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FDP Forum / Guild/DeArmond/Tacoma Guitars / Guild/Ovation plant in NH Closing!

Contributing Member

San Francisco, CA

Apr 22nd, 2014 09:30 PM   Edit   Profile  

So sad...


Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) is proud of the products that are built in our New Hartford, Conn. manufacturing facility and appreciates the talented group of people that hand craft them. However, due to current market conditions and insufficient volume levels, the company has made the decision to cease production there within June 2014.

This decision represents a consolidation of production capabilities for FMIC U.S.-made acoustic instruments. “We are committed to providing the same high quality musical instruments our artists, consumers and customers expect and demand, and will continue to support the brands that are currently being produced in New Hartford,” said Richard McDonald, senior vice president of Fender®.

U.S. production of Fender acoustic and Guild® instruments will transition to other facilities at a later date, while domestic production of U.S.-made Ovation musical instruments will cease.

Forty-six New Hartford-based FMIC employees will be affected by this decision over the next several months. These impacted employees served the company well and will be treated fairly and with respect; they will be provided comprehensive assistance, including severance packages, outplacement services and other related assistance."

Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Apr 22nd, 2014 10:42 PM   Edit   Profile  

What a shame. Guild has long made some truly excellent instruments. Unfortunately, being under the umbrella of FMIC, it is kind of the step-child of the corporation and has never received the support it deserved. Guild has long been, essentially, a boutique brand. They'd be best served by being out on their own and to continue producing small numbers of quality instruments that find homes with musicians looking for something unique.

Contributing Member

The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Apr 23rd, 2014 03:38 AM   Edit   Profile  

That is sad.

I was playing my '81 D-46 out on the porch the other day and wondered why anybody would want to play anything else. That guitar is that good.



Apr 23rd, 2014 06:46 AM   Edit   Profile  

That's just like Fender, along with other company's, to buy up their competition, then phase them out. That's what they did with Tacoma. For a while Fender and Gibson were trying to buy up everyone else.

Contributing Member

Northeast IL

Not very bright but does lack ambition
Apr 23rd, 2014 06:46 AM   Edit   Profile  

Sucks. What is it about FMIC that makes them buy up and then kill good companies? I'm thinking Tacoma.

Contributing Member


Shoes for industry!
Apr 23rd, 2014 04:55 PM   Edit   Profile  

Sad day, I have a Guild and two Ovations. One of my O's is a 1981 and it needed a new volume knob and a battery clip, called them up and they sent me new ones toot sweet no charge. And I'm not the original owner.
Great folks.

Years ago my dad did a lot of engineering work for Ovation founder Charlie Kaman. Dad had nothing but good things to say about him.

Jake The Loafer

B'ham, Alabama

"Uhh Yahwww, I'll Get Around To It"
Apr 23rd, 2014 08:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

There is a post that is in the acoustic forum that I just read. This kind of business practice makes me sick to my stomach!!! More people out of a job. I'm sure their severence pay will not last them long. The big shots need to have some more gelt in their pockets or they may starve!

I can't believe that FMIC is going to move Guild again! What the hell.... Anyone interested in seeing if we can get up the money to purchase Guild?


(This message was last edited by Jake The Loafer at 10:54 PM, Apr 23rd, 2014)

Contributing Member

State of Jefferson

Apr 24th, 2014 12:49 PM   Edit   Profile  

Guild deserves better.

The employees and many more vendors, truck drivers, cleaning outfits, etc will be impacted. This sucks.

Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Apr 24th, 2014 06:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

Truth be told, when I was searching for a new acoustic several years back (and wound up with my current Guild), one of my criteria was to buy an American made guitar if at all possible. So I tried the Martins, the Taylors, the Gibsons, etc. Granted there are many off-shore guitars that are now made quite well and are very good instruments. But my ultimate goal was to see that skilled craftsman wouldn't be a dying breed. And that those skills would live on for years to come. Guild certainly has represented that. So, yes...along with the rest of you...this is a sad state of affairs.

reverend mikey
Contributing Member

west Omaha, east NE

Life gets in the way of my G.A.S.
Apr 24th, 2014 09:48 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've owned an Ovation Legend; I've never owned a Guild but have admired many of them. I really wish I would have bought a (left-handed) Bluesbird back in the late 90's when the GAS for one bit me - once Fender bought the company, all left-handed electrics were dropped, and most lefty acoustics as well (Fender has done this with other lefty brands/models as well).

It really shouldn't surprise us that this has happened to both of these brands. If they were healthy, they probably never would have been sold to Fender/FMIC in the first place, right? So when FMIC bought them, the writing was already on the wall.

I think Ovation's day had come and gone with the improvement of amplification for acoustic guitars. I sold my Legend after I got a Carvin acoustic-electric - a CARVIN!!! It just sounded more natural (woody) than the Ovation (and I liked the body size and neck shape a whole lot better, too).

The only thing the Carvin didn't have was a built in tuner, but again, not an issue when there are so many excellent external tuners today.

Why buy a USA Ovation (or Adamas) when you can buy a USA Martin, Gibson, Taylor or Larrivee for comparable money (esp. used), and sound better?

