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richard 02-16-2001 12:16 AM

guilds, gibsons
I'm shopping for a guitar, and will probably settle on a 310, maybe used, maybe new. As I look online at the used market I see a fair number of jumbo guilds, gibsons, and I wonder what they are like, since they seem to be, at least in the resale market, similarly priced as used Taylors and some Martins I see. The music shop I frequent stocks Taylor, Martin, and some makes I don't play because I'll never afford them (Collings, Goodall). So, I've never played a Guild or Gibson, and I'm curious as to their sound. Obviously they've been around a long time. Any opinions out there? I'm looking in the 600-900 range used, a tad higher new, so I don't really need comparisons to guitars out of my price range. Like I said, I think I'm pretty sold on a 310 or 314, but still, I'm curious about those other makes. Thanks!

Noflatpick 02-16-2001 12:49 PM

The Gibson quality isn't what it used to be. A lot of people won't play anything else but in my opinion, for what you get, they are way over-priced.

I believe Guilds are one of the best values in guitars today. They are very well made, have great sound, great action and are very reasonably priced.

I went shopping for a 12-string a couple of years ago and must have played a dozen or more guitars. Martins, Gibsons, Taylors, Takamines, and a JF-55 rosewood and spruce Guild. The guild had the best sound, both tone and volume, the best action, was a beautiful guitar, built like a tank and at less than 2000 bucks one of the cheapest I tried out.

I bought that guitar and have never regretted it. Anyone who has ever played it or heard me play it always comments about what a great BIG sound it has. I love it.

The Guild 6-strings are just as nice.

ScottyD 03-05-2001 11:58 PM

I agree that Guild makes about the best 12-string I have seen/played.
My Gibson J-185 CE is my favorite 6-string at the moment. Bigger, deeper sound with more brilliance and tighter and deeper low end than my 714 Taylor. Can't beat the action on my Taylor, though.

vince 03-17-2001 04:56 PM

I own 2 guilds, 1976 D50 Dreadnaught & 1987 J50. The 76 was my first guitar and it still sounds & looks great. Great for strumming, not fingerpicking, which is what I do most. The J 50 is a jewel, most were made for 12strings but this is a 6string. The bass and sustain is outstanding. Tuned to DAGDAD this baby really shines. Have'nt played the new Guilds since Fender bought them out so can't tell you how they compare. But if you buy a good old, outstanding!!

franchelB 03-25-2001 04:25 PM

I don't know if I'll get flamed for this, but here it goes....
If I had played a certain Guild DV52 before I bought the Taylor 410 in 1996, I would have bought the DV-52. The store owner was willing to make me a deal on the 410E that I could not pass up!

mgracing 03-25-2001 05:53 PM

I've been known to knock Gibson for sporadic quality and for being overpriced. I am also a Taylor fanatic (probably wouldn't be here if I wasn't huh). Having said that, a local shop just started carrying Gibson acoustics and I have spent some time with them over the past month or so. I must say, I was particularly impressed with a J-185. Scotty hit it right on the nail... I also own a 714 so I can appreciate the comparison. It seems that you just have to shop around a lot more than you would for a Taylor. Taylors just seem to be a lot more consistent.

[ 03-25-2001: Message edited by: mgracing ]

JW 03-26-2001 06:32 AM

Gibsons acoustic efforts have far exceeded their electric devision in the last 15 years But I still dont find the sound quality I want in a Gibson. I think the Taylor just blows them away. Someday if I live long enough Im sure something will come along and do the same thing to Taylor. When your at the top there's no place to go but down. I played Gibsons for year and still own several.

The two Gibsons I wont part with are my 60 Les Paul and my all Walnut J-40. To me the new Gibsons are overpriced and overrated.

Gibson IMHO is living in there own past. Instead of building something new they ae trying to go back to their Golden age.

Why not just build a better guitar? Guild? To me once a pinicale guitar now itss just an upgraded Fender.

For my money if Taylor wasnt around I can get just as much out of a 1000 dollar Takamine as a 3000 dollar Gibson.

Martin still builds a nice guitar but because of so much competition even they have jumped on the chezzy guitar bandwagon.

Ovation? I wont even go there.

