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Guild vs Martin and Gibson in the 60’s, 70’s?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by bonzo898, Feb 1, 2021.

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  1. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    Like @brookdalebill mentioned, John Denver used the Guild 12 String, but a VERY prominent user was Tommy Smothers on the Smothers Brothers TV show. I vaguely remember a few rock players in ads for Guild electrics....don't know if they actually played them. (I have a memory, maybe false, of Zappa promoting Guild electrics. The picture had him holding one under his chin, like a violin. Anyone?)
    A guy I knew in early seventies had a Guild "SG"-type.....it came from factory with NO FINISH, just raw wood, sanded very smooth. Only one of those I ever saw.
     
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  2. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    So, whether I knew it or not, the first Guild I saw was Tommy Smothers', because I NEVER missed a chance to see the Smothers Brothers!
     
  3. Andy B

    Andy B Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    We have two 70’s Guild. A 74 D25 and a 76 D35. Only acoustics I’ve ever wanted to play. We also have a 90’s F4C. Great guitars.
     
  4. Harry Styron

    Harry Styron Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Bonnie Raitt has always played Guild acoustics.
     
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  5. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    And, I would add....even though Tommy's guitar playing was secondary (or worse) to the comedy, it always sounded good. ;)
     
  6. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    You folks are just piling on the reasons I am subliminally drawn to Guild acoustics!

    He WAS (or maybe still is, I don't know) quite good! The folk music came first, the comedy just kind of happened.
     
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  7. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

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    I love Guilds. I think they sound every bit as good as the other brands mentioned. IME the old ones often sound fantastic. The problem with them is the same problem you see with most every older acoustic guitar: they usually need a neck reset. But if you find one in reasonable playing condition they're often great.

    I also think that the quality of Guilds remained high throughout the period in which they were made in the USA. I think some people are saying (or at least implying) that once they moved the factory to Rhode Island the quality went way down but I don't think that's true at all. I've played a lot of great Guilds from the Westerly plant.
     
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  8. bonzo898

    bonzo898 Tele-Meister

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    I had the impression that the Westerly-era necks and overall components have held up to time and rough treatment better than most because the guitars were so heavily/sturdily built. I don’t know the history of mine but the only notable appears to be a well-repaired crack in the top near where the right arm rests.

    Is this accurate?
     
  9. TeleBluesMan

    TeleBluesMan Tele-Holic

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    My first "good" acoustic guitar was a new 1974 Guild F-40. It was half the cost of a Martin. Very thin sounding and not much volume. And the neck geometry was bad from the start. BTW, here's an ad, not sure of the date:
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Misty Mountain

    Misty Mountain Tele-Meister

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    Love my 1978 F50!

    Front.jpg body.jpg back.jpg head.jpg
     
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  11. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

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    I don't hold myself up as any kind of expert, but that is in line with my experience (and I'm glad you have heard good things). I think the Westerly era stuff is great. I have two Guilds from that era and they have held up well. I am very happy with them. They are well built, are old enough to have that thing that older acoustics get after being around for enough time, and the necks are exceedingly comfortable. They have a profile that is more comfortable to me as someone who usually plays electrics. That last bit may be coincidence, but I've played several Guilds from that era like that. I don't mean pencil thin (and I've played Westerlys with meatier necks too) but not the hefty type of neck with big shoulders. I prefer that. And they sound great. Not too bright, not too warm. I'm a fan.
     
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  12. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    Absolutely. I was a teen in the 60’s and Guilds were definitely a thing. Paul Simon’s main guitar was a Guild and there were others. Guild 12 Strings were highly coveted.
    As I recall, Martin’s were not that big in rock until folks like CSN, Page and Joni Mitchell help popularized them.
    I owned a Guild D-55 and it was stellar. I sold it to buy a Martin D-28 around 2002. Big mistake!
     
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  13. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    back when you still had to dodge a few dinosaurs on the way to school, a little bit of geography made some difference. This was purely my experience and it could be entirely conflated and mis-remembered, but that's no reason not to inflict it on an unsuspecting forum.

    In the early 60's, about the only luxury flattops available in what was a small town at the time (Boulder) - was the Martin. And for that you had to drive to Denver and visit the Denver Folklore Center or one of the pawn shops down on 16th street, I think it was.

    the only kid I knew who had a Martin at that moment, was from a pretty wealthy family, his dad had something to do with figuring out how to make Teflon. I'm sure there were more Martins around than what I knew, because I knew pretty much less than zero back in those days.

    My older brother had gone off to college back east, and came back on Spring Break with a friend, Garfield. Pretty upper crust guy, if I say so myself.

