D55 or F55 Quest

Guild McSeven

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Ladies and Gentlemen,
Greetings…..I am thrilled to have found this site and have been enjoying all the posts and the shared knowledge here at letstalkguild.
This is my very first post and I am looking forward to all the responses, so here goes…..

I live in the Knoxville Tennessee area and have for over a year now been looking for a new USA Guild acoustic, either 6 or 12 string.
Having gone thru a plethora of YouTube videos, I am SOLD on the quality and sound, but would definitely like to hear one/play one in person.
There lies my dilemma…..
Neither Guitar Center or Open Chord Music have USA models to choose from. They are both listed on Guilds website as dealers but unfortunately both of them do not have the USA models on hand.
There was also a store out in Maryville Tennessee, Merlin Music, that is no longer in business but is still listed as a dealer.

Regardless,
I am planning a fall trip to Nashville to see if I can’t find something there.
Definitely will be going to all the big stores looking for the right Guild, I.e. Carter Vintage, Gruen’s etc, and I will surely call ahead prior to the trip to check on the stores inventory.
I just wonder if they will have what I’m looking for or not. It‘s very frustrating drawing a blank here locally.

Of course the last resort may be to purchase online. The problem there is I cannot play a sampling of instruments to see what appeals to me when shopping online, not to mention return shipping and re-stocking fees etc.

So that’s my story, I‘m open to your thoughts and suggestions.
Best regards to one and all!
 

Westerly Wood

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Welcome to the LTG, McSeven. Does it have to be a new Guild D55 or F50? Can it be a nice used one? Guild has lived thru many great build quality eras. Used Guild acoustic dreads in solid condition can be bought all over the US and online. Depending on your budget, there is a killer D100 for sale right now on LTG being sold by Richard who will be far better to work with than online dealers.

Used Guilds are best value bang for buck out there. Save you a trip to Nashville although, I would love to visit Gruhns and find an old westerly ri dread. 😀

As well, New Hartford era Guilds are sought after with rave reviews here. The famous Ren Ferguson period.

My main point: With Guild period, you don’t have to buy new. I would argue against it. YMMV.
 
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HeyMikey

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I think your chances of finding something to try in Nashville is better than most areas. You should at least be able to find something comparable in size and/or tone woods to help confirm what you want.

I’ve bought the majority of my Guilds online vs locally. I’ve found Guilds to be very consistent in their sound for a particular model vs. other larger makers.

The key is to determine what size and specs you prefer, the tone/wood characteristics you are after, and ask about the key structural things that might require repairs.

If you can tell us what you are looking for folks may be able to help guide you towards some additional models to look into.
 

Westerly Wood

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Example: Preacher Bob has a 1994 D55 for sale, another great build era for Guild.

 

cupric

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Welcome! You will enjoy yourself here.
 

Guild McSeven

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Welcome to the LTG, McSeven. Does it have to be a new Guild D55 or F50? Can it be a nice used one? Guild has lived thru many great build quality eras. Used Guild acoustic dreads in solid condition can be bought all over the US and online. Depending on your budget, there is a killer D100 for sale right now on LTG being sold by Richard who will be far better to work with than online dealers.

Used Guilds are best value bang for buck out there. Save you a trip to Nashville although, I would love to visit Gruhns and find an old westerly ri dread. 😀

As well, New Hartford era Guilds are sought after with rave reviews here. The famous Ren Ferguson period.

My main point: With Guild period, you don’t have to buy new. I would argue against it. YMMV.
Westerly Wood,
Hey thanks for the response.

No, it doesn’t necessarily have to be new. My problem with used is, I have to see it up close and play it, touch it smell it etc.
No nasty neck reset or hidden surprises the camera does not pick up.
Used online acoustic purchases scare the, “you know what”, out of me!
The cleaner the better, I know high levels of clean will be difficult to find in used, that’s one reason why I tend to gravitate towards a new purchase.

I did see that ad by Richard…..it looks great in the pics…..he writes a thorough ad with clear and honest descriptions. It just that, not being able to hear it and play it up close is a huge risk I‘m not willing to take at this time. ☹️
If lucky, I may come across some nice new or used ones in Nashville. I hope to get lucky and find a gem there.
My best to you
 

Guild McSeven

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Example: Preacher Bob has a 1994 D55 for sale, another great build era for Guild.

Yes, I must say that this one made me look twice!
It’s a real stunner!
I have to see it and hear it up close. What a drag not being able to!
 

