Holiday Gear Guide: Guild F-30RCE
LIST PRICE: $2,999
Guild Guitar began humbly in 1953, building jazz boxes in a cramped, 2nd floor Manhattan loft. As folk music exploded in the 1960s, Guild shifted its focus to building top shelf acoustics that were quickly embraced by the biggest names in the industry. Today, Guild’s American line is built in New Hartford, Connecticut, in the fashion of more expensive, boutique builders.
The Guild introduced the F-30RCE in 2011, an orchestra body style with a cutaway, (hence the “C”) with an electronic system, (hence the “E”). There are a few features that set the F-30RCE apart from other guitars in its price range: the wood, the electronics and workmanship.
Whereas the top of the F-30RCE is Sitka spruce, the bracing is Adirondack red spruce, which has a high strength-to-weight ratio allowing Guild to brace the tops lighter while still maintaining good structural stability. Lighter bracing means the guitar’s top vibrates more freely which enhances the sound quality: better volume, presence and overall tone. The F-30RCE really chimes.
Another feature that sets the F-30RCE apart is its D-TAR Wave-Length pickup system which runs on two AA batteries (instead of a 9-volt battery) giving it a wider dynamic range and more overall headroom while reducing signal distortion when the strings are hit hard. (The controls are hidden inside the sound-hole, which aesthetically works, but I always find a bit awkward while performing. I rarely remember what turns it up and what turns it down.)
Guilds have a slim neck which feels very comfortable, and a 1 3/4” nut width for wider string spacing helps for finger-style playing. An honest to God bone nut, saddle, and bridge pins make it look and feel like guitars did before manufacturers switched to that cheap plastic crap that seems so ubiquitous for the past twenty years.
Nothing fancy about the F-30RCE, it remains a working class, subtle classic with everything a performing player needs: great tone, great electronics, and easy playability. The F-30RCE does not disappoint.