Good old Guild guitars are too often overlooked. Based on the low prices you'll see in the used market, they seem to be widely under appreciated. Made in Westerly, Rhode Island, these old boxes can rival the workmanship and tone of comparable Martins and Gibsons from the same era. But they're usually listed at half the price! Despite their classy stylings and rich sound, Guilds were affordable back in the day, and good-playing examples remain affordable today.
An old Guild is a quality, American-made flattop with the nuanced tone you want from a vintage guitar. Does 1980 count as vintage? That's for you decide, but regardless, this 42-year-old D-25 sounds fantastic.
Launched in 1968, the Guild D-25 was conceived as an affordable workingman’s dreadnought. It features a 25-1/2” scale, and by 1976, it had a solid Spruce top and laminate mahogany back and sides. 1980 was the first year that the model was offered with Sunburst top finish, and this one is gorgogeous.
This 1980 Guild D-25 has been beautifully preserved over the years, and it’s in excellent condition for its age. At some point, both the nut and saddle were replaced. The frets are original, properly dressed, and have plenty of life left. The neck set is also still holding on—plenty of saddle to bring the action down, but it plays nicely with low action and light gauge strings. The original three-on-plate tuners still keep things in tune nicely, and the original pickguard hasn’t caused any cracking or related shrinking issues.
As you’d expect from a 42-year-old guitar, there is some expected play wear. The finish has worn and chipped somewhat along the edges of the fingerboard, but it doesn’t affect playability. Around the body, there are also some scuffs and bumps here and there (see photos), but fortunately no severe damage or structural issues. On the back, there is a cosmetic surface crack, but because it’s a laminate piece of wood, it’s only in the veneer.
As for sound, this 1980 Guild D-25 produces a bold, warm dreadnought tone. It is big and dry, but rich in nuance—just like you’d want from a good vintage guitar. In this era, Guilds were made with a slim (but not too slim) neck profile that is fast and comfortable. All in all, it’s a fantastic dreadnought that captures its own unique vibe, and it includes its original hardshell case.