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Enter the Orpheum. A Guild with an archaeological past...the Guild that "would have been". An instrument that builds upon the legacy of it’s forebears while exploiting the benefits of already having 'been there and done that’!This guitar is every bit the contender in a ring of professional heavy weights. The fit and finish is on a par with, and many times superior to, the very best of breed. The guitar is lithe and sits as effortlessly in the lap as it rests suspended with a strap. The neck is comfortable and the fretboard is easy on the hands.But it comes down to the sound. And this is where the Orpheum shines! The guitar is balanced across registers (which means wherever you prefer to play on the fingerboard you will get the expected volume and tone). The guitar is loud, but it is not harsh, not overly bright or brassy and ear piercing. Nor is it muddy, woody and thumpy. It is not cavernous or vapid, but it possesses that rich acoustic warmth that made me spend hard-earned money on my first Guild.My Orpheum sounds great unplugged, causes people to stop what they're doing and listen, and is a joy to play! All my criteria have been satisfied.I offer a passionate message, one I know in my heart to be true...the Guild sound is worthy of consideration by guitarists of all tastes. The company took a risk by believing it could improve on that sound. I say they delivered!I say, "Orpheum: it sounds like the guitar you want to play"!
I reviewed my experiences with an Orpheum Slope Shoulder 12-Fret Mahogany Dreadnought (there *has* to be a shorter name for this guitar!) a little over one year ago here on the Let’s Talk Guild forum. I was personally introduced to that guitar in Nashville, TN by Kim Keller and I am indebted to him for the experience.I am the proud owner of one of these remarkable instruments and, while not the identical guitar I reviewed (the guitar in Nashville sported the sunburst finish), this instrument is, effectually, the same guitar I fell in love with in Nashville!I own this guitar for a very specific reason, and I have found the words to express it:Orpheum: it sounds like the guitar you want to play!I adore the Guild brand…because I adore the Guild sound! The lush, rich acoustic depth of John Denver’s early ’70’s albums (Rocky Mountain High in 1972 and Farewell Andromeda in 1973 in particular) inspired me to order my first Guild. I bought my 1976 Guild F-50R “Navarre” through Beaverton Music in Oregon, a guitar I still own and play today. Other Guilds followed (my 1976 F-512, 1980 F-412 an a 1988 GF-60R NT). That notable Guild sound that resonated from my guitars has been enjoyed by many, many others over the decades. I have performed in clubs, hotels, coffee houses, concert halls and stadiums over the years and musician friends often borrowed my Guilds for their performances and recordings.I own several guitars, the (so-called) factory-made as well as the hand made. I have owned and played some of the finest acoustic guitars ever made. I am selective and particular about the guitars I purchase. My acquisition criteria, while having adjusted ever-so-slightly over the years, remains rooted in the fundamentals I was introduced to back in the early 1970’s by (unbeknownst to them) Guild:An acoustic guitar must sound great acoustically. This detail is oft-overlooked entirely by the 'amplified-only’ crowd, who do themselves a disservice. I could wax philosophic over the sonic qualities of an acoustic instrument and it’s ethereal benefits upon the olfactory nerve but, suffice it to say, if the instrument sounds great acoustically, it will satisfy your audience when amplified. The opposite is simply not the case - and that is a point worth noting.An acoustic guitar must elicit positive responses from it’s listeners. If it does not, it is simply another one of those other guitars! My guitars (not my effects pedals) have turned heads for nearly 40 years. Whatever folks are doing, when they hear these guitars, they stop doing it in order to listen intently.An acoustic guitar must feel good in my arms. Like it or not, at the end of the day, my guitar and I have to do more than just get along. We have to love one another! We have to be perfectly at ease with one another. That guitar has to fit me and I have to love how it feels.
