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The Guild Pilot ... should've been named The Guild Hydra?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by paddydaddyo, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. So, I have loved the Pilot series of basses since I first saw and played one in the early-'80s. It was part of the "new wave" of instruments (e.g. the Spector NS, and the Steinberger L) that players young and old (but especially young) flocked to instead of the tried and true "old" choices of the Precision and Jazz. I had a red 601 for a few years, but let it go with all my equipment in the (not so) great gear purge of 1992.

    Some of my favorite players used them for a time, like Darryl Jones, Fernando Saunders, Mike Mills, Jaco (for a hot minute), etc. Years after they had been absorbed and dissipated by Fender, the DeArmond Pilot series came out ... and the Pro V was my very first fiver. I sold it to a friend and bought the Deluxe V, which I played for a few years. GREAT basses for the money, and they had the "look" ... but the build quality of even the Deluxe did not compare to the USA-made originals.

    The funny thing about the Pilot to me, is how many iterations of the headstock there were! I have personally seen 5 different shapes ... 6 if you count the one a guy I met had custom ordered with a 301 style, 2+2 headstock ... complete with the "Chesterfield" inlay!

    I don't know if there is a definitive list of all of the options out there, but it would be great to see them all. My favorite is the early "foot" shape ... the smooth curved one, not the more angular foot. A pretty distant second choice is the "pie server" (which is the one my 1986 fretless has). The rest are way to0 pointy for my taste.

    So, if you Pilot owners out there are willing to play along: post closeup pics of JUST THE HEADSTOCKS. Let's see how many we can represent for discussion ...

    Here's mine, the "not too pointy, but not that pretty" Pie Server.

    franvarin and wvbass like this.
  2. Dluxe


    Jan 9, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Here are two that I've owned. One is the small "foot" style while the other one is one I've onle seen on two of them. 100_2163_zps5c90ddd4. 9xjn.
    paddydaddyo and wvbass like this.
  3. My favorite Pilot was one the great Jerry Peek played in the Steve Morse Band. It looks like his had the pointy headstock.

  4. Dluxe


    Jan 9, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Peek's bass was a 20 fret Pilot. I believe the first 50 had 20 frets although I've only seen 4 including the one I own. Will post a pic of its large "foot" headstock.
  5. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    Sadly, I only own a couple Dearmonds. I have to say, though, I have never seen that second headstock shape before.
  6. @Dluxe : Jealous! If my Pilot had a "foot" headstock it would be ab-so-lute-lee perfect! The second one in your pic I have only seen once, and it wasn't color-matched, so that is a pretty rare bird. And the Jerry Peek "bumblebee" Pilot has what I've always called the "lance" head ... also not so pretty, IMHO.

    So, thus far we have four:
    Pie Server
    Foot (my personal favorite and they never should've changed it IMHO)
    Clubfoot (can't think of a better name at the moment)
    Lance (which I have only seen on Jerry's bass)

    How many heads did the Hydra have?!? Stay tuned ...
  7. BTW: Does anybody here have a PDF copy of that Pilot article written by Brian Bowdren? I'd like to have that to read if someone can pass it along ...
  8. Here's another shot of Jerry with a maple neck Pilot in the famous Kalher ad.

  9. Planespotter


    Oct 11, 2015
    I used to have a Pilot 5 string with the same cake cutter headstock as the OP. Gorgeous Bass, extremely well made and sounded/played great. Too bad 5 string just isn't my thing. Id love to find the same model in a 4 string version someday though.
    paddydaddyo likes this.
  10. That Pilot Jerry is playing in the ad is the one that I first fell in love with. I still have this soft spot for the early Pilots with the ginormous pickguard.

    So, we've seen four examples ... but I know there at least three or four more options.
    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
  11. Vince Veary

    Vince Veary

    Apr 6, 2016
    Here is the 4 point headstock from the early 90s version of the Pilot Pro. I think this was the last version. I really like this one. I also like the straight edge pie server version.
  12. Kitsapbass

    Kitsapbass What key is this?

    May 26, 2005
    Bremerton, WA
    Right now, I'm working on procuring a 5 string foot style. Used to have a maple one...miss it too much LOL!

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