S-100 Review

manufacturer: Guild date: 03/28/2011 category: Electric Guitars
Guild: S-100
I play everything- and this guitar does everything. Creamy sustain, fat, sparkling clean chords, biting leads... and a world in between.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 10
 Action, Fit & Finish: 10
 Features: 10
 Overall rating:
 8.6 
 Reviewer rating:
 10 
 Users rating:
 7.1 
 Votes:
 19 
review (1) 16 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
S-100 Reviewed by: Guild King, on march 28, 2011
1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Features: Made between 1965 and 1970 (it was a first run s-100, but I've got a number of different dates on when the first run happened), in Westerly, Rhode Island- The S-100 is similar to a Gibson SG body, but the Guild HB-1 pickups, and the Hagstrom tremolo set it apart. 22 frets, the body is one piece of solid mahogany, the neck is a set mahogany neck (one piece). The neck is bound in cream-white, and the frets are high-quality square nickel. The fretboard is rosewood, with mother-of pearl block inlays, starting on the 1st fret. The finish is a cherry red, a little darker than the Gibson counterpart, with more view of the wood-grain. The Bridge is a limited run 60's Hagstrom, which gives a cool, shallow chord-vibrato. The electronics are passive, with the Standard two humbucking pickups, 3 way toggle Switch (LP/SG style), and volume and tone for each pickup. Guild made their own pickups, the HB-1, a very open, fat, warm pickup, lower output. My S-100 had a first run DiMarzio super distortion put in the bridge, which is an excellent pickup, medium-high output, bright tone, balanced harmonics. The tuners are the weakest point on the guitar, old open grovers, but after over 40 years they still stay in tune. It should be noted that when they were made, these guitars had covers on the pickups. Mine does not. // 10

Sound: I play everything from jazz to country, folk to metal, I play blues, alternative, etc. This guitar is fantastic for blues, classic rock, jazz, or metal (depending on which pickup you use, and the amp). I use a Mesa/Boogie Rocket 440, a Boss DS-1, and a Morley Bad Horsie 2 Contour Wah. With the amps regular distortion, the sound is very fat and bassy, but when you hit the contour (boosts treble and bass AND cuts the mid) it's a very heavy metal sound. Clean, the neck pickup shines beautifully, fat, warm, and balanced, while the Bridge pickup (the DiMarzio) is bright, thinner and a little crunchy- I use it for funk. Both pickups together have that thin sound you'd think of with a Strat on the neck/middle combo position. The guitar buzzes a little, but I have some exposed wire. The guitar can make everything from sweet, sustained cleans to bright, biting distortion. With the Guild/DiMarzio pickup combo, you have endless tonal possibilities. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: I can't speak for the factory setup of this guitar- but everything was properly routed, the body is one solid piece of wood-back, top, sides, etc, all one piece. Nothing was poorly done, although the nut is rather soft, so the strings stick. Currently, the action is perfect (it was just set up by a former Guild worker). // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar is built like a battleship- it's got scratches, dents, nicks, gouges, etc, but it still plays beautifully. The hardware has lasted 40 years, so I'd say it's fairly durable. The strap button at the neck is quite solid, but the one at the base is plastic, and while there's no way it could possibly fall out, it doesn't hold a strap very well (hence some of the gouges/scratches). // 10

Overall Impression: I play everything- and this guitar does everything. Creamy sustain, fat, sparkling clean chords, biting leads... and a world in between. If this guitar were lost or stolen, I would search high and low for its twin- I'd pay almost anything for it. I love the feel of this guitar, super light and comfortable. My favorite features are the pickups, and the Vintage Hagstrom trem. I have compared this to both Vintage and new Gibson SG's, and it blows the doors of 'em, again and again. By far, my favorite guitar. // 10

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