A 1987 Westerly-made GF-40 is my first Guild acquisition

welshtoast

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Hi everyone, this is my first post here, I just signed up because of a fortuitous purchase I made yesterday!

Background
I went out to buy coffee, stopped at a small local guitar shop (H.B. Woodsong in Boulder, Colorado, USA) and saw a Guild acoustic on consignment. It's beat-up, the finish is cracked in many places, the pick guard is scratched to bits, the nut, saddle, and bridge pins have all been replaced with plastic, and the guitar has clearly been played a lot.... but from the first strum I knew it was the most beautiful acoustic I'd ever picked up and that I had to buy it. So I did! I paid $699+tax, which I believe is a good deal.

I'd never even seen a Guild in person before, and I'm completely unfamiliar with the brand. All I know is that when I picked up this guitar i knew it was the one. I'll never part with it.

Photos
This is the little beauty here:

VjAQdiDh.jpg


7vPGKxdh.jpg


There's some damage to the plastic bridge pins (I believe the originals had bone) and you can see where work has been done to move the saddle back. Despite this, it's intonated perfectly through the 12th fret, after which it's less well intonated:

AtiRnm5h.jpg


The model and serial number:

Model: F040A11 NT
Serial: GF400046

On2ygJth.jpg


The headstock is stamped:

GF400046
MADE IN U.S.A.
6-87

vURshhIh.jpg


There is a neck block stamp on the inside that reads "May 11, 1987".

Questions
I hope someone can help me with a few questions about this guitar!
  • Does anyone know the history of the GF-40? For example, are they made by a legedary builder? Or are they perhaps a cheap variant of a more expensive model? Are they common? Rare?
  • What's the difference between a GF-40 and an F-40?
  • What strings were put on it by the factory? Currently it has 13-56.
  • What are the specs for the bridge pins? I'd like to get bone ones to match the originals, but can't find good information about the taper (3 or 5 degrees), etc. Any ideas?
  • Did these originally come with non-, part-, or fully-compensated saddles?

I'm grateful for any help/answers you can provide, my thanks in advance! Also please let me know if you'd like more information or photos of this guitar. Happy to oblige.
 

Stuball48

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I can't answer your questions but rest assured those that follow (and they will) are capable of answering any question.
I just wanted to welcome you to the LTG forum and tell you to save more money because you have discovered what many guitar players have not and that is Guild guitars are, vastly, underated. And to own just one is very rare.
Great pictures - now that is the way to enjoy a cup of coffee.
Great pictures!!
 

SFIV1967

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Welcome to LTG! The F040A11 was the internal factory code for the model and it happened at that time that those codes were written by mistake on the labels... The NT stands for "Natural Top".
Interesting that some luthier had to correct the scale length for better intonation, the saddle looks re-routed professionally.

From the 1987 catalog:

1642465764383.png1642465783013.png 1642465981678.png

1642465946101.png

Ralf
 

welshtoast

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I have another question that I forgot to add, although it's not technically about the GF-40. More... I like to play open mic nights, and I need to be mic'd up. I'm interested in having electronics installed in it, but not at the expense of its non-mic'd tone. Anyone mic'd one of these using LR Baggs or Godin or whatever aftermarket electronics solutions? Got any recommendations?

Thanks for letting a noob rattle you with questions!!

(BTW I tried searching the forum for "GF-40" but apparently the search term is too short and it won't let me, so I tried Google with "site:letstalkguild.com GF-40", but the results were less than stellar).
 

GGJaguar

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Welcome to LTG and congrats on your fabulous Guild!
 

MacGuild

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Hello welshtoast. Congratulations on your beautiful Guild. That looks like an absolute gem, you did very well. Nice photographs, thank you for sharing. Looks like you got a tremendously good price, too. I hope your "new" Guild brings you many years of joy!

My two cents on pickups: LR Baggs are nice and many Guild owners use them. I like Fishmans (some folks in this vicinity do not) but I'm more of a darker mahogany tone type. I've never installed Godins but I love every single product of theirs I have ever tried.

