Guild experts help!

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by brad347, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    In a local shop I found a very cool old Guild archtop. It's a blonde with an unusual peghead shape, and the model on the label was "A-600"

    I cannot find ANY info on this model anywhere. Google turns up nothing(!)

    There is a picture of a guitar called a "Model A-600 B" on page 217 of Tom Wheeler's "American Guitars," but the model and none others from that series are mentioned anywhere in the text of the Guild article itself in that book. This guitar doesn't look incredibly similar to the one I saw. The one I saw had an unusual peghead shape, F-holes, and was (i believe) non-cutaway. The one in the book is round-hole, cutaway, normal peghead... the herringbone/checkered binding and trim looks the same as the one I saw though. I lost my copy of Gruhn's Guide to vintage guitars so I can't look it up there.

    The guitar looks great... I didn't pick it up and play it... but it's clearly of the highest quality, blonde finish, carved top, etc. I'm considering buying it as the price seems pretty reasonable, but I simply cannot find any info about it anywhere. If anyone has ANYTHING they can tell me, i'd appreciate it!
     
  2. Kiwi

    Kiwi Silver Supporting Member

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    Have you checked over at the Guild section of the FDP (Fender Discussion Page)? There are some archivists and historians of Guild guitars there. Hope you find a source for info.

    =K
     
  3. smiert spionam

    smiert spionam Member

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    The A series would be for acoustic archtops, and had solid carved tops (except the A-50, which was a low-end student model). Early Guilds are weird with their model numbers, but in general, the higher the number, the higher the grade. Is it possible it has the Artist Award model peghead, which is very large, in the vein of a D'Angelico?

    If you pm or email me, I'd be glad to look up any further details.

    Hans Moust is the best authority on early Guilds -- he wrote the book (literally), and he shows up periodically on the FDP Guild section. Even better, go to www.letstalkguild.com.

    Or, better yet, tell ME where this guitar is hiding....

    ;-)
     
  4. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    The peghead is very large, but it's an asymmetrical shape, with the treble side extending farther on top. smiert, where are you located? If I don't end up buying it I'll certainly give you the tip. Asking price is $1500 in some hole-in-the-wall shop. They literally have the guitar priced with a f*cking grocery store price gun! Sticker right on the top of the guitar!

    I'm trying to determine if it's worth that, or more, or what??
     
  5. george4908

    george4908 Member

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    I have the Hans Moust book and it shows an A-600B as in the Tom Wheeler book -- round hole, symetrical peghead, floating pickup. Ordinarily, the A-600 without the B designation would be the same thing without the pickup, so what you're seeing at the shop would seem to be an anomaly. The Gruhn book makes no mention. Any way you can get a picture of it? The headstock is puzzling.
     
  6. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    I'd love to get some pictures. I don't want to offend the shop owners though. They don't look like the types to take kindly to folks coming in and photographing their guitars. I was just looking around their shop today, and was in there for about 10 minutes and they started to get testy with me, like "are you gonna buy somethin' or what."

    Weird. I might go back and have another look though and see if I can have my lady snag some pics for me or something. She's prettier than I am. No promises though...
     
  7. smiert spionam

    smiert spionam Member

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    Weird stuff. I hadn't noticed the round-hole A-600B in Hans' book before -- very curious. I suppose it's possible this one is somehow related to that guitar -- an oddball from the same period.

    Seems a bit more likely, though, that it's earlier. In the early '50s, the numbering schemes were fairly arbitrary and unpredictable. The basic 17" archtop platform looked like this:

    http://www.lucchesivintageinstruments.com/product.php?id=32

    This very pretty X-175S has some features not common on the 175 (the S for "special" is more likely related to the maple neck than to the blonde finish, but for the purposes of this conversation that's picking nits). I've got an X-440 from this same era, and it's very similar. The differences aren't explainable by the model numbers -- at least not in any coherent way. The X-440 doesn't appear in any catalog, either -- it was just a number they grabbed to differentiate different trim levels. So -- the strange number might suggest something fairly high up the food chain from this early period.

    A few more ways to approach this:

    Is the waist fairly skinny, like the Lucchesi X-175S, or is it a bit thicker through the middle, like this?

    http://www.gbase.com/Stores/Gear/GearDetails.aspx?Item=1536437

    Most of the archtops shifted to the wider waist design around '61 or '62.

    On the matter of the headstock, here's an Artist Award headstock, which is big and ornate (highest end acoustic archtop):
    http://www.gbase.com/Stores/Gear/GearDetails.aspx?Item=1505012

    Is it possible that it's like this one, but modified/chopped? Another possibility is that it's not the original headstock or neck at all, and it's got a strange past. That seems the most likely, actually.