I attended a Let's Talk Guild gathering in Nashville about a year ago (April 2013) where I was introduced to the new Guild Orpheum (a brand new Ren Ferguson design) by Kim Keller from FMIC. Being a Westerly jumbo Guild advocate from the 70's I approached the new "Guildson" with reservations. Those reservations vanished as soon as I played the Orpheum Slope Shoulder 12 Fret. I wrote a brief review on LTG back then and am (re) posting it here:
This guitar is extremely light. When compared to a Westerly Guild, the headstock is smaller and the bridge appears almost delicate. The body shape allows it to rest comfortably in the lap (it resided in mine for many hours), while the new "soft-V" neck makes it eminently playable (I spent so much time playing the Orpheumthat first night I thoroughly destroyed the set of strings it came with.The 12" fingerboard radius felt immediately familiar, yet it was the shorter, undemanding 24 3/4" scale length that was likely responsible for my selfishness with the Orpheum's time. :)This guitar is loud! And articulate! As I embarked on yet another finger dance with this beauty in the busy hotel lobby where we were gathered our last evening together, from nearly 15 feet away a rather surprised and bemused Kim Keller looked up from a conversation to declare, "That guitar doesn't need amplification!". The group affirmed the assessment, and hotel walk-in patrons agreed as they sat to listen comfortably as far as 30 feet away from the instrument. It wasn't plugged in. In fact, there were no pickups in it to plug in to anything. I wasn't playing loud or heavy.I adore a responsive, resonant guitar, one that simply shimmers at the lightest touch of the strings. TheOrpheum exhibits marvelous resonance, the woods vibrating in unison to produce a sound I am still having trouble defining. Is it a Guild sound? Yes, and… Is it a Gibson sound? Yes, but… Is it a Martin sound. Yes, sort of…It's an Orpheum sound, and it sounds great!The fit and finish on the instrument is exemplary. In particular, the sunburst is pure art. The wood grain is visible through the darkest tints, and yields an elegance that I have rarely seen. The touch of 'burst on the side of the headstock is so pretty it will make you weep. The cream body binding (and bound soundhole) had me envisioning this guitar on stage at the Grand Ole Opry, and looking like it had been there for decades.It is a beautiful guitar to behold, a delight to play, and one I would be proud to own!
So that was a year ago. Since then I added one of these beauties to my stable, and really enjoy it. I re-recorded one of my own tunes with this guitar. Listen for yourself:
I was so inspired by this guitar I opted to write another LTG review, and will add it to another post...
Saw this posted on the AGF:
Oxnard, CA (May 13, 2014) – On the heels of Cordoba Music Group’s announcement of their intent to acquire Guild from Fender Musical Instrument Company (FMIC), CMG has now announced that Ren Ferguson will join the company as Vice President of Manufacturing and R&D for Guild. He will oversee all production of Guild acoustic and electric guitars in Oxnard, California. With over 50 years of invaluable experience, including 27 years with Gibson and most recently with Guild under FMIC, Ferguson is a legendary figure in American guitar making. “We are very proud to welcome Ren to the CMG team,” said Tim Miklaucic, CEO of Cordoba Music Group. “He is an incredible resource and a national treasure. We’re excited to usher in a new era of Guild guitars with his leadership.”
Bob. I agree. I have another "Guild". But it is from Fender.
Well were there any real Guild's when the brand was owned by Fender? It is somewhat disappointing to see some of the great brands being consumed and downgraded in quality .... but that is the way of the world it seems.
Listen guys. Now Guild is owned by Cordoba. So, I ask you, is there really a Guild any longer? The name is around but just because the name is on a guitar does that mean that there is any linear progression? For example, I also have a bunch of Goyas. Four are from Sweden and the rest have the name but were made by Martin in China. So, because the name is on it is it really the same guitar? Thoughts?
Just put a non-invasive Seymour Duncan SA-1 Acoustic Tube Soundhole Pickup in my D212 NT. Mama Mia that is some spicy meatball. Wow. Put one in my Goya T-3 also. Easy in and out if the soundhole is big enough. Nice tone. Real Natural.
Thanks FG....lovely to look at thankfully they are on the other side of the world so there is not much danger of me being GAS afflicted. I currently have my eye on a 62 Fender Palomino (love the Fender Electric neck on the D Body) and it is dangerously close to home. Thanks the '91 looks very sweet.
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