The GAD-30 R from Guild is a stunningly good guitar for a very moderate price. It features the orchestra body style with many quality appointments: Solid Sitka spruce top and solid Indian rosewood bac... Click To Read More About This Product
The GAD-30 R from Guild is a stunningly good guitar for a very moderate price. It features the orchestra body style with many quality appointments: Solid Sitka spruce top and solid Indian rosewood back, sides and bridge. Ebony fingerboard on mahogany neck, bone nut and saddle, wood bindings, mother-of-pearl inlays, tortoise shell pickguard and abalone dot inlays are all features you'd expect at a much higher price. And it includes a Guild hardshell case.
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Guitars from China? In my search for a relatively inexpensive guitar to keep for use at the office, I have looked at, tried and actually purchased several. Looking in the range of $200-250., I began with a (used) Simon & Patrick TSU. Nice little dreadnaught, build in Canada of solid woods ? but not enough bass for me. I moved on next to the Walden G570 just after it had been favorably reviewed in Acoustic Guitar magazine in May 2007. This Grand Auditorium size guitar is made in China in a small city just south of Beijing ? my first try of one of these. I was pleasantly surprised at its easy playability and better-than-expected sustainability and decent bass sound ? yet, I wasn?t quite satisfied. It was too light for my taste (Cedar top and laminated sapele mahogany back and sides). Then, I began to read about the Guild GAD line ? manufactured to Guild specs in China. I decided to raise the ante up to the $500-$750 range, and have wound up with the GAD-30R (Orchestra size) with the natural finish. I?m not sure why I had reservations about buying an instrument made half-way around the world. After all, they have been making lots of things (not just fire crackers) for a lot longer than we have. This includes musical instruments. This realization, along with the good experience with the low-cost Walden, along with the wide range of excellent professional and user reviews of the GAD-30R, caused me to order one. Appearance This guitar is nicely put together. There are no evident flaws in either the assembly or finish and with the natural tone top (which I prefer on all my guitars) the Mother-of-Pearl Position inlays and the Abalone dot position inlays stand out more than they might in the other available finishes (Antique Burst and Amber Burst.) This is also true of the little appointments that are not the first thing you notice about a guitar: like the Ebony bridge and end pins, the back center wood mosaic inlay, the larger-than-Martin tortoise shell pickguard or the carefully crafted wood body bindings. The plainness of the instrument actually makes it?s appointments stand out ? in a tasteful way, of course. This guitar bears the standard Guild Mother-of-Pearl headstock logo. The finish is smooth and nicely glossy, but not reflectively distracting. Funny ? it doesn?t look Chinese! Construction I suppose that the most extraordinary feature of this guitar is how much guitar it really is for the price. I can only assume this has to do with the lower cost of both labor and materials in China ? but the net product is on a par with some of the best guitars I have played that are made here in the US. With a Dovetail neck joint, the materials appear to be first rate. The top is solid Sitka spruce and the back and sides are solid Indian Rosewood as is the bridge. The neck is solid mahogany and the fingerboard is ebony ? a feature I find especially accommodative to my own playing style. There is nothing quite as smooth and easy as ebony! The tuning machines are Grover Stay-Tites. The width at the nut is a little wider than my Martin HD28 at 1 12/16 (the Martin standard is 1 11/16) but narrower than the twelve string Taylor 355 with it?s 1 14/16 width. It seems to me that the small increase in width makes finger picking, a style I am new to, somewhat easier than it is on a neck narrower by only a seemingly silly little16th of an inch. The scale is 25 ??, there are 20 frets and the fretboard radius is 12? and the interior bracing is scalloped. Playability I found this guitar to be quite player-friendly. That is, the strings (Light Phosphor Bronze), frets and fingerboard work with little effort under the ministrations of my less-than-expert fingerings. It produces the sounds I expect to hear at the volume at which I intend them. I would call these particular characteristics responsiveness. The bass and treble tones are nicely balanced ? one not overpowering the other, yielding a tonality that makes accompanying voice(s) a nice experience. Played as a solo instrument, each note rings true and clear. During the first week, I played it for about an hour a day and my hands felt good afterwards! That?s probably one of the best compliments I can give a guitar?s playability ? at least so far as it conforms to my own musculature, movements and preferences. Sound While lacking the punch of some of the older US made Guilds, this Orchestra style guitar holds it?s own, either alone or in groups ? playing either finger or flat picking lead or strumming rhythm. I have made several allusions to the sound of this guitar in earlier sections of the review but will add here only that, like so many other of it?s features and characteristics, that the sound it produces is honestly surprising. It sounds as good (or batter than) guitars costing 2-4 times as much. Overall Value A lot of guitar for a reasonable modest price. Delivered with a distinctive tweed covered hard shell case for $750. or less (Listed by Guild at $949.), you really can?t go wrong with this one. Responsive to fingers, finger picks and flat picks, it produces sounds one would reasonably expect from a Guild. Representative, I expect, of an entire line (the GAD Series) that is worth exploring further.
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