Guild F412 Twelve-String Guitar Review

By Mark Lincoln Published on Dec 28th, 2009
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History
Guild came into existence in 1952 by a man by the name of Alfred Dronge, a Polish immigrant who having been a musician and owner of a small music store set out to build fine guitars. Dronge enlisted the help of a number of luthiers and within the confines of his 1500 square-foot loft, the small group of men began constructing some of most superlative guitars the world had ever seen. The company continued to expand and after adding master luthiers Carlo Greco, a noted Italian classical guitar draftsman, Fred Augusto a master in finish applications and Gilbert Diaz who had recently worked for the noted guitar company Gretsch, Guild continued to thrive as a producer of fine guitars. In the late 60's Alfred Dronge moved the company to a dusty and defunct furniture factory in Rhode Island and having retrained many of the furniture craftsmen to become luthiers, the company prepared for the music revolution that would make Guild guitars a household name into the 21st century. Despite the fact that Dronge himself died tragically in a small plane crash on his way to the factory in New Jersey, the company lives on and continues to produce instruments of the highest quality and notoriety.

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Composition
The Body Style of the Guild F412 falls under the category of what the guitar industry deems the "12-String Jumbo" measuring 17" wide, 21" long, 4.8" deep. Interestingly, the initial model of the F412 was manufactured using the identical dimensions and was in fact the first Jumbo twelve-string that Guild produced in the late 1960's. The F412 and its close cousin the F512 have been Guild's most enduring and cherished twelve–string guitars since the company first opened its doors in the fifties.

The top of the F412 is composed of solid AAA spruce which gives the guitar a most radiant and attractive look upon first and last glance as well. The back and sides are composed of laminated maple while the bridge is constructed of gorgeous and richly hued Rosewood. The three-piece neck is made-up of mahogany and maple, the combination of which adds strength and splendor to the guitar. There are twenty frets on the fret board which is composed of deep-black and densely formed ebony wood, and is populated by natural mother-of-pearl and abalone inlays which provide stark contrast and drama to the resplendence of the guitar.

The Guild F412 makes use of gold-plated Grover Rotomatic machine heads and die-cast mini-tuners. Grover is well known in the guitar industry for production of exquisite and long-lasting machine heads that last the test of time. Further specs on the instrument include a high-gloss, nitrocellulose lacquer finish, tortoise shell pick guard, and duel truss rods for increased neck strength. The width of the neck at the nut is 1 and 13/16 inches and the scale length is 25 and 5/8 inches.

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Price
The Guild F412 is available in music stores and on-line as well, but will set you back a pretty penny. The least expensive that I have seen this amazing guitar offered is around $2,600 dollars, not including tax. Regardless of the moderate price of the guitar, it does include a beautiful and protective C5217 deluxe hard-shell case as well as over 55 years of Guild craftsmanship and quality.

Playability
Despite the lofty sticker price of the Guild F412, the instrument is truly worth every last penny. I've been a proud owner of this spectacular model of twelve-string for five years now and have never regretted the expenditure. The guitar is perfectly balanced from the tip of the headstock to the end of its spruce jumbo body. Bass notes resonate with equal clarity to the higher registers without a hint of muddiness or opacity. Fretting is comfortable though on any fret and the action is smooth and uniform from the first to the twentieth. And although I usually play the F412 through an amplification system, the guitar rings true and loud even when played unplugged. The jumbo body produces rich volumes unparalleled by other 12-strings that I have played, even when matched up with guitars of similar price. From a performance perspective, the guitar is pleasant to play making a three-hour presentation as enjoyable to the performer as it is to the audience.

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Overview
Based on the application of some of the highest quality materials available by master craftsman, as well as smooth-as-silk and virtually effortless play, I have found the Guild F412 twelve-string to be one of the finest guitars of its kind on the market and well worth the expense.