Price paid: $ 500
Purchased from: Sweetwater Sound
Features — 9
This is a new model Guild just introduced in January at NAMM. It is a made in China, jumbo, non-cutaway, body 12-string with solid spruce top, solid maple back and sides, mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard and bridge. The guitar has a satin or matte finish, but also appears to have had some aging toner added to the finish as the woods have more of an amber type coloring than a blonde coloring usually seen in maple guitars. The guitar also features an active pickup/pre-amp. The battery is in a bag attached to the neck block and the tone/volume controls are mounted inside the soundhole. The tuners appear to be Grover clones. The purchase price included a gig bag.
Sound — 10
I have primarily played 12-string for the past 42 years and this is the ninth one I have owned. Since I play primarily folk-style music, with heavy influences by 12-string players like John Denver, Keith Potger, Barry McGuire, this is very well suited to my style. When amplified, I am running it through either a Behringer Europort PPA200 PA system or a Behringer Ultracoustic UCX450. It isn't noisy at all. Unamplified, it has a very full sound. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it did not sound as bright as I'd expected a guitar with maple back and sides to sound.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I cannot speak as to the factory setup since Sweetwater does their own set-ups before they ship their guitars out--but the standard setup is very well done. I found no flaws in the construction of the guitar. The top is very well bookmatched, as were the back and sides. I found no flaws in the interior construction either - no sloppy gluing at the kerfing, no misaligned or poorly glued bracing. The bridge is properly routed and the saddle fits in it properly. There were no loose tuners, the fretboard, while unbound, has not fretwires sticking out. All in all, the factory's attention to detail shows. It is very well constructed - especially with the dual truss rods in the neck.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I believe this guitar will be very reliable. I've had it just a little over a month now - taken it to several church services. I have no backup as this is my only guitar. At first I was concerned about the tuners, but they are very reliable. I can tune my guitar up at home, put it in the case, take it to a gig, and when I remove it from the case - it's still in tune. The only strap button is the end-pin jack and it is one of the most solid ones I've ever encountered. Time will tell as to how well the finish will hold up. I tend to baby my guitars, I don't strum heavily or use heavy picks, so I believe the finish should hold up for as long as I own the guitar.
Overall Impression — 9
I like to call my style of music psychedelic country gospel. Think of it as kind of a cross between the Doobie Brothers and the Statler Brothers. This guitar works very well with that style. I've been playing guitar for over 45 years, and 12-string guitar for 42 of those years. Besides the aforementioned PA and guitar amplifier, I also use a Zoom G1on multiFX pedal, a Boss VE-2 vocal harmonizer pedal, and Samson MicroAirline wireless mics. If this guitar were lost or stolen I would buy another one in a heartbeat. I love the sound. It has a very plain appearance, but the sound is what sold me on this guitar. The only thing I can give this guitar demerits for is the gig bag. It does not seem very substantial and has only one storage compartment which is unusable because it is outside and very snug. People who purchase this guitar should consider purchasing another case unless they like the lessened protection of a gig bag and are willing to shlep around another case for accessories.