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Rare Guild - ever seen one?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by baba, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. Check out my Guild B-402A. I can find very little info about this bass. From what I understand there were less than 150 made. Great tone. The two knobs are pickup volume, the little knobs are tone knobs, one switch is a pickup selector, and I have no idea what the other two are. Any info on this bass would be appreciated. It is badass - I can provide that info.:bassist:

  2. Thundar

    Thundar Living in sin at the Holiday Inn Supporting Member

    I dont know diddly bout it...but it is ULTRA cool!
  3. kingpin2512


    Aug 9, 2008
    Cool looking bass! How does it sound?
  4. T40Chump


    Jul 12, 2008
    Plano, TX
    That thing is awesome!!!!! Sorry, no info, just had to comment...
  5. Very cool- The Big O has an old Guild; he might know something about this one. Just a guess.
  6. skotsour


    Mar 4, 2009

  7. Hmmm....wonder what makes mine an "A"? They both have active electronics....maybe the natural without the stained top is an "A"?
  8. A stands for Ash I believe ... as opposed to the mahogany model.
  9. I used to own a B-301, which was passive. I have some info on Guilds of that era ... I'll dig around and post what I can find.

  10. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    i used to have a guild b-301.. same body style, one pickup- volume/tone setup..

    good luck gigging that bass. wear it on a strap for 10 minutes and youll reconsider weather its worth the tone or not.. worse neck dive ever.. upper horn comes nowhere near the 12th fret, unfourtunately. otherwise very nice instrument.. always wondered about the 2 pickup models..
  11. Cool looking Bass - like the Mahogany - like the shape of the Body too!

    From the ebay description - just adding it to the thread for posterity in the event someone searches for this in the future the may find this info. Not official but seems like pretty good info on this Model - is this is in anyway in violation of anything please delete it

    ***ULTRA RARE*** Vintage 1980 Guild B-402 Electric Bass - 'Rosewood' ***ULTRA RARE***

    Here's an all original 1980 Guild B-402 bass guitar. This particular instrument is one of the rarest Guild production basses ever made! The bass has active electronics which include a pick-up selector switch, an active tone engage/defeat switch and another switch that seems to be a coil tap or other type of tone modifying switch. There are two volume controls, one for each pick-up, and two tone controls, which seem to be bass and treble boost and cut. The body is made of ash, and the neck is maple with a rosewood fingerboard. The neck is very straight, the action is super low and extremely playable. The bass is currently set-up and intonated with D'Addario extra light gauge strings (.40-.95)

    The overall condition of the bass is great. There is checking in the finish, especially near the base of the neck and in several spots on the body which are clearly visible in the pictures. I have owned the bass for about 6 years and there has never been any additional checking. The finish is very glossy and smooth to the touch. The bass also has several small dings, the largest of which is near the neck pick-up. I have taken a close up of this ding. There is also another small ding/chip near the control cavity on the back of the bass. There is some minor 'worming' on the back of the bass but it's only noticeable in a certain angle of the light, nothing major and also visible in the pictures.

    One nice feature about the 401-402 series basses was the move away from a top pickguard (like the 301-302's) for the input jack and electronics cavity. The input jack is through body and access to the electronics and battery cavity are on the rear of the bass. It's quite common to see the 301/302 basses with their pickguard cracked and or broken at the input jack, and while there is some checking near the input, it's solid. The truss rod functions correctly as well.

    I bought this bass from a dealer on the internet about 6 years ago, and I have owned eight other Guild B-302's and a guild B-301 fretless and always liked them, so I was basically intrigued when I found out about the 401/402 Series. I do not pretend to be the world's biggest Guild expert, and anybody who has any relevant or additional information is welcome to e-mail me regarding this instrument. Apparently this series wasn't their most popular, as they only made around 140 of the 401's and 140 or so of the 402's. Of that production run, approximately only 12 were made with the "Rosewood" top and back, which is actually a stain to make the instrument appear as though it's laminated.

