Back in 1953, Guild made archtop jazz guitars with arched backs, which were said to give more projection and tone. This was one of the main components of the popular Guild sound in the 1950s and ’60s. Guild is using this technique on its Westerley acoustic-electric guitars and one of which is the Guild OM-240E.
As I said, the guitar has the looks of the classic arched back Guild guitars. It’s offered at a lower price range, yet featuring solidwood and great pickup technology.
I’ll give a thorough review of this top-notched guitar with great tone and amazing playability.
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- Great satin finish for classy looks and comfort
- Arched back helps you get more pronounced high-end responses
- Open back tuners are accurate and keep the perfect tuning of the instrument
- Guild’s pickup is amazing at getting the natural tone of the guitar
- Very low action makes the low E buzz when played open
- A new set of strings can bring out the best of this guitar
- Little issue when adjusting the tone and volume when playing
Design & Construction
Guild OM 240E is a concert-shape acoustic-electric guitar made of a solid Spruce top with Mahogany back and sides, and scalloped X bracing pattern. It has matte polyurethane finish which seems flawless and perfect. Mahogany is known to give warmth and depth on the midrange, while the Spruce top offers clear powerful tone.
In terms of color finish, sorry to say, but there’s only Natural finish available. This has a non-cutaway orchestra body, but it has a more expensive version with cutaway for better access to upper frets. For this review, I’m going to this Guild OM 240E, Natural finish with no cutaway.
The neck is made of Mahogany, too, with slim C-shaped profile and satin finish. It’s glued in, pushing the neck joint two frets back, which is more comfortable and easy to play. A quite lightweight guitar with a weight of 3.92lbs and overall length of 41-inch.
OM 240E features a dot-inlaid rosewood fretboard with 16-inch radius and 20 frets. It has the standard 25.5-inch scale length with 1 11/16-inch nut width and bridge string spacing of 2 1/8-inch. It’s strung with D’Addario EXP16 – Coated Phosphor Bronze light strings from the factory.
This six-stringed guitar boasts the vintage open-back tuners with16:1 ratio and chrome hardware that complements to the classy-looking headstock. It has compensated bone nut and saddle with a rosewood bridge. You can also see the 1960s red tortoiseshell pickguard, giving the instrument the looks no one could resist.
What’s left to be discussed is the Guild’s electronics onboard. It only comes with Guild AP-1 active piezo pickup and soundhole mounted volume and tone controls. No tuner or other EQ controls, so you can hardly tell this is an acoustic-electric guitar.
The advantage of the soundhole mounted controls is that they work well and are very neat — everything is tucked away. However, it’s impossible to adjust the volume and tone on the fly when you’re already playing the guitar. The pickup is one of the best, so, you can expect to get the natural acoustic sound of your guitar even when plugged in.
Playability & Performance
Playing this fantastic guitar seems like playing an expensive one. It’s engineered to give comfort and ease while playing. The slim C-profile neck is in its perfect shape, you’re like playing an electric guitar. The finish of the neck and the rosewood fretboard offers smoother fretwork, making it very comfortable to play.
For me the action is quite low, therefore I’ve experienced some buzzing on the low E string. But, I won’t generalize it, since I found several reviews stating that they like the low action of this guitar. I simply raise the action, which doesn’t require much effort and didn’t even affect the intonation of the guitar.
Another thing I did that improved the overall playability and sound of the guitar is to change the strings to newer ones. I love D ‘Addario, but the stock strings aren’t that efficient in bringing out brighter sounds. Of course, you can still replace them with new D ‘Addario strings.
After complete setup, you can now play until you drop. I mean, with the comfort of the neck and the fretboard, moving from lower to higher frets is easy. Since there is no cutaway, for smaller hands, it might be hard to access upper frets. But, overall, it’s a playable guitar.
The tuners are pretty reliable; they are easy to adjust to the perfect tune of the guitar. With this, you can play without interruptions since the strings will stay in tune even for long hours of playing.
There’s just one thing that I need to reiterate — the soundhole mounted controls. If you are used to the controls at the side of your guitar, which you can easily adjust while playing, this one is different. You cannot change the controls while playing, but only before you start to play. So, better adjust the volume and tone right before you play the first chord.
Now, for the best part! Yes, I say that the guitar is comparatively small, but it resonates well with better projection. Hence, you’ll get a fair amount of volume and great tone. As mentioned earlier, the arched back guitar is known to have such sound character, so I’m not surprised that Guild OM-240E has such projection, as well.
The solid Spruce top offers clear high-end, while the Mahogany back and sides give more depth and warmth of the sound. With just the tonewood used, this guitar is designed to accommodate blues style playing and country. Whether you’re strumming or fingerpicking, this guitar produces a balanced tone.
Another aspect that makes this guitar interesting in terms of sounds is the Guild’s active piezo pickup. This pickup is very efficient in keeping the inherent acoustic tone of the guitar, especially when plugged in. No feedback or humming issues, so you can play without worries.
Value for Money
Without any doubts or second thoughts, I believe this is one of the best acoustic-electric guitars that offers the best value for your money. Just with its size and construction, you can say that it’s made to “play.” The satin-finished neck and the rosewood fretboard plays like heaven, which is very comfortable.
The pickup onboard in this guitar is efficient in producing the authentic acoustic tone when plugged in. Volume and tone controls are mounted in the soundhole, so it’s impossible to adjust them while playing the guitar. However, this is just a minor issue compared to how great this guitar is when played.
Such well-built guitar with amazing playability is a treasure to most guitarists. Guild OM 240E is a great acoustic-electric guitar worthy of every single penny you pay for it. It has a sound quality — loud and clear — that’s reminiscent of the popular Guild’s sound in the 1960s.
This isn’t an expensive acoustic-electric guitar. In fact, it’s an affordable one, so you can inevitably see flaws, which in this case, aren’t deal-breakers. For my own Guild OM 240E, I raised the action and change the strings. But, not a big deal for the guitar I get at an amazing price deal.
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