Guild F-240E Review: Jumbo tones at a bargain price
Guild jumbos are iconic instruments and this affordable version from the Westerly Collection combines classic looks with a solid spruce top and a Fishman pickup system.
When it comes to making flat-top acoustics, Guild has an approach of its own. Unlike most of the other big-name US brands, Guild couples solid tops with laminated sides and arched backs also made from laminated wood. These arched backs are so much stronger and stiffer than centre-joined solid-wood plates, there’s no need for centre strips or back braces – and that’s exactly the recipe we have here.
The F-240E’s top is solid Sitka spruce, with wide and pretty straight grain lines and an attractive amber hue. Guild’s jumbo outline is accentuated here by ivory coloured ABS binding and the inner and outer layers of the back and side laminations are mahogany.
The thin tortoiseshell pickguard has the look of old celluloid and the understated rosette is highlighted by a band of white mother of pearl. Matching pearl is used for the bound pau ferro fretboard’s dots and the headstock logo. The logo’s segmented look is subtly Art Deco and suits Guild’s traditional peghead design. The bridge is also pau ferro with a similarly classic shape, and here we have plastic pins with a compensated bone saddle.
The mahogany neck features a stacked heel and a scarf jointed headstock. The side marker dots are a little askew but the fret installation is decent and we particularly like the nickel-plated open-gear tuners, which operate smoothly with a 16:1 ratio.
Included in the package is a Guild/Fishman Sonitone GT-1 active pickup system. Volume and tone controls nestle just inside the bass edge of the soundhole and an easy-access battery compartment is mounted on the lower bout along with the jack socket. We can find no fault with the construction and a super-thin satin urethane finish enhances the plain but attractive timbers.
As supplied, our Guild’s action is a little on the high side. There’s also too much neck relief, but the dual-action truss-rod is easy to access and adding a little tension lowers the action. Ideally it would come down a little lower, but there’s sufficient saddle height to make that an option. The full neck is super comfy and marries well with the jumbo body without feeing daunting or challenging to play.
The tone is big without brashness, and nicely balanced across the strings. There’s ample weight, but it’s more of a focused low-mid thump than a dominant bass boom. Strumming chords offers boundless fun and you actually feel the rear move as it kicks soundwaves back through the soundhole. You get chiming overtones too, but overall the F-240E is woodier than it is bright.
Switching to fingerstyle, with less energy driving the top, the character becomes softer and mellower. But when you alternate picking and strumming, the wide dynamic range impresses. Although fairly basic, the pickup system does a decent job of capturing the acoustic tone and provides some indispensable treble roll-off along with high signal levels. In every way, the F-240E is a lot of guitar for the money.
- PRICE £389/$555
- DESCRIPTION Solid top electro-acoustic 6-string guitar, made in Indonesia
- BUILD Solid Sitka spruce top, scalloped X-bracing, laminated mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck, pau ferro bridge, plastic bridge pins, bound pau ferro fingerboard with 16” radius, Guild GBB1 Butterbean nickel-plated tuners, bone nut and compensated bone saddle, ivory ABS binding
- ELECTRONICS Guild/Fishman Sonitone GT-1
- SCALE LENGTH 649mm/25.5″
- NECK WIDTH 43.5mm at nut, 53.8 mm at 12th fret
- NECK DEPTH 23.2mm at first fret, 24.3mm at 9th fret
- STRING SPACING 34.1mm at nut, 54.8mm at bridge
- WEIGHT 1.93kg/4.25lb
- LEFT-HANDERS Yes
- FINISH Satin polyurethane
- CONTACT guildguitars.com