11/21/2013

c.1995 Westerly-made Guild D4-NT Dreadnought Guitar




This guitar has changed enough since the last time I posted that it deserves new pics, soundclip and a new writeup -- which is what I've just done.

Originally I sold this guitar on consignment at the time I first posted. It had a Fishman Matrix Infinity pickup installed and I'd always wondered what this would sound like without the undersaddle element in it and a proper compensated bone saddle in place. So: this time around I swapped the Fishman out for a Baggs M1 I had around and made that bone saddle and set it up again.

Wow! Big old dreadnought tone, now... in the classic "singing guitar" sense. This is a perfect chordal accompaniment beast but it also has enough rumble and punch to do lead lines or fills in a band context. It's simply a lot happier without an undersaddle element on this particular guitar. Livens it up!

This particular guitar has been a favorite to borrow during the jam sessions here at the store and it gets quite a bit of play because of that. It's a practical, fun guitar and easy on the fingers. I have it setup "on the dot" with a set of mixed-gauge strings -- 12s on the top and slightly lighter on the bottom. It rocks regular 12s just fine, though.


The top center seam opened up a couple winters ago and I reglued that and sealed it. Since then a couple of older smallish very thin hairlines opened up, though they're right over bracing and so didn't need cleats. I filled them anyhow. You can't even see them in the pics.


The tuners aren't original... I ditched the original heavy Grovers for these Klusons-tyle repro units. They're a lot lighter in weight, work well, and don't cause the "neck dive" that the heavier Grovers were causing beforehand. The truss rod works well and this has a 1 11/16" nut width, though the neck profile is slim and fast like a modern electric guitar.


Rosewood board, medium frets... all in good order.


The Baggs M1 pickups are great inventions and very useful for someone who may be in a rock band or a loud band as they simply don't feedback. They have a fairly natural sound -- approximately equal to a decent undersaddle pickup but more balanced -- and are dead quiet. This is the passive version so if you're running right into an amp you'll want to use a preamp, though it's fine for going into a mixer board as-is since the signal can be boosted at the mixer.

These pickups are somewhat body-sensitive, too, so while they're magnetic in nature they sound more like a traditional acoustic pickup instead. They're not as accurate tonally as a K&K or similar but they also don't have feedback issues even when using poorly-placed PA equipment.


I also added string ramps to the rosewood bridge for better back-angle and thus more power. Note the plentiful pickwear -- this had seen good use before I ever saw it in the shop and has had good use ever since.


The back has some cloudiness to the finish near the heel join and waist bass side. I think the binding was reglued at one point in this instrument's history and that's the reason. It's not obvious unless you're really looking for flaws.

The specs, wood-wise, on this are: solid spruce top, solid mahogany sides, laminate mahogany (arched) back, mahogany neck, and rosewood board and bridge. Is it too late to mention that this is also a true-blue Westerly, RI-made Guild?



I like these tuners so, so much more than the original heavy Rotomatics. They look a lot classier and more vintage, too.








The original hard case is included as well and it's in fine shape.

No comments: