Another Guild oddity rises Phoenix-like from the ashes—fit and in fighting form.
Wild looks. Feels great. Excellent tones. Excellent build quality.
Looks could be polarizing.
Guild has always been something of an underdog among American guitar marques. And while many of the company’s electric guitars—particularly archtops from Guild’s New York and New Jersey years—are justly considered classics, the builder’s history is also populated with maverick designs that sidestepped de rigueur electric guitar appearances to great effect. One need only to look to the Guild S-200 Thunderbird of the ’60s to see how radical Guild could get.
Guild is now part of the Cordoba Guitars family, and it’s revisiting some of the more fantastic electric guitar designs from its past as part of the Korea-built Newark St. Collection. The guitars are beautifully built and faithful to the style and spirit of their vintage counterparts. They’re also extremely reasonable in price. And the new Jetstar, which joins its quirky cousin, the T-Bird, in the Newark St. line, is impressive at just under 600 bucks.
Back to the Retro Future
Something that’s immediately apparent when strapping on Guild’s Jetstar is that the build quality is excellent—bettering many imported solidbodies I’ve seen in this price class. It’s sturdy, substantial, surprisingly resonant, and finished beautifully—lending the air of a far more costly guitar.
As outfitted, the two-pickup Jetstar is configured more like the original, early-’60s S-100 Polara, which shared a body with the entry-level, single-pickup S-50 Jetstar that gives this version its name. (To further confuse matters, the S-100 Polara ultimately evolved into a more Gibson SG-like guitar in the late ’60s).
Our demo model came in black with a coat of sleek, glossy poly finish. The black contrasts nicely with the massive tortoise pickguard that eats up most of the Jetstar’s treble side. While the funky body shape and graceful 6-in-line-tuners headstock retain the profile and dimensions of its vintage predecessor, Guild made some fundamental changes to the Jetstar recipe so it’s more universally appealing and modern. These updates include a 25 ½" scale length in place of the original’s 24 ½" scale, and a Tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece replace the Hagstrom-style vibrato unit on the original S-100 Polara and the funky fixed-bridge assemblies of the S-50 Jetstar. The Jetstar’s control set is simple and functional: volume and tone, plus a three-way selector switch. However, as a player that keeps his picking hand close to the bridge, I found the pickup selector located a bit far away for my liking.
The current Jetstar sports a pair of Guild’s new LB-1 “Little Bucker” mini-humbuckers, while the original had single-coils. The LB-1s feature the handsome stamped-nickel covers that are a signature of Guild’s cult-favorite ’buckers. The LB-1s are lively and articulate, striking a sweet balance between delivering the output to really sting and retaining a smooth top end. The brightness is likely tamed somewhat by the Jetstar’s sizable mahogany body. But the basic pickup tones still cut nicely through a dirty, overdriven signal and are bouncy and warm through a clean amp.
C-Planes and Narrow Jumbo Jets
The new Jetstar’s mahogany neck is a very comfortable shallow-C shape, with just enough meat to be an agreeable middle ground between chunky ’50s and ’60s profiles and slimmer necks. While the neck shape probably won’t thrill players closely aligned with either camp, it is certainly not distracting either. The pau ferro fretboard’s 10" radius is also a comfortable medium between vintage Gibson and Fender radii, and enables easy bends and athletic fretwork without sacrificing the guitar’s vintage vibe and feel. The fretwork, by the way, is truly exceptional for a guitar in this price range and adds significantly to the instrument’s excellent value. The 22 “narrow-jumbo” frets are nicely crowned and expertly rolled into the edges of the guitar’s fretboard. Big bends on the Jetstar are easy and smooth, and chords ring out bold and full. The excellent craftsmanship is also apparent at the neck joint, which is mated to the body with a joint so flush that I initially wondered if the guitar featured neck-thru construction. Between the airtight neck joint, sturdy bridge setup, and serious body mass, the Jetstar is an exceptionally lively and resonant guitar.
At an onstage blues session, the Jetstar came alive through a dimed Fender Champ. The sounds were stinging and snappy, combining the swat of a Telecaster with mass and authority not unlike a Gibson Firebird. Strung with .010s, the Jetstar was very balanced—slinky enough to really rip on, yet stiff enough to feel great for percussive rhythm work, for which the mid-centric LB-1s are a perfect fit. The Jetstar was happy with a nice fuzz—particularly Fuzz Face-derived circuits. (I used an EarthQuaker Devices Dream Crusher.) The articulate, almost single-coil-like sounds lent clarity to the fuzz with the guitar volume knob rolled back, and at full volume, the combination didn’t get muddy like many mahogany-bodied instruments with humbuckers will.
