Other Guitars

Guild A-150 Savoy as an acoustic?

1

I am really interested in the guild A-150. I played a Gretsch New Yorker G9555 some time ago and really liked it but I think I would like the guild better, I am assuming the 2 pickups are similar? My question is how would this work as an acoustic, how close would that pickup be to a magnetic sound hole acoustic pickup? I know with electric guitar strings and with its construction it's not going to compare to a dreadnought and that's fine, I don't need a big loud acoustic. I am really just looking to see if it will get a decent acoustic sound plugged in.

2

Well...I wouldn't really characterize it as an acoustic sound, no. But I wouldn't characterize the magnetic sound-hole pickups I'm familiar with as sounding acoustic either. They sound more like a giant lightly braced hollowbody electric.

The Savoy sounds, how shall I put it? Like it looks: a hollowbody jazz electric. Maybe more acoustic response than a hollowbody with pickups routed into the top - but not really a more acoustic fundamental tone.

But I have flatwounds on my Savoy, because that's the tone I'm after. With roundwound acoustic strings, it might get flat-toppier.

3

I would venture to say that regardless of the pickup and instrument you don't ever really get a decent acoustic sound plugged in, only miked.

Like Proteus says a magnetic pickup is not really going to give you an acoustic sound, You can get a clean electric sound. I always thought Strats had the best jangle acoustic sound of electric guitars myself and I'm not even a strat player.

The A-150 is said to have a solid spruce top and those new DeArmonds are nice. However archtops are very different beasts sonically than flat topped acoustics. Can you go try one?

4

If you're looking to get more of the acoustic sound out of an archtop guitar, you might consider using the Fishman Archtop bridge (pictured), or the Barbera Soloist pickup ().

The Epiphone Olympic, Zenith (I mistakenly said Century before edit) and De Luxe archtops come with a under the saddle piezo pickups for a more acoustic sound with an internal preamp, with volume and tone controls accessible through one of the f-holes.

5

ooo those pickups sound good. I want one in one of my electric Gretsch's. I make my own ebony and bone saddles.

6

That is a great-sounding undersaddle. I’d like to have heard the demo guy do some conventional jazz archtop rhythm chopping along with his exquisite fingerstyle approach - but I like what I hear.

That’s a much more likely route to acoustic tone from any similar guitar. Also, in conjunction with the existing magnetic pickup, it turns the guitar into a compelling dual-purpose instrument. Got me thinking about one for my Savoy.

7

I've played a couple of the Korean A-150's, and I thought they were suprisingly good, realistic archtops for the price. And that also means they definitely sound like an archtop acoustic, so decidedly not like a flattop.

8

Thanks everyone. WB, when you say it sounds like an archtop acoustic, does it sound like that plugged in? That's what I'm looking for, I'm not looking for a flat top acoustic sound. Thanks

9

Thanks again for all of your input. I'm thinking I might just buy the guild savoy and see how I like it, if I need more of an acoustic sound I'll just get a transducer pickup to add to it. Would you say that guild pickup in the savoy is closer to a sound hole acoustic mag pickup or is it closer to a traditional electric pickup like a strat or P90? I'm not a big acoustic guy so I don't need a real authentic acoustic sound. If it sounds like one of those sound hole pickups that's fine with me. I'm just looking to see if those rhythm chief pickups that come with the savoy are voiced more like an acoustic sound hole pickup or if it's more like a traditional electric guitar pickup.

10

I am really interested in the guild A-150. I played a Gretsch New Yorker G9555 some time ago and really liked it but I think I would like the guild better, I am assuming the 2 pickups are similar? My question is how would this work as an acoustic, how close would that pickup be to a magnetic sound hole acoustic pickup? I know with electric guitar strings and with its construction it's not going to compare to a dreadnought and that's fine, I don't need a big loud acoustic. I am really just looking to see if it will get a decent acoustic sound plugged in.

– Tennessean85

This video from YouTube gives is a good representation of the sounds available from the Guild.:

I own a blonde Savoy and I bought it to play a similar range of styles.