Guild evidently just couldn't develop enough brand recognition or loyalty (esp. through artist use and endorsements) to maintain a healthy presence in the market.

The writing was on the wall as soon as FMIC wrote the check years ago.



Apr 25th, 2014 07:27 AM   Edit   Profile  

I saw a friend playing a Takamine yesterday, and have a question about the Kaman sale to Fender. I haven't heard it mentioned, and didn't think of it when Fender bought Kaman. When Kaman still had the company, they had the distributor rights for Takamine, like Fender has with Gretsch. Did Fender also acquire the distributorship rights of Takamine when they bought Kaman, or did Takamine take it elsewhere?



Apr 27th, 2014 06:49 AM   Edit   Profile  

I was reading the latest issue of Vintage Guitar magazine, and there is an article about Guild, written before that closing was announced. Seems this is Guilds 60th anniversary, and Ren Ferguson helped design a line of instruments to commemorate this. I wonder if they will still build, and celebrate the anniversary?


Jersey Shore

Apr 29th, 2014 08:37 AM   Edit   Profile  

It seemed like Fender was trying to make an effort to keep the New Haven Plant open. Didn't they move /create their "Custom Shop" Fender Acoustic line here? Didn't they wrestle Ren Ferguson away from Gibson to put effort and credibility into their acoustics? Doesn't make sense that FMIC's plan all along was to buy up the competition just to close them up.

reverend mikey
Contributing Member

west Omaha, east NE

Life gets in the way of my G.A.S.
Apr 29th, 2014 08:45 AM   Edit   Profile  


Good points.

I'm sure Fender's hope was that Guild (and Ovation) would be profitable. I'll admit that part of my beef with Fender is that because of their "bottom line" mentality (which every business has to have to stay profitable), they offer less and less of their models (from all their brands) for left-handed players.

I've seen this over and over; as Fender keeps expanding the number of models and variations of Strats, Teles, other guitars and basses, etc., the number of lefty versions keeps shrinking.

I have no problem with them offering more and more models for right-handed players - it's how they stay in business - it just bugs me that there's not a corresponding growth in lefty model options...

Contributing Member

In a Tweed Case

Only a Stratocaster is good enough
May 7th, 2014 04:58 AM   Edit   Profile  

Hey, maybe there is hope !!!


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (May 6, 2014) – Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) announced today that it has finalized a letter of intent to sell the Guild guitar brand and related assets to Cordoba Music Group, the manufacturer of Cordoba acoustic guitars, ukuleles and accessories.

“It was important for us to find a great steward to continue the important legacy of Guild guitars,” said FMIC’s interim CEO and board member Scott Gilbertson. “We have found a great fit in Cordoba Music Group, a company committed to quality and with impressive U.S.-based production capabilities.”

“Guild is an iconic American brand with a rich heritage and we’re truly excited and honored to be the ones to move it forward. It’s a great complement to our current position in the acoustic guitar market and provides opportunities for growth in new categories,” said Cordoba Music Group President Jonathan Thomas. “We will continue to make instruments of exceptional quality in the USA, and look forward to giving one of the industry’s great American brands a new home.”

Sales of Guild guitars will continue as usual during the transition process. Upon finalization of the sale, Cordoba Music Group is expected to begin production in Oxnard, Calif. FMIC recently announced the closing of Guild’s U.S. manufacturing facility in New Hartford, Conn.

Guild was founded in New York in 1953 by Alfred Dronge and the company’s excellence in acoustic guitar design made the name synonymous with acoustic quality and craftsmanship throughout the ensuing decades. Guild joined the FMIC family in 1995, combining it with modern design to produce new generations of guitars that remain highly sought-after instruments.

# # #

About Fender Musical Instruments Corporation: Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) is one of the world’s leading musical instrument manufacturers, marketers and distributors, whose portfolio of brands includes Fender®, Squier®, Gretsch®, Jackson®, Takamine®, Guild®, EVH®, Ovation®, Charvel® and Groove Tubes®, among others. For more information, visit www.fender.com.

About Cordoba Music Group: Cordoba Music Group (CMG) is a musical instrument manufacturer and distributor specializing in acoustic guitars and related accessories. CMG owns and operates the Cordoba brand, the industry’s leading nylon string acoustic guitar brand, and handles U.S. distribution for Savarez®, Aquila®, and HumiCase®. For more information, visit www.cordobaguitars.com.

Tony Salieri

Houston, Texas

I'm a tone deaf hack.
Nov 14th, 2014 10:46 AM   Edit   Profile  

As others have pointed out, Ovation's time as "the" acoustic-electric guitar passed years ago. I don't know their sales figures over the years, but I wouldn't be surprised by a steady decline over the past two decades. With some rare exceptions, when was the last time you saw someone playing an Ovation? When was the last time you seriously considered buying an Ovation?

Guild acoustics feel over-built when comapred to the offerings from other companies. With that said, a player wanting an acoustic that stands up to a heavy hand (perhaps even needs one) would do well to consider a Guild.


Bandmaster, thanks for the info! It's good to see that Guild might yet survive under new ownership.

FDP Forum / Guild/DeArmond/Tacoma Guitars / Guild/Ovation plant in NH Closing!

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