It's not every day you get to try one of Guild's brand new USA made acoustics, but today is one of those days!

We have got our hands on their top-of-the-line D-55 acoustic, fresh from their facility in Southern California under the guidance of super master guru incredi-luthier from space Ren Ferguson.

Initially a special order guitar when introduced in 1968, it was so well recieved that Guild put it into production proper in 1974. A classic US dreadnought then to rival the other two big boys, famously played by an eclectic range of players including Waylon Jennings (you should know who he is), Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) and Tommy Smothers of the Smothers Brothers (me neither - what a great name though).



The D-55 is the all singing all dancing high spec dreadnought from Guild, and this 2017 reintroduction stays true to the classic, with a few sensible tweaks here and there. At first glance it looks lovely, but it doesn't immediately hit you as a premium level guitar until you pick it up and take a closer look.

Constructed from a superb quality AAA spruce top and beautiful mastergrade Indian rosewood back and sides, this is a traditional dreadnought and as such has a big, rich and balanced tone with lots of projection. Where the attention to detail in the appearance really shines though is on the fretboard and neck, with its black and white contrast lines along the top and bottom of the binding (which runs the whole way around the neck), and the two lines of "railroad track" purfling along the fretboard top. They are beautifully fitted without looking too flashy, just like the stunning mother of pearl Vs inside the block inlays.




This dreadnought has scalloped Adirondack (red) spruce bracing which is a thing people say is good, and a new and "improved" dovetail neck joint. It is finished in nitrocellulose, which is applied as thinly as possible for maximum resonance and will look better and better with age.

Most of the changes Guild have made to the D-55 are in order to bring the weight down, so they've used a birch-ply end block, a newly shaped neck heel and open-back machine heads. I don't mind a bit of weight to a bigger guitar, but this feels nice and manageable, despite my prejudice against open-back machine heads on a dreadnought.






Why don't you stop being so boring and tell us how it sounds?


Well, it's very impressive. You know you're going to get great bass and volume with a properly built dreadnought, but this D-55 has such finesse as well that it easily competes with the very top level of US made acoustics. It does exactly what you want a proper dred to do - and as such, when you dig in the bass strings with some simple open position chords it's like cutting into a freshly baked loaf of bread. Crisp on the outside, warm and rich in the centre. Deeply satisfying, and very very easy to play with the soft neck profile.

The higher frequencies also ring crystal clear with just the right level of sustain - enough to make everything sound beautiful and slightly compressed, but not so much that it's like playing a British folk guitar that's the size of a boat, or a piano with a brick on the sustain pedal.


 Overall then, a superb high-spec US made dreadnought with everything you could ever want in terms of classic tone with modern playability. It also has refreshingly understated looks at first glance, and many features that only become clear when you take a closer look. Awesome.

However, for £3429 UK retail it doesn't come cheap, and in that kind of price bracket there are lots of options - but I think the little touches on the Guild D-55 make it distinct from lots of the opposition, and similar custom shop spec guitars new from the other major US manufacturers can certainly cost a lot more.

A great option if you're looking for a high performance dreadnought for life.