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Another 70s shootout! Gibson vs Guild

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dlenaghan, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. Guild! Like Gibson but more obscure!

    34 vote(s)
  2. Gibson! Classic and hip for those into BRMC..

    8 vote(s)
  3. Carrots! (Why did I even vote if I don't care?

    17 vote(s)
  4. Other! Vox, Fender, Hagstrom.. but I will tell you what and why in the comments.

    4 vote(s)
  1. Well I had such great responses the last time I posted this when I was shopping for my solidbody Guild (vs Gibson RB basses of a similar era) that I've decided to have a go at it again, this time for the hollowbodies.

    In one corner, the elusive and increasingly expensive Guild Starfire in either maple or mahogany. In the other, its arch nemesis, the Gibson EB-2, though it'd have to be a EB-2C because that bridge pickup really opens up the possibilities. With the Guild, a single pickup is fine, especially if it's a Bisonic or a Dark Star.

    I'm looking into hollowbodies (might be looking a long time at this rate) with a couple of caveats:

    - They've got to be short scale 30"-31" or so. 32" is possible, but 34"s are out.
    - Mahogany is the optimum wood, but there are some excellent examples in maple as well.
    - Set neck is optimal for me. It's just how I roll these days. But like many things, I can make exceptions.
    - Single coils vs humbuckers? Well..

    The most crucial detail is that both of these basses (I believe, though I could be wrong) are blocked to reduce feedback. It seems few hollowbodies are center-blocked like this. There was a Hagstrom that had internal bracing blocks, but not so much as to reduce feedback in high-volume situations.

    Runners-up? Vox, maybe.. maybe even a Hagstrom Concorde, maybe a Fender Coronado, though they are maple bolt-ons. Oh well, let the poll decide. The price ranges on these guys are highly similar, with the Gibsons being in te Starfire range (just about 2 grand to just below, and the Fender Coronado seem to be as well), with the Vox and Hagstroms going for between 1200 (upper end of a Vox player), or 900 (upper end of a Hagstrom player)..

    Keep it clean, gentlemen!
  2. I voted for the Gibson. Although I very much like the Coronado.
    droo46 likes this.
  3. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Washington, Utah
    John K Custom Basses
    i think that you meant to say the EB2-D. the 'D' stands for dual pickup. C stood for 'cherry' (the trans-red finish)

    just an FYI, EB2 bodies were made of maple plywood with a mahogany neck.
  4. That I did, sorry - I copied the model number from one of the ads. I mentioned the body wood because there are both for the Guilds, but I'm less familiar with Gibsons. Is 'plywood' the same as 'laminate' vs a solid or carved body? I've heard several times that laminate is actually the way to go as solid wood can have some shrinkage problems that contribute to cracking over a long period of time.
  5. fjadams


    Jun 7, 2011
    Danbury, CT
    There aren't many basses that sound better than a pre-70s Starfire. Even the ones after they changed to Guild pickups from the Hagstrom sound good, just different than the earlier ones. But, as you said, the price on any of these is crazy. I would like to get one to replace the one I stupidly sold, but even junk ones are too pricey.
  6. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Washington, Utah
    John K Custom Basses
    laminate and plywood are basically the same, at least on the gibsons. gibson doesn't laminate the plys themselves, but rather just buys is as maple plywood and then forms the top back and sides. as far as solid wood goes, IMO, there wouldn't be an issue, other than the expense of using it, since on their high end jazz model archtops, they use solid wood on them, like on an L5 (maple with a sprice top) or an L4 (mahogany).
  7. I'd be curious to hear more from the carrots crowd, though honestly, why vote if you're not going to comment? Last time I include that option.. /humor
  8. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Hi John -
    As someone who's owned & gigged both solid and ply hollow-bodied basses, it's fair to note that laminates are more stable and generally tougher stuff than solid wood. I'm not sure any of the basses listed in the poll are solid-top... it's a lot fussier to climate changes, cracking, etc. Solid tops make a pretty big sonic difference in acoustic instruments (like a carved upright or the L5 you mentioned), very little in semi-hollow electric ones, IME.
    As for being on-topic, I think the sound of the 2 basses is so different (the EB-2 has a totally unique low end) that I can't pick a favorite... love 'em both, but I sold my Coronado back in '69 after only 2 months.
  9. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    Choice order-

    Gibson LP Signiture
    Epi Jack Cassidy
    Lakland Hollowbody
  10. Allen Woody used an EB-2 for a lot of Gov't Mules early stuff. I think he plays one on "Live From the Roseland Ballroom". It sounds bad ass.
  11. Now we're talking! Good point about the fairly different character of the two 'top' choices.
  12. gbazinet


    Aug 11, 2010
    I voted for the Gibson EB2 but would also take a Epiphone Rivoli.
  13. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Davenport Iowa
    I voted for the Guild . I had a Guild Starfire II with the Hagstrom pickups in the early 70's and it sounded clearer to me than any of the Gibsons I heard or owned back then .I had a Gibson EB3 before the Guild and it was built very well and played like butter like all the Gibsons and Guilds did back then but the tone crown went to the Guild .

