Guild 1979 D25m - String Height - Do I Have A Problem? - A Couple Of Additional Questions

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Hi Guys,

Just my second post on here, but I've done plenty of reading, and found this place a really great source of info.

I'm Liverpool (UK) based and about to make my final payment for the attached 1979 D25m (£999 total) from a London based dealer. I've been very patient in paying the "Cannon" off, so really excited to finally get my hands on it.

Despite being giddy about the old girl, more recently I have been getting a bit concerned about the potential work that may be required to get her to her best.

I travelled down to London and tried the guitar out a few months back, the dealer was great, I loved the guitars excellent sound, general feel and look but mentally took note that it's action was a bit high (in comparison to my Taylor Big Baby), but was mindful of my lack of knowledge, accepting of the guitars age and appreciated that a setup would fix it. I may have been a bit rose tinted, looking back though... I hope this isn't the case (is it? Haha).

I've sent my basic images to a couple of luthiers for an opinion and each have offered similar advice and suggested coming to see them (post lockdown) for a proper look... So currently just reviewing price lists etc. I mentioned the advice to the dealer who replied with measurements and further advice to ponder (see luthier and dealer advice below).

If someone familiar with the ins and outs of the D25M could review measurements and images, and advise on what I should chill out about, anything I should be concerned about, and what/if anything I can expect (dramatic work/surgery to be carried out).

Does the guitar seem par for the course, basis it's age? Does the action seem too high and what is the most comfortable I can expect to achieve with this model?

Luthier One Advice -

*Quote*

it all looks pretty decent from the pics and all as you would expect.

It's hard to tell but the action looks as if it may be a bit high and
there is not much adjustment left on the saddle, so it might need some
work on the bridge, depending on where the truss rod is at, but it looks
as if theres scope.

*Unquote*

Luthier Two Advice -

*Quote*

Hard to be sure but it does look like this guitar has quite a high action. Doesn't look like there is much saddle height to play with. But the bridge doesn't look like it has been thinned down, which is good.

*Unquote*

Since the above advice and further online research of potential issues, the dealer has advised the following info and measurements

.*quote*

There’s no bellying around the soundhole. The action at the 12th fret is 3mm on the low E and 2mm on the high E - I’d describe that as comfortable, but not low. The saddle’s low but the bridge is 7mm in the middle, and 3.5mm on the wings, so plenty of room to be shaved down.

*Unquote*

In addition to the above, I'm considering potential updrades.

When I can afford it, an LR Baggs Anthem will be installed.

I've noticed some people upgrade their machine heads... How do ppl find the originals hold up? They look very nice.

Is it worth upgrading parts to bone at all?


Thanks a lot for reading (if you got this far). Apologies for the essay.

Cheers
Alan
 

SFIV1967

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Hi Alan,

to better see where the problem might be, first make sure the truss rod is correctly set, means the bow of the neck is correct. Follow the steps:

Stick a capo on the first fret, press down on the 15th fret and then use the straight string as a guide to see how bent forward the neck is. The feeler gauge is put over the eighth or ninth fret underneath the string - .007” is the magic clearance, which is like a thin business card or two sheets of paper. Any smaller than that clearance and the string will bang onto the frets when played; much larger than that and the string’s height will be excessive.
When turning the truss rod nut, do never turn it more than 1/8th of a turn before tuning the guitar again and measuring again. Step by step.

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Ralf
 

beecee

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I'm technically no help.

However stick around, tons of info here as you've noticed.

You'll understand later but you've earned BGUF Status and a TRC violation.

The tuners are typically bullet proof, I's leave them
 

dreadnut

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Action does appear a bit high per your photo. If it's too high for you. When you get it, play it for a while, then decide f you need to take it to your luthier for work.

What bothers me is that both of them referred to "shaving down the bridge." Please don't let anyone talk you into shaving down that beautiful bridge! It, and the fingerboard are very likely Brazilian rosewood.

Looks like it's in nice shape; enjoy!
 

Br1ck

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The fact you get agreement from multiple sources tends to support the theory the neck geometry has shifted over the years. This is totally normal for a guitar that old. Shaving the bridge is one solution, and the only problem I'd have is it could be Brazilian, but probably not by 1979. Shaving the bridge is not a huge job and could solve your issue for many years. I've known people with old guitars who were on the verge of needing work, but the guitar remained stable for ten years. You never know. If you have your bridge shaved, if you ever had a neck reset in the future, you'd have to replace the bridge too, but that is too far in the future to contemplate now IMHO.

What you get for your willingness to accept these facts is old wood. Nothing but age will give you that. So do what seems prudent now and when you may need a neck reset in the future, well, you'll be rich by then, won't you?

I had extensive work done on a 70 D 35. The bridge had been shaved already, so I was lucky to get a NOS bridge from Hans Moust, had the neck set and a refret done for a sum exceeding the guitar's worth, and never regretted it. As to your tuner question, very rarely do they wear out. I have a 1913 mandolin with a lot of gear lash, but they hold tune just fine. The three on a plate tuners on my D 35 are not smooth but work just fine. I'm a preservationist by nature.
 
