"New" Bass: I'm in GUILD heaven!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by midnight, Mar 26, 2003.

  1. After selling my 6 string Alvarez, I decided to go back to bassics and get a 4 stringer. Of course this gives you an amazingly large selection of basses to choose from. So, to narrow things down I put an upper price limit of $500. This still gave me a dizzying selection, especially when you factor in used basses. I decided to surf by Ebay and the classifieds here and go through the basses. I decided to eliminate Fender, as I already have one and want something 'different'. I then jotted down all choices that remotely interested me and did some research.

    My conclusion?

    Guild. Yup, the maker renowned for their acoustic guitars. Typically I would have ruled out a fairly obscure bass line like this w/o hesitation, but I decided to at least look up their specs since the guitarist in my band gives such amazing sound out of his. The specs lined up just right with what I wanted: Mahogany body and neck (nice thumpy woodsy tone), 'neck thru' construction, dual J style pickups, above-average build quality for the time (from all reviews I could find). I decided to take the plunge and bid $425 on a B302 model on Ebay. And won. I got it on Monday and am just now able to put it down for a review.

    Construction: Like I said, it's a form of neck thru construction. Doesn't seem like a true neck thru, but certainly not a bolt on. Check pics below and fill me in on the technically accurate name. I was expecting a solid mahogany guitar to be fairly weighty, but it rang in at 8.5 pounds and is the lightest bass I've owned. It has a heavier, fuller sound than my 12 pound BB1200S. The Schaller tuners are still nice and tight, but no big surprise, as the bass is in generally mint condition. The pickups look and sound similiar to the J style. I opted for the 302 version of this bass w/ two p/u's, but there is a 301 model that has just one. Each p/u has a volume and tone knob w/ a 3 way switch to isolate each p/u or blend them. The knobs are in great shape, with no noise. The bridge is rather funky, with 'thumb' screws at the ends for height and one screw in the middle for tilt. Intonation checked out fine and the action is good, so I haven't had a chance to tweak the bridge yet. Likely will with new strings. The frets have minimal wear, but they are very flat to the fretboard. They come up maybe HALH as high as anything I've seen this side of fretless. I expected this to result in fret buzz and other oddities, but it works. There is zero fret buzz and only fast action, coupled with the neck profile.

    Tone: FAT. Woodsy. Growly. These are the strongest characteristics, but not the only ones. The tone knobs achieve some decent highs, even with old black nylon wrapped strings (first time I've played strings like this - VERY easy on the fingers!). I even achieved some decent slaps and pops. But this bass is meant to hold a solid groove and it does that very well. I was most impressed with the mid range cut. Heading from the D string up to the G produced some of the punchiest, cutting notes I've heard from any of my basses. The G string was nice and clear and the A string is bold and solid. The E is thunderous. I had to turn down bass (typically run flat with bass boosted from Schecter active 5 string) to keep from rattling out my teeth. It has been mentioned that basses like this lack definition between lower notes and I agree. You can tell the difference between a low E and G, but not by much. I am just digging the tone so much that I can't get enough of this bass.

    Summary: This bass isn't for everyone. I was looking for something that had a nice bottom end and could groove. The Guild fills that requirement and then some. It plays very quickly, feels awesome in the hand and doesn't weigh you down. I would recommend it to anyone.

    Now for some pics! I will try to get around to posting a soundclip in the next couple days. Thanks for the reading this lengthy post. If you have any input on this bass, have played one, or have one, PLEASE chime in! You can PM me also.. I would love to chat. The serial # indicates year to be 1976-77. Not too much younger than me. :)


  2. Ben Mishler

    Ben Mishler

    Jan 22, 2003
    San Jose
    Wow, that looks real good. I have not really heard of Guild basses. I am glad that you got a good bass from them. I might look into that myself.
  3. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Nice buy. I have a Guild Jet-Star from the late 60's.
    (the same one Sheryl Crowe plays)

    they are great instruments and last forever.

    have fun!
  4. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I think that would be considered a set-neck. Nice bass!
  5. aleyman

    aleyman Guest

    Nov 1, 2002
    Big thumbs up on that buy. I hope it gives you some very good play time:)

