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  1. #1

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    There's a really lovely Guild X-400 on the For Sale board here and it's in Canada. I love the big 50's neck profile specs and the 25.5" scale length (although I've seen an earlier year that is listed as 25.25') and it's under 7 lbs. The problem it that I can't really find any info or videos on this model. Is the top pressed or carved? What do those Guild pickups sound like? Noisy like a P90? Noisier? Less Noisy? For that matter, what does the guitar sound like? The seller posted a video but there's no playing? Has anyone every actually played one of these? Any thoughts?

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  3. #2

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    OK. Just watched the video. I must say the soundtrack lends a surreal touch. And I thought I caught some sort of subliminal message (what could be more 1955, hmmm?) whispering "Buy Me" or something like that. To me this instrument just drips "Hipper than Hulas in Hilo" or something to that effect. My buttons are mashed to the dash, but good.

    In my guitar-hunting career, I've only seen one Guild archtop in the flesh. I immediately made an open-ended and very sincere offer. The dealer simply said I'd have to join an already long line.

    If I had the dough, this would be gone.

    Best of luck with your decision.

  4. #3

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    Although this has no impact on its value as a player, it may be hard to authenticate a "1955 X400" as original. I have no idea how to establish a fair market value for it. The original X400 was one of their first models and was discontinued (at least, as a production model) in 1953. I don't recall ever seeing one in the flesh. But from what I remember reading and hearing over the years, they had nickel hardware and the 2 pickup models had only one volume and one tone pot. Guild used up their "leftover" stock of X400 bodies and necks in a few post-'53 guitars also called X400 but assembled with assorted hardware from then-current models. I collect old guitar catalogs and have Guild's from '54, '55, '56 and '57 - and there's no X400 in any of them. I don't have any Guild catalogs before 1954, so I can't check further back than that. You can see this yourself - here are the links to available online pdfs: 1954 1955 1956 1957 ('57 is the UK edition).

    A Dutch enthusiast named Hans Moust wrote a book about early Guilds that's a great read and worth finding. Here's what he posted on letstalkguild.com in 2007 about the X400: "If...it's a 1955 X-400 it will probably not conform to the early X-400 specifications, because by 1955 Guild had already established it's model designations and the line did not include the X-400 any longer. All the X-400s (and X-440s for that matter) that have later than 1954 serial numbers were put together with older X-400 superstructures but with the hardware from later models. Consequently most of the later X-400s are not identical. The X-400 was similar to the later X-175 but with different materials and hardware. They both had a laminated spruce top though!" You can probably reach him through his current website.



  5. #4

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    I've owned a very similar Guild x500 from 1956, I think. Made in New York. Wonderful guitar, similar to the X400 but more ornate. Here's what I can remember about it:
    -I think the top was pressed or laminated spruce rather than carved. It certainly sounded like it, with a characteristic sweet but "even " sound.
    But I can't guarantee that, I never looked in the pickup cutouts.
    -the finish was nitro, obviously, and showed some wear.
    -the neck was huge, and 3 ply maple
    -the fingerboard had a rounded radius, quite similar to a early fender. I found that extremely comfortable, but not everone would.
    -the franz pickups are quite difficult to describe; obviously in P90 format, but not sounding the same. They were brighter than all the P90 guitars I have had. The guitar didn't thunk, if that's what you might be looking for. More like a subdued L5-ish sound, with less sparkle and more body in the note than a carved P90 L5.
    I was impressed by the fact that the original pickups still had a very strong marnetic charge after 50 years. Interweb wisdom suggests that the pickups can vary greatly.
    -It had a bakelite Melita bridge, similar to those found on early Gretsches. Probably a replacement.

    Eventually I sold it because it didn't fit with me ergonomically; the neck was very big, I have small hands, and that guitar taught me that 17" bodies and 25.6" scales aren't for me.
    Sadly it's with a collector near London who doesn't play it but won't sell it. Before me, the guitar used to belong to UK guitarist Trefor Owen, who bought it in NY apparently.

    Hope this helps

    Guild X-400 ... I really need some input.-dscn3149-jpg

  6. #5

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  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug B
    That's a Stratford X350. The early ones had Franz pickups (not made by Guild, despite the catalog's suggestion that they were) that were black in the '55 and '56 catalogs but white in '57 & later. They looked like P90s but were noticeably brighter. Guild later went to DeArmonds on these. They were all laminated, with spruce tops and maple B&S until 1958 when they went all maple. And they had rosewood boards until a switch to ebony in the early '60s. That pushbutton pickup selector switch was not a simple combination/permutation selector. It was labeled T (“high” treble), B (bass), M (middle), TM (treble-middle), TB (treble-bass) and MB (middle-bass) and had a few resistors and caps on it to "enhance" each selection.

    Guild X-400 ... I really need some input.-x350-jpg

  8. #7

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    Thanks for the info on the Stratford.

    Doug

  9. #8

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    That guitar has a laminated top as mentioned, as did all the stock Guild archtop electrics w/set-in pickups (until the late X-700), IIRC.

    Totally cool vintage electric archtop guitar.

    I'd grab it in a flash if I was looking for more archtop guitars, instead of selling some of the many, many archtops I seem to have accumulated over the years.

    IMO, however, it's not for you, based on your long history of trying to play but ultimately not bonding with big, fat-ass 17" wide, full-depth archtop guitars. Just my 2¢.

  10. #9

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    Jim unless you've had one, I think you'd get on really well with a Guild SF2 (maple).

    They are essentialy 17" thinline versions of the X-175. They are light, responsive, can be used for a more modern sound or a trad bop sound and they play themselves.

    A nice blonde maple one also looks very pretty.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone
    That guitar has a laminated top as mentioned, as did all the stock Guild archtop electrics w/set-in pickups (until the late X-700), IIRC.

    Totally cool vintage electric archtop guitar.

    I'd grab it in a flash if I was looking for more archtop guitars, instead of selling some of the many, many archtops I seem to have accumulated over the years.

    IMO, however, it's not for you, based on your long history of trying to play but ultimately not bonding with big, fat-ass 17" wide, full-depth archtop guitars. Just my 2¢.
    And you're probably right. It just seems so classic and the 25.5" is so convenient. Really though, if I want an archtop I should probably just pickup another Kingpin ii super cheap and have some no risk fun with it.