    One more thing is the label. Briefly, if the label has a white guitar silhouette on a black rectangular background, it's from the '50s (A NY address indicates '53-'56, while Hoboken indicates '57-'59). A rectangular label with a cartoon ghost-like figure playing a guitar indicates '59 or '60, and an oval label with the word "guarantee" prominently on it indicates '61 to early '70s (a few variations through that period).

    If you can read the serial number, that obviously would help, too.

    Are we any closer?

    ;-)

    (btw, I'm in Austin)
     
  8. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    smiert, this is in a NJ shop near NYC so you're not close enough! Unless you want to pay me a 'finders fee' to ship it to ya haha.

    I'll go back tomorrow and have another look, with more of an eye for detail. I didn't even take it off the rack yesterday.
     
  9. smiert spionam

    smiert spionam Member

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    Brad, hope it turns out to be a good one -- good luck, and report back!
     
  10. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    Went down there today, went into a deserted aisle of the shop to strum a few chords, and my wife deftly snapped some pics! You can't see everything but I did get shots of the bizarre headstock and a clear shot of the body. I didn't want to sit there all day snapping pics and arousing suspicion, attracting attention to myself, etc. Note the grocery-store style price tag right on the body :rolleyes: The shop guy said it was a '53 but who knows where he got that? The label definitely says A-600

    It had ancient light-gauge acoustic strings on it and was poorly set up with the non-compensating bridge... couldn't get it to play in tune at all. So I couldn't really tell that much about the sound, but I will say it didn't strike me as having an incredible 'cut' or anything... definitely didn't feel as 'alive' as my 1939 epi triumph. WAY cool though. Check it!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  11. smiert spionam

    smiert spionam Member

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    Nice detective work!

    Unfortunately, I think it's a fake. There are too many things that have never appeared on a Guild, so far as I know: zero fret, headstock shape, style of binding, body and f-hole shape, pickguard shape, fretboard and headstock inlays, rounded fretboard extension, etc. The Guild inlay on the headstock does indeed look like it's from the '50s -- though I'd guess later '50s, and not '53, from the style. Virtually everything else says no, though....

    ;-(

    For comparison, here's a 17" non-cutaway Guild from that era:

    http://www.ggjaguar.com/x-100.htm

    It could still be a cool guitar, of course -- maybe it's a Hofner or something? Dones't look like a Kay to me....

    ?

    You probably had better pack up that '39 Epi and send it down here, though. I hear they like Texas.

    ;-)
     
  12. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    Well, nothing about it seemed "funny." That's interesting! Maybe it was a true one-off custom guitar? Or maybe not... it's just so weird! The label inside looked right, everything looked like it had "aged together" too, if you know what I mean. I have spent a lot of time around vintage guitars and I would say from holding it in my hands that it sure seemed to me to not feel like a fake. Why would anyone fake a guild 50 years ago? It was definitely an old guitar. For that matter, why would anyone fake a guild today when they could fake a gibson for a similar amount of effort? Very very strange though.

    The 39 Epi has to stay. It's younger sister, the '53 Triumph Regent, would get lonely without it. And it knows Texas... it lived with me in Denton for a few years while I was in school down there. :)
     
  13. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    ps the label is the white guitar silhouette on black indicating very early.
     
  14. smiert spionam

    smiert spionam Member

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    Very strange. How does it compare to the two Epiphones -- especially the '53? Early Guilds are a very close match, since they were built by former Epi employees on the same equipment.

    I'll put out the bat signal and ask Hans to stop by and see what he says.

    Just posted a thread about this over on the Guild pages:

    http://www.letstalkguild.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=7178#7178
     
  15. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    ok. It felt nothing like my '53 epiphone. Sounded nothing like it either.

    The mystery deepens...

    I did find this line on the link you sent me:

    ...the plot thickens!
     
  16. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    also the back and sides are beautiful rosewood(!) and it's VERY "bulbous" and curvy in shape, especially the back, which has a very deep arch. Much more so than most American archtops.
     
  17. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    I definitely wouldn't buy the guitar anyway as the sound didn't much turn me on, but it does have me VERY interested/curious about its origin!
     
  18. george4908

    george4908 Member

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    That is a Hofner or other German archtop on which someone has inlaid the Guild name on the headstock. Definitely German, though, as various inlays and hardware were traded around among the shops, making some of the mongrels hard to pinpoint. See:

    [​IMG]

    $1500? No thanks.
     
  19. smiert spionam

    smiert spionam Member

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    Rosewood, huh?

    Curiouser and curiouser.

    Maybe someone else can help with the mystery.
     
  20. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    aha! INTERESTING. Then WHY the correct, old Guild label inside the F-hole? Nothing looks like it's been moved at all, and it would be hard (though not by any means impossible) to get that label down smooth in there with hide glue through the F-hole and then make it look like it hasn't been moved... ODD.

    The main question is.... WHY fake a guild from a Hofner??
     

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