Older D-40s vs. new Oxnard Traditional

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Being fairly new to Guilds, here's a question to all the D-40 players...

These new Oxnard D-40 Trads have the spruce top and the adirondack spruce bracing, supposedly adds more bottom end.

The new "standard" D-40 has just the normal "red" spruce bracing.

When they call these "Traditional", are they referring to being traditional to the older D-40s? or maybe to the traditional Martin-esque dreadnaught?

I can hear the difference between the newer versions, but do older Guild D-40s sound more like (and built like) the "standard" or the "Traditional"?
 

chazmo

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Welcome aboard, Ben. To my knowledge "red" spruce and "Adirondack" spruce are one and the same. At least for Guild. It's possible that's changed, but I seem to remember them always describing Adirondack as just red spruce.

When Oxnard has used "Traditional" in the name, they have remained mostly true to the design and construction techniques of the past USA-built Guilds (dovetail neck, NCL lacquer, for example). The models which aren't traditional vary in a variety of ways from what came before. They're *not* talking about Martin or anything but Guild history here.

Enjoy!
 

Bill Ashton

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Also...be aware that even the higher-priced Oxnard "Traditionals" have back and sides of "African Mahogany," which really is not mahogany, but another wood with a similar look and approximate sound signature.

From The Wood Database in reference to "African Mahogany": Comprised of a handful of species from the Khaya genus, all of which are native to Africa. Sometimes lacks the deeper reddish brown color and durability that is common for true mahogany in the Swietenia genus. Botanically, Khaya is a part of the Meliaceæ family, which not only includes mahoganies, but also Sapele (Entandrophragma cylindricum), and a host of other commercial species. Considered to be a valid substitute for Honduran Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), otherwise known as “Genuine Mahogany.”

Correct me if I am wrong, but the New Hartford builds were Honduran Mahogany, no?
 

Bill Ashton

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Sorry for double post...can a mod remove the first one?
 

richardp69

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Sorry if ya'll are tired of hearing me say this. BUT, my Oxnard built D 40 Traditional Custom guitars are the best D 40's I have ever played. I have two now and treasure them both. To be fair, I also have 2 vintage Westerly D 40's that are also superb and a Westerly D 40-12 that is tons of fun. But, if I were forced to choose, the Oxnard D 40's would be far and away my 1st choice.
 

fronobulax

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Generally, in the New Hartford days, Traditional meant specs and construction reminiscent of Westerly era. Standard meant they had changed something in a way that made it more "modern"or cheaper to produce. Satin necks are the one thing I am sure of but I think bracing was different as well. The nut width in a NH F-30 Traditional is 1 11/16" compared to 1 3/4" on a NH F-30 Standard.

I don't know what Oxnard is up to but it makes sense that "Traditional" refers to Guild's history and not the marketplace as suggested elsewhere.
 

beecee

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Traditional in NH speak had the Chesterfield logo, sometimes a back binding and the aforementioned glossy neck. Oxnard seems to be doing the same save for the "standards" are now satin overall.

I've never had the opportunity to play a Westerly D-40 but would love to A-B one w/ mine.

and....

I want to meet Richards Oxnard D-40's in a dark alley some night....I'll take 'em both on w/my New Hartford D-40......punk.:smug:
 

Stuball48

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A lot of factors go into the sound a guitar produces. Am sure as they roll off the assembly line - the body, neck, fretboard, and headstock, on a particular guitar, are not all consecutive SNs. The labels might be.
Having bought guitars from Richard, I found one consistent truth-the ones I bought from him were physically and tonally better than he described.
 

richardp69

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Traditional in NH speak had the Chesterfield logo, sometimes a back binding and the aforementioned glossy neck. Oxnard seems to be doing the same save for the "standards" are now satin overall.

I've never had the opportunity to play a Westerly D-40 but would love to A-B one w/ mine.

and....

