Other Guitars

Guild A-150 vs. D’Angelico EX-1

1

Last year with the big sales on the EX-1 there was D’Angelicomania around here. I’ve also read good things about the Guild A-150 Savoy yet haven’t seen any comparisons between the two.

Have any of you played both so you can give a comparison? Of course the pickup on the Guild is better but besides that how about the tone and feel of the guitar?

2

I have an blonde Guild A-150 that I recently purchased and love it. I like the feel of the neck, both the amplified/unamplified tone and just the overall fit and finish. Coincidentally, I tried the D'Angelico EXL-1 across the street at another guitar store from where the Guild was purchased, before deciding. Several things steered me to the Guild pretty quickly, namely the shorter scale of the Guild (24.75 vs 25.5"), the solid spruce top of the Guild and its X-bracing vs the laminated top of the D'A (not sure what bracing it had). The Guild, as a result, sounded better to me, unamplified and contributed to a better amplified sound. I preferred the fretboard radius of the Guild (9.45 vs 16" on the D'A). I also really like the sound of the floating DeArmond vs. the mini-hum of the other, which in the end, was the main driver for me. Nothing sounds like the floating DeArmond Rhythm Chief. As well, I found the D'A just too 'blingy" for me, mainly because of the gold hardware and headstock. I like the understated elegance of the Guild. The Guild just felt easier to play overall and I am still enamored with it 5 months later.

3

MadScience thank you for the comparison.

Just curious what strings do you use on yours.

4

MadScience thank you for the comparison.

Just curious what strings do you use on yours.

– ThePolecats

I changed them from the stock D'Addario 12-52 XL flatwounds to a set of D'Addario 11-50 XL flatwounds, with no discernable effect on tone or intonation with the compensated rosewood bridge. The 12s were a bit too much for me for regular use.

5

I have an blonde Guild A-150 that I recently purchased and love it. I like the feel of the neck, both the amplified/unamplified tone and just the overall fit and finish. Coincidentally, I tried the D'Angelico EXL-1 across the street at another guitar store from where the Guild was purchased, before deciding. Several things steered me to the Guild pretty quickly, namely the shorter scale of the Guild (24.75 vs 25.5"), the solid spruce top of the Guild and its X-bracing vs the laminated top of the D'A (not sure what bracing it had). The Guild, as a result, sounded better to me, unamplified and contributed to a better amplified sound. I preferred the fretboard radius of the Guild (9.45 vs 16" on the D'A). I also really like the sound of the floating DeArmond vs. the mini-hum of the other, which in the end, was the main driver for me. Nothing sounds like the floating DeArmond Rhythm Chief. As well, I found the D'A just too 'blingy" for me, mainly because of the gold hardware and headstock. I like the understated elegance of the Guild. The Guild just felt easier to play overall and I am still enamored with it 5 months later.

– MadScience

Plus, my 8 year old son approves.

6

Great photo!

The lad reminds me of a young Buddy Holly (or Hank Marvin) contemplating the benefits of a hollow body versus a solid body guitar!

7

Speaking about 11s vs. 12s, I for many years used 12s. I had them on my Fender Jazzmaster (American) and a hollow body that resembles an L5 with P90s. I recently went down to 11s. I do like the big sound you get from .12s but I felt like I was getting almost baritone sounds from such large strings. Of course there are those jazz people who use .14s even like Chris Corcoran whom I am a fan of. But anyway .11s are easier on the fingers even though only one size smaller and the tone is still very good.

I used to dislike Chromes and only used Pryamid or Thomastik but I have learned to appreciate Chromes too. My preference in order would be Thomastik, Pyramid then Chrome.

8

On the used market these Guilds are a very reasonable price. I don't mind buying new, getting it brand new and being my very own from the start and making it mine over time, you know little nicks and stuff. But being I buy and sell a lot sometimes if I can find a good used guitar it helps in my constant buying and selling.

I had an Aria FA-71 which from all accounts has a solid spruce top from what my research indicates. It was a good guitar and I sold it. Bought it new and after a couple years sold it because I have or had this habit of buying and selling. That one I wish I had kept.

I do have the D'Angelico EXL-1 and plugged in I just don't like that pickup at all and I'm not that picky about pickups but this one I don't care for. I'm either thinking of getting a Guild DeArmond 1100 and having it installed or I may try a Guild A-150 and if I like it, eventually sell the D'Angelico and get a Guild. Even tho the D'Angelico is laminated top it still sounds pretty good acoustically with the flatwounds on it. I tried three of these before I bought it and two of them didn't sound as good as the one I chose, acoustically. With that said, yours being solid top it must sound better, but of the laminated D'Angelicos that I tried mine was the best of the bunch.

