1974 Guild X-500

When Epiphone moved its manufacturing out of New York City in 1953, many of its former workers were picked up by the new Guild company. As a result, Guild guitars from the 1950s tend to look and feel quite a lot like those by their older competitor. While Guild would eventually turn to Gibson for inspiration, some of its archtop designs – including some of the brand’s earliest and longest-lived models – remain distantly rooted in Epiphone designs. As Epiphone began to founder in the mid 1950s, Guild emerged as the keeper of the torch among east-coast guitar manufacturers.

Epiphone’s classic high-end electric guitar from the early 1950s was the Zephyr Deluxe Regent, which featured two pickups on a 17” laminated maple body with a cutaway. While many of the models featured in Guild’s 1953-1954 lineup were quickly discontinued, two would survive for many years: the X-175 and X-500. The two models were fairly similar, the most substantial differences being that the X-500 had a maple neck with ebony fretboard while the X-175 had mahogany and rosewood. Otherwise, the two guitars were differentiated in terms of trim: the X-500 had heavier binding (including “railroad tracks” down the sides of the fretboard), a different headstock veneer and gold-plated hardware. The X-500 also featured more heavily figured maple on the back and sides, though both models had laminated bodies. Both also had spruce tops, which Epiphone had abandoned for maple a few years previously.

In short, the X-500 was the deluxe version of the X-175. The X-500 would remain the top of Guild’s electric archtop line (excluding the basically acoustic Artist Award) until the introduction of the carved-top X-700 in the 1990s. The model underwent the same changes as Guild’s other archtops: the scale was shortened in the mid 1950s to 24 ¾”, the body shape was altered in the early 1960s, and the pickups changed several times – from Franzes to DeArmonds to Guild mini-humbuckers to full-size HB-1s – between 1963 and 1970. In the early 1970s, it gained a master volume in addition to the traditional volume and tone controls for each pickup.

Such is the configuration of this guitar. It’s all original and sports just a few light dings.

 

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