    Garfield brought with him a Guild guitar. Oh, it was the finest flattop ever I had laid my hands upon at the age of 16, or so. In my minds eye, I still remember that it had an ever-so-slightly radiused and bound fretboard. Could not believe that! Nice! I was well and truly gobsmacked at how nice a guitar could be.

    We went camping that week on Lake Powell, in the days when Glen Canyon was just starting to fill up with water. Two rowboats with small outboard engines, sleeping bags, no tents and a cardboard box of food.

    the Guild stayed back in Boulder and when Garfield left, that was the last Guild I saw until I left town myself at the age of 18 and met some other college boys who had Guilds as well. All from east of the Mississippi. Gibsons, too.

    I will echo the remarks above about sound and playability, FWIW.
     
  14. Bulldoggio

    Bulldoggio Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    Guild made great flatops. As the 70's progressed, Ovation had the first viable electrified acoustics, and then Takemine took that market over, which became the dominant acoustic market. Taylor came a bit later and became popular for their modern style and playability. Taylor got so popular so fast they kind of usurped Guild's market share. Martin and Gibson were so intrenched that they stayed popular. Personally, I still love old Gibsons and Martins best.
     
  15. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Afflicted

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    Guilds of that time were great guitars and lots of famous people played them, along with Martin and Gibson too. I myself couldn't afford any of them so I bought a used Alverez (script letters) for 100 bucks, and still have her to this day. She's pretty worn out now cause of all the gigs she did, but still singin' ;)
     
  16. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a 1974 mahogany D40 Bluegrass Jubilee. It plays and sounds well but nowhere near as good as a 1980 Martin D18 I owned a few years back.

    I plan to sell it and an expensive Maton messiah soon. They are not in the same league as my 1989 Martin OOO 28 and 2001 Gibson J200
     
  17. johnnylaw

    johnnylaw Tele-Afflicted

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    Jim Kweskin played Guilds.
    They were all over the folk and bluegrass scenes.
    I was born close to Westerly, and had a friend who worked there for Guild.
    Some gal I don’t even know gave me a 25th anniversary D25 about three years ago; sounds fantastic.
    They built outstanding electrics too.
    Like so many other Rhode Island manufacturing enterprises, the plant left for lower overhead and labor costs. They are now built in Asia for FMIC.
     
  18. arlum

    arlum Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

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    I really liked Guild guitars right up through the '80s. I thought their quality of construction and attention to detail even in the early '90s was pretty much in line with Gibsons and Martins from that same period.

    It's just my opinion but, when Fender Musical instruments bought out the Guild brand in the mid '90s there was a noticeable change in the instruments sold under the Guild name. In 2001 Fender moved the production of Guild guitars from the old Guild factory in Rhode Island to Corona, California. A few years later they moved Guild to Tacoma, Washington. Then a few years later they move Guild to New Hartford, CT. Possibly "Jet lag" becomes an issue? Constantly packing and unpacking doesn't leave a lot of time for guitar design and production.
     
  19. Bill Ashton

    Bill Ashton Tele-Afflicted

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    There is thought, whether well placed or not, that after Fender bought Guild and moved production to Corona, CA that quality took a dive. They then moved to Tacoma and then to what was essentially Ovation's facility in New Hartford, CT. (Fender had acquired KMC, Ovation's owner). NH had the desire and committment and very fine guitars came from that operation.

    But as all good things end, Texas Pacific Group got controlling interest in Fender and Guild was among a number of brands closed in their effort to create a life-style-brand...sound familiar?

    Guild was bought by a Fender exec, and brought to CA once again, this time in Oxnard. Brand new plant, set up by Ren Ferguson of Gibson/Montana fame. The Asian connection was continued to maintain cash flow, and while that may appear the bulk of their catalog, Oxnard is producing a fine line of American made Guilds, so the legacy lives on.

    I hope I do not break any rules by posting this, but there is a wealth of info on all things Guild at LetsTalkGuild.com.
     
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  20. Tark1

    Tark1 TDPRI Member

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    Guild started in in 1952 with a lot of ex Epiphone employees. They made very fine acoustics and did well from the early folk boom. Many of their most popular models had a brighter sound with maple back and sides rather than the mahogany or rosewood found on other brands. Their 12 string models played well and had a distinctive sound. In the 70s to 80s the folk boom died away and the company was purchased by Fender. From then on the instruments and the brand just lost focus and were overwhelmed by all the other brands Fender acquired. Many of the once popular Guild models are available today, and are made in the USA, but there is now much more competition and I don't know how well the new guitars compare to the old ones made by the original company and the Epiphone craftspeople.
     
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