Guild Crossroads CR01

Here’s a rare Guild from the mid-1990s that looks like a Telecaster, is built like an acoustic guitar, and kind of sounds like both while not sounding entirely like either, all the while allowing the combination of both in a single baffling beautiful guitar that was probably 20 years ahead of its time. Read along while I dig into the mysterious magnificence that is the Guild Crossroads CR01.

Introduction

1994 was an interesting time for the Guild guitar company. Considering that over the previous eight years the company had been sold from Avnet (who owned it since 1966) to a group of Guild employees who declared bankruptcy in 1988 after which the company was bought by Faas who would become US Music only to be sold again to Fender in 1995, 1994 was right at the end of a tumultuous decade. Right around the time of the bankruptcy, Guild abandoned solid-body guitars, which didn’t come back until the 1994 catalog which included the famous S100 and the rather unique subject of this review, the Guild Crossroads CR01, though the catalog referenced it simply as the Crossroads.

This is an interesting guitar because it’s kind of built like an acoustic and kind of built like an electric, ostensibly in order to get the benefits of both, though in my experience compromises like that tend to accentuate the limitations of both instead. As a result of my doubts I was interested to try out this relatively rare instrument for myself, especially given its rather strange construction. Allow me to elaborate a bit.

The neck is very much like an electric guitar – a Strat or a Tele to be specific, in that it has a 25 1/2″ scale length with an unbound rosewood fretboard with 22 frets. The neck is a bolt-on, but it’s not like a Strat or Tele because it has a relatively flat 16″ radius not to mention the fact that it has a 6×6 headstock.

Clearly, the guitar is shaped like a Telecaster, but it has a very acoustic-guitar type bridge with bridge pins to hold the strings. But it has an EMG pickup! But it also has a piezo pickup. And it’s hollow! Not only is it hollow, but it’s braced like an acoustic, though it has a flamed maple top.

This guitar kind of makes my head hurt.

Oh – and what kind of strings should you put on it? Acoustic? Electric? Well, if you want the EMG to work properly then Phosphor Bronze strings aren’t a good choice because they don’t induce as much magnetic flux as nickel or steel strings do. But what about the piezo? It will work with anything (that’s kind of the point) and phosphor bronze strings do sound great there, but if you want the guitar to sound like an electric guitar would you play with phosphor bronze acoustic strings? ARGHH!

The often incorrect Guild serial number list indicates that only 97 of these guitars were made. Is that accurate? As with all production numbers only Hans Moust, author of The Guild Guitar Book knows for sure, but I’ve seen serial numbers as high as FA000091 out there, so that seems at least close to being true. Production serial numbers don’t always start at 1, though.

Here is the entry for Crossroads CR01 from the 1994 price list. First of all, the guitar is listed as the Crossroads CR1 which makes me wonder why everyone (myself included) always lists them as the CR01. Actually, I can tell you why I listed it that way, and that’s because it appears that people search for them using CR01 and I want those sweet tasty search engine hits. Additionally, we can see that the 1994 price guide lists an EMG 82 pickup, gold hardware and a price of $1299 with the C42P case listed for an additional $175. Lastly, this guitar is listed as part of the Crossroads Series, which seems to indicate that are more guitars like it, though none are listed.

But wait, there was!

In this piece of documentation from my collection entitled the “Special Models Pricelist (extra information for models not listed in the brochures or pricelist)” which is undated but may be from late 1993, there is listed not only the Crossroads guitar (sans CR1 designation), but also a Crossroads Bass which was based on the model B4e but with no soundhole, an active pickup in the neck (just like the CR01 guitar), a transducer, and a special preamp that allows the mixing of both pickups. According to the Beasly book this bass was introduced and discontinued in 1993 with “very limited production” which explains why I could not find a picture of this bass, so if you’ve got one please leave a comment! Note that the description for the guitar does not match what I’m showing in this review at all, with the descriptions citing a Nightbird shape and a solid spruce top, neither of which is evident on the production guitars.

