Guild Acoustic Guitars…Worth It or Overrated? • Acoustic Tuesday 253

What do Eric Clapton, Richie Havens, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and John Denver have in common? They all played Guild acoustic guitars. They make good guitars, but are they worth the hype?

In short, absolutely. Guild Guitars makes some incredible acoustic guitars. Whether you’re looking for a punchy sound that will stand out in a jam session or a mellow, dark guitar that’ll evoke a woodsy spirit, you’re sure to find a Guild that’ll suit your needs.

I’ve had the luxury of playing most of these guitars, but there are some that I’ve only heard on youtube and in demos. That being said, they were so good, I couldn’t not include them on this list.

Whether you’re in the market for a new guitar or you’re just curious about Guild guitars, I highly encourage you to play one of the guitars on this list. They all sound great, but for entirely different reasons.

In addition, there are plenty of price points on this list. Even beginners can find a great guitar on this list for an affordable price. If you’re unsure about what guitar on this list suits you, just leave comment and I’ll try to respond to it within a couple of episodes!

Featured in this episode…

  • oldtownschool
  • John Mayer
  • Riddy Arman
  • Western AF
  • Caitlin Canty
  • the local honeys
  • Music Villa
  • Gibson TV
  • Tommy Emmanuel

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  1. Guilds are excellent guitars. I play a vintage D35 and import M240e. I had a Martin HD28. I sold it. My Guild is better. My favorite Guilds are the D25, F30 and M20 (new). Guild does have a cult following.

  2. I bought a Gibson J50 in 1974 in 1977 I traded it in for a Guild D25 because J50 Gibson was cracking at the hole and up alongside the Fret bord. The Guild is a much better made guitar and made like a violin. If you look inside, you see no braces across the back body. It’s made like a violin a beautiful guitar and will out perform a Gibson. I guess that’s why they bought them out to make their competitor less visible in the public eye for their sales. Can you tell me if the American made? Guild Acoustic guitars are made with the same precision quality they did in the late seventies. I also have a Gibson S300 electric solid body. It’s a killer guitar. It’s a shame. Fender decided to stop making all production of guild sold bodies. Another way to tone down the competition.

  3. My fav guitar is a vintage 1973 F30 that my stepdad bought at a garage sale for $100. She’s a beautifully aged guitar with a nice full sound.

  4. I have a Guild G37 Blond that I bought back in 1980. I fell in love with the guitar the very first time I play it. Got to love the sound!

  5. You’re absolutely right about the cult following though. I worked in a music store in my early 20’s for a woman who was obsessed with Guild guitars. I just didn’t get it.

    When I was young, my older brother brought home a sunburst Guild F-50 jumbo guitar. Absolutely beautiful guitar. I loved the sound of it, but man was it a bear to play. I played it anyway. I later found out that the neck was fairly typical for a 60’s Guild, which just doesn’t suit me.

    Lately I’ve been pondering a M-120 or M-20, but that neck issue is still on my mind. In any event, it will have to wait until after I get my Furch Vintage2 OM.

    1. I own a late 1970’s D-25M, arch back mahogany spruce top. The more I play it, it opens and softens up. Amazing.
      I ran across a D-30, arch back maple spruce top Tennessee Orange! I still wish I would have bought it when I had the chance

  6. Tony, thanks for the call out of Riddy Arman, she is great. This one artist has taken my into a 3 day journey into the Western AF youtube channel. Amazing, fun, real, authentic, heart tugging ……..

  7. Picked up a 1974 Guild G-37 (Spruce Top with Maple Laminate back and sides) around 1978, as I was trying to learn to play and my instructor at the time came across this Guild via some shop he was connected into. Anyhow, life got very, very busy and the Guild sat stored away in its case in the basement for about 35 years, maybe only seeing day light about 6 times across all those years.
    I decided to give guitar another shot (I was never any good) around the end of 2019 and subsequently stumbled into TAC in 2020 and ended up joining in May of 2020 with my trusty Guild in hand. Because it sat for so many years, I took it to a good Luthier to get the set up tweaked and had a few frets replaced. He was pretty surprised that it held up as well as it did sitting all those years with no thought to environmental controls. Guess the laminate construction vice solid wood gets credit here. Anyhow, it still plays and sounds great. Have since picked up a couple of Martins, but the Guild hangs right in there with them in the mid and high range. Martin wins hands down on the lower end. The Guild is a key part of my Guitarsenal and gets played every week.

    1. I never heard of a Guild being made of plywood. I think you might be mistaken. Unless it’s a low low end one, that was made overseas. But if it was that old I don’t think they were making them overseas back then.

  8. I own 4 Martin guitars and a Guild M20 made in CA. The Guild has a special place in my heart. It is comfortable when I am on the couch and has a great sound with natural compression. It is also very playable with a wonderful neck. The Guild sounds great finger picking country blues.

