Anybody in the know about current Guild Guitars?

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Mechanical Birds
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Anybody in the know about current Guild Guitars?

Post by Mechanical Birds » Mon May 10, 2021 12:23 am

In a review video a while back that I can’t find now, a guy demoing the S-200 reissue said some stuff about how they’re not in very good shape as a company and aren’t selling that well. I don’t remember when it was from, so maybe, if that is true anyway, the pandemic helped provide them a comparable boost to what other popular brands are doing, but I can’t find info on that and please trust that I’ve put time into looking.

So yeah, are they going through a rough patch that anybody knows about?

I’ve wanted to just hold and try one of the Thunderbirds since I first saw them in high school, just infinitely cool and nice looking, but with them only being produced for less than like 3 years, they’re were pretty rare, really rare honestly. So I figured the closest I’d ever get was maybe one of those De’Armond things from way back, but they announced the reissue (which is like, spot on to the old ones in every way it looks like? I have an AV65 Thin Skin Jazzmaster and even it has some kinks that strat from what it’s imitating, so that seems impressive for sure) and since then I’ve been trying to find a deal on one. It looks like they’re doing some cool stuff so it’d be pretty shitty if they would have to shut down or whatever

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Sweetfinger
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Re: Anybody in the know about current Guild Guitars?

Post by Sweetfinger » Mon May 10, 2021 2:06 am

"Not in good shape as a company and not selling well", is essentially, the entire history of Guild as a brand. As far as I know, the current owners, Cordoba, are doing alright. The guitars I have played and seen look good, well made. I was really surprised by the first import Guild acoustic that came across my bench.
They're working on new products and reissues, slowly, but things are coming along.

I think one thing might be that the Guild line is not the primary focus of Cordoba. Their own line is more of a priority and it doesn't help that they bought the brand from Fender on a handshake insider deal, but didn't get a whole lot from Fender other than whatever inventory was on hand, and the name. By that time the factory had been moved several times, the company had been bought, and acquired a couple times, and with each transfer of ownership and move, a certain amount of history, knowledge, and expertise was lost as well.
Cordoba didn't get much in the way of sales history. How do you order more guitars when you don't know what the good sellers were and don't know how many were sold, or to expect to sell?
Guild electrics have always been oddballs, not associated with a lot of rock stars. Kim Thayill is as close as Guild has to what Jimmy Page has done for the Les Paul.
They have a history to draw on, it's just the history of a second-tier brand, not in terms of quality, but just as a place in the pantheon of golden era guitar brands.
Think of any Guild model, like a Starfire, Thunderbird, Polara, Arisotcrat, Jumbo 12 string, and name TWO famous players associated with each.
Sure, the first player will come to you, but the second is tough, maybe impossible. Gibson SG? I can name ten right off the top of my head. Flying V? Five or six. Les Paul? Like 20. Guild S-300? Erm, ummmm, ah, nada. I got nothin'.
That's the problem with the brand.

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Re: Anybody in the know about current Guild Guitars?

Post by SignoftheDragon » Tue May 11, 2021 3:40 pm

My stepdad had a guild X-175 when I was growing up, so I've always had a passing interest in Guild's brand offerings. I can remember seeing one Guild of similar shape, etc. on MTV, but don't remember spotting another Guild on video until Black Keys dragged them back into the spotlight for a bit.

The thing squealed like a banshee whenever it was played with any kind of amplification at ensemble volume- Those old soapbar pickups were maybe too nuanced for the post-punk mope-rock that we were trying to wrangle at the time. My mom decided to sell it about 4 years after my stepdad passed- when I was about 18ish. We got $600ish for it from the local vintage guitar shop, and she gave me a 10% slice of it for finding the best buyer.

I always had an eye out, but I've never translated it into owning another Guild. Maybe someday, for old time's sake if I spot a big jazz-box like that I'll pick it up.

Current Guilds? I have no idea, other than the one local shop that carries a decent lineup of their acoustics- The 12-strings sound great in the showroom- even next to Taylor 12s at double+ the pricepoint.

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Re: Anybody in the know about current Guild Guitars?

