6/18/2017

1971 Guild D-40 NT Dreadnought Guitar





Guild's take on a "bluegrass" Martin D-18 is this old beast -- the D-40. Just like a D-18, it's a dreadnought shape with a long scale, spruce top, x-bracing, and mahogany back and sides. Unlike some other Guilds, the back is braced, solid, and flat rather than press-arched and laminate. This key ingredient gives it a bit more of a "classic dread" tone (warmer, sweeter).

If one closes their eyes and listens to this guitar, it does sound an awful lot like a good D-18, but with a little more presence in the highs and a lot more mids. I'm used to hearing a Martin-ish "mids-scoop" out of copycat dreadnoughts, but this one really retains that mids-rich Guild flavor that sounds so good behind a mic or in a band context. It feels more "hi-fi."

Blather aside, I worked on this for a customer who's owned it for a long while. It was getting to the point that the fretboard extension was ski-jumping a hair and the saddle was getting just a bit low for comfort. I gave it a neck reset, recut the saddle slot a little thicker, did a fret level/dress, and made a new bone nut and compensated bone saddle. It's come out of work a cannon, with tons of punch and drive. The tall saddle now gives it the leverage you find on modern Martins and when you add that to the thin, light top this guitar really kicks it out.



The nut width is just a hair under 1 11/16" and the rosewood board has a roughly 14" radius. The neck profile a smaller, flattened C-shape and it plays very fast. The truss rod works fine and still has its cool, metal, cover.


While there was obvious fretwear before work, the frets have come out the other side with some life still left in them.



I do like the curves of the big, Guild, pickguards. They were also clever enough to make them very thin, so they don't rob tone.


While the original saddle slot was thinner, I wanted to install a thicker saddle so that it'd have more grab in the slot. When one gets a 45-degree angle behind a tall saddle, that tends to want to make it lean. This new one leans just slightly, but most of that is because the whole bridge itself leans forward under tension.

This Guild, like many of their dreadnoughts, was built with a super-light top and as a result it's distorted/bellied around the bridge. It's not falling apart, but it's part of the price one pays for a lively, solid-wood dread that sounds the business.





The old Sta-Tites look great, don't they? They work swell, too.


The heel cap is replacement pickguard material I popped on. It was missing its white cap. If I can find something with the right color, I might make a better replacement before this one gets picked-up.





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