9

I would go with the Guild. IMO, from the samples of both I've seen in shops and my own experience as the owner of a NS Guild X175B, the MIK Guilds while much more basic in the cosmetics have cleaner workmanship and sound much better unplugged. The other big thing is, while the D'Angelico's have more than decent necks, the necks on the Guild Newark St archtops are amazing: literally as good as anything out there. Nice medium U profile w/ 9.45" fretboard radius just feels absolutely perfect. The DeArmond® 1000 “Rhythm Chief” Floating Archtop Pickup that comes stock on the Guild is reputed to be a very faithful reproduction of the originals and sound great.

10

Speaking about 11s vs. 12s, I for many years used 12s. I had them on my Fender Jazzmaster (American) and a hollow body that resembles an L5 with P90s. I recently went down to 11s. I do like the big sound you get from .12s but I felt like I was getting almost baritone sounds from such large strings. Of course there are those jazz people who use .14s even like Chris Corcoran whom I am a fan of. But anyway .11s are easier on the fingers even though only one size smaller and the tone is still very good.

I used to dislike Chromes and only used Pryamid or Thomastik but I have learned to appreciate Chromes too. My preference in order would be Thomastik, Pyramid then Chrome.

– ThePolecats

I have been meaning to try Pyramids or Thomastiks for some time. I would have to order them, as none of the guitar shops around here carry them in stock. Hence, the D'Addarios. Even then, not every store around here carry their flatwounds. They are fine for the mostly, home recreational use my guitars see, but I find they get somewhat dull sounding, especially on the low strings, after only a couple weeks of playing. How do the Pyramids and Thomastiks compare? I know they are more expensive, and I am not concerned with cost, but do they seem to be more long-lasting in terms of tone?

11

Pyramids and Thomastiks sound and feel fresh after months of playing. Well worth the money. Recently I’ve gotten good deals on Pyramids. Like you, I must order online. All the local shops don’t have Pyramids or Thomastiks. I think Pyramids come in round core and hex core. Make sure you get round core. Try Just Strings or Strings and Beyond. At SaB I’ve gotten some Pyramid deals. Not sure if right now they have deals on them tho.

Either are good but Thomastiks my first pick.

12

Here you go $20 at SaB. Not sure how much at Just Strings but these normally go for $25 elsewhere. Sometimes they have promos for free shipping too.

13

They may seem expensive but they last and I like the feel and tone better than Chromes, but like I say I like Chromes more now than I did before. Only problem is as you pointed out they seem to sound dull after not long.

14

I'd go with the Guild. The re-pro rhythm chief pickups sound quite good.

15

Having never played or even seen either, my opinion is totally uninformed by reality. But my perception is that Guilds in general are more "serious" guitars. D'Angelicos (which I have played, but don't recall which models) seem like a name and a lot of trim on an otherwise unremarkable budget guitar. By specs, reputation, appearance, and more than anything Mike Lewis's involvement in their development, I have no doubt that you're getting as much bang for your buck as possible with the Guilds. Sometimes I'm shocked that I don't own one.

16

I got blue-guitar fever for one of the D'Angelicos last December during the blowout, and it's one of the few baroquely and tastelessly overdone headstocks I find amusing enough to own.

But I withstood the fever (in favor of a long pedal binge), and now I look at the blue D'Angies and wonder what I was thinking! (No offense to you, Polecats, and Parabar, who are happy with yours.)

On the other hand, I was smitten to the marrow by the Lewis Guilds when I saw them at their NAMM introduction whenever that was (2012?), and vowed eventually to accumulate a trifecta of the Savoy, the Aristocrat, and that other one, the most popular rockabilly model. I got the Aristo first, some time later the Savoy - and there my commitment flagged. (I don't need the other, really.)

ANYway, those two remain as proportionally and chromatically beautiful to me as when I first laid eyes on them, their feel and playability are superlative, and their tone and responsiveness just exquisite. Somehow the tone and vibe of the Aristocrat take me places I don't otherwise go on guitar - and the Savoy almost makes me sound like a jazz player. (Or at least closer than any other guitar has been able to.)

So I can't speak from experience about the D'Angie - but I consider both my Newark Streets to be lifetime guitars, and couldn't be happier with them.

17

Proteus, no offense taken. Your input is welcomed and appreciated. Afire and Strummer your thoughts and opinions are appreciated as well and everyone who commented.

Well let me just tell you guys this. Soon I will have a Guild but it’s not the A-150. I’m interested in that but my D’Angelico I’ll keep for now. I have my eyes on another Guild. Soon you will see a NGD posting.

