GAD’s Guilds


I thought I would consolidate all my articles that have to do with Guild Electric Guitars since there were so many. This page contains links and descriptions to all of the Guild electric guitar reviews and articles I’ve posted on this blog. The odd Guid acoustic may show up as well.

Almost all of the guitars I’ve reviewed were bought by me, usually on the used market. Guild has not paid me or offered me anything in any way. I do this for the love of the guitars. Occasionally I’ll have someone send me a Guild for review or for work in which case I’ll write it up here with their permission.

For a sortable and searchable index of reviews, try here.


[Guild Electric Guitars]

A general overview of Guild electric guitars. This was my first article on Guilds written in 2010 when I first started the blog.

It covers mostly Guild Starfires because that’s what I was busy collecting at the time and I prattle on a bit because I was new to blog writing, but the fact remains that this is one of the most hit articles on my site.



[1986 Guild Brian Setzer Bluesbird]

Today’s black Guild (seriously, why are all the guitars I get lately black or white?) is a 1986 Bluesbird that I call the “Setzer” Bluesbird for reasons that will become plain in the article.

This is a Bluesbird that’s unlike all the other Bluesbirds I’ve written about, as should be obvious just from the picture alone, but read on to find out all the other little details that makes this guitar unique.


[1985 Guild S284 Aviator]

A high-end shredder of the Super-Strat variety comes to us in the form of two Guild S284 Aviator guitars. These guitars (a black one and a blue one) manage to look both like and unlike a Strat at the same time that they offer amazing shredder performance, usually for a great price on the used market. Take a look as I put them though their paces and tear them apart for your review-reading pleasure.


[1999 Guild X170T Mars]

One of my favorite Guild electric guitars of all time is the Guild X170T Mars edition. I’ve owned two of these orange beauties and with this latest purchase, set out to review it in great gory detail

From pointy ’80s shredder guitars to orange Rockabilly goodness, I think it’s pretty clear that I love them all, but these X170Ts are special. Click the link or the guitar to find out why.


[1984 Guild Flying Star X-88 Crüe]

I present to you perhaps the pointiest guitar of all time, the Guild Flying Star X-88 Crüe.

This pointy black monster is the very epitome of the ’80s pointy guitar culture and is so over-the-top in so many ways that it’s no surprise that it was co-designed with Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe. Take a look as I evaluate this angular instrument through the eyes of someone who wishes that the ’80s never ended.


[1988 Guild Liberator Elite]

After years of waiting I finally got my hands one one of these rare Guild Liberator Elite guitars. Billed as one of the finest electric guitar ever made (at any price!), I put it through my many tests and measurements to see if it measures up.

Regardless of the outcome, I’m just thrilled to have this one. I mean, just look at it!


[1981 Guild S281 Flyer]

Surprisingly, I had never owned a Guild from the Aviation line, a line of guitars from the early to mid ’80s with names like Flyer, Aviator, Liberator, and the like. This guitar, a 1981 S281 Flyer, came up at a great price so I nabbed it just to write about it. Dive in and see how well I do wrangling a Kahler bridge as a dedicated Floyd Rose guy.


[1977 Guild S-60]

Back in the very early ’80s I bought my very first nice guitar: a Guild S-60 just like this one. Sure, mine was sunburst and this one is red, but the thrill was absolutely there when I picked this one up for a song on eBay.

Take a look and see if the Guild S-60 holds up to my nostolgia-filtered memories of this entry-level Guild.


[1998 Guild Starfire IV]

Bought because it contains Seymour Duncan SD-1 pickups, this guitar is very similar to my 2000 Starfire listed below. Is it as good? Better? Not as good?

I take a detailed look at this 1998 Westerly Starfire IV down to the goriest of details including the ultra painful process of removing the wiring harness to illustrate how it’s laid out inside.


[1981 Guild S-300]

I got this guitar in a trade, and since the S300 is one of my favorite Guild models, I was pretty excited, but imagine my surprise when I opened the case and discovered a practically mint Guild!

This is a mahogany slab with killer Guild HB-1 pickups, and it rocks in just about every way possible. Yeah, spoiler-alert, I really dig this one, so click on the goofy-looking thing and take a trip back to 1981 while I rave about this beauty from Westerly.


[1982 Guild S-275]

I bought this guitar on Craigslist (a rarity for me) because it was a model I’d never owned or even seen in person before.

This is a guitar that was seemingly meant to bring the Strat and Les Paul fans together into buying the single perfect approximation of both while still being a Guild. Does it accomplish that goal? Click the link and read my review to find out!


