1994 Guild Artist Award
Guild introduced the original version of today’s Catch in 1956 as the Johnny Smith Award. When Smith jumped ship to Gibson in 1961, Guild renamed the model the Artist Award. Like the Gibson Johnny Smith, the Guild is an acoustic archtop guitar with a floating pickup. Over the years, the pickup has varied but this 1994 version sports a humbucker without adjustable polepieces. Guild’s quality has varied over the years but the Artist Award, as the company’s flagship model, always seemed to be immune to those fluctuations. Guild started out as an archtop builder in 1952 and many of the company’s craftsmen back then were former Epiphone employees who stayed behind when Gibson bought Epiphone and moved them out of New York. But I think most people today think of Guild as a maker of flattops and don’t really know about the company’s archtop history. That’s really too bad because I’ve been lucky enough to have played quite a few of these over the years and I’ve always found them to be consistently fine guitars. I think that they really equal in tone and quality to the Gibson Johnny Smith and because they aren’t as well known, they tend to sell for thousands of dollars less. This pristine blonde Artist Award priced at $4,995 and it’s for sale at Gryphon Stringed Instruments.
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