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FDP Forum / Guild/DeArmond/Tacoma Guitars / Guild GAD-30R - intial impressions

Contributing Member

Oct 8th, 2009 06:19 AM   Edit   Profile  

I was in the market for a sub-$1000 Orchestra sized acoustic, and the main competitors were the Taylor 214, Martin OM-1 and the GAD-30. I played the Taylor and Martin extensively at GC, but neither thrilled me, so I ended up ordering the GAD-30 from Sweetwater based on my online research. I figure if I don't like it I can ship it back no questions asked. Here are my initial thoughts...

Tone: the GAD-30R is a very well-balanced, resonant guitar - louder than I expected for its size. Intonation is perfect, and tuning very stable after stretching the strings a bit. In terms of tone comparisons, the Martin was very boxy, and the Tayor was scooped - very bright (perhaps due to the Elixirs) and boomy on the low end. I really wanted to like the Martin, but while comfortable it just sounded so small and "dead". The Taylor is a whole different animal, with it's sparkle on the high end and narrower nut width. The GAD-30r is a nice compromise between the two competitors.

Build Quality: The GAD-30R is flawless from what I can tell. All binding and inlay work is perfect, no glue drips, bracing is solid. The sitka spruce top has a *very* tight grain... so much so that from 10ft or so the grain is invisible. The solid rosewood back and sides are all tight grained as well. Finish is high gloss all around, and not too thick (I've seen thicker)... a good sign is that the whole body resonates very well. The neck and fretboard is perfect... frets were leveled, crowned and polished and the ebony fretboard edges were rolled. This is a very comfy neck to play! Perhaps best of all, the guitar shipped with the relief a tad high - a little more than a quarter turn on the truss, and the action is now perfect (4/64 at the 12th fret) with no buzzing anywhere. Not bad at all! Relative to the Martin and Taylor, the quality of the build is several notches above, and easily on a par with guitars in the $1500-$2000 range.

While I was initially put off by the poly finish and the made in China thing, I have to say this is a great value for a 100% solid wood acoustic.

Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Oct 8th, 2009 08:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

The GAD series guitars are pretty impressive in my experience. When I wound up purchasing my F47RC (Tacoma made), I did try them and was very impressed by the build quality, playability and tone. Still...I wanted an American made guitar to support those skilled workers still here YMMV/FWIW). I also played many, many Taylors, Gibsons, Breedloves, Martins, Yamahas, Larrivees, Takamines, and on and on. Months of playing various guitars whenever I went to "the city." The GAD series compared exceedingly well to all the top brands and topped them in many/most cases. For imported guitars, they ain't cheap. But they are quality guitars. What I came away with from the experience, had me shaking my head at many of the highly regarded brands (especially in the $1200 to $2000 range). They were lackluster, bland sounding or unbalanced sounding guitars. Guild...both their American models and their GAD series...is delivering a true quality instrument.

Contributing Member

"Hey is that your

Jazz Plus or are you glad to see me?"
Oct 8th, 2009 09:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

I tried several of the GAD's and liked them all.

For import guitars the quality and consistency is excellent.

Contributing Member

Oct 8th, 2009 02:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

I went back to GC today at lunchtime to try the Taylor and Martin again to make sure. The GAD wins on all counts but the label... quality, playability and tone are all superior IMHO. Looks like I have a keeper!

Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Oct 8th, 2009 04:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

The Guild label is plenty good. 'Cause there's a guitar behind that label backing it up. It may not impress the chicks and the wannabes, but those who know guitars know Guild delivers instruments. I'm often surprised in circles of other musicians that when you mention (or show up with) a good Guild, they just kind of say "....ahhhh...a Guild!"

Contributing Member

Central NJ, USA

Aug 9th, 2011 08:14 AM   Edit   Profile  

just got my GAD30 Natural (mahogany) from Mandolin Bros. in NY. I can't put it down. It plays and looks beautifully. I shopped around for my first 'real' acoustic. Can't get get over the quality relative to the cost. Amazing!

(This message was last edited by chrysafis at 08:16 AM, Aug 9th, 2011)

Contributing Member

Aug 9th, 2011 11:13 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've had mine almost 2yrs and it is still one of my favorites. Some say they are hit and miss, but I have no complaints.

FDP Forum / Guild/DeArmond/Tacoma Guitars / Guild GAD-30R - intial impressions

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