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Thread: F50R New Hartford slightly superior to Westerly JF55 tonewise?

  1. #1

    F50R New Hartford slightly superior to Westerly JF55 tonewise?

    Just a feeling I seem to get from a few opinions, and maybe Iīm wrong , but in your opinion is the F50r from New Hartford slightly superior to the Westerly made JF55? Any differences in tone?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Two nice guitars to compare. I haven't had my hands on either one, but someone here just may have.

    The difficulty in these comparisons is that it may very well depend on exactly which guitars you have to try. No two are precisely alike. I'm sure they are both very good. But one set of wood, one better day for the guys putting one together, one better conditions between build and a persons hands could make one the winner.
    1974 Ovation Legend
    Walden G2070
    G&L Legacy Tribute
    1984 Ovation 1758 12 string
    2010 Guild F47R
    2013 Guild NS X175-B
    1998 Guild Starfire IV
    2008 Prototype D55
    2016 Guild NS X175 Sunburst

  3. #3
    Super Moderator chazmo's Avatar
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    Tone I cannot speak to as I've never done that comparison.

    I did have a 1971 (early Westerly) F-50R that might've been the best sounding 6-string I ever played, and certainly compared favorably to the New Hartford era F-50Rs. But, in the '90s, by the time Westerly had changed the model nomenclature and was doing the JFs, they were making some seriously heavy guitars. The New Hartford era, as well as the Tacoma era that preceded it, took a lot of heft out of these instruments. Sonically, how do they compare? I don't know.

    Anyway, good luck in the hunt!
    Guilds:
    1967 MK-VI Artist Special (Hoboken - Jacobs restoration 2018) - "The Mark"
    12ers:
    1994 JF-30-12Bld (Westerly),
    2006 F-512 (Tacoma),
    2010 F-212XL STD (New Hartford) - "Connie"
    2014 Orpheum 12 OOO SHRW (New Hartford)

    Other 12ers:
    1970 Martin D-12-20
    1980 Ibanez AW-75 (Series I)
    1984 Taylor 655

  4. #4
    FWIW, I've owned a couple of F50Rs, a couple of JF55s, and have played a few New Hartford F50Rs (and own a maple F50ce that I love). They're all good guitars, but Guild was doing stuff in New Hartford that made all the acoustic guitars that came from there just a little bit better than all their predecessors, with the possible exception of some of the really light Hoboken builds.

    Of course, looking at my sig, you might think I favor the new Hartford Guilds just a wee bit...
    Sandy

    '59 X175AB, '68 SFII Bass (Green), '73 D50NT, '82 Mark V, '86 Pilot 602P, '87 Pilot SB602M, '88 Pilot SB602MF, '99 DeArmond Starfire Bass, '10 F512NT,
    '11 F50ce Std (Sunburst), '12 D50NT Std, '13 R30S (Resonator), '13 B54ce Std Bass, '13 Orpheum Jumbo Prototype, '13 Orpheum OM, '13 GSR M85II Bass

  5. #5
    Super Moderator chazmo's Avatar
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    In slight contrast to Sandy's post, I've played Westerly F-212XLs that outshine the New Hartford Standard model that I have. I'm gonna' be honest about that. The NH version is tighter, and maybe the comparison isn't perfect because I've always played other folks' guitars with whatever strings they've chosen for it. But, there you have it.

    Don't get me wrong; I adore my F-212XL. Every time I open the case, I get a slight whiff of the NH shop and it takes me back to the four events that we held there. Gosh, I miss those folks!

    That all said, I really don't think you can go wrong with F-50R or JF-55. *However*, be aware of the resale "issue" that the JF-55 nomenclature is less well-known (read less valuable) than the F-50R name. Seriously. When you resell the thing, expect confusion and possibly less of a market because of the name.
    Guilds:
    1967 MK-VI Artist Special (Hoboken - Jacobs restoration 2018) - "The Mark"
    12ers:
    1994 JF-30-12Bld (Westerly),
    2006 F-512 (Tacoma),
    2010 F-212XL STD (New Hartford) - "Connie"
    2014 Orpheum 12 OOO SHRW (New Hartford)

    Other 12ers:
    1970 Martin D-12-20
    1980 Ibanez AW-75 (Series I)
    1984 Taylor 655

  6. #6
    Senior Member Grassdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazmo View Post
    be awaree of the resale "issue" that the JF-55 nomenclature is less well-known (read less valuable) than the F-50R name. Seriously. When you resell the thing, expect confusion and possibly less of a market because of the name.
    There's some truth in this. I got a very good deal on my recently acquired a JF-55 in excellent shape. That guitar is starting to turn heads. I would love to get my hands on a New Hartford F-50R to compare it to.

