Price paid: $ 999
Purchased from: Sweetwater
Features — 9
The F-150 is a Chinese made Guild jumbo, with a 1.75 inch nut, to make it easier for fingerpicking. I always loved the sound of Townsend's J-200 Gibson jumbo, but at around 4 grand, doubted I'd ever get one. When I heard samples of this on YouTube, it just blew me away. Solid rosewood instead of maple, I think it sounds just as good as the Gibson. In fact, the head of production at Guild used to be the main guy at Gibson, Ron Ferguson. So it's no surprise that the designs and sound are so similar. With a Sitka top and mahogany neck, standing almost a headstock taller than my Blueridge dreadnought, this guitar is a tone beast. With a lower bout of 16.6 in. and over 3.5 ft tall, it sounds like the cello of guitars. I have 3 Guilds now, and I love all of them, but this is definitely the best. Comes with a polyfoam Guild case. I didn't get the CE version this time, because I never use the electronics anyway.
Sound — 10
This is one amazing sounding guitar. It's great for playing Pete Townsend and Who type stuff, and things like "Sweet Melissa" sound like they were wrote for it. You get tones that are richer and deeper sounding and more complex than you'll ever get from a dreadnought. Anyone who thinks Guild hasn't earned a place up there with Gibson and Martin have never played a Guild jumbo. I think they can go toe to toe with anything (except something like a Larrivee or Avalon jumbo, if you have that kind of cash). Of course, I've been a Guild nerd for decades, so I may be a little biased. Some people don't want that complex sound, though. Nick Drake used to deaden his strings as much as possible to get the sound he wanted. I don't think he'd have much use for this guitar. But people like Townsend, Greg Lake, Dylan, and Jimmy Page used jumbos to get that distinctive sound you hear on some of rock's greatest tracks.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Don't know how well it was set up at the factory, but when I got it, it played like butter. I can find no finish flaws on it anywhere, and I barely have to press down on the strings. I raised the truss slightly, because it was too easy to make one of the strings make that sitar sound from vibrating against the frets. You always have a trade-off, between how low the action can be set and how hard you can play it, don't care who makes the guitar or where. This let me set the action a bit lower than I expected on a jumbo. The only acoustic I have that plays easier is a Zager, and this has medium strings. Everything was well finished. The frets are well rounded on the ends. There is a beautiful design made of different sized gold and black rectangles dividing the rosewood back. The nut and saddle are Nubone (same as Tusq), and I am still thinking about whether I want to change them out for real bone. They seem to sound fine the way they are, so I don't know if it's worth it. I love the wide nut width. My fingers always felt crowded with 1 and 11/16 inches.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar has 2 strap buttons, like all my other Guilds, and few of my other guitars. It comes with a lightweight polyfoam case to keep it safe, and like all Guilds, it's built like a tank. I'm not sure how Guilds make so much sound, because the tops seem to be twice as thick as any of my other guitars. But they are really loud, anyway. My blind sister collided with one of my Guilds that was setting on a coffee table, and knocked it forcibly onto a tile floor and into glass sliding doors. It put a ding in the varnish on the back, but other than that, it was still in tune, and just fine. When I heard it in the next room, I thought it would be totaled for sure. All solid-body guitars require special care, and I see a lot of fine instruments that either were allowed to dry out and crack, or developed belly-bulge from too much humidity or exposure to cold. But a well built solid-body like the F-150 will last you a lifetime with proper care.
Overall Impression — 10
My overall impression is that you can't touch this guitar with anything else at it's price and size that I've been able to find. I thought a solid-body jumbo was just a little out of my price range until I found this. Well, Yamaha sells one for a little less, even, but I was not impressed with the sound of it. Like I said, the Guild is basically the same as the ones Gibson makes, and the guy in charge of production and design there is the same guy who made Gibson's hundredth anniversary guitar and was head of production there in the Eighties and Nineties. It's a lot of guitar for a grand. I really love showing this one off to people. I put it up with my Larrivee D-03R as far as being a couple steps above most guitars in their price range. I own a Blueridge, two other Guilds, a craviola, a Leho, Larrivee, Alvarez, a Luna Art Nouveau, and several other acoustics, and have bought and sold or traded a lot more, and own a few electrics and a Korg workstation, but this is one of my two or three prize instruments. After playing a jumbo, a dreadnought sounds a bit dull in comparison. I've had it a month now, and rarely play anything else.