    A gentlemen who owned the bass in 1990 sent a letter and some pictures of this bass to the Guild Corporation asking for more information. The customer service representative forwarded it the old factory in order to shed some light on the bass. The original letter was returned along with another letter from the Guild customer service rep. Then manager and head luthier at the Guild Factory, Willi Fritscher, replied on the back side of the original letter in a hand written note. He states the obvious about the bass, ash body, maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, 34" scale, then goes on to explain that only about 12 pieces were produced with the "Rosewood" top. He also includes the year and the original list price of $599.

    I have included photos of the original letters, and they will be included with the bass in the case pocket. In the last 10 years or so of watching Guild basses pass through E-Bay, I have seen several 402's come through. Of those, I have seen only 2 other basses like this one with the 'Rosewood' top and back, and both were heavily modified, one being outright butchered. This bass is all original and definitely a nice example.
  12. It sounds great! Still trying to figure out the active controls. It even plays passive without a battery and sounds great!

    Also, I don't think that other version is mahogany. It looks like stained ash...you can see the grain continue from dark to light. I'm not convinced the "A" denotes ash.
  13. hieronymous


    Nov 28, 2002
    Northern CA
    Cool bass - I've been getting into Guilds lately myself - there's a lot of good information and people at Let's Talk Guild dot com too.
  14. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    LOVE the look of the pickups! P90s for bass!
  15. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    That is what it stands for. I had a B-302, which was made from all mahogany and was considered the "standard" model. By that I mean it was the most common. The B-302A was the same bass, the difference being an ash body and a maple neck.

    Look here:

    Unfortunately there's nothing about the 402 on this site.

    I liked the 302. These pickups are excellent single coils and it sounded great. I'd love to hear them with an active pre. The bass did suffer from neck dive and, though it was cool to try out for a while, I had to flip it down the road for other things.
    Nice basses though.

  16. Cool. One mystery solved, thanks.

    I have to troubleshoot further, but the preamp may have issues. It sounds awesome passive, but with a battery in, if I flip the bottom switch I get nothing. I'm guessing that's the active/passive switch (as the previously posted ebay listing suggested)....because without a battery I get a weak signal when flipped one way, but I get a signal. With or without the battery the two little (assumed) tone knobs do nothing. To me this all adds up to the preamp isn't working for some reason. Fortunately the passive tone is KILLER....but I'd love to hear it active.

    I guess the middle switch is a coil tap.
  17. Thanks. The threads here, and the links contained within, are where I've found what very little info I have.
  18. mellowgerman

    mellowgerman Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    swing over to letstalkguild.com
    I'm a member there and we've had a couple discussions about these basses already. lots of info on that site.
    ***EDIT: looks like you're already there ;)
  19. Yes, I already tapped that place out.:)

    Love the avatar!
  20. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    Yeah, I've had a couple Guilds (most recently a Starfire) but my first bass was a very used Guild B-302. It, and the one pickup model (the B-301) were based on one of Guild's guitars at that time, the S-300:

    The neck dive/balance problems with these basses is probably a direct result of them building a bass out of the same body shape with no real design changes to accommodate a longer neck.

    The 400 series came next, basically removing the pickguard of the 300 series and adding active electronics. Why so few were made I don't know, I'm far from a Guild expert.

    What I do know is that if those are basically the same pickups as in the 301 and 302 then you should be very happy. Fred Hammon (who makes the Darkstars) and I agree that those are the best pickups Guild ever made after the Hagstroms. Great sounding basses with a pretty unique voice.

    Despite it's flaws, I loved my old B-302. I still have it though it's pretty much unplayable at this point due to a twisted neck. Being a set neck, there's really nothing to do to salvage it. But it's as old as I am and has seen a ton of use, so I think it's earned it's retirement.

    Even with all the different electric basses I've played in the last 16 years, I still had a soft spot for that first well worn Guild. I seem to post this in every thread on those Guilds, but I liked that bass so much that I designed my custom basses after it:


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