1998 Guild Starfire IV

One of my favorite guitars is the 2000 Guild Starfire IV that I reviewed here. I bought the guitar in this review because it’s from 1998 which means that it has the Seymour Duncan made SD-1 pickups in it and I get a fair number of questions about them. Since I didn’t have a guitar in the current collection that sported these fine pickups, I decided to buy this guitar so that I could do things like A/B it against my other Starfire and swap the pickups in order to do some pickup comparisons for an article I’m working on.

While this guitar is very similar to the 2000 Starfire IV mentioned above, it is also different in some ways that may not be obvious at first glance. Is it good enough to replace one of my favorite Guilds? Let’s find out.  (more…)

1981 Guild S300

Ahh, the Guild S300. Ain’t nothin’ else quite like it. Of course, that’s mostly because it’s pretty odd looking, but ask almost anyone who’s owned one and they’ll tell you how much it rocks. I’ve owned four and yes, they all rocked. Hard.

A Guild S300A-D was my only guitar for over 20 years and as a result I have a soft spot for these odd-looking beasts, so when the opportunity presented itself for me to score a 1981 Guild S300, I jumped on it. I needed to own this 1981 S300 both because I was without an S300 at the time and because I wanted to write about one of my favorite guitars which I could only do properly with one in hand. As luck would have it, the one that landed in my lap happened to be in almost like-new condition. Let’s take a look. (more…)

1982 Guild S-275

Curious about a Guild I had never seen in person, let alone owned, I snagged this guitar through Craigslist for a reasonable price with the sole intention of writing it up here.

The Guild S-275 is a bit different than most of the Guilds I own while also being a typical Guild. It’s a very interesting guitar in that it seems to be designed to appeal to both Strat and Les Paul buyers in the hopes of being the best of both worlds. Does it measure up? Let’s see how it fares as I put it through my normal evaluation routine.  (more…)

2000 Guild Starfire IV

There are many Guild Starfires, but this one is mine. Well, this is one of several of mine, but this one is special to me because it was the first Guild I bought when I got back into playing guitar around 2008 or so. I bought it sight unseen for $1200 after someone at Norm’s Rare Guitars gave me an in-hand description of it over the phone. It was mint and I had to have it.

This guitar ruined me for other guitars in a number or ways and though it is almost perfect for me in every way, it is not without its faults. Naturally I will outline whatever faults I feel this guitar has in excruciating detail right along side my gushing praise for all of the guitar’s many merits. As someone who’s owned far too many Guilds, what could possibly make this one so great?  (more…)

Guild Bluesbird Bake-Off

Being in the lucky position of having not two, not three, but five Guild Bluesbirds with their build dates spanning from 1974 to 2016, I figured I would set about comparing them.

In order to try and impart a bit of logic to the proceedings, I employed something called a decision matrix. This is a tool I learned from a project manager many years ago and I use it to make decisions for purchases all the time. For example, if I’m going to buy a car, I will evaluate individual aspects of each car (stereo, comfort, power, etc.) with a numeric value. I will then total up each car’s scores and the winner should be the logical choice. I usually add a weight to the scores and then multiply each score by the appropriate weight as well. In other words, if I’m really concerned with the power, I’ll give that a weight of 5 so a raw score of 3 would result in a weighted score of 15. I then compare the raw and weighted scores to see if they agree.

In the case of guitars, a lot of what matters is either subjective (tone), or very personal (neck feel), so bear in mind that these numbers are for my tastes and you may very well score them differently. Still, it’s a fun exercise, so let’s see if the math matches with my gut feelings.   (more…)

2001 Guild X-500T

If you’ve read any of my work then you may know that I can be a tad obsessive. Take, for example, this Guild X-500T. I already owned two Guild X500s (reviewed here) which were great, and I currently own a Guild Starfire III-90, but what I really wanted was an X-500 with a Guildsby and P90s. Oh yeah, and with a 1 11/16″ neck at the nut since that’s one of the other things I obsess about. I also like red in my sunburst guitars. But how would I possible ever find such a beast? Why, through constant trolling through Reverb, eBay, Forums, Craigslist, and such, that’s how!

Is this guitar everything I’ve ever wanted in a full-sized Rockabilly Jazz box? Let’s find out.  (more…)

Batch Photo Resize with Mac OSX Automator

I have a constant need to resize photos, often hundreds or even thousands at a time. Additionally, I require that when resizing, I keep the original file separate from the smaller, resized file. There are many ways to resize files on the Mac, but with the advent of file versioning, most of them convert the existing file which I didn’t want.

My requirements were simple: Resize a directory or selection of photos, all to the same size (1600 pixels on the longest side), placing the resized photos into a subdirectory called, “Web” while leaving the originals untouched. I wanted this specific set of steps because I had previously been using a wonderful Windows program called Thumbnailer that let me do just that. Thumbnailer was the only program that I still needed Windows for, and I desperately wanted to stop using Windows, so I came up with this Automator script which is much simpler to use. Here’s how you can make one just like it. (more…)

1994 Guild X-170

I’m not really much of a jazz player, but there’s something about a nice jazz box guitar that intrigues me. Perhaps it’s the generally high-end appointments, or maybe it’s the lure of an instrument that begs to be mastered. Whatever the reason, over the years I’ve found myself in possession of various Guild jazz guitars all of which have been either X-500s or X-170s. I covered a couple of 1980s X-500s in this article, and for this write-up I’ll be focusing on X-170s, all of which are from 1994 or later. I’ll spend a lot of this post reviewing this beautiful sunburst X-170 from 1994 because, well, just look at it!  (more…)

StrongBags Vortex 2 Luggage Review


I am a frequent flyer with United Platinum 1K status which means I’ve flown over 100,000 miles in the past year alone. I’ve flown almost 400 segments in the last ten years and I have spent over 850 nights in various Marriott hotels. Why the stats? Because I’ve been on a lot of business trips and I’ve owned a single suitcase for the majority of them. That bag is a StrongBags Vortex 2 Flight Crew Luggage Roller that I have had for four years (since 2012) and I’m here to give it a real “I’ve hauled it around the world” review.  (more…)

1980s Guild X-500s

I’m not really much of a Jazz player, but I am a guitar guy and I’m definitely a Guild guitar guy, so when the chance came about to buy a Guild X-500 made in 1984, I jumped at the chance under the premise that it would inspire me to brush up on my jazz chops.

Being a gear hound, the chance for a second X-500 of similar vintage (1986) was too good to pass up so I ended up with two of these big ‘ol Guilds and thought, “Why not write about them?” and here we are.

These guitar were a bit of a challenge for me to write about because their proper use is a bit outside of my comfort zone. They are guitars, however, and me being me, I was not afraid to sit down and run them through their paces in order to write up what I could about the instruments. Let’s dig in and see how they fared.