    I don't think you can go wrong with either of these, but the last of the JF-55's are almost 20 years old now so you've got to give some consideration to what shape it's in if you're going to go that route. As far as availability, my assumption is there are a lot more JF-55's out there but I've not seen any figures on that.
    '73 D-40
    '80 D-25 CH
    '89 D-25-12 SB
    '77 F112
    '96 DV 52
    '88 GF-30
    '71 and '78 F-212XL
    '83 D-25 SB
    '93 JF-30-12
    '17 F-1512E
    '97 JF-55
    '80 G-37 SB ANT
    '05 Blueridge BR-160
    '02 Gibson J-100 xtra
    '11 Gibson Southern Jumbo
    Fender Telecaster - '52 Reissue

  7. #7
    Hi Geoff

    I donít understand questions like this one. Each guitar is tonally individual within itself. It begins with a completely unique set of organic materials that surrender themselves to the coincidence of human, mechanical, and chemical interaction to become the instruments we love or not. Even within that one instrument there are circumstances that enhance or prohibit optimum tone, either over the life of the instrument or even day to day. Comparisons therefore simply canít hold any water.

    I can guarantee this, however: everyday in China a no-name brand guitar comes out of finishing with a tonal palette that surpasses that of a high end American made thud. Itís simply the coincidence of the interaction.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator chazmo's Avatar
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    I completely disagree with Antney's post.

    The comment about MIC is almost edit-worthy. Please refrain from further comments like that.
    Guilds:
    1967 MK-VI Artist Special (Hoboken - Jacobs restoration 2018) - "The Mark"
    12ers:
    1994 JF-30-12Bld (Westerly),
    2006 F-512 (Tacoma),
    2010 F-212XL STD (New Hartford) - "Connie"
    2014 Orpheum 12 OOO SHRW (New Hartford)

    Other 12ers:
    1970 Martin D-12-20
    1980 Ibanez AW-75 (Series I)
    1984 Taylor 655

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by chazmo View Post
    I completely disagree with Antney's post.

    The comment about MIC is almost edit-worthy. Please refrain from further comments like that.
    So do I. The main reason for the all-around goodness of New Hartford Guilds was changing production techniques in their pursuit of consistency. And from the guitars I've played, they achieved it, with a bit of help from Collings.
    Sandy

    '59 X175AB, '68 SFII Bass (Green), '73 D50NT, '82 Mark V, '86 Pilot 602P, '87 Pilot SB602M, '88 Pilot SB602MF, '99 DeArmond Starfire Bass, '10 F512NT,
    '11 F50ce Std (Sunburst), '12 D50NT Std, '13 R30S (Resonator), '13 B54ce Std Bass, '13 Orpheum Jumbo Prototype, '13 Orpheum OM, '13 GSR M85II Bass

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Antney View Post
    Hi Geoff

    I donít understand questions like this one. Each guitar is tonally individual within itself. It begins with a completely unique set of organic materials that surrender themselves to the coincidence of human, mechanical, and chemical interaction to become the instruments we love or not. Even within that one instrument there are circumstances that enhance or prohibit optimum tone, either over the life of the instrument or even day to day. Comparisons therefore simply canít hold any water.

    I can guarantee this, however: everyday in China a no-name brand guitar comes out of finishing with a tonal palette that surpasses that of a high end American made thud. Itís simply the coincidence of the interaction.
    I agree with the each guitar is different part. Even in bolt together, machine made Stratocasters! But certain combinations of materials, ie: models, have a GENERAL tone expectation.

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