 in Candy Blue; 2015 L-05 Custom; 2020 OM-40R Legacy; 2020 C-03R-TE (on order!)
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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2019, 01:28:19 AM »

      welcome
Congrats, on the SD50,  nice guitar
Looking forward to the NGD and photos.
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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2019, 09:47:14 AM »

Keep us posted if you buy it and after you’ve had a month to play it. My two Larrivees are from the same era (2004 and 2005) and are both keepers.  You’ll enjoy your purchase.
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TEH

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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2019, 01:37:21 PM »

I have had a bunch of Larrivees including an SD50 and 60. Loved them. 50 is big sounding but still very clear and versatile. A piano in your lap. Very responsive to string changes, saddle height adjustments, etc. LOUD, which was nice for me because it projected light fingerstyle stuff very well. Used, these are one of the best deals in large-body acoustic guitars right now.
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ty56
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2019, 02:34:37 AM »

Well, I got some bad news.  I called the store to purchase the guitar and the salesperson who I spoke to was off.  I asked to speak to the store manager.  Really nice guy.  I told him I was calling to purchase the SD 50.  It was then he told me that the top had a crack in it.  It wasn't obvious in the pictures but he said it looked as though it had been repaired.  He offered to hold it for me without a deposit so I could come take a look at it myself and conceded that he would lower the price accordingly. I told him I appreciated the gesture and I would stop by and take a look but wouldn't commit to purchasing it.  He understood and still said he would hold it.  I want to try it to see if it is indeed what I am looking for but I can't see spending good money on a flawed instrument.  I was disappointed to say the least. 
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Rockysdad
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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2019, 03:19:06 AM »

Just a thought,...……….. There's one listed on Reverb.
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ty56
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« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2019, 11:39:47 AM »

Just a thought,...……….. There's one listed on Reverb.
I saw that one. I am very hesitant to buy based on pictures at this point.  The one that I was going to buy was at GC and had a 45 day return policy.  That and its only about 2 hours away so I could pick it up, not have it shipped.  I was willing to take the risk under those circumstances, fortunately, the manager was a straight up and it saved me some trouble. 
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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2019, 12:24:30 PM »

I am very hesitant to buy based on pictures at this point.  The one that I was going to buy was at GC and had a 45 day return policy.  That and its only about 2 hours away so I could pick it up, not have it shipped.  I was willing to take the risk under those circumstances, fortunately, the manager was a straight up and it saved me some trouble. 

 +1
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« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2019, 05:24:12 PM »

Well, I have to add, and it might be (and probably is) a total outlier, but an SD-60 is the only Larrivée I ever pulled down from a wall and didn't like at all. My OOO-50 however is one of those proverbial cannons. I guess what I'm saying is I'd want to play it first.   
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Podicle
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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2019, 11:01:52 PM »

My SD 50 is my favourite guitar, out of a stable of a dozen or so. During the recent drought here in Australia I left it unchecked for a few days in some very dry weather and it developed a crack in the top from bridge to endpin, just south of the centre line. I was horrified, but can happily report that, post repair, it sounds as good as ever. So please don't write off a guitar because of a crack. You may get a bargain on a great guitar.
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ty56
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« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2019, 03:05:04 AM »

This past weekend I payed a visit to the GC where they were holding the SD-50.  When they brought it out, the crack repair was quite visible but otherwise it was pretty flawless. I took Podicle's advice and gave it a try.  I played it in the acoustic room for quite a while but it is difficult to really judge much in that environment.  Truthfully, I wasn't quite convinced but I had a nice talk with the manager and he said think it over come up with an offer that I could live with if I decided to go forward.  I thought about it over night and decided to make a pretty low offer and if they accepted, I would take it home and at least give it a try in a familiar setting.  I went back the next day and told him what I was willing to pay, after a bit of moaning, he said he could take $100 more than what I had offered.  We shook hands and did the deal.  Here she is...






I have spent a good time playing it over the past couple of days.  Getting use to the 1 7/8" nut has taken a bit of doing but it is getting more comfortable.  Overall, it is a very comfortable guitar.  Even though it is a dread, it feels much smaller than my other dreads.  The looks and sounds is beautiful. The crack repair is noticeable if you look at it right but honestly, it doesn't bother me that much.  The biggest plus is that it is so easy to play.  My Breedlove was not.  My fingers would be sore after playing.  Not so with this guitar.  I have until the end of January to return it if I find it isn't working out for me but as of now, it is quite satisfactory.  I do plan to take it to a luthier here in town to give it a once over just to make sure that there isn't something hidden.  Thanks for all the encouragement and advice.  It really helped. 


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« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2019, 03:42:46 AM »

Congrats! Nice guitar! 
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Rockysdad
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« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2019, 04:00:59 AM »

Yes congratulations, very nice, enjoy it for years.
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« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2019, 10:21:02 PM »

Congratulations!  I bought the TSB version of the SD50 a few years back and its everything I could ask for.  Plays easy, lots of "boom" and just a good all around instrument.
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« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2019, 12:08:25 PM »

Well done! I string mine with DR roundcore 13s, and I keep the neck almost dead flat. They are great guitars.
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ty56
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« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2019, 01:42:10 AM »

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.  It has been a busy and wonderful week for us. We spent time with family and had some time off of work. I took the SD-50 to the Guitar Factory in Orlando for a check up. They have been making, fixing and setting up guitars here for 40 years. Bill and Doug are two of the good guys.  I have always taken my guitars to them when they needed service.  Doug gave it a good looking over and gave it a clean bill of health.  He said the crack in the top had been repaired properly and done well.  No problem with the bracing or neck.  He said that even the finish work that was done after the crack repair was done expertly.  I was very pleased to hear that.  I asked him about the strings that were on it.  He got out the calipers and said they were D'Addario Custom Lights.  Hmmm.... Pretty light for a dread.  They had a pleasant tone but as I think about it, they didn't have the oomph one might expect from a dread.  I got a set of DR Rare, Bluegrass, 12-56 and put them on.  The neck was set pretty straight  and I suspect that was because it had the custom lights on it and had never been adjusted for them.  It appears to be just right for the heavier strings.  Changing strings on a slotted headstock guitar is quite an adventure.  I didn't do bad for my first time. The heavier strings add a considerable amount of thump in the bass region.  The high strings lost a little bit of sparkle as compared to the lighter gauge but the trade off is worth it.  I can't tell that there is a great deal of difference in the playability.  I can still play it for extended periods with no finger pain.   Overall, I think it is a keeper.  I am really happy with the sound, look and feel of the guitar.  Hope everyone has a Happy New Year. 

Tim
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