10/11/2017

1970 Guild F-212 Jumbo Flattop 12-String Guitar





This is one of a brace of three '70s Guild 12-strings that have been in stasis on the "upcoming" list for a long while. Today and yesterday I spent a lot of my time adjusting instruments and then shipping them out, but I did have just enough time left today to dial this one in. Its serial paints it as 1970 production -- so it was built at the Westerly, RI factory.

These F-212s are a "standard jumbo" shape and this one is just shy of 16" on the lower bout at 15 7/8" across. Because of a tighter waist, it sits comfortably in the lap despite a 4 7/8" side depth, too. Sonically, it's bright and jangly with a lot of cut, volume, and lingering sustain. There's a good bunch of mids in there, too, but the bass response is -- like most Guild 12s -- tight, even, and compressed. This suits most players better than darker, thuddier 12-strings and that's part of the reason Guild 12s are so popular. They record and sit in a band mix perfectly.

This one had some old work done on it -- two repaired hairline cracks on the top and what seems to be an old neck reset and some bridge work -- but I've finished it off. The bridge is shaved and I cut a new, properly-situated saddle slot and cleaned-up the bridge and added string ramps while I was at it. I also added a "bridge plate cap" made from cedar (lightweight but stiff so as not to muck-up the tone) to get the ball-ends seated correctly and cut a new, fully-compensated, bone saddle. I take pains to make sure each string intonates more-or-less on-the-dot at the 12th fret, so capo use on a 12-string like this isn't a brutal, horrid experience.

The frets then got a level/dress and I set it up with my "extra easy" set of 12-string lights with gauges 22w/46w, 17/36w, 10/26w, 8/18w, 13/13, 9/9. These are closer to 12-string electric gauges and when you play them on a properly-adjust 12-string like this guy, it feels like playing a normal, well-adjusted 6-string. You lose a little bottom-end thump vs. using something like a set of 50w-11s for detuned strings, but for players using standard E-E tuning, the payoff is that the feel makes you want to play it and the tension is even across the board. Action is 3/32" E and 1/16" ADGBE at the 12th fret, the neck is straight, and it's good to go.


Aside from the two top cracks, there are no other cracks on the guitar and it looks excellent.


It's also all-original save the bridge modding and new saddle. The Guild inlay at the headstock looks spiffy, no?


This has a 1 13/16" nut width and a mild-medium C/D-shaped neck profile. The board is lightly-radiused and has medium frets with good height left to them.


You can see one of the old hairline crack repairs to the bass side of the fretboard extension.


I forgot to mention that there's also a tiny, 1/2" long hairline at the soundhole below the high-E string pairs. It's been cleated in the past and is stable.



The bridge shave means that the bridge and saddle are low, but there's still about 1/16" of adjustment left on the saddle and about 20 degrees of back-pressure on the octave strings (which are usually almost flat on the top of the bridge) thanks to the string ramps.


Here's the other old hairline crack repair on the top-lower-bout.


The back, sides, and neck are solid mahogany.



The original tuners work just fine.










Under the fretboard extension you can see just a hint of a shim added to the end of the board. This suggest the neck was reset at some point.

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