Back to the CR01, I have never seen one of these guitars with gold hardware as described in the 1994 price list, but that doesn’t really mean anything. This one from the LetsTalkGuild forum has gold hardware, but I can’t say for sure if its original. I have seen a fair number of them for sale without an original case, including the one I bought, and the fact that the case was an extra $175 may have had something to do with that.

In the January 1995 price list we can see that the pickup has been changed to Guild pickup and the hardware is now listed as chrome. The price is up to $1499 but now includes the C42P case, that case being the same one listed for the Original Songbird on the same page. By July 1995 the guitar was no longer listed, which isn’t surprising given that only 97 of them are said to have been made.

I like to say that this guitar was a good 25 years ahead of its time. Why? Well, consider this, the Fender American Acoustasonic Telecaster:

Launched by Fender at the 2019 NAMM show, the Acoustasonic is designed to work as an acoustic, an electric, and everything in-between. Or something. The Koa model shown above has a list price of $3999, but to be fair it’s a limited edition model and the regular ones go for a somehow more palatable $1999, but I showed the Koa model because the regular ones are (in this humble reviewers opinion) profoundly ugly. I mean ugly on a scale that shouldn’t even be uttered in the same paragraph with the price tag. Let’s just say that the design and color choices have proven to be divisive in every online discussion I’ve seen about them.

Late production edit: I’ve finally seen an Acoustasonic in person at a local Guitar Center and let me confirm that wow, it’s damn ugly.

Looks aside, the Fender Acoustasonics are a pretty cool idea wherein a guitar in the form factor of a thin electric performs like multiple guitars including an electric and an acoustic. Sound familiar? Now these are not identical instruments because the Acoustasonic has the ability to sound like a variety of acoustics through the use of five different digital voices, three different pickups, and the ability to blend them all to taste. It’s honestly a very interesting concept, even if it isn’t beautiful.

The Guild Crossroads CR01 doesn’t have quite so many voices, but it was made in 1994 some 25 years ago before low-cost Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) were as commonly available as they are today. Then again, I have to think that due to the DSP involved that those five voices are models of other guitars, and while that’s really cool, the nerd part of my brain goes, “hmmm…” because that’s kind of the same as plugging any acoustic into a DSP to make it sound like a different guitar. Regardless of whatever digital trickery is involved, the fact remains that the Acoustasonic guitars are a modern tech marvel, but from a luthier standpoint I still think that Guild did it first in 1994.

The Guild CR01 doesn’t have any digital manipulation going on. It’s really an electric guitar and it’s really an acoustic guitar and you can mix the two together. That’s actually true of the Acoustasonic as well, and I think the Acoustasonic beats the Guild in the fact that it has a bridge electric guitar pickup where the Guild CR01 has a neck electric guitar pickup. Clearly it’s also more versatile, but man do I ever think that the Guild looks better.

Another guitar to compare to might be the Taylor T5 but I’ve already spent too many words and the Taylor doesn’t have the same level of angst associated with the currently hyped Acoustasonic so I’m moving on, but only after pointing out that the Taylor T5 was released in 2005 which makes the Guild Crossroads CR01 even more ahead of its time.

Guild was never great at naming things, and typical of Guild they had used the Crossroads name before. Back in 1984 or so they released the Crossroads catalog which contained all acoustic-electric guitars that have pretty much nothing to do with the design of the Crossroads CR01. All the guitars in that catalog are soundhole-equipped acoustic guitars that are devoid of EMG pickups, though they are all pretty non-traditional in the overall shape department. It makes me laugh when companies reuse names because it makes me think that the executives were convinced that no one would notice.

But wait; there’s more!

If you do a Google search for Guild Crossroads, you may find a different guitar to all of those listed so far, that being the Guild Crossroads Double-Neck designed by Slash which, according to the catalogs, does in fact have the name Crossroads. Hell, I even reviewed one which is the same guitar pictured here leaning up against the wall with the CR01. That means that there is an entire line of Acoustics from the ’80s called Crossroads, the telecaster-shaped guitar in this review called Crossroads (CR01) from 1994, and the Slash-designed double-neck guitar called Crossroads from 1997-2000. If there’s one thing Guild has always been good at, it’s muddying the waters with confusing model names, a tradition that remains to this day, though thankfully there are no Chinese-made Newark St. Crossroads models. Yet.

