Price paid: $ 800
Purchased from: Sam Ash
Sound — 9
The sound is big, just like the guitar. The maple resonates in this big box and it's relatively deep as well. The bass and midrange are clear, crisp and powerful. Dread's usually have very good bass response due to the shape and size of the guitar body, however the carved back and all maple take the harshness out, the now aged sitka spruce top has mellowed the sound. This guitar I use primarily acoustically only - as an accompaniment guitar. When matched with a rosewood or smaller OM sized guitar, it fills in all the little gaps and can be played loud or soft depending upon the song/mood. The overtones are limited but the bass/midrange cannot be beaten. I've also recorded with this guitar and let me tell you, I've never had a better experience. While the human year only picks up certain tones and overtones, the microphone isn't that discerning. The piece I recorded was an instrumental that a buddy played, and it literally sounds like a very high end guitar. This was my 2nd acoustic guitar I ever bought (my first being an Ovation Balladeer). I tried playing out with this guitar, but it just didn't have the electronics to cut through a band, as well, kicking up the gain on the mixing board tended to make the guitar feedback. It's not suited to a folk/rock band setting, but is best played in an intimate acoustic setting. The power of this guitar cannot be underestimated. It will literally blow most other guitars out of its way. I've played quite a few other Dreads, and others (even Rosewood models) tend to get muddy at loud playing, not the D30. It's a powerhouse.
Overall Impression — 10
A very good guitar, it doesn't quite match my playing style and at the time I bought it, I really didn't know too much about what style I actually had. After about 20 years now of playing, I'd say this guitar is my "spot filler" and I'd prefer to play this guitar at small acoustic gigs where I'm the rhythm player. It fills in all spaces to really make an acoustic performance stand out. This fills out my group of guitars. If I lost or had this guitar stolen, I surely would consider another Guild Dread. It's a work horse and is meant to be played. While no boutique guitar or collector guitar, I'd highly recommend a D30 or D50 Guild from anytime prior to the Fender take-over. Guild guitars was bought out by Fender in the late 1990's and most models are now made in China or somewhere overseas. I'd stay away from them as the craftsmanship and attention to detail are not as high as the Rhode Island models. I'd seek out an American made Guild that's been taken care of certainly. While there are a lot of nice Dreads and boutique versions out there, I think I'd take another Guild simply because of it's playability and heft as well as it's sound. Combined with it's beauty, fit, finish and power, I'd have to get another one. Pure maple goodness that can be handed down to another generation of players.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Very reliable. This guitar I have gigged with, not much with a band, but in acoustic gigs or as an accompanying guitar player. This is a lot of guitar, it's no light-weight OM or 00 size. I've never had any issues with it's reliability and since this is now 15 years old, no checking or any issues on the finish, nor any shifting of the neck and no bellying of the top (which can be common in Dreads) has occurred. I would not need to take a backup with this guitar, other than a second pair of strings "just in case". This guitar if properly maintained would last a few lifetimes.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Fit and finish were excellent. No globs, no issues around the neck joint or anyplace else on this guitar. The finish was clear, even and set off the curly maple and flame maple. The guitar when you look at it from the back and sides makes your mouth water, it resembles curly Christmas candy. Truly a beautiful guitar.
Features — 9
The D30 model features a solid sitka spruce top, rosewood bridge, figured maple sides and back, and a high-gloss nitro cellulose lacquer finish. The body of the guitar measures 20 inches long, 15 3/4 inches wide and a full five inches deep. It also features a maple neck and a twenty-fret rosewood fingerboard accentuated by mother-of-pearl dot inlays. For tuning ease, the D30 is equipped with elegant gold Grover Rotomatic machine heads.