Review: Guild Westerly Collection OM-150 and M-140E

Guild’s recently launched Westerly Collection pays tribute to the ’60-era guitars that helped to make this company a renowned marque in the world of steelstring acoustics.
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Guild’s recently launched Westerly Collection pays tribute to the ’60-era guitars that helped to make this company a renowned marque in the world of steelstring acoustics. Composed of the 120, 140, and 150 series—and ranging in street price from $649 to $1,099—the Westerly Collection models offer a lot of value with their solid-wood construction and nice appointments. The OM-150 and M-140E we’re sampling here provide distinctly different ways to go, as the former is an orchestra-sized pure acoustic and the latter a smaller, concert-shaped instrument with Fishman electronics.

Though its street price is closer to the top of the Westerly Collection range, the OM-150 is still a worthy contender in the affordable end of the acoustic market. It’s a well made guitar that aims to deliver quality sound courtesy of a tonewood recipe that pairs solid Indian rosewood back and sides with a solid Sitka spruce top with scalloped X bracing. In classic OM style, the body is 15.25" wide at the lower bout, 19.5" long, and has a maximum depth of 4". Cosmetics consist of black/white binding and a multi-ring rosette with a mother-of- pearl inner circle. A plastic tortoiseshell pickguard adds vintage flair, and the fretboard and headstock are respectively adorned with pearl dots and a ’60s-style “Chesterfield” inlay that’s also rendered in mother-of-pearl.

The OM-150’s mahogany neck has a comfortable C carve, and its generous fretboard radius of 16" affords easy playability with the low-action factory setup. The frets are well attended to, with even crowns and a light polish, and the NuBone nut is carefully cut and rounded so as not to jab your hand when you lift the guitar off a stand.

In the sonic department, the OM-150 delivers a balanced sound with good lowend girth and a smooth, non-honky midrange. There’s satisfying sustain, the top-end is clear but not too bright, and while the volume output is on the modest side, the guitar has enough presence to let solos cut through in un-plugged situations. If you need to get louder, consider that this guitar is also available with Fishman Sonitone electronics and a cutaway in the OM- 150CE model, which streets for $1,079.

Of course, you might want to give the M-140E consideration because this lowerpriced and more compact guitar (13.75" wide, 18" long, and 3.5" deep) already has a Sonitone system with Volume and Tone controls that are slyly mounted inside the soundhole. Solid mahogany back and sides make it a different animal than its larger sibling, although it shares many of the OM-150’s attributes, such as a solid Sitka top, multilayer binding and rosette with pearl center ring, and simple pearl dots on the rosewood fretboard. The C-shaped mahogany neck also joins the body at the 14th fret, and while it has a slightly shorter scale length of 24.75", the radius is still a generous 16".

The M-140E plays easily thanks its wideish neck and good factory setup, and it sustains well and also intonates sweetly across the span of its fretboard. Acoustically, it has a sweet tone with a mids-forward response that differs from that of the more linear sounding OM-150. And while a little less loud, the M-140E feels so compact and nimble that it could be worth the tradeoff for some players. Plugged into a PA or a standard guitar amp (I used a Dr. Z Z Lux 1x12 tube combo dialed for the cleanest possible sound), the M-140E’s active Fishman system provided an amplified sound that had good body and required minimal adjustments of the Tone control to get a reasonable presentation of the guitar’s acoustic voice.

Based on your needs, the OM-150 and M-140E are both cool choices for singer-songwriters, fingerstylists, folk and country pickers, and anyone else seeking the classic Guild flat-top experience. Factor in their solid-wood construction and attractive prices, and these guitars definitely warrant a serious look.

Guild Westerly M-140E

CONTACT guildguitars.com
MODEL M-140E
PRICE $849 street, polyfoam case included
NUT WIDTH 1.75", NuBone
NECK Mahogany, 14-fret neck joint
FRETBOARD Indian rosewood, 24.75" scale, 16" radius
FRETS 20
TUNERS Guild vintagestyle open-gear
BODY Solid African mahogany back and sides, solid Sitka spruce top
BRIDGE Rosewood
ELECTRONICS Fishman Sonitone
FACTORY STRINGS D’Addario EXP-16 Coated Phosphor Bronze Light, .012-.053
WEIGHT 4.16 lbs
BUILT China
KUDOS Solid wood construction. Compact and sweet sounding. Fishman electronics.
CONCERNS None.

Guild Westerly OM-150

CONTACT guildguitars.com
MODEL OM-150
PRICE $929 street, polyfoam case included
NUT WIDTH 1.75", NuBone
NECK Mahogany, 14-fret neck joint
FRETBOARD Indian rosewood, 25.5" scale, 16" radius
FRETS 20
TUNERS Guild vintagestyle open-gear
BODY Solid Indian Rosewood back and sides, solid Sitka spruce top
BRIDGE Indian rosewood
ELECTRONICS N/A
FACTORY STRINGS D’Addario EXP-16 Coated Phosphor Bronze Light, .012-.053
WEIGHT 4.54 lbs
BUILT China
KUDOS Solid wood construction. A versatile guitar that could be a great candidate for a soundhole pickup.
CONCERNS None.

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