Looking for reviews on a Guild M-65 Freshman

Blues&BebopFan

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Dear all,

I hope you're good and living the best Guild life!

I'm looking for reviews on the Guild M-65. I've always dreamt about acquiring a M-75 aristocrat but they are so expensive.. I'm slowly considering to buy a M-65 instead. Both models look pretty similar and I was wondering if some of you could highlight me on the differences in addition to give me your opinion. I know the M-65 has only one pickup and the freshman is a 3/4 guitar but besides this it seems like they are the same model ?

Thanks for your help,
I wish you all a wonderful day!
 

matsickma

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Freshman come in full size and 3/4. If you purchase a earlier Freshman with a single Franz pickup you could add a 2nd bridge pickup. After 1962 the pickup types change to the chrome soap bar single coil and then later around 1965 they have the Mickey Mouse.

So depending what pickup choices you are fond of their are versions of Freshman that change over time.

I would recommend you consider a NS M75 Aristocrat. Just make sure you buy the correct model. Naming conventions are messy with Guild. Make sure you don't select the version that is based on a body routing from a block of wood. The guitar you want doesn't have a rear access plate.
 

Blues&BebopFan

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thank you so much @matsickma for your answer! Super interesting!

I love the Franz pickup as it is the same as the M-75 Aristocrat I fall in love with (was not mine but belong to a private collector...).
I'm also considering the NS M-75 like you suggest, I was just curious cause I saw a less than 2K 1960 Guild M-65 on Reverb and I was wondering how different it would be from my dream guitar, the M-75. I was hoping to have a M-75 for 4K less..

Anyway thank you so much for taking the time to answer me!

Have a wonderful day
 

hansmoust

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I was just curious cause I saw a less than 2K 1960 Guild M-65 on Reverb and I was wondering how different it would be from my dream guitar, the M-75.
If you're talking about the guitar that's on Reverb right now, that's an M-65-3/4, which is not similar to an M-75. It has the shorter scale length, which may not be what you're looking for.

Sincerely,

Hans Moust
www.guitarsgalore.nl
 

BradHK

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welcome! I am a huge fan of both the M-65 and hollow M-75 (Aristocrat and Bluesbird) and have a handful of vintage M-75s and a couple 1960’s M-65s. This response is long and probably too detailed (and probably incorrect in some areas!).

I will provide my thoughts on some key similarities and differences but be aware that vintage Guilds can have specification differences by year or even one-offs so take these as very broad general comments. If you compare the body shape, scale, and general construction technique between the M-75 and M-65 (not M-65-3/4) they are the same size with the general same type of construction technique. As such, they feel very similar when playing other than the M-65 being a little lighter due to one less pickup and less electronics. As you noted earlier, the M-65 has f-holes and this, along with one less pickup in the top, makes it sound (to me) a little different acoustically. To me the M-65 can have a louder and more full acoustic sound. Great couch guitar!

In my mind, I lump all fully hollow M-75’s into one broad category with a few different flavors (I am leaving out a ton of details but here are some general “standard” spec highlights):

1) Aristocrat 1954-1963: Mahogany back and sides with spruce top and Franz pickups.
2) Bluesbird 1967-1968ish: Same design and wood choice as the Aristocrat but with Guild Anti-hum pickups
3) Bluesbird 1968ish-1969: Maple laminated body and top with binding on the front and back with Guild Anti-hum pickups
4) Bluiesbird 1969-1972ish (Maybe some in 1973?): Laminated maple body with neck joining the body at the 18th fret vs 16th on previous versions. Anti-hums were the first pickup used then they transitioned to HB-1 pickups around late 1970-1971

The specs above are high-level, general, and do not always hold true. For example, I have a full mahogany body Aristocrat rather than a mahogany back and sides with a spruce top. The M-65 generally followed the body specs above (wood choice and neck joint to body location) but would have a maple top rather than spruce and you also see more full mahogany body M-65s. The M-65 trim was more simple than the M-75 (no block inlays, etc.). The pickup option started off the same as the Aristocrat with the Franz pickup but after that they did not follow the pickup choice utilized in the M-75. They went to the Frequency Tested chrome P-90 looking pickups around 1963 and then around 1965 transitioned to the Mickey Mouse single coil pickups. I have not seen an M-65 with a factory Anti-Hum or HB-1 pickup but you never know with guild. Now that I made that statement I am sure somebody will post a photo of one!

