Other Guitars

Beautiful not-new Maliblue Manhattan Special from Guild (But a sham…

1

It's a looker, eh?

Review here: https://www.premierguitar.c...

John Bollinger's "Sandman" (in the video clip) probably doesn't make the best possible first impression for this guitar. I hope (and expect) the guitar sounds richer than he has it set up (and that it can be tuned.) To his credit, he recognizes that he hacked his way through the tune. (And I'm really not picking on him. I like John. He's just out of his comfort zone here.)

The guitar is a spruce-over-maple 3" hollerbody with Dynasonics, so it ought to sound much like a Country Club. (The difference is that it's a 24.75" scale, rather than the Club's 25.5.) Somehow, here, it doesn't. Can't tell if that's John or the guitar.

It's always so cute to see otherwise very experienced players discover hollowbodies:

Solidbodies rule the electric guitar market.

Geez. They DO?

So it’s easy to forget what a presence hollowbody electrics once were, and how profoundly different they are as instruments. Hollowbodies feel, resonate, and sustain differently. They also invite different techniques and playing approaches—particularly when you add the mechanical miracle that is a Bigsby vibrato to the mix.

It's like a miracle or something. Big revelations! Golly!

Then Bollinger confirms over and over that his hollowbody touch is rusty at best: in both clean and highest-gain settings, it sounds like he's struggling, or the guitar isn't responding as he's used to. In medium gain, and with slide, he sounds more comfortable and natural.

The Manhattan Special is special, in part, for its Dynasonic pickups, an evolution of a DeArmond design that was common on Guild’s ’60s thinline offerings like the Starfire.

Oh gosh, who knew!

It was also a common sight in Gretsch hollowbodies of the era, which makes the Manhattan a cool alternative for players that want a touch of ’60s Gretsch tone magic in a guitar with less iconic baggage.

Now there's a perspective I've never thought of: Gretsch's iconic status is "baggage," and some don't want it? That's interesting - and maybe a clue to the success of the Streamliner line and some Electromatics, with their less-overtly-Gretsch appointments. (Though their prices and impressive value for the price are enough to explain that.)

ANYway, since the Guild Newark St series was introduced by FMIC (under Mike Lewis's masterful stewardship) at NAMM 2013 I've thought of the Aristocrat, the Savoy, and a Manhattan as the trifecta. I have the other two but so far hadn't felt a compulsion to commit to the X-175.

This version, in the satin blue, might get me there. Durn handsome.

2

It's a looker, eh?

Review here: https://www.premierguitar.c...

John Bollinger's "Sandman" (in the video clip) probably doesn't make the best possible first impression for this guitar. I hope (and expect) the guitar sounds richer than he has it set up (and that it can be tuned.) To his credit, he recognizes that he hacked his way through the tune. (And I'm really not picking on him. I like John. He's just out of his comfort zone here.)

The guitar is a spruce-over-maple 3" hollerbody with Dynasonics, so it ought to sound much like a Country Club. (The difference is that it's a 24.75" scale, rather than the Club's 25.5.) Somehow, here, it doesn't. Can't tell if that's John or the guitar.

It's always so cute to see otherwise very experienced players discover hollowbodies:

Solidbodies rule the electric guitar market.

Geez. They DO?

So it’s easy to forget what a presence hollowbody electrics once were, and how profoundly different they are as instruments. Hollowbodies feel, resonate, and sustain differently. They also invite different techniques and playing approaches—particularly when you add the mechanical miracle that is a Bigsby vibrato to the mix.

It's like a miracle or something. Big revelations! Golly!

Then Bollinger confirms over and over that his hollowbody touch is rusty at best: in both clean and highest-gain settings, it sounds like he's struggling, or the guitar isn't responding as he's used to. In medium gain, and with slide, he sounds more comfortable and natural.

The Manhattan Special is special, in part, for its Dynasonic pickups, an evolution of a DeArmond design that was common on Guild’s ’60s thinline offerings like the Starfire.

Oh gosh, who knew!