[2000 Guild Starfire IV]

After years of writing reviews of different Guilds, I finally pulled out one of my all time favorites, took new pictures, and wrote up a review of my 2000 Guild Starfire IV. This is the guitar that started my newfound obsession with Guilds and this guitar is the reason I grew to dislike skinny necks. See what all the hype is about!


[2001 Guild X-500T]

In my apparently never ending quest to find a Guild that delivers all the rockabilly goods I could possibly desire I managed to purchase a 2001 Guild X-500T in beautiful sunburst.

Did I finally find the perfect guitar? Is this everything I’ve been lusting after? Read on to discover what I think of this big ‘ol jazz box with a Guildsby and see if it’s guitar enough to rest the Starfire III-90 from its perch as my favorite Rockabilly guitar.


[1994 Guild X-170]

There was this guitar that I kept seeing in my online searches. It was a 1994 Guild X-170 that had the most perfect reddish sunburst finish. It was everything I ever wanted in a guitar. Well, it was everything I ever wanted in a Guild X170.

After months of trying to find one like it, the very guitar I had lusted after showed up on Reverb! So I bought it. The end. This is the review of that guitar.


[1980s Guild X-500s]

Being lucky enough to be able to own two Guild X-500s from the 1980s, I decided to write about their quirks, similarities, and differences.

There are two X-500s in this writeup, the sunburst one you see to the right and a darker walnut-colored sunburst model that you’ll see in the article. Both of them, naturally, are beautiful guitars.


[1981 Guild M-80]

I bought this guitar because I got it for a steal thanks to an accommodating seller agreeing to my offered price. I was then surprised at how much I enjoyed playing it. It’s a bit heavy, has Guild XR-7 pickups that I’d never tried before, and is a bit different from most of the other vintage Guilds on this page, but it has ended up being a keeper for various reasons outlined in the article.


[1975 Guild M-80 CS]

Another guitar that I bought for the sole purpose of writing a review, only to fall in love with the playability and the fabulous tone. This is sort of a double-cut version of the M-75, but it’s really a very different guitar for a variety of reasons. This is about the most “spanky” sounding Guild I’ve ever played, which is part of what makes it so great. Those vintage HB-1s just deliver the tone like nobody’s business.


[1974 Guild Bluesbird M-75]

I bought this guitar on a whim since it was so badly marred with lacquer damage and my low offer was accepted. I had no idea how great these guitars were even though I had seen people rave about them for years. Why didn’t I know how great they were? Because they usually sell for stupid amounts of money, that’s why!

This is by far my ugliest Guild due to the finish damage, but it’s turned out to be one of my favorite solid bodies.


[2002 Guild Starfire III-90]

I’ve been lucky enough to own two of these relatively rare Starfire-III guitars outfitted with P90 pickups.

They’re hard to come buy because they didn’t make very many of them, which is a shame because of all the Guilds I’ve owned, this sunburst Starfire III w/P90s may be one of my favorites.


[2016 Guild Newark Street Bluesbird]

A review of the new (when I wrote it, anyway) Guild Newark Street Bluesbird guitar. After my other Newark Street reviews, I got many requests to write up a modern Bluesbird, so I scored a new one for a great prince and did my thing.

Bottom line: I like it, minor foibles and all. Dig into the review to see what those foibles might be and why they probably won’t matter if you buy one.


[1997 Guild Bluesbird]

A review of the very nice (near mint) 1997 Guild Bluesbird that I scored on eBay for a song. This review also goes into some detail as to the differences between the Guild Bluesbird and the Gibson Les Paul.

Spoiler: I like the Bluesbird better, especially considering the price difference.


[2015  Guild Newark Street X-175B]

A review of the Guild Newark Street X-175B. I got this together with the NS S100 reviewed below. This guitar is a surprising performer for the price, though it’s not without its quirks.

Really, though, a rocking’ rockabilly guitar for about $500 used? Yes please!


[2015 Guild Newark Street S-100]

A write-up of a mint Newark Stret S-100 that I bought online. This was my first Newark Street guitar, and I have to say that I walked away quite impressed.

I tend to be a Westerly snob, preferring the vintage guitars made by Guild in the mid to late ’90s, but this Korean-made Guild surprised me.


[1997 Guild S-100]

I scored this 1997 Guild S-100 on eBay for a paltry $750 due to the fact that the screws holding on the backplate were all broken.

This is a fabulous guitar made in the Westerly Rhoad Island plant. I resisted these guitars for years, but finding a great deal on one meant that I simply had to try it.


[The Fascinating Guild S200 Thunderbird]

I had the honor of fixing up the electronics on this fine 1965 Guild S-200 Thunderbird. In the process of fixing it, I also documented all of the wiring under the pick guard, publishing one of the only schematics I’ve ever seen for these great guitars.