The case

The case for this guitar, at least according to the price guide, is the same case that Guild Songbirds came in, which is listed as the C42P Deluxe shaped case that was an additional $175. The fact that the case was not included in the original price may account for the fact that many of the Crossroads CR01s I see for sale do not include the original case. When I asked Hans Moust about this, he posited that with the then recent availability of actually useful and protective gig-bags, people simply opted for a more useful solution that likely came in at a lower price.

Finish

I’ve found nothing definitive stating what the finish is, but the 1994 price list does list the finish type for every acoustic guitar that year, and they’re all either satin or gloss lacquer. It is therefore tempting to assume that the finish on these guitars is lacquer. My guitar does fluoresce a truly awful green under a UV light and, although this really counts for little, it feels and smells like lacquer to me.

The quality of the finish is exemplary like it is on most every US Guild I’ve ever handled. The 1994 catalog lists the available finish colors as Black (BK), Woodgrain Red (WR), White (WH), Amber (AMB) and Natural (NT). The guitar in this review is Woodgrain Red if that wasn’t obvious by the photos.

Fretboard and Neck

The first thing that caught my eye about this guitar was the glorious headstock. With the G-shield logo and 5-layer binding, the contrast with the headstock veneer against the flamed maple really pops. As beautiful as the headstock is, and with the glorious flamed maple neck, I felt like the guitar looked a little odd with an unbound fretboard, though this seems to be a pretty common trend where Guild combined acoustic guitar sound with electric guitar playability. For example, the Crossroads doubleneck has no binding on the acoustic neck, and both the Songbird and the GX guitars in my possession, both of which are designed to play like an electric have the same no-binding design, though to be fair neither of those guitars have a bound headstock. It just looks odd to me to have a guitar where the headstock and body tops are completely bound only to be joined by an unbound neck.

The scale length on the CR01 is 25.5″, and the rosewood fretboard has a radius of 16″, which is very different from the Telecaster. The catalog states that this guitar has “standard” frets, whatever that’s supposed to mean. My measurements show them to be .04″ high by .085″ wide which makes them “medium” or “regular” on the Jim Dunlop scale, so I guess “regular” is like “standard”.

The catalog states that this model has a 1 5/8″ neck and a 15 degree headstock angle, but the neck on mine is quite clearly 1 11/16″ at the nut. The neck is what I would imagine many people describe as “just right” since it’s not painfully thin nor is it super-thick. It is, however, remarkably unchanged in its depth, measuring .80″ from the nut all the way up to the 7th fret and beyond, only fattening up a bit towards the neck heel. The inlays are simple dots.

The neck is a gloriously flamed maple with a mahogany strip down the center, and every CR01 I’ve seen has a similarly flamed maple neck. Unfortunately on mine, it appears as though someone over-tightened the truss-rod which caused the neck to crack right down that center seam.

Be careful out there, people. Over-tightening a truss-rod can do very bad things to a guitar neck, and this is not the worst that can happen. Luckily, this guitar still plays great, so I’m left wondering why someone would do this. On a Telecaster type guitar I would just swap out the neck, but between the great flame and the very unique and beautiful headstock, that would really change the overall esthetic of the guitar, so off to an actual luthier it goes. Why do I say “actual luthier”? Because if I see one more person call the guy at Guitar Center who soldered in his new pickup “his luthier” I’m going to scream. A tech is not a luthier. Thanks again to Hans who informed me of the likely cause of the crack.