I want to meet Richards Oxnard D-40's in a dark alley some night....I'll take 'em both on w/my New Hartford D-40......punk.:smug:
Mine would beat yours up They are quite violent.
 

bronzeback

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Sorry if ya'll are tired of hearing me say this. BUT, my Oxnard built D 40 Traditional Custom guitars are the best D 40's I have ever played. I have two now and treasure them both. To be fair, I also have 2 vintage Westerly D 40's that are also superb and a Westerly D 40-12 that is tons of fun. But, if I were forced to choose, the Oxnard D 40's would be far and away my 1st choice.
Second this ^^^
 

chazmo

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:) A little good-natured ribbing. I think we need a D-40 playoff, one or two from each facility. Let's SETTLE this! ;) :)
 

Stuball48

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I suggest Nashville TN and I will secure a meeting place.
Could divide into three categories:
1. Rosewoods
A. East India Rosewood
B. Brazilian Rosewood
C. Cocobolo Rosewood

2. Mahogany
3. Maple

Other woods --- another time.
 

adorshki

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Being fairly new to Guilds, here's a question to all the D-40 players...
Hi Ben, welcome aboard!
Before I forget, be advised that new members' first few posts are vetted to ensure you're not a spambot, then everything'll start showing up in real time.

These new Oxnard D-40 Trads have the spruce top and the adirondack spruce bracing, supposedly adds more bottom end.
The new "standard" D-40 has just the normal "red" spruce bracing.
"Red Spruce" and "Adirondack" are synonymous.

When they call these "Traditional", are they referring to being traditional to the older D-40s?
Basically yes.
In Oxnard, the D40 Standard version uses a mortise-and-tenon neck mounting system, it is in fact a "bolt-on" and that fact caused some irritation here when it was discovered quite by accident in a factory video IIRC..
A credible argument was made by some that Oxnard had been less-than-forthcoming about the introduction of this construction technique, which Guild had never used before.
There's debate about whether that type of neck joint can sound as good as a "traditional" glued-in dovetail.
The "Standard" was the first version of the D40 built by Oxnard and also uses a catalyzed varnish satin finish.
To be fair this was pretty early in Oxnard's history and they needed to get product to market to keep the wheels turning, and the more economy-minded builds were most likely to get sales momentum re-stablished.
A while later they introduced the D40 Traditional using traditional full-gloss NCL finish and a glued-in dovetail neck joint.
Those are the 2 most important construction detail differences in my opinion, and suspect the difference you can hear between the 2 is most likely due to the neck joint.
I can hear the difference between the newer versions, but do older Guild D-40s sound more like (and built like) the "standard" or the "Traditional"?
Haven't had the opportunity to play any other factory's versions of a D40 than my own, but just based on the 2 details mentioned above they're going to sound more like the "Traditional".
BTW if you want to learn more about build details of previous factories, this site is the most comprehensive and cohesively laid-out collection of catalogs and price lists on the entire net, thanks to the efforts of our member GAD:
https://www.gad.net/Blog/guild-guitar-price-lists/

And unless you're specifically intent on buying a new guitar (which I get, it's the only way to get a warranty for example, and I bought all mine new), you may also want to look at the D40 Bluegrass Jubilee model from around '07 up through '12 I think it was.
Those guitars from Tacoma and NH featured Adi tops and bracing, but only the ones from Tacoma and New Hartford (and only the Bluegrass Jubilee version) had Adi tops.
Prior to that the Bluegrass Jubilee was simply a name given to the original D40 introduced in '63, Guild liked to give names to the models at the time, up through about the mid- '70's.
And they never used Adi until Tacoma, only sitka.