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dreadnut

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Here's some sage advice I learned in the Navy: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." This may apply to your tuners. I have the same 3-on-a-plate tuners, and with a tiny bit of lubricant and a tweak of the screw, they should work indefinitely. Always tune while tightening, not loosening, for best results.
 

Guildedagain

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I do these these things.

Immediately take the old strings off, and hydrate the guitar as needed. Clean it, leave it unstrung for a bit and then string it with John Pierce "Slightly Light" or even lighter Silk and Bronze strings, nothing heavier than than .11's and the strings will drop right down, less tension.

Personally I'd rather turn a guitar into open tuning slide player if it has high action. I would never have someone mess with any of my guitars, too many bad experiences, and that was before Covid.
 

Rambozo96

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You could probably get away with shaving the bridge down. I’m not familiar with the D-25 market in the UK as I’m located stateside with a different currency and used market at play but for the most part the arched back Guilds like that D-25 are absolute cannons. For some reason it seems to me that they tend to give up the ghost a bit later as far as neck angle goes as the 1992 D-4 I just picked up has a fair bit of saddle left and my 86’ D-25 has so much saddle that I’m not entirely sure if it already had a neck reset or not but I’ll probably be a very old man the time it does. I think these old Guilds are worth it really, the 4 Westerly era’s I own seem to be hell of a lot better than what the other big boys were putting out during that time period. I don’t know the reasoning but I heard if you had the bridge shaved down when it comes time to do a neck reset you will have to have a new bridge made to the thickness the original bridge was prior to it being shaved. I don’t know if that’s true or not maybe a better informed LTG member can confirm/clarify/deny this claim.
 
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Thanks so much for the advice thus far. The cogs are turning and I'm getting excited. I've just transferred the final payment, so hopefully I'll have her by Wednesday.

The same dealer has since put a 1972 D25 up on his site. Looks really nice, but seems a bit more worn than mine; despite having a repaired top crack, Its marked £200 higher than mine. Is the all hog, flat back, with bracing more desirable, or is the added cost just likely the extra seven yrs of age? I've been lead to believe it's all about the arch back when it comes to this D25?

One other spanner, was when trying the dealers Guilds out, I also played a 2000 D40, which was great, but I'd really gotten geeky at that point, and had bought into the brand and it's history through obsessing for months, so I had a snobby attitude towards the Fender ownership era. For on £200 more, have I been daft not going for that one?

Does anyone know much about a JC30 (1988). Theres not much online re this model. Rare? I also had my eye on this one.
 
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Rambozo96

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The same dealer has since put a 1972 D25 up on his site. Looks really nice, but seems a bit more worn than mine; despite having a repaired top crack, Its marked £200 higher than mine. Is the all hog, flat back, with bracing more desirable, or is the added cost just likely the extra seven yrs of age? I've been lead to believe it's all about the arch back when it comes to this D25?
The arched vs flat braced back I believe is quite subjective really. My 74’ D-35 and 86’ D-25 arched back were made 12 years apart so I don’t know if the bracing is the same or if it’s been changed within those 12 years nor do I know what sort of bridge plate is on my D-25 (on the D-35 it’s rosewood.) but I noticed that the D-25 had more projection and has a more thunderous low end that’s not present on the flat backed D-35 with the latter having a bit of a crisper high end. I suspect the higher price is due to the fact that the mahogany topped D-25’s were made from 68’ to about 75’ or so though I have heard claims of a mahogany topped D-25 roaming around in the wild. So that’s about 7 years out of the D-25’s 36 year run that saw the top being spec’d out for mahogany so I think maybe it’s the rarity factor. The Westerly Guilds seemed to pack on some weight sometime in the late 70’s up until the early 90’s when they set out to make lighter builds but despite this any Westerly you find should be a fine guitar. Hope this was helpful.
 

davismanLV

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Thanks! Though this does make me nervous 🤣
Well normally you'd take the straight edge with you when you go to try it out, before you buy. But now that it's bought, you'll still need to know what you're dealing with. Just get it set up correctly and you may be fine for years to come. Did the action seem high when you played it??
 

Rambozo96

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Also it seems almost things post FMIC (Fender) buyout are perfectly fine. Though I blamed Fender for Guilds reduced market share from pre buyout to when Cordoba purchased Guild from Fender. I heard the Guilds made at the Fender Corona California plant were hit and miss but there’s so few of those running around I haven’t got the chance to debunk or confirm this claim. Some LTG members are perfectly content with their Corona era Guilds. From my experience Tacoma and New Hartford Guilds are exceptional but sound/feel a bit different from a Westerly era Guild.
 

Br1ck

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My general feeling is never to shave a bridge, but everyone's economic reality is different. Now that flatback likely has a Brazilian rosewood bridge, and I'd never shave one. The flatback is a different animal from the arch back. People like one or the other, but it's subjective. You've played your guitar and liked it, so don't overthink it. Have a good tech check it out and do what seems prudent, then play it a lot.
 
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