Guitar Comparisons

[GAD’s Guide to Guild Nightbirds]

Since I’ve owned too many Nightbirds and since there’s a fair bit of confusion as to the many model numbers and years of production, I decided to try and consolidate some of that information into a single article in the hopes that I could help dispel some of the confusion. If you’re looking at a Nightbird and trying to figure out what it is, this is the place for you.

[Guild Bluesbird Bakeoff]

At one point I managed to have five different Bluesbirds in my posetion ranging in manufacuring date from 1972 to 2016 with almost one from each decade (The 2000s were covered by the 1997 model). I put these up against each other both in gut feel and through a scientific process to determine which one of them I liked best. Read the article to find out which one won!


[Battle of the Guild S-100 Reissues]

Having had the luxury of owning both a 1997 Guild S-100 reissue, and a 2015 Guild Newark Street S-100 reissue, I put them side by side and compared them.

The S-100 is one of Guild’s most popular electric guitars, and I see questions about them all the time, so hopefully this article will help someone in the process of choosing either one, the other, or both!



[Guild G300 Tamarack Acoustic Amplifier]

This is the amp that started my obsession with learning more about the Timberline acoustic amplifiers from Guild (see below).

This cool little amp is designed to amplify an acoustic guitar that has electronics (or a sound-hole pickup) and it’s designed to do it style. In this review I pull the amp apart and analyze it right down to the components on its solid-state board.


[Guild Timberline Acoustic Amplifiers]

After scoring a Guild G300 Tamerack acoustic amplifier from the Timberline series I became obsessed with finding everything I could about this series of amps. As it turns out, there was not a lot of information to be had, but I did score some cool info and put it together into this article in the hopes that it could help people looking for details about these cool and relatively obscure amps including the G1000, shown, that I’ve affectionally nicknamed the footstool.


Technical Articles

[Identifying Fake Vintage Guild HB1s]

As much as we’d all like to think otherwise, there are unscrupulous people in the world and sadly sometimes those people try to rip us off.

Given my obsession with vintage Guild HB1 pickups, I happened to notice someone trying to sell fakes. I decided to put together a short article on how to spot such fakes in the hope that it help prevent someone from being scammed.


[Replacing Pickups in a Guild Nightbird]

Guild Nightbird Guild HB1 Wiring
Someone I knew on the LetsTalkGuild forum asked me to replace the pickups in his Guid Nightbird with vintage HB1s. In the process, I documented the process along with the wiring for the guitar.

After the work was done I was so blown away by the guitar that I offered to buy it. It has since become my favorite electric guitar.


[Guild Full-Sized HB1 and SD1 Pickup Variations]

Of the almost 200 articles and stories on my blog, this post is number five in terms of hits. Here I explain the differences between the various Guild full-size pickups seen over the years.

I measure not only the pickups, but the rings as well so that you can figure out which rings will work with which pickups.


[Guild HB1 Pickups: New vs. Old]

With the release of the latest (circa 2015) Newark Street guitars, Guild also reissued the iconic Guild HB1 pickups. Having a sample of both a vintage pickup as well as a reissue, I did some measuring to see how they compared.


[Guild HB1 Pickups Teardown]

Me being the curious type that I am, I decided to completely dissect and explore the internal workings of a vintage Guild HB1 pickup.

I tear it down, measure the measurable bits, and generally fail at pretending to do scientific good with a screwdriver. Still, the pictures are cool, so why not take a look?


[Guild Pickup Wiring]

There are a pile of different pickups that have been sold or included by Guild over the years, some of which having some bizarre-looking wiring.

There are variations of the same model (HB1) that are pretty complex, and given that I had worked on scores of Guilds for myself and others, I decided to put what I knew about all of these pickups into writing.

Covered are HB1s (1970s, 1990s, Fender), and Seymour Duncan SD1s.



[Guild Guitar Factories]

After visiting the old Guild factory in Westerly, Rhode Island, someone online asked what the old Hoboken factory looked like today. That led me to research what all of the current and previous Guild factories look like today (as of 2017), the results of which are contained in this article. And yes, that’s me wearing a Jackson T-Shirt in front of the Westerly Plant.


[GAD’s Guitar Review Standards]

I felt the need to document my review process so that there could be some transparency into what I write. Also I like to think that somewhere there’s someone who care how I spend my free time, which at this point now includes me writing about me writing, which is a little odd to tell the truth.


Oh, and as a final note, yes, I owned and photographed every guitar that you see on this page. I just love Guild guitars!