As for the Gretsch, I had one and traded it for the Guild earlier this year. Though they use the same pickup, they could not sound more different. The Guild is a slightly shorter scale (24.75") versus the Gretsch's 25 inch. They both have a solid, pressed spruce top, but the Guild has X-bracing versus the Gretsch's parallel tone bar bracing. The Gretsch sounds very boxy and trebly; the Guild sounds much better, even acoustically and sounds warmer than the Gretsch. Some of this warmer sound can also be attributed to the Guild's 17 inch body against the Gretsch's 16 inch body. The quality on the Guild is miles above the Gretsch, but that is reflected in the price. The Gretsch has small, vintage style frets whereas the Guild has medium jumbos, making for a much better playing experience, unless you favor small frets; I don't. Another consideration; the Gretsch has a fairly chunky, soft V-shaped neck, whereas the Guild is a much more modern, electric-like neck.

For the money, the Guild is one of the nicest guitars I have purchased, and much more versatile than you might think. The Guild also comes with a very nice case; the Gretsch doesn't include any case.

I am like Proteus, in that I bought it for plugged-in, clean, jazz-like sounds. And, also for a pleasing acoustic tone (in this case, archtop tone) that I could play mic'd up or on its own, so as to not wake up the better half or son late at night, which is about the only time I have time to practice guitar these days. The unplugged sound of the Gretsch was.... meh. The Guild came with two compensated rosewood saddles, one for plain G, the other for a wound G. It came with 12 gauge flats installed; the only difference I made to the guitar was to go down to 11 gauge flatwounds.

All I can say is that you will have to try one in person to see if it gives the sounds you are looking for. Tone is subjective and only you can decide what will suit you. For myself, I wanted a classic, quality archtop with a Rhythm Chief for that classic 50s, plugged-in jazz guitar sound. YMMV.

11

If you live near a Guitar Center, you can try it and return it within 30-45 days if you don’t like it.

12

The Rhythm Chief is a magnetic pickup, suspended off the top at the bottom of the neck of an f-hole archtop, braced as MadScience explains above.

Magnetic soundhole pickups mount in contact with the top, in a big open hole right over the middle of a body braced for boom and projection. I understand that some modern magnetic soundhole pickups produce something of an acoustic tone, but the ones I'm most familiar with sound exactly like what they are: magnetic pickups in the middle of a guitar.

So whether you consider the Savoy to sound like an acoustic guitar depends entirely on your frame of reference. To me it sounds like an f-hole acoustic jazz guitar with a floating magnetic pickup at the end of the neck. That's not meant to be flippant - it's just a thing. That's its own unique tone. It blends some sense of an acoustically-active spruce top with a clearly mag-pickup tone. It doesn't sound to me like an "acoustic guitar" (if one's first response to the term is to think of a bronze-stringed flattop, as used in bluegrass and for strumming and as driving acoustic rhythm).

Strummed vigorously unamplified, 4 or 8 to a bar, using jazz-voiced chords, the Savoy sounds very much like an f-hole acoustic jazz box (though not quite as cutting and projecting as a limbered-up 60-year-old thinner-topped variety). It can sound that way when mic'ed, and perhaps with the undersaddle pickup recommended above.

So it all depends on what you mean by "decent acoustic sound." F-hole guitars and flattop guitars are worlds apart, but both produce great acoustic tone (for their respective purposes).

If all this sounds mysterious, then the only answer will be for you to try one in person and see how it meets your needs.

13

Thanks, that actually does answer my question. I'm really not picky about my acoustic tone so I really think that guild will be fine. I understand as the guitar has more resonance that translates through the amplified sound. This is a full size archtop so it will have more resonance which will be good for the amplified sound, but an acoustic sound hole pickup is placed in the sound hole so there is air "pushing" where the pickup is placed. I'm sure that helps produce the "acoustic" sound Which it is branded for. In short it seems this dearmond floating pickup is not designed to be voiced like a sound hole pickup. But that is ok, I really like that pickup which is what I want. I still think I'm going to buy the savoy and if I need to I'll just add a transducer. I like the K&K and it only 80$. I really like that soloist pickup as well. I've also been real interested in that epiphone century. Maybe I'll get the epi and add the dearmond floating pickup. Not sure yet which way I'll go

14

For the past few months I've been noodling around on one of these Epiphone Masterbilt deluxe guitars -- a big (17-inch) solid top archtop affair with an under saddle pickup controlled by volume and control pots inside the sound hole. This model comes in either f-hole or round sound hole versions. I tried both and went for the round soundhole version as IMO it has a louder, fuller acoustic tone -- it doesn't do Kenny Burrell. It has a great handful of a neck with a low action that suits either fingerstyle playing or chunking out chords with a flatpick.