Build Quality

This is a Telecaster-shaped guitar that has none of the “comfort contours” such as a belly cut or forearm bevel on the body that you might find on a modern Telecaster. Certainly the Tele-purists would likely bemoan such additions to the iconic guitar, but then I’d imagine that a Tele-purist would think this guitar to be some sort of crime against nature to begin with, so I wouldn’t worry much about that. The top is a maple laminate that measures about 1/8″ thick, which is likely one of the reasons that this guitar doesn’t ring out like an acoustic when played unplugged (though it’s no slouch, either). Well, that and the fact that there’s a big EMG pickup screwed into the big hole in the top.

Like a Tele, the guitar has a bolt-on neck which is a fairly uncommon design on Guild electrics, though not totally unheard of. While a bolt-on neck makes for easy neck replacement, the neck on this guitar is not easily replaced if the desire is to keep the same Guild G-shield headstock design as seen above in the Fretboard and Neck section.

My CRO01 weighs in at 7lbs 14oz (3.6kg) which seems surprisingly heavy for a hollow guitar and that’s because it’s freaking heavy for a hollow guitar. Never one to just accept things for what they are, I decided to take a closer look.

Naturally as I went to take a look inside my cheap Chinese bore scope broke. Again. That was my fourth one so I finally decided to stop wasting my money and bought a real American one designed for automotive and aviation use. ‘Murica!

As it turns out this borescope was also made in China, but the company I bought it from is in South Carolina, so… ‘Murica? By the way, this picture of the wires was taken by jamming my iPhone into the pickup route and it’s the best internal picture I took by far. Sigh. At any rate, this nicer borescope actually works and allows me to see around corners and do all sorts of neat stuff, none of which helped on this guitar because this guitar is completely hollow except for all the wires and the bracing.

As you can see in the above image the guitar is not only completely hollow, but it also has top braces just like an acoustic, though what pattern those braces are in involved me mapping out the top in a way that exceeded my attention span. The catalog says that it is X-braced, so there you go.

The guitar is very well made as is every US-made Guild I’ve ever handled, so there were no surprises there. The wiring is fairly complex as will be detailed below, and as you can see from the pictures, contains a fair number of tiny colored wires. Thankfully there are three access panels on the back of the guitar, so working on it is at least a bit less frustrating than if there were none, and at least I had plenty of holes to jam my borescope into which is a good thing because a bored nerd with a borescope is a dangerous thing. Also the light on the tip gets really hot, or so I’m told. Seriously, don’t stick those things where they don’t belong. Anyway, what the hell is that giant thing in the last picture?

This hollow guitar weighs almost eight pounds because there are two additional blocks of what appears to be mahogany screwed and glued into the tail end of the guitar body, one on each side of the block with the end-pin. As is the nature of my existence, after finding these blocks with my expensive borescope, I noticed that I could see one of them from the preamp panel route, so I didn’t need the borescope after all. It did let me take these marvelously low-res over pixelated images from within the guitar, so there’s that, which is nice.

Anyway, it’s heavy because there’s blocks of freaking wood screwed into the body near the end pin. Cool, eh? My guess is that they’re counterweights since the light body would make the guitar neck heavy without them. Whatever the reason, if you’re going to hit someone with this rare and expensive guitar, try and make contact with the wide end for maximum effectiveness.

Pickups

The Neck pickup is an EMG 89 with a cool white cover. Well, I think it’s cool. A fair number of people seem to hate it, and since a fair number of people seem to hate EMGs to begin with, I get it. Hell, I used to dislike EMGs too, but they definitely have their place. As to whether that place is on an acoustic/electric guitar hybrid I’m not so sure, but since this guitar is so unique I think the white covered EMG works for me.

The EMG 89 is an interesting beast. It’s actually two Alnico-V based pickups with two separate preamps that are selectable with a push/pull pot, thus giving it the feel of a coil-split humbucker. Since it’s actually two pickups the wiring is a fair bit more complex, which I’ll cover in the Electronics section below. As of April 2020 this is a $125 pickup with the white cover being an additional $6 over the stock $119, and yes EMG still makes them!