    But is that really a neck-thru? im not seeing it.
  6. Jontom


    Mar 11, 2002
    New York
    Yep.. Thats a set-neck(neck glued to body...think Gibson SG). Still a fine bass. I once played an ash version of that particular bass. It has a very Gibson-like tone(it reminded me of the Ripper/Grabber series). I wonder if Gibson actually made it?!:)
  7. SMG

    SMG Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    metro Detroit
    Nice bass! I have always been fond of Guild basses and own several, including a 301, two 302's and a 402 (like a 302, but active.) They have sort of a Gibson feel to them, but have more (at least these models) a Fender sound...sort of the best of both worlds. Enjoy yours!!!
  8. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I know a guy with a pair of fretless Guilds like that... great basses!

    I'd buy one in a heartbeat (actually I look at them on eBay all the time :) )

    I had a battery die in my fretted Carvin 5 at a double bill... had to play one of the Guilds for our set. Like you said... not for everyone, and not for me at the time... but today I'd love one
  9. Nice Bass! ;)

    Set neck, BTW. Means that it's glued instead of bolted. They're a little more difficult to maintenance if you need to replace/remove the neck for any reason.
  10. Thanks for the replies. I was thinking it was a set net, but wasn't sure. For those that have played this model or similiar, did you find the frets really low? They feel so much less pronounced than your 'average' fret that it really trips me out. It shouldn't take long to get used to them.

    It's cool hearing the stories of those that played a Guild 'way back when'. Keep 'em coming!
  11. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Hey, enjoy that bass.

    I have a Guild Pilot Bass 1986 with a true hockey stick head. You know, one of those pointy guitars from the big hair days of the 80's.

    Its got EMG active P J pickups. Nice bass and I still play it from time to time. I've thought about selling it. I'm getting ready to purchase a new 6 string bass.
  12. there was a showing of the Old grey whistle test from 1979 on thursday and there was Simple Minds playing "Chelsea girl".
    Derek Forbes was playing a white Guild B302.
    the sound was very Rick4001-like - probably not surprising given the locations of the two single-coil pickups.
    I'm wondering whether the clanky tone on "theme for great cities" came from this bass too.

    another Guild user- Micheal Dempsey, original bassist for The Cure, and later the Associates- B301 model.
  13. MTR,

    Sounds cool! Yeah, I could imagine the B302 giving a Rick-ish tone with the right blend of p/u's and tone knob. And I could certainly believe the clanky tone coming from the Guild. I can get a real clanky-clacky tone easily.

    Did not know about Michael Dempsey playing a B301. Interesting bit there, as I'm a fan of The Cure. :bassist:
  14. re. Michael Dempsey, I think The Cure's "boys don't cry" shows the B301 tone- Pbass-like, but cleaner in the mids.
    you can see the B301 in the video for "10.15 saturday night", although the tone is a bit nondescript.
    with The Associates, "country club" might be this bass.
  15. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Before I got my Spector, my main/fretted bass for about four years was a Guild Pilot. Mine was one of the 'shoe' headstock models, as opposed to the 'hockey stick' models. It all depended on the year they wee made.

    Mine was a solid flamy maple body, maple neck, ebony board, with EMG's and a roller bridge. It was BRIGHT.

    I miss that bass. When I traded it in to Guitar Center they couldn't sell it! It was there for around a year!

    Unfortunately for them, right after I traded it in DeArmond came out with the Pilot reissue. Most of the people coming in thought it must be like the DeArmond Pilots.
  16. smashkick14


    Jan 10, 2002
    everett wa
    CONGRATS! finally someone looking into guild basses, ive heard good things about them, though they are basically a byproduct of fender have fun!
  17. Congrats man. The B302 is a sweet bass. It's one of those things I wish to hell I'd never sold.
  18. Raman


    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    Reviving an old thread... -I found this while looking up Guild basses, after listening to The Cure's "Plastic Passion" and wondering what the hell kind of instrument can let out such a great sound.
    -Precise like a hit in the chest, with plenty or growl and warmth at the same time.

    Seriously, if you want to hear one of the tightest bass sounds ever, check out that song. And this one also shows how brilliant a punk bass player Dempsey is. (And that's coming from a pick hater.)

    I find the Peel tracks of the era are also better recordings for bass than that first album of The Cure, btw.
    And what a sound that bass !