The Guild D-50 Bluegrass Special, And The Guild D-40 Jubilee Acoustic Guitars
Guild Guitars have produced wonderful instruments right here in the United States for a very long time. Founded in 1952 in Manhattan, New York, and by a former executive of the Epiphone Guitar Company, Guild Guitars had very solid foundations from which to build their company, and their instruments. Though the primary focus of Guild Guitars was initially arch-top jazz model instruments, the folk boom of the 1960s forced the company to build guitars suited towards that market, and so they came directly in line to compete with the elder C.F.Martin & Company.
Guild Guitars produced and produces still some very wonderful folk model instruments, and especially well known are their dreadnought body instruments, and their highly esteemed twelve string guitar. One historical tidbit of guitar history is that Richie Havens opened up the 1960 Woodstock festival playing a Guild D-40.
Guild Guitars as a manufacturer seemed to want to compete with the American Big Three guitar manufacturers: Martin, Gibson, and Fender , and well, they must have competed a bit too well, as the Fender Guitar company soon enough bought out Guild. Luckily for aficionados of Guild, Fender didn't interfere too much with Guild's fine acoustic guitar manufacturing. Fender DID shut down Guild's electric guitar production, and it doesn't seem too mysterious why that would happen, but Guild's fine acoustic guitars are still made here in the USA, while Fender's name brand acoustic instruments are NOT.
The Guild D-50 Bluegrass Special, Front And Back.
The Guild D-50 Bluegrass Special With Sunburst Finish, And Fishman Pre-Amp, and Pickup.
The Guild D-50 Bluegrass Special
Now the Guild D-50 Bluegrass Special is a guitar built with one primary purpose in mind, and that purpose was to compete directly with the Martin D-28. In every single way this guitar was created and designed towards that one singular end, and it does compete well with the Martin D-28, and the proof of that is that the guitar is still made to this very day, and the only reason it is still made, is because it has proven successful enough towards the end it was created for it to be continued.
What is special about the Guild D-50 Bluegrass Special? What would make it superior to a Martin HD-28VR?
There is one thing in particular that makes the Guild D-50 Bluegrass special a more favorable instrument to the Martin for some, and that is the fact the Guild D-50 Bluegrass Special features a solid red spruce, or Adirondack spruce ("Red spruce" IS Adirondack spruce) sound board or top. The standard Martin HD-28 comes with a Sitka spruce sound board or top. It is often thought the Adirondack spruce provides a louder and clearer tonality and also more sustain than does the more common Sitka spruce sound board.
So why doesn't Martin offer an Adirondack spruce top on it's infamous D-28 guitar?
C.F. Martin & Company ABSOLUTELY offer a red or Adirondack spruce top on one model of D-28 guitar, but the problem with that is, the only model of D-28 Martin offers with red or Adirondack spruce is the Martin D-28GE or "golden era," and that guitar also features Brazilian rosewood back and sides, and because it combines not one, but TWO "holy grail" woods, the D-28GE sells for about nine thousand dollars.
C.F.Martin & Company DOES offer a rosewood dreadnought guitar with East Indian Rosewood and an Adirondack Spruce top, but not in a D-28 model, they actually offer a comparable guitar to the Guild D-50 Bluegrass Special, but in a D-16 model known as the D-16 Arirondack.
Truth of the matter is the Guild D-50 Bluegrass Special is very much based upon the Martin D-28 in every way, but there are some minor differences outside of the high grade red spruce top provided by default on the Guild instrument. Distinctive with the Guild are the brand's headstock, pick guard, and the fact the instrument also comes from the factory with bone bridge pins, something I am not aware of Martin doing with any of its instruments.
Now, the only real dilemma here for anyone shopping for a great rosewood and spruce dreadnought would be determining which they could afford. Truly, because the prices of this Guild guitar are rather close to Martin's HD-28VR, I'd suggest not purchasing one over the other for any price swing a few hundred dollars in either direction. When purchasing an instrument on this level a few hundred dollars should not be thought the big concern, as the buyer should be purchasing a guitar they intend to spend hundreds or thousands of hours with in the future. The concern should be purchasing the guitar that feels and sounds best to the player.
If you peruse the two links to the exact guitars I'm suggesting for comparison here, then you'll see the Martin instrument sells for a slight bit less on Amazon.com, but this is not an exact or fair comparison regarding what you might see at a guitar store, as the two amazon links I've provided are only the best I could find for compare. The Guild model comes with the red spruce top, a sunburst finish, and Fishman pre-amp and pickup, and all three of those features put it in position to where it could provide more value to the player. I should point out here the fact that even though Guild instruments do enjoy a very high regard and reputation, the Martin instrument "might" still hold a higher resale value should the purchaser decide to sell.
In the end, my final advice is always going to be the same - go with your gut, your hands, and your ears.
This is a Terrific Guild D-50 Bluegrass Special, and Some Great Playing Too!
The Guild D-40 Jubilee Guitar, Mahogany and Red Spruce
The Guild D-40 Jubilee - Red Spruce And Mahogany.
The Guild D-40Jubilee And The Martin D-18
Now with the Guild D-40 Jubilee we have the exact same thing as with the Guild D-50 Bluegrass Special, but things are ever so slightly different. The Guild D-40 Jubilee is the exact same competition and copy for the Martin D-18 as the Guild D-50 Bluegrass Special is for the Martin HD-28VR.
The thing about the Guild D-40 Jubilee and it's competition with the Martin D-18 that is different is that the Martin D-18GE also features a red spruce or Adirondack top as does this fine acoustic guitar from guild.
The normal Martin D-18 features Sitka spruce as do all normal (non golden era) models of D-28, but the difference here is that the D-18GE isn't so vastly more expensive from it's non golden era cousin the HD-28 from the D-28GE, and the reason for this is that mahogany is still mahogany.
With rosewood guitars, you have a vast leap upwards in price from an East Indian rosewood model to a Brazilian rosewood model, but essentially the only difference between a Martin D-18V and a D-18GE is the red spruce top, and a slightly wider width at the nut.
So essentially, this fine Guild D-40 Jubilee competes EXTREMELY favorably with the Martin D-18GE in the realm of cost, or price.
Now, I had tried to provide a link to an amazon.com page concerning the Martin D-18GE with a coinciding picture, however, I could not do this, so instead let me tell you that the price for the Martin mahogany body instrument with a red spruce top sells for about $3,500.00. I ought to know, I certainly did used to own such a guitar, the Martin D-18GE.
One major detail or difference between the Guild D-40 Jubilee and the Martin D-18GE is the width of the neck at the nut. The Martin D-18GE has a one and three quarter inch width at the nut, which is slightly wider than is any non Golden Era edition instrument made by C.F. Martin & Company. The Guild D-40 Jubilee measures 1.68" at the nut, which is a more standard width for current production dreadnought guitars, and is roughly the same nut width as a Martin D-18V.
At the end of the day, the musician knows which guitar combined with their skill makes the best music, and while the name C.F. Martin & Company itself puts a higher resale value on a guitar than does Guild's name, this also creates some very favorable deals on used Guild guitars!