This is a new Sunday series that I’m calling Stuff that Works. Each Sunday I’ll pick an item that is for me a foundation element in my line up of stuff that matters or as legendary Texas singer songwriter Guy Clark put it – “The kind of stuff you reach for when you fall.”

Guild D 50 NT

This is the guitar I've played since 1982

The photo above is of my Guild D 50 NT, an instrument I’ve had a bit of a love affair with since 1982. I’m pretty sure that if my house was set to burn down and all life was safe this is the thing I would go back in to secure.

I’ve not always treated it as such, but it’s special. Like pretty much anything worth writing about there’s a story about how I came to acquire this fine guitar.

My wife and I had just gotten married and, as is generally the case for most in that situation, money was tight. I had occasion to go to Las Vegas to work at a trade show for a company I was working for. I had never been to Las Vegas and never played Black Jack in my life, but somehow I walked away with a couple thousand dollars. (The friend I was with had the good sense to take it from me and lock it in a safe until we were ready to leave.)

When I came home my wife insisted that I use the money to get this guitar. We had no business spending that kind of money on this purchase, but I had always loved the big, deep, rich sound of the giant D50 dreadnaught, even above the more popular and more chimier Martins.

Artists like Johnny Cash, Mississippi John Hurt, Emmy Lou Harris, John Denver and Richie Havens made the Guild Jumbo 12 string, D50 and 55 extremely popular on the 60s and 70s pop scene. These guitars hand made by Guild in its Westerly, Rhode Island plant are still some of the best guitars ever made.

My Guild was one of the last made in this famed plant as the company fell on hard times and only recently resurrected the hand made USA production of the Guild brand D50 and 55 under the watch of Fender Guitars in New Hartford, Connecticut.

So, stop by some time and I’ll play you tune and we’ll swap stories about love found and lost – the stuff of many a wonderful story.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Samp2886

    That’s a beauty. Guitars have a way of keeping us grounded. Music helps us remain sane.

  • That’s a great story John. I have a lovely Guild 12 string, they make absolutely amazing guitars. The one I am most fond of is my Lowden, which was hand made in Belfast, Northern Ireland by George Lowden and given to me on my 40th birthday by my Brother. The Lowden is the most interesting because when played with a pick it takes on a very harsh tinny sound. But pick the strings with your fingers and we have a totally different situation. The guitar gives off a lovely warm tone.   Yes, this is the guitar that changed my life. When I was 25 I lost half of my hearing ad developed tinnitus. I had practically given up my dream of becoming a songwriter. Shortly after Alan gave me the Lowden, my passion for music came back and several songs. Like you, I would go into a burning building to save my Lowden, and the Guild for sure.

    • Amazes me all the time the things and people that come out of my home town…Billy

    • Woe Gary a Lowden – now that’s cool. Thanks for sharing your lovely story too!

  • Mark

    As soon as I saw the title of the post, I knew you were a fellow Guy Clark fan.  I’ve followed him since the mid-70s and have seen him many times. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey Mark – I saw him again just this last week – not sure he’s go many days out on the road left – kind of sad really – Verlon had to keep reminding him of the next verse.

  • MaAnna

    Sweet guitar and thanks for sharing the story. Guilds do have such a wonderful sound, and you have to have a big voice if you pkan to sing with them. I’m fond of my Taks because they fit my hands and my voice. But they don’t have the harmonic depth of a Guild. But, the best thing about keeping a guitar for so long is hearing how it gets richer as the coating mellows and the wood starts breathing. Some folks think vintage guitars are a rich man’s luxury, but if you ever play one, you’ll be hooked.

    • I don’t have the technical knowledge to describe how it happens, but there’s no question it does. Wisdom I think has something to do with it.

  • You know John, the stories connected to our guitars are as special as the guitars themselves.

    I purchased a Takamine back in 1988. It was all I could afford at the time. I’ve been tempted to buy a Martin or a Taylor lately but the Takamine is special . . . 

    Its the guitar I spontaneously went out and bought when I was feeling quite sad because it was my birthday and my Dad had just passed away.

    When I look back, I’m really glad I bought that guitar when I did.

    A few years later, I was a Dad and my wife promptly banned my electric guitar and 100 Watt Marshall from the Castain household 🙂

    If it wasn’t for that acoustic, I wouldn’t have been able to keep playing while there were young kids.

    Thanks for this post . . . I had no idea that you were a musician.

    Paul Castain

    • What a great story Paul, thanks for sharing and you’re right, there’s something down in the wood on those things.

  • Mike

    Great story – not only on what works, but why. I’m the same way about my drums, although it would take me several more trips to save them than will your Guild. I have vintage Ludwigs as well as my most recent Mapex birch and maple kits. Never can go wrong with throwing Guy Clark into the mix, either.

  • marketingexpertise

    Wow, she’s a real beauty! And beautiful story to boot!

    I’ve always wanted Guild 12-String – as they are pinnacle of the acoustic 12-string guitar sound.

    But I’m stilling pining away the the for Gibson EJ160 – better known as the Beatles Hard Days Night guitar!

    I looking forward to learning more about what else really “works” for you.