I'm still fiddling about with the best way to amplify it -- I'm drifting between the acoustic option on a Roland Cube, a Trace Elliot acoustic amp and either Tech21 or Fishman pedals into the band's PA.

Incidentally, I had a new Guild Savoy for a while and liked it very much, but I found myself in a situation needing a wider range of electric tones so I swapped it for a Fairlane Blue 5420. Once the amplification issue is sorted, for our little trio gigs I'll take both the Epi and the 5420.

15

Epi Masterbilt Deluxe

16

Oh nice, thanks Dave. Is that round sound hole model an arch top still?

17

Yep, round hole, arch top. I thought the natural finish looked more, well, natural, than the sunburst. I've no idea if Epiphone is stopping production of these Masterbilt archtops but I bought mine new from a main Epi dealer in the UK for just £350 -- well less than half of the original price of around two years ago. I had to do a fair bit of scratching around to find a case to fit -- this is one big ole gal! The Epi case was nice but a bit pricey under the circumstances -- I'd only gone into the store for some strings!

18

That's really good to know. That makes it kind of tempting. I can definately see how the round hole would be louder. Thanks

19

Just an afterthought -- it would be easy to attach a floating electric pickup (Kent Armstrong minihum?) either to the pickguard or to the end of the fingerboard and fit an endpin/output jack strap button -- the acoustic output jack is on a separate plate.

20

FWIW, I've got one of the reissue Rhythm Chief pickups on my '54 Constellation (along with a vintage one) These can be used with bronze acoustic strings, as the pickups actually have fewer coil winds under the E-B strings vs the rest so they balance well. Still not the same tone as a piezo or internal mic, but definitely more acoustic.

Here's a video I did with the Connie and bronze strings:

21

No guitar will truly sound like an acoustic when plugged in. You need a proper acoustic and a mike. There are always trade offs. Even when played without an amp, a guitar with mounted pickups has had it's top altered enough that it'll affect the sound.

22

I can't see how they would ever 'voice' a passive magnetic pickup for an acoustic guitar. It's a pretty simple arrangement really. Coil and poles..maybe magnet on the bottom if there are steel pole pieces). Maybe by doing what some of the original Dearmonds did by having a separate coil for the plain strings to attempt to achieve a volume balance. Acoustic sound hole pickups really have no advantage (especially in location) in making your guitar sound acoustic and they are ideally used with a piezo to try and fake an acoustic tone by mixing them together. By itself it will make your acoustic guitar sound like an electric guitar, maybe a more acoustic sounding electric guitar but certainly not like an acoustic guitar. They were used because that was the easy alternative to miking for live, likely a fair amount of EQ was used on them.

23

Thanks Mel, that is exactly what I was looking for. That looks like exactly what I want and what I wanted to confirm. That rhythm chief pickup in that guitar seems to be just a little more "acoustic" sounding. At least that's what I hear. That's at the heart of what I was looking for, a guitar with a magnetic pickup that is just slightly more acoustic sounding. I know the description and questions I make and ask are very subjective, I apologize for that. I am really not picky when it comes to acoustic and I don't need something that sounds just like an acoustic. I just wanted something that was a little closer to an acoustic sound. I could have just bought a Martin or a Taylor but I just can't justify that as I don't play any real traditional acoustic flat top. So I thought to get an archtop which is way more up my ally. Then I thought since they make magnetic acoustic pickups maybe that guild will be similar and that will just work. I will put a transducer under if needed to get a more natural sound but hoping I can make the magnetic pickup work. But it just comes down to that I don't play acoustic much so I really wanted a dual purpose guitar that can be used as an acoustic but not just a dedicated acoustic. I'm also considering an epiphone masterbilt century and adding the rhythm chief floating pickup. I'm pretty sold on the guild though.


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