Thanks

18

I got blue-guitar fever for one of the D'Angelicos last December during the blowout, and it's one of the few baroquely and tastelessly overdone headstocks I find amusing enough to own.

But I withstood the fever (in favor of a long pedal binge), and now I look at the blue D'Angies and wonder what I was thinking! (No offense to you, Polecats, and Parabar, who are happy with yours.)

On the other hand, I was smitten to the marrow by the Lewis Guilds when I saw them at their NAMM introduction whenever that was (2012?), and vowed eventually to accumulate a trifecta of the Savoy, the Aristocrat, and that other one, the most popular rockabilly model. I got the Aristo first, some time later the Savoy - and there my commitment flagged. (I don't need the other, really.)

ANYway, those two remain as proportionally and chromatically beautiful to me as when I first laid eyes on them, their feel and playability are superlative, and their tone and responsiveness just exquisite. Somehow the tone and vibe of the Aristocrat take me places I don't otherwise go on guitar - and the Savoy almost makes me sound like a jazz player. (Or at least closer than any other guitar has been able to.)

So I can't speak from experience about the D'Angie - but I consider both my Newark Streets to be lifetime guitars, and couldn't be happier with them.

– Proteus

I'm going to take a turn here and ask you as a Dyna Jet player and an Aristocrat player what do you like about each and which would you choose if you could only have one and why? I love the idea of an Aristocrat but never had enough experience with one to make an informed decision.

19

Oh man. Hardest question you could ask. Throw the Eastwood Airline Tux into that mix and it's almost insoluble. Sophie's choice.

If I could only have one, you ask...well, the Jet. Or A Dyna Jet, if not the one I have. (It's The Best Guitar In The World, but a Custom Shop with more chambering might be more Bester.)

And that's what I hear different in the Aristo and the Tux - more air. A more resonant hollower-body sound. That's not always better, but it does tickle the ear sometimes.

In a world where wishes instantly came true, I'd like to hear the two non-Gretschs with Dynas rather than their own pickups, and then see what I think. As it is, the Aristo's pickups are integral to why I like it; in contradiction to its name suggesting sophistication and gentility, it can be a nasty little beast (in the best way). Lots of snarl and bite - it sounds cheaper than a Jet (but not in a way that has anything to do with cost). Maybe it breaks up in a more open, sloppier way. The Jet is more composed, probably with more focus.

And I don't even know how to characterize the Tux. Maybe somewhere between the other two in funky nastiness, but with one of the most distinctive resonant-cavity tones of any guitar I've ever played. It's not enough to say it's got body around the tone - it has a particular body that just appeals to me. Mileage may vary.

20

I too have a guild aristocrat that I love. I’ve not had a chance to play the A-150, but if my aristocrat speaks to the quality coming out of guild’s Korean factory then I’m sure it’s a sweet guitar. I love that tinted natural too. So cool. A guitar has to have the right resonance acoustically, I don’t care if its a solid telecaster, I wanna feel a guitar vibrate when I strum some chords. Then if I get to that point I’ll check out the pickups. The Di’Angelicos, at least the ones I’ve played, haven’t given me that “whole guitar resonating as one” feel that I look for. Sounds like you’re set on a different Guild though. I hope it’s the T-Bird!

21

I've played both. Both are very nice guitars for the price. The D'Angelico is a good deal heavier, has less of an "acoustic guitar feel" about it. The neck on the D'A I played was fatter.
The pickup on the Guild is a lot better sounding to my ears.

I bet you can get a little louder on the D'Angelico before it feeds back in an amplified band setting, because the guitar feels altogether more rigid and less lively, the Guild would probably feed back easier because it's lighter, more acoustic and a "looser" feeling guitar.

22

Please see my new thread called "NGD Guild X-175 Manhattan". After playing that one and reading your thoughts and opinions on the Guild X-150 Savoy I really want a Guild X-150 Savoy. Not a good time to get one but it's an option for the future.

23

Manhattan. That's the third member of the Guild Supremes trio I couldn't remember.

I know that's Diana Ross for most people, but I can't live up to it.

24

Can anybody tell me the difference between the A150 and the X175(harp tailpiece)?

25

For information, the D'Angelico EXL-1 bracing is parallel tone bars. The pickup on mine is a Kent Armstrong but as of 2018 it comes with a Seymour Duncan. Acoustically, it sounds better than some solid top I have tried. I'm still not out of D'Angelicomania, the EXL-1 being my main guitar out of about a dozen. It is well suited to my music. Here is how it sounds acoustically and amplified through a Princeton (PRRI 65).


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