Norrissey

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That PreacherBob guitar looks really nice, you could do a lot worse than that. However, it's understandable that you might want to play a few guitars in person before you make a purchase. If you are comfortable buying a used Guild online I would suggest you watch the Guitar Center site closely for models that are of interest to you. When you see one purchase it and have it shipped to your local GC location. You could then try out the guitar when it arrives. I think with vintage guitars you have a three day window in which you can return. With newer guitars it's longer - two weeks I think - please double check this. For the guitars you return you would only be on the hook for the shipping and GC shipping is very inexpensive usually about $25 from anywhere in the country. The only thing that can be a little frustrating with GC is their site does not always have the best pics and descriptions - but because of their good returns policy you are protected from any unwelcome surprises.
FYI I am not affiliated with GC in any way, I have bought 2 guitars from them this way that I am very happy with. I have returned at least 4 guitars that weren't keepers for whatever reason.

Unfortunately, there are no D55s or F50s on the site now but they do pop up from time to time.

 

Guild McSeven

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I think your chances of finding something to try in Nashville is better than most areas. You should at least be able to find something comparable in size and/or tone woods to help confirm what you want.

I’ve bought the majority of my Guilds online vs locally. I’ve found Guilds to be very consistent in their sound for a particular model vs. other larger makers.

The key is to determine what size and specs you prefer, the tone/wood characteristics you are after, and ask about the key structural things that might require repairs.

If you can tell us what you are looking for folks may be able to help guide you towards some additional models to look into.
Would you say the vintage Guild acoustics have a similar sound as the modern USA models?
I have started to do a re-think in regards to purchasing a vintage or the new USA models.
Preference at this time would be:

Tone wood - Rosewood back and sides
Top - Sitka Spruce
Neck Shape - Soft V 1st choice, slim profile second choice
Fingerboard - 1st choice Ebony, 2nd choice Rosewood
Six string first choice, Twelve string second choice

I like the appointments of the D55 but gravitate towards the smaller OM style body
Kind of a mish-mash I guess. 🙂
I do appreciate the help.
 

Guild McSeven

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That PreacherBob guitar looks really nice, you could do a lot worse than that. However, it's understandable that you might want to play a few guitars in person before you make a purchase. If you are comfortable buying a used Guild online I would suggest you watch the Guitar Center site closely for models that are of interest to you. When you see one purchase it and have it shipped to your local GC location. You could then try out the guitar when it arrives. I think with vintage guitars you have a three day window in which you can return. With newer guitars it's longer - two weeks I think - please double check this. For the guitars you return you would only be on the hook for the shipping and GC shipping is very inexpensive usually about $25 from anywhere in the country. The only thing that can be a little frustrating with GC is their site does not always have the best pics and descriptions - but because of their good returns policy you are protected from any unwelcome surprises.
FYI I am not affiliated with GC in any way, I have bought 2 guitars from them this way that I am very happy with. I have returned at least 4 guitars that weren't keepers for whatever reason.

Unfortunately, there are no D55s or F50s on the site now but they do pop up from time to time.

That PreacherBob guitar looks really nice, you could do a lot worse than that. However, it's understandable that you might want to play a few guitars in person before you make a purchase. If you are comfortable buying a used Guild online I would suggest you watch the Guitar Center site closely for models that are of interest to you. When you see one purchase it and have it shipped to your local GC location. You could then try out the guitar when it arrives. I think with vintage guitars you have a three day window in which you can return. With newer guitars it's longer - two weeks I think - please double check this. For the guitars you return you would only be on the hook for the shipping and GC shipping is very inexpensive usually about $25 from anywhere in the country. The only thing that can be a little frustrating with GC is their site does not always have the best pics and descriptions - but because of their good returns policy you are protected from any unwelcome surprises.
FYI I am not affiliated with GC in any way, I have bought 2 guitars from them this way that I am very happy with. I have returned at least 4 guitars that weren't keepers for whatever reason.

Unfortunately, there are no D55s or F50s on the site now but they do pop up from time to time.

Norrissee,

Thank you for that Guitar Center information.
I have never bought anything online from Guitar Center and that is truly valuable advice.
25$ is not much of a risk in the attempt of finding a great instrument.
I will look into the details.
My best regards
 

Bill Ashton

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@Guild McSeven , I was in Maryville for the Kaufman Kamp this past June. LAST year when looking for Merlin Music we found that it had moved, to a small strip mall, up on a little knoll, past the medical center and opposite the shopping plaza, on the road to Townsend. At that time, they had a couple Guilds there, one was an M20/or120 cannot remember the other. We did not have the need to go there this year,
so not sure if they are still open today. Nice place, very friendly. Small store, not as big as last one. They had been booted out, owner of previous property (near the fire station) wanted to sell.

