This vintage Guild F-20 “Troubador” guitar was made in the famous Hoboken, New Jersey, plant in late 1964 or early 1965, judging from the label, its serial number (39134), and the Guild website. This model was introduced in 1956 as a version of the original small body narrow waist F series (orchestra style) guitars, with dimensions similar to and perhaps designed to compete with the smaller-bodied guitars being offered by Gibson and Martin for the folk singers of the era. The series was discontinued in the late 1980s to re-appear as the GF series, distinguishing it from the popular jumbo JF series.
But as we all know, newer isn't necessarily better in guitars. This particular guitar has been dominating lesser and larger instruments for over 52 years, and the resonance of its aged woods will continue to improve with each new generation of players. Its classic design, brilliant cherry sunburst finish, and well-aged patina make it stand out in a crowd, but it’s the surprisingly full sound that will make other musicians turn around to check it out.
The Guild F-20 has a "folk" or mini-jumbo body style, with a 13 ¾” lower bout and a rather narrow pinched waist (8 1/8”) compared to a dreadnought. This modest size makes it easier to handle for many players while sacrificing surprisingly little of its powerful bass. It has a solid spruce X-braced top and solid mahogany back, neck, and sides. The body has multi-ply tortoise binding, top and back, and it has a tortoiseshell pick guard, a rosewood bridge, and a multi-stripe inlaid rosette. The bound 14/20-fret rosewood fingerboard with pearl dot inlay position markers ends in a blackface headstock with three-on-a-plate open chrome tuners and the pearl inlaid Guild logo.
Considering its 50+ years of seasoning and enthusiastic play, it’s not surprising that there are a few cosmetic and structural items to report: there is of course some finish “crazing,” especially on the top of the lower bout (“to let the sound out,” as my luthier says), as well as a number of dings and scratches visible in the pictures. Structurally, there is an ancient professionally repaired crunch at the edge of the top lower bout, which my luthier has certified as solid as a rock, but which required some touch-up of the finish of the top and side. In addition, there’s a professionally repaired bridge shrinkage crack under the high E string between the sound hole and the bridge, it looks like a couple of braces have been re-glued, and there’s a slight bulge behind the bridge. The neck is fine, and there is minimal wear in the fretboard and frets, with no buzzing and no problems. The action is set at a hair under 4/32” at the 12th fret low E, the sound is terrific for its smaller size, and the light weight makes it comfortable to play for hours—which is exactly what you will want to do.
This is not a museum piece. While it is a totally cool instrument, it is a real Guild, “Made to be Played,” and it has been making music and turning heads for almost two generations. It has now been thoroughly checked out, and it’s ready to beat up on some banjo and fiddle players, despite its modest size. Any hesitation you might feel about it due to its honorable battle scars should be more than overcome when you hear the remarkable sound and resonance released from its solid woods by those years of experience. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, it will pass into the hands of a player able to make music and turn heads for a generation or two to come.
The vintage hard shell case is obviously not original and it’s a bit too large for the F-20’s shape, but it is in good condition for what it is. The hardware is all functional, and it offers more than adequate protection. However, when you fall in love with this wonderful F-20 Troubador, you may want to find another hard shell complement for this valuable vintage guitar.
Buyer pays a flat rate of $55 for insurance and shipping to the lower 48 states; shipping costs elsewhere will be negotiated as necessary. Payment by Paypal is preferred; cashier’s checks are acceptable, but checks must clear before the guitar will be shipped.
I have made every effort to describe and illustrate this guitar and case with scrupulous accuracy. Please check out the pictures, and ask any questions you might have before offering to buy it. Its return will not be accepted unless it can be shown that it was egregiously misrepresented in this listing.
Thank you for your interest in this cool vintage guitar.
Payments by Paypal, cashier’s checks, money orders, or personal checks are acceptable, but all payments must clear my bank before the guitar will be shipped. I will CONSIDER reasonable offers, even including installment payments and trade-ins, but generally since I already attempt to price my guitars very competitively, unusual deals must be unusually sweet.
From henceforth [that's how retired English teachers talk], insurance and shipping to the lower 48 states is $55 due to constantly rising shipping costs unless a specific listing says otherwise; shipping costs elsewhere will be negotiated as necessary. I have sold guitars to Russia, Japan, Australia, and over 50 other countries, as well as almost every state in the USA. Since some of my guitars travel thousands of miles, I take care to use lots of packing materials, protect the neck inside the case, and of course de-tune the strings.
I make every effort to describe and illustrate each guitar and case with scrupulous accuracy. However, many of my instruments are well-played vintage items which are many years old, and I am not a luthier. One should assume that any guitar will require some set-up to satisfy your personal requirements, and that not every flaw or ding will be seen/recognized/described in the listing. Thus the return of an instrument will not be accepted unless it can be shown that it was egregiously misrepresented in this listing. Please read the listing carefully, check out the pictures, and ask any questions you might have before offering to buy.