I have a guitar that is held up as one of the truly best Gibsons ever made - a 1931 L-1. I got a long ways to go before I can fully appreciate the better guitars.
It was the first Gibson made that followed Martin's X Bracing. I know with my Yairi the notes in a chord are clearer and warmer. I notice more quickly if a string is out of tune and hear the note conflict with another string. Two notes almost in tune create a low pitched rumbling, wa wa difference note.
Someday, somehow I will get a vintage Gibson hummingbird. I prefer vintage because of the tone that aged wood produces. Within that context, new Martins, Gibsons, Taylors, and many others besides the Big 3 can be considered.
For example, I know Taylor is a respected brand but I'm not familiar with which vintage models are most sought after by players. If you are considering getting a guitar that can be considered excellent, you are likely going to be spending a bit, e.g., more than $1,000.
I am pleased to say that I have played some truly world class guitars - prewar (WW2) Martins, classic old Gibsons, modern custom builds, etc.
I have a few old acoustics and have spent years seeking out opportunities to play old/rare/noteworthy acoustic guitars.
I'll have a lot of fun trying out different brands of guitars.
This isn't a purchase that can be made over the Internet. But, just to be clear: a mid-30's Gibson L-00 in decent shape can be had for not much more.It's funny how a great sounding guitar can inspire someone to play more.This Yairi I bought was a big step up for me in tone, and I find myself "wanting" to pick it up and play.Huss & Dalton review of their L-00 style Crossroads. This one is interesting because it's American and hand crafted. I didn't realize those mid-80s Alvarezes were so well-regarded. I've had it since 1986, but I'm not exactly sure when it was made; I tried to look it up a while back and the serial number refers to a completely different guitar. One thing I want to comment on that's related to your last post aceplace - you talk about how your Yairi makes you want to play. Do you find yourself wanting to pick up that guitar?I've mostly been playing my Kingpin II and my Tele (and my ukes) lately, but now I think I'm going to take the old girl in for a setup. Until you do, you haven't found a good one for you. The other point is the concept of "best guitar." I have commented on the SDMB about what I have referred to as Truly Special guitars.The Martin sat under the bed for a long time and when I dug it out again, it seemed to have gone dead.