You could always make a road trip to the Nashville area...yeah, I know its hours away...but you are bound to find a dealer there.

Me, I vote for the D55 😝 That said, you could probably find a nice older piece at Carters in Nash-Vegas...

Oh and let me say this, the Guild dread has its own sound, not bad, but NOT a Martin D28 or Collings D2H. Great singer/songwriter guitar, bluegrass not so much. More like a Martin D35...

A New Hartford D55 will have what I would call a "slim" neck profile. The Tacoma-made are much thicker (I have had both). A New Hartford F512 will also have a "slim" neck (had one of those too!), great for a 12-string if you are flatpicking.
 
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Westerly Wood

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That’s a good question but a loaded answer as I don’t wish to come off disrespectful to what CMG is doing with US made Guild acoustics coming out of Oxnard, CA. And I am one who would only buy used. I get your desire to play it first.
 

WC_Guitarist

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I am with you, McSeven, about trying before you buy. I have to play what I buy, buy what I play. Call me old-fashioned because it's true. :)

Have you looked on Craigslist, Ebay and/or Reverb for used ones in your area? I'm sure if you message the sellers they will let you play them before you commit. At least that way you'll have some idea if you do end up having to order online. I've not tried tons of US made Guilds, and only older models, but I'd loved the ones I have had a chance to play. For their entry level guitars, the Bob Marley one is a step up from others in the same price category.

Good luck with your search!
 

WC_Guitarist

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PS Don't forget to keep an eye out at pawn shops, garage sales, thrift shops and estate sales. You could get lucky!
 

HeyMikey

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Would you say the vintage Guild acoustics have a similar sound as the modern USA models?
I have started to do a re-think in regards to purchasing a vintage or the new USA models.
Preference at this time would be:

Tone wood - Rosewood back and sides
Top - Sitka Spruce
Neck Shape - Soft V 1st choice, slim profile second choice
Fingerboard - 1st choice Ebony, 2nd choice Rosewood
Six string first choice, Twelve string second choice

I like the appointments of the D55 but gravitate towards the smaller OM style body
Kind of a mish-mash I guess. 🙂
I do appreciate the help.
Do you have a preferred neck/nut width? Most Guilds have a 1-11/16 width, fewer with smaller or wider widths. For smaller bodies F30R is roughly comparable in size to a Martin OM, though don’t have much bling unless it was custom shop or GSR special run. F50R’s are comparable to an F55 but many did not have the bling and higher price point. A lot of fans on this forum. F47’s came in different woods, some RW, and fit size wise in between the F30 and 50.

Naming conventions and specs changed throughout the years across different factories and time periods. So always check the wood make up and the specs. Don’t just go by model number alone.

Here is a good site for many of the older Westerly models.


Here is a great reference site by our forum’s owner.

 

wileypickett

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The advantages of new guitars versus used are they often come with a warranty, which may give you some peace of mind if you're concerned about that.

I started playing guitar when I was 14 -- 54 years ago now. The first two guitars I owned were purchased new. Of the more than 100 guitars I've owned since, all have been used. (As have all my cars, tools, appliances, clothes, and most of my books and records. Socks and underwear and food are about the only things I buy new off the shelf.)

I prefer used guitars. If you're a "beat the bushes" type, as I am, you're almost certain to stumble across good deals, and if you search mostly locally, you get to try before you buy. Meeting with a seller face-to-face has advantages too -- it allows you to learn something of a guitar's history, and it gives you an opportunity to haggle over price if it seems justified. (I never haggle if the price is fair.)

If you get a used guitar at a great price, that gives you flexibility to have work done on it if it needs any.

You mention that you're looking for guitars in great condition. I understand -- I'm a sucker for clean and pretty guitars too!

But a possible disadvantage of "old guitars that look new" is that they usually haven't been played much. (The general consensus is that the more a guitar has been played, the better it sounds.)

And "old guitars that look new" are no less likely to need work than ones that have had the daylights played out of them. In fact they may be more likely to need work because they will have sat in their cases in a closet, attic or basement, under string tension, subject to whatever humidity, dampness, dryness, temperature changes, etc., that have taken place in that environment. This can cause all sorts of problems you can't see.

