Price paid: $ 580
Purchased from: Blue Note, Berkeley CA
Sound — 8
This is my second guitar. I am an amature country blues player (e. g. Blind Boy Fuller, Missisipi John Hurt) devoted exclusively to syncopated bass style fingerpicking. Been playing less than a year. In my limited view this is a very handy guitar. From watching others play it (one punk guitarist, and one Dave Matthews wannabe, who both loved it) I'd say that it has a neutral tone well suited but not specifically devoted to any one style. With fresh strings it is a bit twangy (which I like since a lot of my inspirations used dobros). When I was concidering buying it I played it against a Gibson Dred and thought they were comparable with the Gibson having slightly better sound. It has a vastly superior sound to that of the more expensive American made Guilds.
Overall Impression — 10
The best thing about this guitar for me and anyone else who has played it is the neck. As I got better I started sliding up and down the fretboard and my Blueridge BR-40 felt like quicksand. I was not going to buy a new guitar when I went in and played the Guild for the first time, it completely won me over. I did not find it aesteticly pleasing (I do now) but it was so easy to play, it was litteraly as if I could play twice as fast becuase of the neck shape and thiness. This might be something specific to my hand (large with long thin fingers) of course but I was blown away. Even though the Gibson looked better at the time and sounded better the Guild had a close sound and a much better feel. Its like that perfectly balanced sword or Colt peacemaker you see in films. I've had it for three months and I still check out other guitars at stores, I have not come across anything with as good a feel. I have come to love everything about it. If it were stolen I'd replace it, and get one of thoes peacemakers to prevent subsequent theft. I am a relitively new player but I play on average 2 hours a day. Give it a go if you get a chance, the shopowners are not going to point you towards it if they think you can afford something more expensive.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I only worry about the back and side finish, it does seem thin. Other than that everything is solid.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I am no expert but for flaws all I can detect is that the finish on the back and sides does seem to be skratch prone and that there is a slight imperfection underneath the transparent pick guard close to the neck. Other than that its a ship-shape Dred. The action is very comfortable and adjustable.
Features — 8
Chinese built, mahogany neck, 20 frets. Solid spruce top. Fretbord, back, and sides solid Indian rosewood. Very thin neck. High gloss polyester finish. Dreadnought body. No electronics. Grover Rotomatic Die-Cast tuners. I had to pay another 100 for the case but it is sturdy and stylish.