Aristocrat M-75 Guitars

1960 Guild Aristocrat M-75

Color: Sunburst, Rating: 9.25, Sold (ID# 02188)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113


A Near Mint Early 1960 Guild Aristocrat - A Lightweight 'Les Paul'


1960 Guild Aristocrat M-75

One of a very few Carved Spruce-Top hollow body semi-solid sunburst M-75 Aristocrats shipped in early 1960. This 13 1/2-inch-wide featherweight guitar weighs just 4.90 lbs. Two and a eighth inch thick Honduras mahogany body and sides, body with triple binding on the top edge, carved spruce top. Two-piece mahogany neck with a maple center strip, a nut width of just over 1 5/8 inches, a scale length of 24 3/4 inches and a wonderful fat neck profile. Bound rosewood fretboard with 22 original medium-thin frets and (eight) inlaid pearl block position markers. Headstock with Inlaid pearl "Guild" logo, pearl "Chesterfield" inlay and three layer black over white plastic truss rod cover secured by two screws. Serial number "12362" stamped in blind on back of headstock. Individual single-line Kluson Deluxe tuners with oval Keystone buttons (with "D-169400 / Patent No." stamped on the underside). Two white plastic 'Franz' single-coil P-90 style pickups with outputs of 6.19k and 6.01k. Original black "Lucite" rounded pickguard. Four controls (two volume, two tone) plus three-way selector switch on bass bout. Transparent plastic 'gold-painted' barrel knobs with grub screws. Rosewood bridge with pre-set compensating saddle with two separate feet. Guild 'Harp' tailpiece. This near mint example is by far the finest 'Aristocrat' that we have ever seen. There are just a few very miniscule surface marks on the back and some very fine finish checking on the top. The original frets and Brazilian rosewood fretboard show virtually no signs of playing wear whatsoever. Complete with two original Guild advertisements - "Guild Guitars Incomparably the Finest Guitars that Pride and Skill can create" (2 pp.) and "Guild Guitars, Inc. An open letter to fine guitarists everywhere" (8 pp. catalog) and also four packs (1x 4th, 2x 5th, 1x 6th) of original 1960 Guild strings. Housed in the original Guild four-latch, shaped brown leather hardshell case with burgundy plush lining (9.25).

"Too often forgotten among the Fenders, Gibsons, Gretsches and Rickenbackers of the day, Guild only got up and running in 1952 but was producing first class instruments from day one. Much like Gretsch's Duo Jet, the M-75 Aristocrat has a semi-hollowbody made from a chambered mahogany back capped with a carved solid spruce top. It was clearly launched as competition for both the Duo Jet and Gibson's Les Paul, but original examples are usually pounds lighter than either at well under 5 pounds. Also like the other "Big G" makers of the day, Guild targeted both the jazz and rock 'n' roll crowds with this model, which ultimately became best associated with electric blues and took the name Bluesbird in later reissue incarnations. The pickups look outwardly like Gibson P-90s and are similarly designed, but they tend to have a little less of the gritty midrange hump and somewhat more snap and upper-midrange crackle. Combined with the usual construction, these pickups help give the M-75 Aristocrat a voice all its own, which is to say some of the airy richness of a good archtop but with more bite and definition." (Tony Bacon. 365 Guitars, Amps and Effects you must play. p.66).

"Unlike most of the other models in the early Guild line, the Aristocrat M-75 was not a mere descendant of the earlier Epiphone line. What as first sight looks like a solid body instrument, styled after a Gibson "Les Paul" model, is really a scaled-down version of a hollow body guitar. The following is an excerpt from the '54-catalog: "the use of an exclusively developed lighter semi-solid body construction gives the Guild Aristocrat a magnificence of tone never before achieved in a guitar of this size. And for ease of handling and playing, this light weight, semi-solid midget model is in a class by itself".

It is quite obvious that Guild was going for the players who were attracted by the compact size of the Gibson Les Paul but who did not like it's weight. Also, the sound of the M-75 was not anywhere near the sound of a Gibson Les Paul. It was a hollow body instrument and it sounded like one. Because of its smaller size and the absence of the traditional f-holes, the instrument was somewhat less prone to feedback than most of the hollow body instruments available at the time. It was also the only instrument in the early range to be offered with the shorter 24 3/4" scale length." (Hans Moust, The Guild Guitar Book, p. 56).

"Most Guild guitars from the fifties and early sixties were equipped with single-coil pickups that look similar to the
P-90s, that were used on the majority of electric guitars made by the Gibson company during the same period… According to Gilbert Diaz, who has been with Guild since 1957, these pickups were made by Franz, a company based in Astoria, N.Y. A typical, and often overseen, feature of these early single-coils is the difference in polepiece spacing between the bridge and fingerboard pickups. This practice lasted until approximately 1958, after which all pickups had the narrow (fingerboard type) polepiece spacing." (Hans Moust, The Guild Guitar Book, p. 30).

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