It's like buying a new car and storing it in your garage for 60 years. It may look fantastic, but it's unlikely you'll be able to hop in, turn the key, and drive it across the country.

Whereas guitarists who have played their guitars every day are more likley to have kept their guitars well-maintained.

Me, I'm more than I'm happy to live with cosmetic imperfections when a guitar is a monster in other respects. Some of the best sounding guitars I own look like they were dragged behind a lawn mower for a couple weeks.

Long story short, don't just judge 'em by their appearance!
 

Guild McSeven

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Do you have a preferred neck/nut width? Most Guilds have a 1-11/16 width, fewer with smaller or wider widths. For smaller bodies F30R is roughly comparable in size to a Martin OM, though don’t have much bling unless it was custom shop or GSR special run. F50R’s are comparable to an F55 but many did not have the bling and higher price point. A lot of fans on this forum. F47’s came in different woods, some RW, and fit size wise in between the F30 and 50.

Naming conventions and specs changed throughout the years across different factories and time periods. So always check the wood make up and the specs. Don’t just go by model number alone.

Here is a good site for many of the older Westerly models.


Here is a great reference site by our forum’s owner.

Hey Mikey,
Wow brother….all that info you attached will keep me busy for days.
I really appreciate that!
All’s I can say is you guys here at let’stalkguild sure know how to make a fella feel wanted.
With all this help I am sure to find the Guild of my dreams. I know that will happen soon.
Cheers
 

Guild McSeven

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The advantages of new guitars versus used are they often come with a warranty, which may give you some peace of mind if you're concerned about that.

I started playing guitar when I was 14 -- 54 years ago now. The first two guitars I owned were purchased new. Of the more than 100 guitars I've owned since, all have been used. (As have all my cars, tools, appliances, clothes, and most of my books and records. Socks and underwear and food are about the only things I buy new off the shelf.)

I prefer used guitars. If you're a "beat the bushes" type, as I am, you're almost certain to stumble across good deals, and if you search mostly locally, you get to try before you buy. Meeting with a seller face-to-face has advantages too -- it allows you to learn something of a guitar's history, and it gives you an opportunity to haggle over price if it seems justified. (I never haggle if the price is fair.)

If you get a used guitar at a great price, that gives you flexibility to have work done on it if it needs any.

You mention that you're looking for guitars in great condition. I understand -- I'm a sucker for clean and pretty guitars too!

But a possible disadvantage of "old guitars that look new" is that they usually haven't been played much. (The general consensus is that the more a guitar has been played, the better it sounds.)

And "old guitars that look new" are no less likely to need work than ones that have had the daylights played out of them. In fact they may be more likely to need work because they will have sat in their cases in a closet, attic or basement, under string tension, subject to whatever humidity, dampness, dryness, temperature changes, etc., that have taken place in that environment. This can cause all sorts of problems you can't see.

It's like buying a new car and storing it in your garage for 60 years. It may look fantastic, but it's unlikely you'll be able to hop in, turn the key, and drive it across the country.

Whereas guitarists who have played their guitars every day are more likley to have kept their guitars well-maintained.

Me, I'm more than I'm happy to live with cosmetic imperfections when a guitar is a monster in other respects. Some of the best sounding guitars I own look like they were dragged behind a lawn mower for a couple weeks.

Long story short, don't just judge 'em by their appearance!
Thank you for your advice. Truer words were never spoken.
Acquiring a clean instrument that sounds superb is of course my dream of dreams.
Finding one on the other hand may prove to be the greatest challenge/adventure.
I’m hoping for some luck along the way.
Cheers
 

Stuball48

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Guild McSeven:
Welcome to an unbelievable group of Guild guitar folks who's enthusiasm is topped only by their knowledge.
I have never bought a new Guild but bought 12--15 in the last five years and most from LTG members. In fact, I have bought six or seven from the very Richard you spoke of in a previous post. I found the guitars I bought from LTG "regular posters" to be,actually, better than they were represented to me.
Not one thing wrong with new but older Guilds will compete with any brand - for fewer bucks.

I live about 35 miles west of Nashville and visit Carter's Vintage Guitars and Gruhn's several times a year. Very seldom do Guilds last long at these two shops, especially, a high end acoustic like you mentioned.
Good luck and save your money - Guilds like partners.
 
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