What strings did your guitar ship with? Typically 12s, and Guild used to have their own brand, back in the day. Currently there are some great threads about strings on Let's Talk Guild, too, if you are interested in what other players are experiencing with their Guilds.
 

plaidseason

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Here's some bridge pin info.


I'd assume the originals were plastic. Bone wasn't much of a thing for factory guitars back then.

The original saddle was probably Micarta or plastic. Bone saddles were also not really a thing then.

I love this entire series of mini jumbos. I have an F44, which became the GF60m. I'm still sorry for not buying a GF30 for a sweet price a few years back.

And I'd probably argue that a mahogany mini-jumbo is as good as an all-around acoustic as you can find.
 

welshtoast

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Thanks to everyone so far!

Bridge PIns
@plaidseason I appreciate the link and saw that it agrees with Maury's Music that the GF-40 uses 5-degree "4.2D" bridge pins. However, Custom Inlay's page also says "NOTE: We have found the size 1.3 fits the newer model Guild guitars." without defining what a newer model guitar actually is.

To add confusion into the mix, bridge pin and saddle guru Bob Colosi says that Guild used/uses varying specs for bridge pins, adding that he doesn't sell off-the-shelf bridge pins for Guilds and will instead make them to order according to specific measurements detailed on his page.

I've decided It's best to take measurements of the bridge holes and settle the matter for certain. I'll do it next string change.
 

chazmo

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Welcome aboard, welshtoast.

Looks like the saddle slot on on that bridge was filled and then re-routed; there may very well have been an intonation problem with that axe that someone tried to fix. Anyway, make sure it's playing in tune -- open vs. 12th fret fretted should be perfect octaves.
 

plaidseason

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Welcome aboard, welshtoast.

Looks like the saddle slot on on that bridge was filled and then re-routed; there may very well have been an intonation problem with that axe that someone tried to fix. Anyway, make sure it's playing in tune -- open vs. 12th fret fretted should be perfect octaves.

Exactly this.
 

HeyMikey

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Welcome welshtoast! The GF series are highly regarded guitars.

If the existing bone pins fit well I would not change them. Bob Colosi has a measurement process to determine what you need should you desire to replace them. I’ve found him to also be very responsive if you need help.

I am wondering if the saddle was moved because there is a problem with the neck angle and the prior owner wanted to delay a neck reset. Your luthier can advise or you can make an assessment following the steps at http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/Guitar/Setup/NeckAngle/neckangle.html. In essence, run a 2 ft straight edge down the fretboard and see where it contacts the bridge.

Good luck an enjoy that fine guitar.
 

wileypickett

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Welcome aboard, welshtoast.

Looks like the saddle slot on on that bridge was filled and then re-routed; there may very well have been an intonation problem with that axe that someone tried to fix. Anyway, make sure it's playing in tune -- open vs. 12th fret fretted should be perfect octaves.

Always worth checking, however I doubt anyone would have gone through the bother of having the old saddle slot filled and a new one routed unless the guitar was not intonating properly. (I've had to have this done on several of my vintage Guilds.)

The fact that someone took care of this before you laid down your (measly) 700+ bucks (great price!), means you don't have to!

Given the year of the build, I suspect the original saddle and bridge pins would have been plastic, and the saddle uncompensated. If the replacement saddle is bone, I'd stick with that.

Your experience of knowing nothing about the brand and then stumbling over a Guild that knocked your socks off will resonate with a lot of people here, including me!

Welcome to the club!
 

JohnW63

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That much of a saddle shift to be intonated properly floors me. It turned out to be to your benefit, Welsh! I would say your price was around half of what I would expect to see it offered for.
 

wileypickett

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There have been examples (from every major guitar maker) of instruments leaving their respective factories with intonation issues.

But we should also keep in mind that a number of factors can contribute to intonation problems -- not every guitar with such a problem had it from Day 1.