If you want an M-65 closer to an Aristocrat then the first generation M-65 with the Franz I feel is the closest. However, I really love the 1963-1965 M-65 with the chrome P-90 looking pickup. I have one and it is a keeper. You can also find these older M-65s with bound necks and Guild inlay in the headstock or even the chesterfield inlay compared to the later versions with the silkscreened Guild logo.

good luck on your hunt for an M-75 or M-65! As others have noted, a reissue NS Aristocrat is a great option unless you have your heart set on vintage
 
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@BradHK nails the key details to pay attention to.

I've got a gorgeous 1964 M-65 that is every bit the equal of an M-75 in build quality. It's cherry, and all-mahogany, with a single chrome single coil. I bought it thinking I would instantly want to add a second pickup and make it an M-75 equivalent, but it's so good I'm not sure I can do that. It's got a big full (bound) neck, a finish as good as any mid-'60s cherry Starfire (and a "Starfire" truss rod cover to match ;) ), and it plays and sounds great. The late '60s M-65s are well made, too, but the silkscreened logo and less refined look make them a little less appealing to me.

They're all great guitars, and punch well above their weight.
 

mavuser

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Just want to add to all of the excellent info posted above, I am pretty sure I have seen one M-65 Freshman that had maple back, sides, and top. It was early 70's with Mickey Mouse pickup, i'm pretty sure. Will also add I did own a Korean M-75 Newark Street Aristocrat (from the initial run), and they did that one right, for what it is. I think if you are patient and make some enticing offers to sellers of the vintage M-75's out there, one of them will bite.

You could also go for a 80s/90s Nightbird (spruce or maple top), or a 90's Bluesbird (maple top), these are fantatic Guilds that generally have standard humbucker size routes, and came sock with varying humbuckers over the years. These are chambered, not fully hollow, but check one out! that would be my move. Those Bluesbirds can be had at a decent price with some patience. find one locally. good luck!
 

Blues&BebopFan

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Blues&BebopFan

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I would like to thank you all for your super complete and interesting answers! @BradHK So interesting to read your comment!
I really appreciate having all your points of view and I'm really grateful this website exist with such a nice community!
Regarding everything said, I take notes of everything, the korean made NS M-75 Aristocrat is definitely interesting. Two years ago I was lucky enough to be able to play for a week an 1950's blond aristocrat for the preparation of an album I was working on and since I have been dreaming of owning the same guitar. I'm sure if I tried the NS one I might fall in love again but until now no other guitar has strike me as much as that one. It truly was a magical instrument with a magical feeling I've been looking for since
 

SFIV1967

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I am pretty sure I have seen one M-65 Freshman that had maple back, sides, and top. It was early 70's with Mickey Mouse pickup, i'm pretty sure.
Here was one with an added second pickup:


1707430778797.png

Ralf
 
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mavuser

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I should have went for that maple 70's Freshman w/Micky Mouse that I saw. It was also sunburst, but is not the one Ralf posted. I've just been very content (and lucky) with my Nightingale.
 

SFIV1967

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I should have went for that maple 70's Freshman w/Micky Mouse that I saw. It was also sunburst, but is not the one Ralf posted.
Maybe this Sept 1972 one?

1707470556110.jpeg 1707470572751.jpeg
1707470606391.png 1707470647929.png




Ralf
 
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SFIV1967

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Or slightly earlier:

1707470936962.png 1707470888432.png
1707470854637.png


Ralf
 
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