    A couple years after I sold the Guild to get a Ric 4001 the Ric was stolen and we were going to do a tour down south . I had to use one of the guitar players EB2 and it was just dreadful trying to get a good tone from my SVT after playing the Guild and then the Ric with their good midrange and going to the EB2 with its bottom based indistinct sound . Granted it was the single pickup mudbucker but it made for a long and dreadful tour .
  14. jbossolo


    Sep 22, 2011
    Sentimental vote for the Coronado, as I love mine! She's so, so pretty!

    I have a chance to get an EB2-D, so this is a very timely discussion.
    Keep it coming!
  15. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Washington, Utah
    John K Custom Basses
    Hi Tom,
    i've worked on quite a few L5's from late 30's ones (a '39) and several 50's and 60's ones and every one of them was absolutely perfect and showed no signs of stability issues. however, i agree about it not making much difference in a semi-hollow instrument, especially those with a solid center core.

    i love EB2D's, but i think that a starfire has a more 'usable' tonal 'palette'.

    not in this poll, but as far a coronado's go, i've owned both a single and two 2 pickup versions (all were 3TSB) in the past for years and while i loved the look of them, i found all of three of them to have weak/thin sounding pickups, and to me, were lacking in the tone department.

    also not in this poll is a '68 gretsch 6073 and i love the sound of mine. even thought it's 30" scale, it has a fat, chunky yet really comfortable neck, and i LOVE the tone and playability of it.
  16. ejaggers

    ejaggers Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2009
    Fort Worth, tx
    I love my Coronado II, and would never sell it. I’ve heard different complaints about them over the years, mostly about feedback. But I used FB when I wanted it on several occasions, and when I didn’t want it, I merely moved a step or two away from the amp, and problem solved.
    I’ve never heard complaints about the pups until now.

    Some had DeArmond pups other had Rowe’s (mine has Rowe). My bridge Pup went out many years ago and who ever fixed it, made it sound like crap. So Tom Bradley rewound it when he work for Lindy Fralin, and I’m back in love again. Mine was my main bass for many, many years, and I played many styles with it.

    Coronado is the most rare out of the bunch, and can be very pricey, but still cheaper than the Gibson counterpart.

    You Want To Hear One: Giovanni Scasciamacchia "Instant" Cielo - YouTube


  17. Why the correct answer is "Guild Starfire":


    End of thread. Boo-yah.
  18. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    Loved my sunburst Starfire (shaver-head pickup near bridge, green tapewounds) purchased from RI Music in Pawtucket, RI in 1968 (serial #243). Traded it for a '68 Fender Jazz in late 69.

    Lots of mids!
  19. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    I've been looking for the right Starfire for years now, since playing one with 1 Bi-Sonic in NYC years ago. Unique voice, round and full but very distinct and articulate. I've played a few since and fall in love with the tone again each time, single or double PUPs.

    The Gibson sits lower in the mix, also a very unique tone, but less interesting and usable to me. For that low, smooth bottom I prefer my Harmony H-22, though you can't compare the build quality and finish of the two, which are worlds apart, the Gibson being a very finely crafted instrument while the Harmony about as cheap and basic as it gets.

    There seems almost to be some built-in distortion with the Starfire, it kind of softens the attack and coats the sound in a blanket of warmth and goodness, without sacrificing it's ability to cut in a mix. Really unique.

    I do think the Coronado is the most beautiful HB ever invented, even the Antigua finish, yellowed over the years, can look incredible. Just lacking something for me that makes it work in almost any mix. Almost too clear and guitar-like, beautiful soloed but lacking in personality or grunt somewhat, the kind that gives some personality when mixed in with other instruments.

    The Casady is a cool sounding instrument, but to me lacks something that the Gibson has- maybe it's a bit more P-like than the Gibson was, but with a bigger low end. Very interesting bass but less of a unique voice to my ears.

    The Lakland HB always blows me away in terms of build and playability, but it lacks a strong inherent character of the kind that makes HBs interesting to me. Probably way more usable in different musical contexts than some other HBs, but less interesting ultimately to me because of it.
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  20. JMoto


    Aug 25, 2017
    San Francisco
    Old thread, yeah yeah.

    Has anyone tried both the mahogany and maple versions of the Guild? I'm torn. I vastly prefer the look of the red mahogany (since I can't find any black ones?) but see nicer versions of the burst maple for sale.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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