Guild Guitars, one of the most celebrated American instrument makers, has a couple of new acoustic guitars for consideration, both of which stack up well in their respective niche markets.
The D-2612CE Deluxe is a new take on an old idea, being a twelve string dreadnaught acoustic, with a cutaway and Sonitone Fishman pickup fitted as standard equipment. It plays well acoustically and comes alive when plugged in and treated with sympathetic EQ.
Like any good twelve string, the first thing you notice is the sheer scale and size of the instrument. This is a big, robust sounding guitar. The bass response is excellent for an instrument of this size, this is coupled with clear highs and mids, either acoustically or via the pickup system.
Next is the zing of the twelve strings themselves, as you fall down the rabbit hole of playing ‘Stairway to Heaven’, ‘Hotel California’, ‘Wish You Were Here’ and every other classic 12-string song you’ve ever learnt (warning: some of these tunes are still banned in most guitar shops that I know). An hour or so later, you can start to get a bit objective about this classy guitar that feels extremely comfortable and sounds huge. String spacing, sometimes a problematic feature on twelve string guitars, is good on the D-26. This allows players to fingerpick and place chord shapes with relative ease.
Designed in California as part of Guilds’ Westerly range of instruments, the D-26 is a rich and resounding play. Projection and sustain are enhanced by the bold design of the guitar, and the neck width is a comfortable fit for acoustic players. Some of the older mid 70’s twelve-string guitars were a bit chunky around the zero-fret neck position. Glad to say that Guild have rectified this feature with precision. Other welcome hardware features include a pau ferro fingerboard and bridge. The cutaway, a relatively recent addition to most acoustic guitars, is welcomed here as a dynamic way to utilise the entire fretboard easily.
Recording the D-26 Deluxe is surprisingly easy for an acoustic instrument of this breadth. Plugging it in via a D.I. to a computer sound-card gives a very warm guitar tone. Blending this with a good condenser microphone brings the sound alive and gives you respectable acoustic sounds right away.
As a live performance instrument, the D-26 was plugged into a powered wedge, again via the D.I., and produced a huge signal response and a natural acoustic guitar sound. The Fishman pickup features only tone and volume controls. However, at louder levels you may wish to employ some form of feedback busting gear, say an EQ pedal. But this would be the only addition to what is a warm, resonant sounding twelve string guitar. As a ‘worst case’ experiment, it was also demoed through a Vox guitar practice amp, not the most ideal set up for an acoustic instrument, and still managed to sound very good.
Sporting a solid spruce top, mother of pearl rosette and Guild arched headstock logo with ebony back and striped ebony sides, this guitar is a gem and well worth its pricepoint. The gloss finish, while highlighting the warm look of the instrument, also helps produce clear highs with deep resonant bass response. Sporting a cool retro look and a well-developed sense of 21st century guitar know-how, the D-26 Deluxe is a luxury feel twelve string guitar at the right price.
Hits and Misses
Volume and tone control only on the pickup system