I’ve seen people flip the pickup around so that the EMG logo is upside down which puts the single coil pickup closer to the neck. This is possible while keeping the esthetics by swapping the pickup out for the EMG 89R, but since this pickup is from the mid-’90s there are no quick disconnects and that thick white cable coming out of the pickup is loaded with tiny wires, so I can see why people just spin it around. Why is this a neck pickup and not a bridge pickup to really nail that Telecaster twang? I can’t say for sure, but I’d put a couple of bucks down on the possibility that the bridge pickup would cut into the top right where the X is in the bracing pattern under the top.

The EMG pickup ring has three holes on each side which is apparently legitimate because I’ve seen pictures of others with the same setup. In my (admittedly Internet-based) research I’ve seen the following combinations of pickup covers and rings on these guitars:

The bridge pickup is a saddle inset piezo pickup which is marketing speak for an under-saddle piezo. I don’t have enough experience with piezos to tell you if one has a better or more authentic sound than another, and so this one seems to me to work as well as all the others I’ve used. That may be a result of all of them being Fishman pickups in Guild guitars, so take it for the unscientific claim that it is.

By the way, you may notice that the blue pickup is sticking up on one side. That is as a result of me trying to remove it which likely shouldn’t be done from the top. Thankfully it still works perfectly after being gently shoved back down into position by the saddle upon reassembly.

Electronics

There are no less than three panels on the back of the guitar to allow access to the electronics: one for the pickup selector switch, one for the Fishman acoustic preamp, and one for the controls. The pots under the control cover are all 25k Ω from EMG, and as such the nuts are 7/16″ instead of the ½” nuts you might find on other vintage American made ‘Murica! guitars.

The first control is the volume for the neck pickup and is also a push/pull pot to enable the single coil function of the EMG 89. The middle control is the volume for the Fishman preamp connected to the piezo under-saddle pickup, and the last knob is a master tone knob.

The Fishman preamp actually has three controls (volume, treble, bass) but the tone knob on the Fishman is under the cover and thus unusable while playing. As mentioned, however, this guitar has a master tone knob which is inline after both pickups in the circuit (see schematic below). This is not an inconsequential change because the tone control on the Fishman is actually a concentric shaft meaning it controls two knobs, one within the other. When the Fishman is installed normally in an acoustic guitar, there are separate treble and bass controls. While the loss of more detailed tone shaping is lamentable, the real issue is that these are active controls that allow for boost and cut (AGP2 instructions). The single tone knob on the Crossroads CR01 is a passive tone control which means it can only roll off treble. At least it can do that, though; the Crossroads doubleneck has no tone control whatsoever for the acoustic side of the guitar.

I show the AGP-2 tone control capabilities here because, though the AGP-2 is capable of the listed active EQ ranges, none of this is available given the configuration of the guitar. That’s kind of a big deal in my mind, but there may be a silver lining.

The single master tone control has an advantage, and that’s that it can be used on either pickup, and perhaps most importantly, it can be used when both pickups are on, which leads me to the most interesting part of this guitar.

With the pickup selector switch in the middle position, the guitar has the EMG and the piezo both active, and since there is a volume for each of them, you can mix the acoustic and electric tones to taste. I’ll show this in the Sound section, but it’s probably the feature of this guitar that most captivates me.

There’s a lot going on in the wiring of this guitar which you might expect given the acoustic/electric nature of the instrument, but it’s even more complicated that that because of the 2-in-1 EMG 89 pickup. Hell, it’s even more complicated than that!

Check out all those wires coming out of the EMG cable on the bottom left of the drawing. Yikes! That’s because the EMG 89 is actually two pickups in one. Next, look at the tone control on the bottom right where there are three ceramic disc capacitors wired in parallel. Why? I’m nowhere near an Electrical Enginer (EE) but my guess is that the math dictates that 66μF is the right solution and the easiest and cheapest way to accomplish that was to use three of the most common capacitors found in Guild’s supply.

