At first sight, the concept of reviewing a small, big guitar seems only slightly less crazy than the idea of trying to build one in the first place. If you add to this the price of the guitar in question — £302 (inc. tax) — and also note that you can buy a full-size one for £190 (inc. tax), you may rightly wonder what the hell is going on in New Jersey. In fact there are several perfectly good reasons for making a smaller version of the standard "Dreadnaught" shape Jumbo, and the apparent price difference is NOT for the common reason that minority tastes mean smaller production runs and consequently poorer value for money: The G75 at £302 costs more than the very popular D25 (full size) because it is a very much better guitar. It is in fact marginally cheaper than the same quality of Guild Jumbo in full size D50 (£337 inc. tax), and this is as it should be, since the lower cost of smaller pieces of Rosewood just about balances the additional costs of smaller quantity production. This fair and flexible attitude to production is entirely consistent with Guild's policy of supplying almost anything in a left-handed version for a reasonable 10% surcharge, providing you are willing to wait for it.
The G75 has only been available in England for a few weeks, and certainly not for very long in the U.S., but the idea of 3/4 size versions of well known models goes back several years. About 1969, a well-known American artist approached Guild with the problem of making several 3/4 sized instruments for him, which were to look AND SOUND as near as possible to the full size versions. In the early seventies I saw several of these instruments and considered then that Guild had done the near impossible in meeting both size and sound specifications. In the following years, I made occasional enquiries about the general availability of these guitars but their importers at that time returned a consistent "no comment".
Time passed, and eventually I decided to start making guitars and the memory of the little Guilds faded.
Two weeks ago, while considering which guitars to review, I discovered a cryptic entry in the importer's catalogue, listed simply as G75. Purely out of curiosity I asked for a sample, and was a little shaken when I unwrapped a charming miniature Dreadnaught which looked for all the world like the specials I saw some years ago.
It appears that you no longer need to be famous to get your hands on one of these amazing instruments, and I still think that Guild have done the near impossible in making a small guitar that sounds like a big one. I also think after carrying it about with me for a couple of weeks that I would need a lot of persuading to take a bath-tub sized guitar case on the road ever again.
To be more specific, the G75 is a scaled down version of the well known D50 Jumbo but with a full 635 mm scale and a standard neck (25¾ inches for devout non-Europeans). It has chrome Schaller machines, simulated pearl inlaid head, an ebony finger-board with pearl inlaid dots and white edge dots, polished frets, ebony bridge, real ivory nut and saddle and regrettable, the plastic bridge-pins. The nut was cut too low on the review sample and the bottom string buzzed but this is not typical of Guilds and if the plastic bridge-pins offend you, they are easily replaced.
As with many new Guilds, the finger-board appears to have been sanded with fairly coarse abrasive and as a result, its surface is rough and the pearl dots look cloudy.
On a guitar of this price I expect the old silver and black enamel truss rod cover — this one is plastic. I also expect to see wood shavings, glue smears and buffing compound removed from the inside of the guitar before it leaves the factory. My final complaint is that while sloppy joints between centre strip and struts on the back are not significant, they are not consistent with the workmanship elsewhere.
The top is fine-grained (Canadian?) spruce, back and sides solid Rosewood — possibly from India or Madagascar. Considering that a guitar of this price is more likely to be used by a professional and will inevitably suffer the occasional knock, I am pleased to see that the edge bindings manage to combine a light and graceful appearance with immensely strong corner protection. It is unfortunate that this model of guitar cannot be properly produced in an economy version. Guild have done what they can, by omitting extravagant pearl decoration, but a small guitar which sounds like a big one, absolutely requires high quality materials. 99% of Guild's production falls into two categories, good and very good: this is very good.
By the time you have bought a case, £340 is a lot of money but if you want a professional guitar, your money is better spent on this than on some other makes.
Retail Price £280.00
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