9/01/2015

1986 Guild F-20 Flattop Guitar




This is a customer's guitar that was in for some repair. When I first saw iPhone pictures of it in email I thought it was an earlier (early 70s) guitar, but the serial "does not lie" and this was made in 86. Guild wasn't making a lot of F-20s at that time so it's a relatively rare guitar for that period. While the 60s models are the most desirable due to falloff from Nick Drake's preference for the mahogany-top M-20 model, every F-20 I've handled has had some sort of charm or another that spooks its way into your consciousness.

This one is no slouch and has distinctly-punchy mids, snappy highs, plenty of projection, and a good tight bass. It's sort of like an 0-18 on steroids (minus the lingering sweet mwah that better 0-18s have). I suppose you could expect that, though, with a body almost the same dimensions as a 14-fret 0-18 but with a longer scale (25 1/2") and arched maple back. It's an interesting experience and I'm betting that this would make a good "jam guitar" for folks who don't want to carry around something bigger but still need some cutting power.



The cherry sunburst look is nice, isn't it?

This guitar is all-original and in good structural shape though it does have a lot of finish weather-checking and use-wear present. The heel area has all of its finish chipped off and the sides of the headstock show some of that, too.

My work included a fret level/dress, very light bridge shave, saddle adjustment and compensation, cleating/filling of a "pickguard" hairline crack, cleaning, and setup with a new set of 12s. It plays perfectly, now, with 3/32" bass and 1/16" treble action at the 12th fret and a stable, straight neck with well-functioning truss rod. The neck is a thin C shape and feels rather like an electric guitar neck, though Guild's 2-piece maple approach means these remain more stable over time than your average electric neck. The top has a tiny bit of belly but that's to be expected for an older flattop of any type.

What can I say? I like this guitar! Compared to, say, a Martin or Gibson, it's a bit heavier in construction and as a result feels thankfully "solid."





After the bridge shave (I only took 1/32" off of it to let the saddle clear a little better) I also added string ramps for good back-angle on the saddle.



Here you can see the small hairline crack next to the pickguard that I cleated in two places and filled/sealed.





For some reason the finish flaked off entirely at the neck. I don't think it's due to past reset work... must've just been a bad batch of finish.


The neck is 2-piece flamed maple with a (mahogany?) center strip. Strong build!







An older hard case came with the guitar... but it's slightly larger (00 size), though works just fine.

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