Post by seenoevil II » Tue May 11, 2021 7:53 pm

https://www.gad.net/Blog/gads-guilds//

This guy's blog is a treasure trove of guild knowledge from all era's. You might even just email the dude he's pretty open.

I feel like Guild are having a tiny moment. They're the alternative guitar, as is used by alternative and indie rocker types. Sound Garden, Feist, Malkmus off the top of my dome.

They are amazing guitars. The biggest minor tragedy of my life was buying a starfire II with dearmonds that got wrecked in shipping. Honestly the best looking guitar il ever play. Way hotter than gibsons. They're the Crystler Building to Gibson's Empire State. Same concept but better looking.

I have a current X-175 and I like it very much. It's a weirdo combination of attributes. 9.5" radius at 24.75" scale with medium tall frets. Very solidly made, though it's missing that extra extra quality that top teie factory guitars have. Think MIJ Epiphone level. They seem to have an identity crisis regarding where in the market they want to sit. The MIK electrics sell for $1000+, but the fact that they are made in Korea brings Samick/Peerless Epiphone to mind, so they don't hold their value sometimes (I got mine for $550 used). They seem to be defending their prosumer status by having a less developed Asian nation make a lesser teir of the same models at a $600 price point. They're diluting the perception of value they have going i.e. "imported from Asia, but very well made" with another lower level of the same deal. It's a bit odd and a little reminiscent of modern Gretsch.

I haven't played a USA guild from anywhere but Newark so I can't speak to their quality, though I've heard great things.

As for a rough patch. No clue. I don't they ever sell in that great of numbers. They appeal to the kind of people who play Fenders, but are basically Gibsons in design. Your typical red blooded les paul devotee wouldn't touch one, and they don't come in enough metallic custom colors for your average Fendery type (though they recently stated doing a few, and yes I want them).

They're kind of the brand for those in the know. Kinda like Peavey. I bought a collector grade "62 for 1800. I can't buy any Gibson hollowbody from ever with that money.

If I had to guess, I'd say their sales have stayed flat while the big 3 have skyrocketed because newcomers won't even be aware of Guild.
If it wasn't for disappointment, I wouldn't have any appointments.

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Re: Anybody in the know about current Guild Guitars?

Post by Unicorn Warrior » Tue May 11, 2021 9:51 pm

So many times I’ve wanted to pull the trigger on guild. Specifically a vintage s-100. Since I’ve never seen one in the wild, I could never justify the cash.

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Re: Anybody in the know about current Guild Guitars?

Post by BoringPostcards » Wed May 12, 2021 6:50 pm

My local shop has a couple of Polaras and a Thunderbird.
They are high quality and sound awesome. I really liked the pickups.
Guild deserves more love.
Det er mig der holder traeerne sammen.

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Re: Anybody in the know about current Guild Guitars?

Post by Mechanical Birds » Thu May 13, 2021 8:04 am

Sweetfinger wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 2:06 am
"Not in good shape as a company and not selling well", is essentially, the entire history of Guild as a brand. As far as I know, the current owners, Cordoba, are doing alright. The guitars I have played and seen look good, well made. I was really surprised by the first import Guild acoustic that came across my bench.
They're working on new products and reissues, slowly, but things are coming along.

I think one thing might be that the Guild line is not the primary focus of Cordoba. Their own line is more of a priority and it doesn't help that they bought the brand from Fender on a handshake insider deal, but didn't get a whole lot from Fender other than whatever inventory was on hand, and the name. By that time the factory had been moved several times, the company had been bought, and acquired a couple times, and with each transfer of ownership and move, a certain amount of history, knowledge, and expertise was lost as well.
Cordoba didn't get much in the way of sales history. How do you order more guitars when you don't know what the good sellers were and don't know how many were sold, or to expect to sell?
Guild electrics have always been oddballs, not associated with a lot of rock stars. Kim Thayill is as close as Guild has to what Jimmy Page has done for the Les Paul.
They have a history to draw on, it's just the history of a second-tier brand, not in terms of quality, but just as a place in the pantheon of golden era guitar brands.
Think of any Guild model, like a Starfire, Thunderbird, Polara, Arisotcrat, Jumbo 12 string, and name TWO famous players associated with each.
Sure, the first player will come to you, but the second is tough, maybe impossible. Gibson SG? I can name ten right off the top of my head. Flying V? Five or six. Les Paul? Like 20. Guild S-300? Erm, ummmm, ah, nada. I got nothin'.
That's the problem with the brand.
Fuck, thank you! Hit the nail on the head out of the gate, I appreciate that. Yeah, at a pawn shop where I live they’ve had this Polara for like years that’s one of the Fender ones. Made in America, a solid feeling guitar to be sure, but I didn’t even know they existed, like figured that anything made from like 85-onward would be Asian, so that was a surprise.

