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Guild

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Guild Company was registered in 1952 and unreservedly trusted since 1953. The guitar company has a long story of constructing cult music instruments covering and embracing the New York jazz scene, legendary performances at Woodstock and some Seattle’s music acts.

Though the brand was founded in 1952 by Alfred Dronge together with the ex-Vice President of Epiphone George Mann, the history of the guitar maker started in 1945 when Alfred opened his store which he managed in cooperation with Barney Sagman – Sagman&Dronge. A bit later Dronge became the sole owner and renamed his business into Alfred Dronge Music.

Dronge released his first models in 1953 clearly emphasizing his fondness for jazz. Full-depth hollow body electric guitars were produced. The 1950s introduced to the market Guild flattops and acoustic archtops, X-175 Manhattan, M-75 Aristocrat, F-30, F-40, and F-50. This was also the time for moving to other facilities in Hoboken (a city in Hudson County, New Jersey), for welcoming first endorsers such as Johnny Smith, Don Arnone, Carl Kress, and Barry Galbraith, as well as for hiring the core staff of the development process - Bob Bromberg (general/plant manager), Gilbert Diaz (final assembly), and Carlo Greco (luthier) contributed a lot into the fame of the brand name.

The 1960s presented to the world some popular Guild models including Starfire, Thunderbird, S-100 Polara, Guild's first 12-string and bass guitars, first classical guitars (named after Dronge’s son), signature models developed together with George Barnes (George Barnes AcoustiLectric, "Guitar in F"), Duane Eddy (DE-400), and Bert Weedon (Bert Weedon model).

Anyway the Avnet Corporation purchased Guild in 1966 and the production was relocated once again – this time to Westerly, Rhode Island. In 1967 M-20 came out.

The year of 1969 made Guild truly famous. Thanks to D-40 and D-50 models it went on top shining with glory at a shouting moment of music history – Woodstock ’69.

The Guild era ended with the death of Al Dronge in 1972. A year later Leon Tell became the president of the company. M-85 bass, JS Bass I & II, S-100, S-300 models got released delivering the rethought design of solid-body electric and bass guitars. M-75GS and M-75CS models appeared to be the new versions of M-75 Bluesbird. Dreadnought guitars were produced featuring a G designation. Jimi Hendrix purchased a left-handed F-212 12-string model in 1970.

1980s represented heavy metal and hard rock. Guild manufactured models stylized and optimized to fit the epoch. X-82 Starfighter, S-80 Flyer, X-79 Skyhawk, SB-66E Bladerunner, and the SB Pilot basses were among the popular guitars of that time.

D62, D64, D66, F42, F44, and F46 got created in the acoustic segment. The existing range of flattops was expanded. David Byrne of Talking Heads used his solid-body Guild during Stop Making Sense live concert in 1983.

In 1990, Stevie Ray Vaughan plays a Guild JF6512 on MTV Unplugged. Slash got his customized Guild double-neck guitar in 1993 – it was called Crossroads: semi-acoustic 12-string at the top, and 6-string electric on the bottom. There was also a Brian May signature series created: Brian May Signature, Brian May Special, and Brian May Standard. Seattle music was rocking and ruling the USA and the whole world no matter how obsessively Britpop would fight them back. Kim Thayil of Soundgarden got his signature Guild S-100.

In 1995 Guild was purchased by Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. Johnny Rzeznik of Goo Goo Dolls used to have lots of Guilds, including jumbos, 12-strings, and the S7CE Peregrine.

In the 2000s Guild kept on moving the production from Rhode Island to California, from Washington to Connecticut. Guild Acoustic Design series got released featuring good old American design (the company ceased to produce US-built electric guitars in the early 90s). In 2003, Sheryl Crow played a Guild M-85I bass on her hit single "The First Cut is the Deepest" while performing at Farm Aid.
What about now? Dan Auerbach boasted of his 1964 Guild Thunderbird playing "Gold on the Ceiling" on The Late Show with David Letterman. The country acoustic guitarist Doyle Dykes got his signature model produced in 2012. St. Vincent and David Byrne collaborated on the studio album "Love this Giant." They performed on The Jimmy Fallon Show with Byrne playing his Guild F15-CE.

Guild celebrated their 60th anniversary in 2013 releasing the Orpheum Series imitating the design of 1930s. There was also the limited run of 60th Anniversary model. Guild also released the Newark Street collection, re-releasing classic electric Guilds from the 1950s and 1960s in 2013. Cordoba Music Group purchased Guild in 2014. Production of USA-made Guilds was brought back to California. In 2015 new models such as the T-50 Slim, Starfire IV ST, and the Chris Hillman Bass are added to the Newark St. Collection. M-20 and D-20 were produced in 2015.