It was also a common sight in Gretsch hollowbodies of the era, which makes the Manhattan a cool alternative for players that want a touch of ’60s Gretsch tone magic in a guitar with less iconic baggage.

Now there's a perspective I've never thought of: Gretsch's iconic status is "baggage," and some don't want it? That's interesting - and maybe a clue to the success of the Streamliner line and some Electromatics, with their less-overtly-Gretsch appointments. (Though their prices and impressive value for the price are enough to explain that.)

ANYway, since the Guild Newark St series was introduced by FMIC (under Mike Lewis's masterful stewardship) at NAMM 2013 I've thought of the Aristocrat, the Savoy, and a Manhattan as the trifecta. I have the other two but so far hadn't felt a compulsion to commit to the X-175.

This version, in the satin blue, might get me there. Durn handsome.

– Proteus

For some reason I can not get through one of his guitar reviews, something just rubs me wrong about his technique and tone, to each is own I guess. And that's coming from a slide player where you say he sounds most natural. As for that guitar if I didn't have my 6120T 55VS I would give it a spin. I love the combo of Dynasonics and a hollow body.

3

A depiction from the website.

It seems to differ from the other Manhattans in the line by virtue of the Dynasonics, vs the Franz P90-likes of the others.

But, per the tone - which really doesn't sound very Dyna-in-Clubby in the demo - don't I recall Cordoba-Guild having introduced a "new" "Dynasonic" (sorry, both words need quotes) some time ago, which was determined not to have the magnetic polepieces and elevator mechanisms of a real Dynasonic?

Maybe that's what we have here.

4

For some reason I can not get through one of his guitar reviews, something just rubs me wrong about his technique and tone,

I know what you mean. But I like the guy anyway, just a straightforward and enthusiastic guitar junkie like the rest of us.

I love the combo of Dynasonics and a hollow body.

Yeahman. And the character can be very different in different builds: an all-maple 16" 6120 (with its 24.6" scale and whatever bracing) sounds very distinct from a 17", 25.5"-scale Club or a Falcon, especially if it has a spruce top. And they have a unique character again in my one-off thinline 17" Gent.

Thus I convince myself this 24.75"-scaler would have a sufficiently different flavor to justify itself.

5

This might give you a better idea. RJ Ronquillo does it good.

It’s still blue, though, so, ya know.

6

So yeah. Dat'ere's the stuff.

RJ gets the requisite 'billy out of the way, proves the rock cred, and touches jazz and rootstwang. Guy's a monster. Does he ever play a note without purpose, or out of its groove? And has he mastered every technique in every style?

1,499.00 is a lot for Korea (and the lower-labor satin finish, regardless how beautiful, kinda rubs it in).

And still, if a guy was looking for something to want, this would qualify. It would qualify with honors, wouldn't it?

Time to decide on something to sell.

7

You could surely be looking at worse things to want. It’s a good looking yoke, and you don’t see a lot of big blue hollowbodies kicking around.

8

It's kind of interesting some Intense Guitar Dude discovering that hollowbodies were once A Big Deal-- they were the first electrics, and of there course Brit Invasion driven hollowbody scene even made Fender get in the game with their ill fated Coronado series... their top of the line.

9

and the lower-labor satin finish, regardless how beautiful, kinda rubs it in

i see what you did there.

10

i see what you did there.

Ha! Good for me.


I imagine Eddie "Blue" Ball already has one on order.

11

I've yet to see a satin finish that does not turn into a glossy surface soon after it comes into a players hands. Personal experience with 4 instruments will bear this out.

But that said, this sure is purdy, & I would not be turning one down if it happened by my music room.

12

It's kind of interesting some Intense Guitar Dude discovering that hollowbodies were once A Big Deal-- they were the first electrics, and of there course Brit Invasion driven hollowbody scene even made Fender get in the game with their ill fated Coronado series... their top of the line.

– DCBirdMan

I miss my Coronado...

13

They've been out for a little while. There's a natural gloss version too, in very limited numbers up until now, but it's supposed to become a catalog item this fall.

