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1996 Guild D25-12 NT Makeover

1996 Guild D25-12 Neck Block

Thanks to a post from GGJaguar at Let's Talk Guild forum, I was made aware of a guitar being offered for sale by an electric player in Florida who had taken the instrument in on a trade. As the story goes, a fellow had purchased this Guild used for $600 years ago in Maine. After relocating, at some point, the guitar made its way to a repair shop in Florida where its owner was informed that "it wasn't able to be repaired." That owner offered it (with additional cash) in trade for an electric guitar.

The gentleman I acquired it from knew the guitar he was taking in on trade was "broken," but had hoped he could perhaps do something with it. After all, it was a Guild, and it was a 12 string! He soon determined that he was not going to be the one to do something with it as, much like the repair shop had indicated to the previous owner, the damage was just too severe. So he put it up for sale and I purchased it with the intention of taking this guitar apart and rebuilding it... my way..

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Inspection

The day has arrived and so has the guitar, delivered (additional) damage-free, thanks to careful packaging (great job, Matt) and expert handling (UPS - when you all do a good job, I am the first to report it!).

The TKL case is in great shape, which is always a good indication of a pleasant and trauma-free journey. My itchy nose, established as one of the world's most sensitive, informs me that this guitar and case were exposed to damp/dank conditions as well as pet dander at some point during the guitar and case's lifespan.

Neck Block Shift and Soundboard Shear

Neck Block Shift and Soundboard Shear

The guitar is exactly as the seller described it, and is precisely what I was hoping for. My initial assessment is very positive: The arched back is undamaged...

Arched Back

Arched Back

...the straight neck is in really good condition...

Neck

Neck

...the headstock looks great...

Headstock

Headstock

...and the mini Grover machine heads are also in excellent condition, both mechanically and aesthetically.

Mini Grover Machine Heads (Tuners)

Mini Grover Machine Heads (Tuners)

If this guitar was ever re-fretted, it was a beautiful job, as it looks to be untouched.

Fretboard

Fretboard

The bridge is a mere 1/4" high, and the saddle projects a healthy 3/16" above it.

Bridge and Saddle

Bridge and Saddle

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Damage

In addition to the obvious, elephant-in-the-room neck block shift and soundboard shear at the soundhole, there is minor damage that is worth noting, as it provides me with a clue as to what happened to this guitar. Can you see the evidence of a fracture in the tailblock?

Tailblock Impack

Tailblock Impact

Also, note the finish fractures that accompany that lower bout impact. They begin at the binding and travel upwards to a point actually directly in front of the bridge.

Finish Fractures

Finish Fractures

Playing detective and attempting to retrace the steps of the victim, I would suggest this damage did not occur recently. The blushing of the finish around the neck heel indicates significant moisture was present at some point. There is every possibility that this guitar went largely unplayed its entire life and, one fateful day, was accidently dropped (either in or out of its case) on its endpin. The sudden shock fractured the tailblock, fractured the finish, and provided sufficient inertia to allow the inadequate support of the upper bout to do what it does under such situations - permit the neckblock to shift forward under string tension and shear the soundboard off into the soundhole. If it wasn't already unplayable immediately following the incident, it became so over time.

Soundhole Collapse

Soundhole Collapse

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Hardware Removal

My first task is to remove everything that isn't nailed down. That means endpin, strings, saddle, nut, and tuners.

Now the guitar can get a thorough cleaning (my nose insisted), and I can have a look inside the belly of this beast courtesy of my endoscope.

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