The fact that most guitars that need this adjustment are decades old, and that virtually every adjustment re-positions the saddle BACKWARDS (closer to the bridge pins) rather than forward (closer to the soundhole) indicates that "100+ Pounds of String Pull + Time" is the principal culprit.

As a guitar seasons, the wood shrinks. A slight dip around the soundhole will draw the bridge / saddle forward enough to affect the intonation. A slight neck block shift will affect intonation. A hump behind the bridge may tip the saddle forward enough to affect intonation (as it did on my -- now Rich's -- JV72).

Most guitar factories maintain a humidity level of about 50% (+ or -). Moving a guitar to an environment with a different humidity level can affect things like intonation -- though such negative effects are usually reversible if caught early enough.

How much can humidity affect guitars? From the Taylor website:

". . . let’s say we condition a spruce top in a room that is 47 percent RH, and then cut that spruce to a width of 16 inches. If we then were to lower the room’s RH to 30 percent, that same piece of spruce would shrink to 15.9 inches in width — shrinkage of almost 1/8 of an inch! If, instead, we were to raise the room’s RH to 60 percent, the spruce would swell to 16.06 inches, an expansion of almost 1/16 of an inch. While our wood drying and conditioning methods minimize this movement, wood is still wood, so even after it becomes a guitar, significant fluctuations in humidity will cause the wood to shrink or grow."

Now imagine you don't catch it early and the guitar lives for 30 or 40 years in a too wet or too dry environment. It'd be surprising if the intonation wasn't off -- not to mention other possible problems.
 
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davismanLV

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My Breedlove Concerto E came to me with the ability to play cowboy chords low down on the neck only. I tried all sorts of strings and tunings and everything I could think of to make it play in tune(ish) up the neck. Wasn't going to happen. I'm not sure why (well I know, but...) .... but the solution was far more than I was willing to deal with. Amazing sounding all Myrtlewood guitar, that was fine for 4 frets or so. But that's not my style. So I sold it on to a guy in Ohio who plays worship music in the basic chords and he's so happy with it. Just not what I demand of a guitar. Welcome @welshtoast, that's a beautiful guitar. Enjoy and welcome to LTG!! (y)
 

CLMacPherson

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Great find. Nothing quite like an unexpected new love. I was passing through Boulder in October and almost stopped at that shop. I usually look around at local shops when in unfamiliar cities, and noticed they had a lovely 70/80's D55 listed in their inventory. I should've stopped...
 

bobouz

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16” mini-jumbos are the best - Congrats!
 

welshtoast

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Thank you all for the warm welcome and kind comments!

I believe the consensus on saddle placement and intonation is correct: drying wood and 35 years of string tension (the previous owner strung it with 13s) have caved the soundboard in slightly, reducing the scale length and throwing out the intonation. You can't see it, but there's also a repaired crack that runs from the bridge for about 6-7 inches towards the back of the guitar. The luthier who repaired the crack and moved the saddle backwards (assuming it's the same person) appears to have done very good work with the routing and filling.

However, the plastic fully-compensated saddle is too high, seems soft and cheap, and needs to go. I've ordered a couple of bone saddle and nut blanks from https://www.lmii.com/ and with the help of a guitar-building friend we're going to make replacements. The reason I'm replacing the nut is that it's been filed to accommodate 13s and the work is crap - there are actually two slots with a peak between them in the bottom of the B string slot!! I'm fortunate that between us, my friend and I have the skills, experience and tools to fashion high quality replacements.

Luckily the neck angle is still good. Running a straight edge along the neck to the bridge shows it's perfectly in alignment according to @HeyMikey's link, above. The high action appears to be a result of the high saddle; it should be an easy fix with the new bone saddle.

After doing some more research I agree with you all about price. Despite the repaired crack, re-aligned saddle, and the cosmetic condition of the finish I reckon it was a still fantastic deal... and it came with a hard shell case, which despite being in shoddy condition is still a functional HSC!

It seems like there are a few interested folks, so I'll keep updating this thread with photos of the nut/saddle work as it progresses.

-W.
 
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