The Jetstar is a wildly styled throwback with a fantastic balance of modern appointments and retro charm. While it pays careful homage to its vintage predecessors in many details, this contemporary version of the Jetstar is superior to any vintage example that I’ve played. The Jetstar is refined and versatile enough to be a primary guitar. And the high-quality build and super-accessible price make it an absolutely screaming deal. At a little less than $600 with a gig bag, you can’t go wrong!
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Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials
The Generation Collection of acoustic guitars features the exclusive Gibson Player Port designed to offer a unique and immersive sonic experience.
The G-Bird, the newest addition to the Generation Collection--represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird colliding with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port to add a new dimension to the G-Bird sound. The Gibson Player Port allows players to hear more of themselves as the audience hears it. With a tone that is crisp and resonant, all of the Gibson Generation Collection acoustics are designed to be comfortable to hold and play for long periods of time. All Generation Collection guitars feature the Gibson Player Port, slim, lightweight bodies, a flatter fingerboard radius, Walnut back and sides, Sitka spruce tops, and a stunning Natural finish. Additionally, the new G-Bird, and the G-200 and G-Writer are equipped with LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup systems which amplify deep bass and crystal-clear highs.
The G-Bird represents the glorious legacy of the Gibson Hummingbird with modern sonic enhancement through the Gibson Player Port adding a new dimension to the G-Bird’s sound. The G-Bird features a stunning solid Sitka spruce top and solid walnut back and sides for the ultimate in crisp, resonant tone. This square-shoulder dreadnought delivers all the rich low end and well-balanced mids and highs the original Hummingbird is famous for. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with chrome Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning. The utile neck, with its easy-playing Advanced Response neck profile, is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird also comes equipped with an LR Baggs™ Element Bronze pickup system, so it will always sound as good to your audience as it does to you. The G-Bird is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Modeled after Gibson’s pioneering small-body parlor acoustic guitars from the 1930’s, the G-00 is a top choice for blues and fingerstyle guitar performances. Despite its more compact size, the G-00 achieves a full, balanced sound. The G-00 fills any room with rich tones-which players can hear like never before, with the exclusive Gibson Player Port. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-00 is handcrafted in Bozeman, Montana, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustic guitars. The G-00 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-00 parlor-sized body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-00 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
The G-45, a round-shouldered jumbo, adds the Gibson Player Port to its famous “Workhorse” J-45 style body, which is Gibson’s best-selling acoustic guitar of all time. On the G-45, players can now hear more clearly than ever how this beloved guitar responds to every style and technique of playing. Powerful one moment and soft the next, the G-45 delivers all sounds with incredible dynamic range in an elegant, medium body size. The G-45 is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-45 features a slightly thinner round shoulder body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and play. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-45 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is included.
Gibson’s impressive range of square-shouldered guitars have become an expressive standard for rock, pop, folk, and country artists. The G-Writer is known for its wide range of sounds, from gutsy and loud, to soft and sweet; they are superb for all styles and shine, whether strumming chords or fingering intricate solos. The G-Writer comes ready for the stage or studio with an LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system and the ear-opening Gibson Player Port. The G-Writer is part of the Gibson Generation Collection and like all models in this collection, it is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. It features a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The G-Writer features a slightly thinner cutaway body, is more comfortable to play and provides effortless access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners deliver solid tuning stability, so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-Writer is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
Gibson built its first “Super Jumbo” SJ-200 as a custom order for country and western singer and film star Ray Whitley, who desired a big, loud, and deep flat-top over which to croon. The SJ-200 quickly became a staple of cowboy singers and horseback troubadours, and then country music, 60’s folk stars, and onto every acoustic guitar genre that has followed. Ray would be proud to hear the booming sound from the Gibson Player Port on the new G-200, which comes ready for the stage or studio with a LR Baggs Element Bronze pickup system. Like all models in the Gibson Generation Collection, the G-200 is handcrafted in Bozeman, MT, by the same highly--skilled craftspeople who make all Gibson acoustics. The G-200 features a beautiful solid Sitka spruce top and solid Walnut back and sides for tone that sounds crisp and resonant. The slightly thinner G-200 cutaway jumbo body is exceptionally comfortable to hold and provides excellent access to the upper frets. The TUSQ nut and saddle, along with the Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners, deliver solid tuning stability so you can spend more time playing instead of tuning, and the utile neck with its easy-playing neck profile is so comfortable you won’t want to put it down. The G-200 is available in Natural finish. A gig bag is also included.
G-Bird | Generation Collection
For more information, please visit gibson.com.