A quick word about the battery is in order: It’s a pain in the ass. First, to get to it you need to remove the panel covering the acoustic preamp. No biggie, but that’s not obvious unless you’ve done it before. Second, the wires connecting everything to everything else seem too short so the cover with the preamp attached to it is cumbersome, in the way, and it feels like you’re going to accidentally yank an impossible to repair wire out at any moment. Then you grab the battery and realize that the friction clamps that hold it in place are just about the exact same height as the available space within the guitar. That means that you can’t just yank on the battery, but instead you must slide it forward to get it out, after which it pops out of your fingers and slides around inside the guitar. This is not what I would call an elegant design.

Finally, looking at the toggle switch on the top left of the diagram, you may notice a bunch of stuff that you’re not used to seeing. There are resisters inline from both pickups, and the EMG pickup even has an additional capacitor. I’m not entirely sure why, but my assumption is that this has something to do with balancing the two very different pickup systems so that they can be mixed in a useful way using passive controls. If you’ve got a better answer please leave a comment! Oh, and here’s the spec for that big yellow metalized polyester film capacitor if you’re the curious type.

Hardware

There isn’t a lot of hardware to talk about here besides the tuners and knobs, so lets’ start with the tuners.

They’re Grover Rotomatics.

Well now I’ve got some space to fill, so I suppose I could tell you how I really like these tuners, but if you’ve read any of my reviews then you already know that. I could tell you that I like the old Schallers better but that’s not really relevant. I could expand on my earlier rant about misuse of the term luthier, but I doubt anyone cares.

Screw it — let’s talk knobs.

The knobs are metal domed cylinders with knurling similar to what you might find on a Fender Telecaster. The knurling on the neck volume knob is a bit more pronounced than on the other two, my guess being because this is the push/pull control for the neck pickup so you can get some extra purchase when pulling on it. All three knobs are set-screw knobs which is a bit odd since the pots are all split-shaft  and set-screw knobs are designed for solid-shaft pots. I like the knobs and I especially like the way they play homage to the original Telecaster control layout while also keeping the beautiful maple top clean and elegant. Well, as elegant as it can be with a big ol’ white EMG screwed into it.

The upper strap peg is of the boring generic non-locking type, but the bottom peg is actually the output jack, just like you might see on an acoustic guitar where they didn’t want to drill another ugly hole. I have to confess that this confused me at first because my brain screamed Electric Guitar at me and electric guitars don’t usually have their output jacks in the end pin. And yes, alcohol or Nyquil (possibly both) may have been involved. Regardless of the reasons why, I found it quite funny when I figured out what I was doing wrong.

Aside from the bridge being what appears to be a beautiful piece of ebony, there’s really not a lot left to talk about hardware-wise that we haven’t already covered in the Electronics section.

Sound

This guitar has a fairly unique tone to it, especially when mixing the EMG and piezo pickups. It also has a very nice acoustic tone, which I have to admit kind of surprised me. Acoustic guitars made to have the same dimensions as an electric guitar rarely impress me because they always sound thin or tinny to me, but this one has a little bit more low-end than I expected. I have to imagine the fact that there’s no sound hole has something to do with it, but I’m no luthier by any stretch of the imagination.

ODS10 – PB Strings

Open E

This guitar is surprisingly loud unplugged, and again it surprised me with how nice of a tone it has. To answer my own question from earlier about how well it would work with phosphor bronze acoustic guitar strings, I strung up a set and gave it a try. Though I only recorded a single open E chord in each setting, you can hear for yourself what it sounds like.

With phosphor bronze strings the guitar was utterly uninspiring on the EMG pickup but sounded great with the piezo. This is even more obvious when using the middle position since  the piezo just overwhelms the EMG. With the EMG in single coil mode, that pickups is completely lost in the mix. I then removed the phosphor bronze strings and put on a set of Ernie Ball Regular Slinky strings and the EMG pickup came alive.

ODS100 Clean

Open Chords #1

Open Chords #2

7th Chords

D-Shape

Miscellany

The guitar has five main pickup selection choices. They are:

  • Neck only (humbucker)
  • Neck only (single coil)
  • Neck (humbucker) + Piezo [mix]
  • Neck (single coil) + Piezo [mix]
  • Piezo only

As usual, for these recordings I used my normal Axe-FX III through the QSC K12 speaker recorded direct into my Mac Pro using Audacity. I recorded using the ODS100 Clean patch, but for this guitar I didn’t record using the JCM-800 because I just couldn’t imagine myself using this guitar for such a thing. For each recording I cycle through the neck pickup, both pickups, and finally the bridge pickup. All knobs on the guitar are on 10 at all times.