I just got an S-200 like an hour ago and it is seriously maybe the nicest guitar I’ve ever owned. In every category, (acoustically anyway since I can’t plug it in even until later) it feels like a top of the line instrument. The binding is thick and substantial, really pops, and the rest of the finish work is absolutely flawless. The tuners feel great (and the thing was in tune right out of the box - that’s something I didn’t think was even possible), it feels balanced and has better fretwork than any Fender I’ve ever bought regardless of price point. It just feels really substantial and I hope that they can find some kind of a footing and start competing with the big boys, even if only a little.

What little I know about them has always been one of those what could have been things. Like you said, quality wasn’t the problem, it’s more of a brand awareness/lack of famous ambassadors kinda thing. I know that Guild acoustics tend to be objectively great guitars, and that fact in my mind was what made them so attractive to Fender, but like a bunch of their seized brands (Sunn is the biggest one in my mind) they somehow found a way to manufacture products with the company’s name on them while at the same time making them totally irrelevant in any kind of market. Super weird, but after spending some time reading, Cardoba wants to make them
A top tier thing and are in the process of fighting some of these^^^ wrongs. I hope it works out and maybe they start making some new things.

Again, just wanna say, if you’re curious about these things, go find one and buy it right now and I promise you you will not be disappointed. I really can’t say enough how totally awesome this guitar is

Image

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Re: Anybody in the know about current Guild Guitars?

Post by Mechanical Birds » Thu May 13, 2021 8:29 am

seenoevil II wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 7:53 pm

They are amazing guitars. The biggest minor tragedy of my life was buying a starfire II with dearmonds that got wrecked in shipping. Honestly the best looking guitar il ever play. Way hotter than gibsons. They're the Crystler Building to Gibson's Empire State. Same concept but better looking.
Also are like infinitely more affordable and seem to hold up to the wear and tear any gigging musician will have to deal with way better? I know the ones with the built in stand had a bunch of neck breaks, like that’s not surprising, but otherwise I’ve never heard a story of someone tuning after their bands first song and the headstock snapping off without warning. I’d like to get one of the old ones some day. Probably never afford a Thunderbird but I see deals on Polaras and stuff all the time from years where a comparable Gibson would typically sell for 5 or 10 times as much. I’d like to get my hands on one sometime. While I’ve tried to get along with an SG or LP in the past and not been able, if the itch ever surfaces again I’ll probably go for an old Guild.

And the same goes for acoustic. I’ve never owned and never been able to enjoy playing an acoustic guitar and usually people look at me like my skin turned inside out when I say that, but it’s just never been a thing that appealed to me. If that ever changes though, and I wanna get something nice, it’ll be a Guild.

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Re: Anybody in the know about current Guild Guitars?

Post by bessieboporbach » Fri May 14, 2021 1:12 pm

New Guilds are really good. They are made by WMI to a very high standard.

I haven't tried a T-Bird (which is a dream guitar for me due to Zally from the Lovin' Spoonful) but I have tried an SG-type thing and a fully hollow thinline archtop that resembled an Epiphone Century, and they were both very nice.

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Re: Anybody in the know about current Guild Guitars?

Post by Sweetfinger » Tue May 18, 2021 3:42 am

Those smaller humbuckers are one of my favorite designs, but the S-200 just has too much goin' on on the front. I have a Jetstar which is more to my liking:
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Re: Anybody in the know about current Guild Guitars?

Post by MrFingers » Thu May 20, 2021 10:06 am

I have the modern Starfire III... Best hollowbody guitar in the sub 2500$ bracket, easily... (and that's saying something for a guitar that cost me 1000€.

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