My picks, Taylor, Tacoma, Takamine in that order.You can get into any of these guitars in your price range. My pick for your money a 310 or 314 Taylor. Just my 2 cents. JW

Noflatpick 03-26-2001 10:07 AM

Hey JW. I really have to disagree with the comment about Guilds being just an upgraded Fender. I see no comparison between the two. I could have bought any 12 string guitar in the store and I picked a rosewood Guild JF-55 over all the rest. It sounded better and played nicer than guitars costing twice as much.

Just 'cause Fender bought the company doesn't mean the instruments have lost anything.

GRW3 03-26-2001 12:07 PM

Gibson continually disparages those who use CNC equipment for precision fits, touting the excellence of their hand assembly. Too bad they couldn't correctly hand assemble the Dove I ran into this weekend.

Just a wonderful sounding guitar, until you checked intonation at the 12th fret. And I don't just mean the B string because the saddle wasn't compensated. Everything was off. That might be OK for the Epiphone Doves that go for an eight of the cost but not for an investment guitar.

[ 03-26-2001: Message edited by: GRW3 ]

rambo 03-26-2001 07:52 PM

richard,you ought to try playing some of those guitars you might not afford.Sometimes a big pricetag doesn`t mean a great guitar.I`ve tried some beautiful,pricey ones that were real dogs.You also may find some great comparisons to help your decision. :rolleyes:

franchelB 03-26-2001 09:09 PM


Originally posted by Noflatpick:
Hey JW. I really have to disagree with the comment about Guilds being just an upgraded Fender. I see no comparison between the two...
Just 'cause Fender bought the company doesn't mean the instruments have lost anything.

Sorry to disagree with JW but I feel that Noflatpick "hit the nail on the head".
IMHO, any company that can get Bob Benedetto as a luthier must be awfully respectable.
I also feel that Taylor and Guild arguably makes the best mass-produced 12 string guitar on the market.

JW 03-27-2001 06:34 AM

I wont comment on the 12 strings because it been awhile(long while) since I picked up a Guild 12 string. But I didnt know we were dicussing 12 strings. I just assumed it was six. The 6 string Guilds Ive picked up recently reallys stunk. Almost as much as Fenders Stratacoustic. Sorry if my opinion offened anyone but I just call em as I see em. I picked up a new Gibson Hummingbird and a Dove and the build quality terrible. So bad I dint even play them. Other than the laminates the Epiphone version is a better built guitar.

I never said the Guild sounded bad but I still dont think its the guitar it was 10 years ago. I played a Fender 12 string and for a 400 dollar guitar it sounded great. The Guild just didnt sound any better.

A 355 just blows it away! What can I say? JW

JayGon 04-30-2001 01:41 PM

When I first started shopping for a quality guitar, Guild was on my short list. In fact, I played a D4HG against a 310 and for the money it was a close call. Lacked the NT neck, ebony fretboard and the airy sound of the Taylor, but it was a lot of guitar for the money, which was sunstantiallly less than the Taylor. Nice glossy mahogany finish and arched back.

Then, as another has written in this thread, I was so close to a DV-52, which I still think is one of the best values for a traditional and classic dread with rosewood/Sitka/ebony/abalone/plush HSC around.

No regrets on ultimately deciding on my 410. I am a Taylor fan for sure. But Guilds are great guitars that can be bought right.


JayGon 04-30-2001 01:48 PM

A couple of afterthoughts:

From what I'm told by those who know more, Guild has really come back since the Fender cash infusion. The custom shop in Westerly, RI turns out some real beauties. I know we can make the Fender/Guild, Epiphone/Gibson analogies, but for the money, I think Guilds are worth some attention.

I, too, was close to getting a Tacoma, too, at one point in this process. I think the bracing gives them a bigger, open sound like Taylor and Larivees. Liked all the abalone, but not the light roswewood fretboards.


fretfinder 05-28-2001 01:16 AM

FWIW, I haven't been able to find a single Gibson acoustic with decent strings in any of a dozen stores. Martins, either.
I really wanted to like the J-185 after reading Steven Stone's review in Vintage Guitar magazine, but I could never find one that didn't have totally dead strings. I wound up buying a Taylor 810, which I love, but I still don't know whether I might have liked a Gibson as well or better.
In my opinion, the dead-string "scandal" is the biggest -- and least-often mentioned -- obstacle to making intelligent buying decisions about acoustic guitars. Most stores don't even dream about changing the strings on the guitars hanging on the walls.
As a result, the guitars -- like Taylors -- that come from the factory strung with Elixers almost always sound better. I wonder how many buyers unwittingly make their decisions on the basis of dead vs. live strings.

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