Guild J65BL Reviews 5

I bought this guitar on 2/7/2000 from Magic Flute in SanRafael, CA. They had it priced at $2000, which would have been $2150 or so with tax. I waved $1550 in cash at them, and asked politely, and they gave that to me along with a couple of sets of Martin Marquis strings, a cheap sidewinder and a Shubb capo. It came with a hardshell case.

I walked into teh acoustic showroom early in the process of shopping for a new acoustic. I was thinking in terms of Martin, for their excellent playability, but I found that the big shiny jumbos seemed to fit me and my styles better than the dreadnoughts. This axe hung right beside the Gibson J2000, also in maple. The Gibson is a slightly snazzier looking instrument, so I was very surprised to hear how much clearer and more powerful the Guild was. I didn't quite believe it at first, and kept swapping them out to compare, but the conclusion was inescapable: the Guild was both well ahead in intrinsic power, depth, and character, and also much better suited to my fairly deep and powerful voice. I continued shopping all over the San Francisco Bay Area for three lore weeks, playing fifty or more guitars: Santa Cruz, Taylor, L'Arrivee, Gibson and others, but never found anything else which seemed so suited to me. When I play in a bluegrass circle, I can strum gently until my turn comes around, and then, when I dig in and step on it, it's as though I were amplified. I don't even get overwhelmed by the banjos! This is probably the best guitar I've ever played on a long-term basis. The only close comparison I can make is to a Louden (Irish-made, nit US) which is overall very similar, but a touch lighter in construction. Superb power, sparkles, and jumps to exactly produce almost any sounds my little brain can fantasize.

In order to realize the maximum sound benefits and power, I have to use medium gauge strings. This makes the instrument something of a muscle workout. Whatever, it's totally worth it.

Carved maple back, gorgeous. perfectly matched sides, and the finish on the X-braced spruce top is a good match to the maple color. The neck is quarter-sawn rock maple, which is pound for pound probably stronger than the steel truss rod. Fingerboard inlay in mother of pearl and abolone, simple shapes. Rosette, purfling, binding etc also fairly simple. A very good looking instrument, but you can definitely tell that the real effort went not into looks but sound.

When you go to buy an acoustic which is powerful and brilliant, suitable for high-quality unamplified or amplifiewd performance, the question is not whether to buy a Guild, but which Guild to buy. I can't reccomend this blonde beauty enough. I expect to spend the rest of my life listening to her maturation and mine.

Pearl of Bolinas rated this unit 5 on 2002-02-01.

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