The pickups in Guild X160 Rockabilly guitars are DeArmond 2000s, and yes, this is about to get very confusing. If you’ve done even a little bit of reading about this topic, then your head is no doubt swimming with 2000, 2k, the other 2000, the vintage 200, and maybe that other company that’s making a 2000. Oh, and let’s throw the word Dynasonic in there for good measure.
Let’s talk some history.
By the way, I would like to personally thank Ben Cheevers from musicpickups.com (One of the most thorough DeArmond references I’ve seen!) because he supplied me with high-res scans of the entire 1965 DeArmond catalog, which is where this beautiful purple page is from. Compared with the original pic I had (which was by far the nicest I’d been able to find), this is amazing, so thanks Ben!
But wait; there’s more!
All of these pickups look very similar from the front, so it can be quite challenging to determine which model is in a guitar without turning some screws, and even then it can be tough if you don’t have any good references. Perhaps I can be of some assistance in that regard, because like most everything in my life, I went down the rabbit hole in order to learn as much as I could about these pickups. Remember kids, when you go down the rabbit hole you may meet (or become) the Mad Hatter.
Remember when I said that a lot of sources insist that there was a DeArmond 200 pickup? Well, take a look at this page from the July-December 1999 Guild Galleries magazine/catalog which states that the 2K single coil pickups updates the original DeArmond Model 200 which is found on some of the world’s most collectible vintage guitars. By the way, that’s the same freaking catalog that I referenced in the introduction that states on page 33 that the X160 Rockabilly comes with DeArmond 2000 pickups and then on page 42 of the same catalog it says 2k. It’s no wonder people are confused!
I should point out that I can’t tell you if the Westerly-made X160 Rockabilly guitars have 2Ks or 2000s unless someone sends me a pic of the back of a pickup like I’ve shown here. Sure, the catalog page from 1999 says that they have 2K pickups, but catalogs can be wrong as we’ve seen. You know, like how it says that the 2K is based on the non-existant 200. Furthermore, the 2002 Fender Frontline catalog I have shows on page 15 that the X160 Rockabilly (now made in Corona) has Model 2K pickups while page 29 of the same catalog says that pickups in that model are DeArmond 2000s. Clearly, the confusion is not limited to Internet forum posts. For what it’s worth, this Westerly-made X160 Rockabilly appears to have DeArmond 2000s in it.
The ’90s 2k (middle) seems to have flatter pole pieces than the other two which appear to have more bevelled poles. Aside from that (and I wouldn’t make a determination on that), there is little to differentiate the three pickups when viewed from the front. Remember, the middle one is possibly yellowed with age and the black one is black because it came from a Gretsch. Really, the only way to be sure is to pull them and look at the backs, so let’s go ahead and do that.
The 2002 pickup (top) has the adjustment screw bottoms showing through the baseplate, while the 1990s pickup (middle) has the pole pieces sticking out. The 1950s DeArmond 2000 (bottom) is quite clearly very different than the other two. While the modern Gretsch and TV Jones reissues look like the ’50s pickup at first glance, the tell-tale marking on the vintage pickup is the markings that state: DeArmond REG U.S. PAT. OFF and ROWE INDUSTRIES TOLEDO.O. U.S.A. molded into the plastic back of the pickup body.
How these pickups sound in comparison to each other is outside the scope of this article and is a subject for another time. Some other great resources for learning about these pickups and their variations can be found here, here, and a special acknowledgment to dbirchett over on the LetsTalkGuild forum who got it all right in his post here. By the way, if you’d like to see the internals of these pickups, check out this excellent thread over on Gretsch-Talk where someone did a teardown of the modern 2000 and 2k pickups thus proving visually that the 1990s DeArmond 2k is build more like a P90 than a vintage DeArmond.
- The DeArmond 2K from the 1990s is built like a P90 and doesn’t sound like the vintage 2000
- The DeArmond 2000 from the 2000s is built more like the vintage 2000 and sounds great
- The DeArmond 2000 from the 1950s is the real deal and looks like the valves on an engine from the back
- There is no such thing as a DeArmond 200
See? Clear as mud.
I do not have a set of these, nor do I have any guitars that have them installed, so I cannot make any comment on how true to the originals they sound, but based on the photo of the back they appear to be Korean-made copies of the DeArmond 2000 from the early 2000s.