Price paid: $ 674.99
Purchased from: Geartree.com
Sound — 7
As many have commented before, the tone on this guitar sits surprisingly neutral. This may come at you as bad, or good news, depending on what you're looking for. Personally, I was a little disappointed in it's lack of character, then again I'm usually playing solo. However, in a band situation, that lack of tonal distinction may come in handy to complement your overall sound. It just depends on what you're using it for. Now don't get me wrong though, just because it lacks that edge, doesn't mean it doesn't still sing. Being that it's all solid wood and not made of a composite materials, you can hear and feel the sound resinating. Comparatively speaking, some will argue the GAD-50 gives lower end Gibson's a run for their money.
Overall Impression — 7
I've been playing guitar for about five years now, playing post rock to bluegrass, and this is by far the best acoustic I've owned. If this guitar was lost/stolen I would probably buy it again, assuming I had the cash. I do feel it is important to mention Guild's horrible taste in pick guard selection. Who in their right mind would want a clear pick guard? Although, for an additional $5 investment, you can fix that mistake without much hassle. Definitely not a huge setback, but a hindrance, none the less. However, for the price, this is definitely a steal. The only other company that offers a decent all solid wood guitar in the price range is Blueridge and even then Guild still comes out on top.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Guild made this guitar to last, that is easy to tell right off hand. The neck is set quite well in a dovetail neck joint and the fret board was free of razor edge. The body feels durable, but it's lack of overall weight worries me. A guitar needs guts, you know? Hardware, on the other hand, is much more solid based. The guitar holds a tune like no other and handles drop tunings like a champ.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Straight out of the box, this guitar was setup quite well; a quick tune up and I was on my way. The book matched top laid visually even and didn't carry a single imperfection. The action was set superbly straight from the manufacturer and required no adjustments. The high gloss finish was lustrous and well applied, however, I do wonder how much such a think finish affects the tone; satin finished, or oil finished guitars are said to be able to "breathe" better than high glossed guitars, giving a more open sound. Although some will argue otherwise.
Features — 8
Quite simply, the Guild GAD-50 is a reasonably priced introduction to Chinese-made, all solid wood acoustic guitars. Composition wise, the GAD-50 (dreadnought) features a solid Sitka Spruce top and Indian Rosewood back, sides, fret board and bridge pins. The GAD-50 also features Grover rotomatic tuners, ornate mother of pearl inlay and a bone nut/saddle combination, which some will argue gives an enhanced tonal clarity and presence. Aesthetically speaking, the GAD-50 is a 'plain Jane' at best. But for a no frills, no thrills guitar, it still speaks worlds.