  9. In 1973, I bought a new F112, which I still have; it has all the jingles and jangles after all these years; it will never be for sale. Several years ago, I acquired a circa 1979 F212, the F112’s big brother, for a “criminally” great price. Both guitars were built in Westerly, Rhode Island. It needed some work, but I was able to find a tech who made it playable for a reasonable price. The two 12 string guitars hang side by side on my wall, an integral part of my guitarsenal. I loved your discussion of Guild, a very underrated instrument that gives so much more for the money than its high-end competitors.

  10. I’ve become an avid Guild fan. In 2011, I had some money that I inherited, and my wife suggested I buy that SPECIAL guitar. I went out thinking I’d find that guitar among Gibson or Martin. After an extensive search, I came home with an F-47R. It just killed the competition in the same price range and even those costing up to $1500 more. The burst finish is also makes it a beautiful instrument to look at. This summer I bought the D1212…12 string version of your D-120 from the top 10 list. I was amazed at the tone, projection, and playability of this import. Guilds are often overlooked but sure shouldn’t be

  11. Thanks for the show, and TAC. Just a note about the Guitarsenals. I am somewhat reluctant to advertise to the world the guitars I own. I live in a small town, and could easily be recognized by others in the area. (Perhaps I overestimate the number of viewers of your show!) I don’t want to broadcast to those opportunists that I have guitars that have significant monetary value, but even greater emotional value – I even want to protect my Stella!

  12. My fav Guild is a D-52 vintage ~late 80’s. Unfortunately when I moved to CO in 2015; I sold it to a guild collector for watt too cheap. (The moving truck was outside and it had no room). Woody sound and really pretty. Tony, find one, you’ll like it. FYI, I just bought a newer D42 and love it too. Not as pretty as the D-52 though.

  13. My favourite Guild is the only Guild I own – a 1973 Guild D 35. Woody and resonant, beautiful distinctive highs, mids and lows. I love that guitar!

  14. Riddy’s music is so moving. I absolutely love her playing and it is great to hear her featured on Acoustic Tuesday. I’m pretty sure WesternAF had a big influence on me picking up a guitar for the first time this year. I’ve been listening to the artists they showcase (as well as the ones on GEMSonVHS) for the past few years and have been exposed to some incredible country, western, bluegrass, and folk music artists who are writing interesting and honest music that feels nostalgic while capturing contemporary life so beautifully.

  15. T – I have a D-40 I’ve had since 1972…Betty Pearl Walker (that’s her name). It is tuned to my soul. So many years of comfort, joy and discovery.

  16. Hi Tony. Plus one for the Guild D-55; tons of bling and a big, booming, banjo-annihilating voice. Also note: this was the Guild TV guitar, famously used by Tommy Smothers on the Smothers Brothers Show. I’ve had an eye out for a vintage F-112 too.

  17. I haven’t picked up a Guild in maybe 45 years, and never a small-bodied one. My memory is that they always sounded great… and were hard to play. Always loved Guild 12-strings! They seemed to get them ‘right’ in a way nobody else did. Of your top 10, I loved the M-20s, and I’m not so sure I preferred the vintage one. The new one has a beautiful warm, woody tone. All of the 12-strings sounded nice, but the F-512 Rosewood rules. (F-512 Maple sounded better than expected though!)

  18. Great show,and thanks for acknowledging Guild Guitars.They seem to be an under the Radar brand to many,but once you own one you truly appreciate the quality and value that this Company offers.
    I have the M-20 and D-40 Traditional new models,and they are both outstanding.Play and sound great even though they are new.They feel like well played older instruments even now,and I know it will be getting even better as time goes by.Cheers!!!

  19. the vintage [ 1976] Guild D-55 – to me has better Clearer solid base with complete clarity of the rest of the spectrum …. to me it is a remarkable guitar that forever will push me but be ahead of what I can ask of it ….

  20. Hi Tony
    My favorite Guild in my 1975 D-35. I bought it new in 75 because I was looking for an acoustic and it sounded like an organ it was so full sounding!

  21. Hi Tony,
    Already have a Guild GAD-25. Love the way it plays, although the body took a hit while living over 5000 ft in Wyoming for 2 years, cracks and warpage. The new D-40 Traditional and Natural are designed by Guild master luthier Ren Ferguson, as you know left Gibson after a few decades. The reviews about these guitars are almost all 5 star. Seriously thinking of adding to my already meager collection.

  22. Hi Tony,
    I have traditionally been a Martin guy for over 40 years but recently picked up a USA made Guild F55e – sunburst sitka with rosewood back and sides. This guitar is the holy grail of tone. The bass response is beyond belief. The workmanship is pristine and it has become my go-to guitar. I have been enjoying your weekly show since inception from Canada. Thank you