The EMG pickup really kind of left me cold. My favorite by far was the middle position with the EMG in single coil mode mixed with the piezo pickup. I found myself very much wishing that the neck pickup had more character, though.

Playability

From a “how’s it feel on your lap” point of view, it’s very Tele-like, but that’s where the similarities end. The fretboard radius is much flatter, the single coil voicing of the EMG doesn’t sound like a Tele, and there is no killer biting bridge pickup to rock out with. Honestly the only thing this guitar really has going for it in the Tele comparison is the body shape, and that seems to do is make Tele purists angry.

This guitar plays great, but it is a bit confounding to me because of how the wiring is laid out. I mean, on the surface it makes perfect sense because when using the pickup selector the ‘up’ position is the neck pickup and the ‘down’ position is the bridge, but on this guitar you’d likely play an acoustic bit (down) and then flip over to the EMG (up) for a lead. Of course that would only be an issue for the first few rehearsals until muscle memory took over, but I thought I would point out that I found the arrangement kind of non-intuitive from a sound perspective.

Balance-wise, the guitar plays great, likely due to the counter-weights in the body offsetting the weight of the neck. The guitar feels a little heavy at almost eight pounds, but I played a friend’s bigsby-equipped tele in the ’80s that had to weigh 9-10 pounds, so that somehow makes me feel better about this eight pound hollow guitar even though they’re nothing alike.

Conclusion

For fun, I took one of my images and played around with what this guitar would have looked like with different pickup layouts, and I have to say that from a purely esthetic point of view, I like every other option better than the one that actually exists. I’d rather have a bridge pickup than a neck pickup, and I’d certainly love to have both, and I think the guitar looks absolutely killer without any, but then Guild actually kind of made that and called it the S7CE Peregrine, though it doesn’t look anything like a Tele. Of course, without mixing the lure of an acoustic with an electric, then they couldn’t call it a Crossroads, so they named it after a Falcon, because Guild.

That brings me to my final thoughts which are… complicated. On the one hand, this is a very cool instrument that solves a couple of very common problems. In my opinion, this guitar shines in two ways: First, it plays like an electric guitar while putting out an authentic acoustic guitar sound at volume. For home playing, that’s not such a big deal, but on stage where an acoustic may become a feedback machine, this guitar delivers in a pretty satisfying way. Second, the blending of the EMG and Piezo pickups allows for some really nice tones that I dare say may be unique to this guitar.

I’d say where this guitar loses some of its luster for me is the fact that a) the EMG pickup is in the neck position and b) the fact that the pickup is an EMG. While I have nothing against EMGs, I don’t think the pickup does this guitar any justice, and I think they would have really been onto something if they put one of those wonderful Guild HB1 pickups in there instead. Or two.

It may well be that putting a bridge pickup close to the acoustic bridge was not possible due to how it would impact the top bracing, which honestly makes a lot of sense when I think about it, and I’ll be the first to admit that I may be trying to make the guitar into something it was not intended to be. Still, as Krysh over on the LetsTalkGuild forum will no doubt agree, an HB1 would really make this guitar sing.

I like this guitar but I don’t see it ever being my #1 because it’s just not designed for the styles of music I enjoy most. If you need to transition from an acoustic sound to electric with minimal fuss, this guitar can certainly accommodate you, and I think this guitar would be pretty slick in a coffee shop with a looper, but I’ve spent too much of my life ignoring the neck pickup to be excited about a guitar with no bridge pickup. I could easily argue that this guitar wasn’t designed for me, and that it was designed for working pros who need what it offers, and if that’s you, then this fascinating guitar would likely be a slam dunk. You know, if you can find one.

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