Guild S-100s

As I've written about Guilds before, we don't see a lot of them here is Australia but every time I do I'm always amazed at how great they are. 

We do get them through the shop and we have had a slew of them recently with a couple in stock now but they don't show up a lot for sale here. I've worked on quite a few over the years and played a bunch of them and while I do really like the Starfires it's always these SG style solidbodies that make me want to own (or keep) them when they do come through. I remember staring at a white one of these on a guitar shop wall way back in the late eighties and wanting it cause it just looked SO cool.

The history of Guild is well documented elsewhere and they really are one of the great American guitar brands making not only high quality electrics, but amazing acoustics. I recently gave my eighties Guild acoustic to a friend who collects Guilds because I just wasn't playing it and he kept asking. It's gone to a good home.

This one here is a '75 and is such a nice guitar. This one is a little heavier than other S-100s I've played but feels solid and GREAT. The solid body is one huge piece of mahogany and it rings for days. The vibration through it acoustically is amazing.

 

The set mahogany neck is thin and fast. The neck joint on these is a little more ... fluid than a Gibson SG and feels great in the upper frets. It's closer to the Ibanez Artist style joint that flows into the body. The rosewood fretboard is bound and inlaid and is a beautiful piece of timber. 

I do like these Guild headstocks too. The oversize and shape really suit their guitars and seem to feel solid despite having a volute and such a thin profile at the nut. This one is all original with the Guild branded sealed gear tuners.

 

The pickups are the now famous and VERY sought after Guild HB1 humbuckers. These pickups get a huge rap in the Guild world with good reason. They're a VERY nice humbucker with great output and frequency response without sounding muddy. I prefer these to most Gibson humbuckers in tone but that could also be something to do with the guitars they're fitted to?

Electrics are pretty standard three way toggle with volume and tone for each pickup BUT they also have a mini toggle for phase switching which adds more tones to the palate. The electronics are all high quality Switchcraft and US made pots (these date 49th week '74) and the wiring is always superb. 

 

These earlier seventies Guilds had a slightly different bridge set up than later ones that had the tailpiece moved closer to the bridge causing the string angle top be much higher. I haven't had two side by side but generally speaking I prefer the tailpiece away for the bridge for added harmonics. I do like their angled tailpiece too. It's a nice touch.

I also like these clear acrylic scratchplates which look classy with the Guild logo screenprinted on the back. 

These are amazing guitars that are easily as good as any Gibson I've played in terms of quality, tone and feel but go for much less than equivalent year SG's. This one will be in the shop from this Sunday.

Also heading into the shop this Sunday is another S-100 although slightly ... different. 

This is a '95 model, still made in the USA and equally as good a quality as the mid seventies but this one has had some mods, which I'm actually not adverse to at all. First of all the bridge has been changed to a Gibson style Tune-o-Matic which of course works well. It's all mahogany as well with a one piece body and beautifully set mahogany neck. The build and quality is still amazing on these nineties Guilds (I've sold a few through the shop) and this one is AMAZING.

 

Someone has scavenged those lovely HB1s and DeArmond USA humbuckers have been fitted and .... well, I LOVE them. It's something I never would have done myself had the original pickups still been in it but I'm glad I got to hear these in this. They are clear and articulate and remind me (A LOT) of Fender widerange HB's in tone. They are fairly high output while keeping a real clarity and sparkle. I don't know why more people don't seek these out? I think they're a GREAT humbucker.

 

I rewired this to use the mini toggle as a coil tap to make both humbuckers single coils (I'm not really an out of phase kinda guy) and they sound great in single coil mode too. 

 

This one has had replacement pots and Gotoh "Grover style" tuners fitted too and it's an amazing guitar. If I personally wanted to keep one of these I would keep the mid nineties one in a second. My "Guild friend" that I gave my acoustic to came over and played it (he never lets a Guild go by) and said it was one of the nicest (if not the nicest) S-100 he's played, and he owns (and has owned) a HEAP of them.

No mods were done to the body to fit this hardware except the bridge holes plugged and re-drilled for the Tune-o-Matic so it could easily be taken back to original if desired but, I wouldn't. 

Feb 08 2018 Written By: Tim Brennan