Guild is a renowned American guitar manufacturer that has been producing high-quality instruments since 1952. The company was founded by Alfred Dronge, who had a passion for music and a vision for creating a guitar that was both great sounding and easy to play.
Dronge was a guitarist and music store owner who saw an opportunity to improve the design and construction of guitars. He assembled a team of experienced luthiers and set out to create a line of guitars that would appeal to a wide range of musicians. The first Guild guitars were archtops that were highly sought after by jazz musicians. They featured a unique bracing system that gave them a rich, full-bodied tone that was unlike anything else on the market at the time.
In the 1960s, Guild started to produce flat-top acoustic guitars that quickly gained popularity among folk and rock musicians. Guild’s acoustic guitars became so successful that the company had to move to a larger factory to meet demand. During this time, Guild also began producing a line of electric guitars that were designed to compete with popular models from other manufacturers. The Guild Starfire was a particular success, thanks in part to its use by legendary guitarist Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead.
Throughout the years, Guild has continued to innovate and improve its instruments, while also staying true to its roots of producing high-quality guitars that are easy to play and have a unique tone. In the 1970s, Guild expanded its product line to include basses and amplifiers. The company collaborated with musicians such as Duane Eddy, Jerry Garcia, and Eric Clapton to design instruments that were tailored to their specific needs and styles.
In the 1980s, Guild faced increasing competition from other guitar manufacturers and struggled to keep up with changing market trends. The company changed hands several times and went through a period of restructuring and downsizing. However, throughout this time, Guild continued to produce high-quality instruments that were beloved by musicians around the world.
In 1995, Guild was acquired by Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, which invested in new equipment and technology to help revitalize the brand. In the years that followed, Guild introduced a number of new models, including the D-55, F-512, and F-55, which were well-received by both critics and musicians.
Guild introduced a new line of acoustic guitars in the early 2000s, known as the GAD series, which stands for Guild Acoustic Design. These instruments were inspired by Guild’s earlier acoustic designs but were manufactured in China and can be identified by their GAD prefix. However, the GAD line was later discontinued by Cordoba in 2014.
In 2001, Fender moved production of Guild guitars from Westerly, Rhode Island to Tacoma, Washington. This move was met with some controversy, as many musicians and fans believed that the Westerly plant had been an important part of the Guild legacy. However, the move allowed Fender to consolidate production and improve efficiency, which ultimately benefited the company and its customers.
In 2014, Guild was acquired by Cordoba Music Group, which has continued to uphold Guild’s tradition of craftsmanship and innovation. Today, Guild offers a wide range of guitars, including acoustic and electric models, as well as basses and accessories. The company’s guitars are still highly regarded by musicians around the world, and Guild’s commitment to quality and innovation ensures that it will continue to be a major player in the guitar industry for years to come.
One of the defining characteristics of Guild guitars is their unique tone. Guild’s archtop guitars in particular are known for their warm, full-bodied sound, which is a result of the company’s innovative bracing system. Guild’s flat-top acoustic guitars also have a distinctive tone, thanks in part to their use of solid woods and high-quality materials.