I've played a couple. I can't put my finger on what exactly is different about them, but they seem to be a slightly nicer build than the standard Newark Street X175's - which are pretty nice already for a Korean guitar built to a price point. I have two gripes with them :

-Guild owns the DeArmond name now, and I thought it was very dissapointing they basically reissued the 90's "DeArmond 2000" - aka "the dearmond light". Only this time they're Korean-made, otherwise much the same - alnico magnet poles that are much smaller than what was on the originals, making them sound more like a slightly overwound Fender pickup. What's even stranger to me is they chose to call it a Dynasonic, which is Gretsch-catalog speak, the DeArmond company never called them that.

-just like on the Gretsch electromatic hollowbodies and the Franz-pickup Korean X175's, they have the lead pickup sitting quite a bit closer to the neck than on the vintage guitars. That mellows it out quite a bit, too much for my roots-music tastes.
I can imagine for quite a few players/playing styles this would be an advantage, but I don't like it one bit. The lead pickup by itself is fatter sounding with more bass, but that's not what I'm looking for, and the middle pickup selector position, which is where the magic is on these guitars IMO, is too plump, mellow and civilized too for my taste. YMMV, etc...., but after ten minutes with the guitar, I get frustrated and start turning knobs on the amp looking for "that" sound.

"GAD", who is the administrator/owner of the Let's talk Guild forum, did one of his excellent, thorough reviews here

14

1962 Guild X500 with DeArmonds, for comparison

15

i don't understand why this is so common. it's put me entirely off of the hollow Electromatics since they were introduced.

16

Guild owns the DeArmond name now, and I thought it was very dissapointing they basically reissued the 90's "DeArmond 2000" - aka "the dearmond light". Only this time they're Korean-made, otherwise much the same - alnico magnet poles that are much smaller than what was on the originals, making them sound more like a slightly overwound Fender pickup. What's even stranger to me is they chose to call it a Dynasonic, which is Gretsch-catalog speak, the DeArmond company never called them that.

Yeah, that consolidates and clarifies my memory of the pickup's character. No wonder the demos don't sound like a shorter-scale Country Club with Dynas.

Thanks for saving me 1,500.00, blue notwithstanding. My first Gretsch hollowbody was a 5127 (?), in baby blue with those not-a-Dynasonic Lites. No need to go full circle on that combo. As soon as I got a Gretsch with real Dynas - despite liking the 2000s (which themselves borrowed a model number from the originals, hopelessly muddying the waters of identification) - I sent it away and have never missed it.

No sense buying a 1,500.00 guitar and then having to replace the pickups to make it what it claims to be. I don't mind doing that with guitars at a third that price, but at somewhere around 750.00, I expect a guitar to be configured as I would like it from the git-go.

Maybe when these come up used...

17

Thanks for saving me 1,500.00

The pickup thing (mostly the placement, for me, I have some old DeArmonds in my parts drawer) really is a bummer, because otherwise it's a pretty impressive guitar, great feeling neck, great fretwork, etc...

18

The guitar checks off the boxes and could be a decent buy, but then WB’s comments and photos clarify the situation. I don’t know how to relate a deeper body/ shorter scale comparison for tone, but if the pickups are basically Dearmond 2000s (nice in their own right but I already have them) rather than real Dynasonics, I would probably have to wait for a used one as well.

19

John Bollinger can make any guitar sound great. Maybe Chet Atkins playing isn't in his wheelhouse but in my opinion he sounded great or the guitar sounded great.

20

So you’d be better off putting T’Armonds in a new X-175.

21

but that still leaves you with the pickup too far from the bridge

22

Which bothers Walter more than it bothers me.

24

it doesn't bother me so much about the Guild because i don't have much of a database on Guild players other than Buddy Guy, who played a Starfire. the Gretsches really bother me because the tones i love cannot be found when the treble pickup is so misplaced.

25

We've talked about this guitar previously? I didn't think it was new...

http://gretschpages.com/for...

Nothing wrong with those pickups. Dearmonds are great, and I think it's a gorgeous guitar.


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