Winter NAMM 2013

Guild Electrics - they're not just nostalgia anymore.


I know I shouldn’t put this here, and I feel so disloyal.

You know how we’ve speculated in the past that FMIC had originally hoped to use their Guild & DeArmond acquisitions to compete with Gretsch, that that’s what the DeArmond electrics were about, and that the subsequent FMIC/Gretsch marketing deal killed Guild electrics, because then FMIC didn’t want to cannibalize Gretsch sales with Guilds?

Pure invention on our part. I’m told by them what know that such thinking never entered anyone’s mind. Joe insists that he’s not a bit jealous or annoyed by this new Guild thing (and wait’ll you see what new Guild thing), because Guilds are their OWN thing.

There may even be a synergistic effect between Gretsch and Guild, as there’s a good amount of crossover between fans of the brands. (You listening, Walter? Billy D?)

So I’m hoping I’ll be forgiven for having noticed a couple of iconic Guild electrics last night, set up on a platform (along with a slew of Guild acoustics) adjacent to the Gretsch booth. In fact, Gretsch was so crowded I couldn’t get in at first, so I confess I looked at the Guilds before I saw any new Gretschs. I know, I know.

Since the guitars on the platform seemed to be all US models, from the American Patriarch Collection, I thought, “sure - a few limited-run, ultra-high-end Guild electrics. Great to see, and a nice development, but.”

But indeed. Later in the evening, Mike invited me to a room across the hall to see the real new Guild electrics, the ones we mortals can afford, the Newark St. Collection. Be still my beating heart! There was a whole WALL full of nearly every Guild electric I remember. (Caveat: I’m not a fanatic Guild member, and don’t know them all. So if there are some missing, forgive my impression.)

Mike explains that the project was turned over to him last May - and I know from the results that he’s worked hard. They’re beautiful, and they seem to be “right.” I played a couple of them (unamplified) and they felt great. Some have virtually irresistible specs (fully enclosed small hollow body, P90s, come on!) - and at their prices (topping out at 1,200.00 street) lots of guys won’t even have to try to resist.

They’re made at the SPG factory in Korea, where Electromatics are made. (Competing for production capacity is the one way Guild and Gretsch could conflict.) And from all the evidence I could gather in a few minutes, the workmanship is nothing short of gorgeous.

The problem with Guild for me has always been the difficulty of finding good examples of desirable models. Assuming these truly capture the vibe (and Mike’s track record of honoring the past while improving the present is impeccable), that will no longer be a problem.

So - Guild comes back.

(Does that belong in a Gretsch report? I don’t know. They’re now cousins - or, given Mike Lewis’s shared parenting of both brands, maybe stepbrothers - so I’d like to think it’s all in the family.)

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I have a tear in my eye. :) I’ve been waiting for this for a decade or more. I was hoping Mike was involved. Thanks!

Yes it does. Numerous of ‘uns here dig’s em too, and love seeing the return. And gadzooks.

this is GAS heaven!

What Proteus said. They’re nice. Real nice. As good as a good Westerly-built unit? No. But easily worthy of the name, and at this price point, you’d be hard-pressed to find a comparable or better guitar. I’ll try to play the rest of them tomorrow.

I often wonder why two versions of the same model don’t come in both stains. Why not be able to buy a Manhattan in either nat. or burst with a bigsby and with the same bridge?

I also wonder why no one but Godin seems to be interested in anything but a full gloss finish. If Guild is going for a vintage vibe (or GreTscH for that matter), why not make some models with a semi-satin finish? Is it more expensive?

Oh, and I’ve already gushed aplenty in the New Guild thread. These aren’t my first impressions, which were euphoric and appreciative. Just subsequent questions about how and why things are offered and marketed.

I’ve always liked Guilds and Godins. A local performer, Nina Violet plays a vintage Guild, it’s like a scaled down Country Gentleman, with a P90. I freely admit covetting thy neighbor’s guitar. I’m really interested in these new ones.

Something was missing in the world of guitars. It’s good these are back. Forget marketing and business models, this is just so right.

I love the look of those M-75s. I wonder how close they were able to get to the Franz tone? Anybody get to try one?

I’m still holding out for a decent S-200 Thunderbird (complete with kickstand) re-issue.

I for one am thrilled that I might be able to reacquire a Guild S-100 Polara. I had an original ‘73 but lost it in a divorce in ‘76.

I looked over the ‘90’s reissues as they were very light, less quality parts and didn’t have the same vibe.

When these show up, my CC will be on FIRE!!!!

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