Generally, in the New Hartford days, Traditional meant specs and construction reminiscent of Westerly era. Standard meant they had changed something in a way that made it more "modern"or cheaper to produce. Satin necks are the one thing I am sure of but I think bracing was different as well.
Never heard of a bracing difference, was red spruce all the time in NH as far as I can recall, but the cost savings definitely applied with the satin finish and "bling" factors.
Note for example the NH F50 "Standard" didn't get block inlays, only dot markers, a first for any F50:

I don't know what Oxnard is up to but it makes sense that "Traditional" refers to Guild's history and not the marketplace as suggested elsewhere.
Yes in fact the "Traditional Series" name first popped up in Tacoma price lists (example: https://www.gad.net/Blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Guild-2007-02-Price-List.pdf)****
It distinguished the models built according to the standard time-honored Guild formulae and model numbers, from the ill-fated "Contemporary Series" which used the bolt-on neck system* as the primary distinguishing build detail.
*(@ben42thomas: this was an entirely different animal than the current mortise-and-tenon method and can be seen in one of the '06-'09 Tacoma-era catalogs)
**** Edit 11/25:
Guilty of poor wording there, technically they used the term "Traditional Series" as far back as '87 to denote the new GF- series 16" jumbos based on the Gruhn updates of the F40 in '84.
But never saw it applied to dreadnoughts until Tacoma.
 
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Thanks everyone for the info! I guess I misspoke about the Oxnard D40 tops and bracing. I believe both standard and Trad versions have the sitka tops but the Trad adds the Adi bracing. Supposedly it's stiffer, therefore it can be scalloped to let the top vibrate more. And i agree that there is probably a sound difference between the two neck joint systems. I don't mind the Satin, in fact i kinda like it better. However, I think I'd be happier with the Trad in the long run.
 

adorshki

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Thanks everyone for the info! I guess I misspoke about the Oxnard D40 tops and bracing. I believe both standard and Trad versions have the sitka tops but the Trad adds the Adi bracing. Supposedly it's stiffer, therefore it can be scalloped to let the top vibrate more.
Nope, the Standard's scalloped too, that's been "standard" on D40's since very late (late '90's) Westerly.
https://guildguitars.com/g/d-40-in-natural/
With the Adi , yes, it's true it's stronger by weight than sitka so the real "secret" is that the bracing can be made thinner/lighter with the same strength as sitka, which yes does allow freer top vibration.
It's probably largely responsible for the reputation for resonance of the Tacoma-built guitars, it was first used there (and in New Hartford too) for all bracing, including the Adi-topped guitars.
But scalloped sitka bracing's been around ever since the '70's at least, with Guild, usually reserved for higher-end models but not always mentioned in the catalogs or price lists.
(Hey forgive me if I sound overbearing, I don't actually have all this stuff memorized I just have the luxury of being able to browse the net easily to confirm my increasingly feeble memory. It's all just offered for the sake of helping you "get up to speed", also, I hate myths. There's too many of 'em when it comes to Guild and frankly Oxnard isn't as accurate in their historic commentary as I'd like. In fairness though Guild catalogs have always had a certain amount of error factor. )
To tell you the truth I thought adi was still being used for all bracing in Oxnard, but I do see that they don't actually mention it on the D40 Standard's spec page.
I also just noted that the Traditional has a 3-piece neck, something used on original D40's but dropped in the late '60's and not seen again until the New Hartford Bluegrass Jubilees.
 

Kitarkus

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Almost exactly 2 years ago I purchased a used 2012 New Hartford D-40 standard. In fact...In a bout of GAS I bought it from GC and had it shipped sight unseen knowing that I could easily return it. I continue to be delighted by this guitar. This NH is super light weight, very resonant top, feels great, good tuners, all bone bits...dovetail....just a really superb and very simple guitar. No bling. I bought it in excellent+/near mint condition with original case for roughly $900 . I loved my previous Westerly made guitars....but they were very different in terms of weight and feel...they were like warships...while the NH build is like a lightweight catamaran. I have since owned (and sold) other more expensive instruments....but this NH D-40 is just so good at its price-point. The NH guitars don't get a lot of love in the used marketplace....so a great opportunity to take advantage in my opinion. I can't imagine why I would spend twice as much on a D-18 (yes..I've owned one) or similar new build while I own this D-40.
 
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richardp69

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I doubt you'll find many (or any????) players on this forum putting down the NH builds?? I agree, they are superb. I have/do own several and have never been disappointed.
 
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