What makes Guilds special?

mountainpix

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How would you briefly sum up, from your own personal perspective, what has made Guild electric guitars special over the years?

When I started out with my S-300A as a teenager back in the mid '80s, I didn't think of it as anything particularly special. I found it at a pawnshop for a bargain-basement price, and it was just a decent American-made "Gibson substitute" that I could afford. I had no appreciation back then for the finer points of the guitar, such as just how wonderful HB-1 pickups and ebony fretboards are, so I never thought that I'd end up loving the S-300 and keeping it for thirty years. I also never expected to discover that I tend to connect well with most Guild guitars I lay my hands on, whereas I can't say the same about Gibsons, Fenders, PRSs, Gretsches, and numerous other manufacturers (though there are obviously lots of great guitars out there). Some Les Pauls, for instance, are fantastic, but I've picked up many that I immediately wanted to put down. I've never had that reaction to an M-75, Nightbird, or '90s Bluesbird. I tend to find SGs awkward and uncomfortable, while I find the S-100 to be a nearly perfect hard-rocking solid-body electric, and so on...

Early on, I thought of Guild electrics as being cheaper wannabe Gibsons: Les Paul –*M-75, SG – S-100, ES335 –*Starfire IV, etc. It appears to me now, however, that in many cases what Guild was doing was looking at whatever drawbacks were present in a popular guitar design, and saying, "we can fix this and make a better instrument for people who really play their guitars."
 

GAD

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How would you briefly sum up, from your own personal perspective, what has made Guild electric guitars special over the years?

When I started out with my S-300A as a teenager back in the mid '80s, I didn't think of it as anything particularly special. I found it at a pawnshop for a bargain-basement price, and it was just a decent American-made "Gibson substitute" that I could afford. I had no appreciation back then for the finer points of the guitar, such as just how wonderful HB-1 pickups and ebony fretboards are, so I never thought that I'd end up loving the S-300 and keeping it for thirty years. I also never expected to discover that I tend to connect well with most Guild guitars I lay my hands on, whereas I can't say the same about Gibsons, Fenders, PRSs, Gretsches, and numerous other manufacturers (though there are obviously lots of great guitars out there). Some Les Pauls, for instance, are fantastic, but I've picked up many that I immediately wanted to put down. I've never had that reaction to an M-75, Nightbird, or '90s Bluesbird. I tend to find SGs awkward and uncomfortable, while I find the S-100 to be a nearly perfect hard-rocking solid-body electric, and so on...

Early on, I thought of Guild electrics as being cheaper wannabe Gibsons: Les Paul –*M-75, SG – S-100, ES335 –*Starfire IV, etc. It appears to me now, however, that in many cases what Guild was doing was looking at whatever drawbacks were present in a popular guitar design, and saying, "we can fix this and make a better instrument for people who really play their guitars."
I don’t think I’ve ever played a bad US-Made Guild.
 

adorshki

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Early on, I thought of Guild electrics as being cheaper wannabe Gibsons: Les Paul –*M-75, SG – S-100, ES335 –*Starfire IV, etc. It appears to me now, however, that in many cases what Guild was doing was looking at whatever drawbacks were present in a popular guitar design, and saying, "we can fix this and make a better instrument for people who really play their guitars."
That wouldn't surprise me, but they still had to get it right!
Even though coming from the flattop fan base, early on I never forgot what I read in that first Guild Gallery I've linked for you, within a year after getting my D25,
the part about every station vetting the work of previous stations and sending stuff back for re-work if needed.
What I really took away from that was the amount of actual hand-labor involved in each individual guitar compared to the "other guys", because they were small enough to do it, even in Westerly.
That, coupled with the individual variation described elsewhere gives every single one its own "personality", I think.
Somehow somebody who's really "attuned" to how good a guitar can feel, can sense the quality of "made to be played" on some kind of gut level.
The neck of my D25 was a revelation the first time I felt it, it was what actually made me decide on that specific display piece and turn down the offer of "a new one from the back".
I actually knew very little about the finer points of flattops at the time.
So I can imagine if they put the same effort into the electronic side as the flattops, they must be pretty special too.
And after all it's actually the other way round, that they put the same effort into the flattops as the archtops, because Guild started as an electric company specializing in archtops, and the original craftsmen were actually craftsmen.
I think that DNA/quality philosophy was successfully handed down from factory to factory even into New Hartford where the last US electrics were built.
 
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The Guilds of Grot

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Hey Grot... could you please post pics of the S100 Prototype I heard you have? The one with the G shield inlay and ebony board. I saw another one somewhere else, it was natural. I wonder how many were made?
Don't believe I have an S-100 Prototype. I do however have an S-200 which very few were made. Unfortunate at this time I am not able to post photos.
 

adorshki

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Hey Grot... could you please post pics of the S100 Prototype I heard you have? The one with the G shield inlay and ebony board. I saw another one somewhere else, it was natural. I wonder how many were made?
I remember that thread when the question came up about the "S-100 prototype with a G-shield" and got curious myself.
Think it was GAD who thought Grot might have one, but apparently Grot doesn't think he does (can't blame him for not being sure, LOL!).
Ah, here we go:
http://www.letstalkguild.com/ltg/showthread.php?199692-1994-s100-sn-fb000002
Image search was a little more successful for me today, found this example on the net:
https://reverb.com/item/1278916-guild-s100-series-prototype-cherry-red.
A very close read indicates that particular guitar was actually an MIC piece.
I always assumed the original question was about a US-built prototype, since the context was around the '94 re-issue NAMM pieces.
As far as I can tell all of those got chesterfields though.
Now I wonder if there was confusion about where the "Prototypes with a G-shield" were actually built (maybe even on my part)?
:friendly_wink:
 

koaguilds

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I remember that thread when the question came up about the "S-100 prototype with a G-shield" and got curious myself.
Think it was GAD who thought Grot might have one, but apparently Grot doesn't think he does (can't blame him for not being sure, LOL!).
Ah, here we go:
http://www.letstalkguild.com/ltg/showthread.php?199692-1994-s100-sn-fb000002
Image search was a little more successful for me today, found this example on the net:
https://reverb.com/item/1278916-guild-s100-series-prototype-cherry-red.
A very close read indicates that particular guitar was actually an MIC piece.
I always assumed the original question was about a US-built prototype, since the context was around the '94 re-issue NAMM pieces.
As far as I can tell all of those got chesterfields though.
Now I wonder if there was confusion about where the "Prototypes with a G-shield" were actually built (maybe even on my part)?
:friendly_wink:
Thanks for the post. The one I saw was indeed an official Westerly made S100 style but with the G Shield headstock inlay, an ebony fingerboard, and the same inlays as you'd find on a JF65 and others of that level. I can't remember if it had the small or large headstock but I'm leaning towards the small.
 

GAD

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Grot’s S200 is very cool. I’ve seen it first hand and it made consider trying to get away with it before he could catch me.
 

hansmoust

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Thanks for the post. The one I saw was indeed an official Westerly made S100 style but with the G Shield headstock inlay, an ebony fingerboard, and the same inlays as you'd find on a JF65 and others of that level. I can't remember if it had the small or large headstock but I'm leaning towards the small.
You must be referring to the S-200 from the early '70s!

Sincerely,

Hans Moust
www.guitarsgalore.nl
 

Quantum Strummer

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Gotta concur with GAD: never played a subpar Hoboken/Westerly/Corona Guild.

-Dave-
 
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