Guild X-500 Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1959)

Guild  X-500 Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1959)
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$6,500.00 + shipping
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Item # 10269
Prices subject to change without notice.
Guild X-500 Model Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1959), made in Hoboken, NJ, serial # 10346, sunburst lacquer finish, laminated maple body and neck; spruce top, ebony fingerboard, original brown hard shell case.

This very lovely full-body Guild was the company's top of the line electric from the 1950's, surpassed only by the carved acoustic/electric Johnny Smith Artist Award. The X-500 is a very fancy high end model, roughly equivalent to Gibson's L-5CES although built with laminated woods instead of the Gibson's fully carved top. The X-500 was intended to compete directly with Gibson and Gretsch's best offerings, with enough distinctive Guild touches to set it apart. By the time this one was made in mid-1959, the relatively young Hoboken based company was firmly established as one of America's top guitar builders, and this was one of their showpieces.

The X-500 has the typical hallmarks of a high-end archtop electric, as top pro players would have expected in this period. There is multiple binding on the body, neck and headstock;5-ply bound on the top and back and 3-ply bound on the sides. The f-holes are triple-bound as well. The single-bound ebony fingerboard has the elaborate split block Epiphone style inlay with multiple inset lines just inside the outer edge.

The 17" body is made of laminated curly maple with a spruce top, while the neck shows its Epiphone ancestry with a 5-piece lamination down the back. The headstock is multi-bound on the face with an inlaid pearl Guild logo and G-shield centerpiece. All hardware is gold plated including the Kolb tuners with pearloid buttons. Electronics details and the beautifully engraved deluxe Guild harp tailpiece are gold plated. The fittings are typical for Guild in 1959, with twin pickups made by Fransch electronics in Woodside NY under white covers with gold plated accents. The knobs are the then-new capped transparent plastic style, while the older black switch ring is still in use. The pickguard is the newer back-painted Lucite piece that had recently been introduced.

The X-500 represents Guild's finest fully electric arch top electric guitar and ranks with the best acoustic/electric guitars ever made. The sound is a bit brighter and less "electric" than some similar Gibson instruments from the same period, due mostly to the comparatively underwound and somewhat microphonic Franz-brand pickups. The guitar plays and handles extremely well, and aside from the fully carved Artist Award it remained Guild's most prestigious electric offering into the 1970s and beyond.

As a very expensive instrument (it listed at $495 in 59), the X-500 was only made in relatively small numbers. Exact production figures are not available for 1959, but from 1965-69 the model ranged between 10 and 50 units each year. This 1959 X-500 is a fairly rare guitar and an extremely fine instrument; a fine and super classy performance guitar especially for the lower-volume electric settings it was designed for.
 
Overall length is 42 in. (106.7 cm.), 17 in. (43.2 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 1/8 in. (7.9 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).
This extraordinarily well preserved guitar shows very little wear overall, and really appears not much played over 60+ years. The finish shows some small dings, dents and scratches but overall still shines like it did when Ike was in the White House. There is some light clear overspray/touch-up on the back of the neck where some finish was worn through long ago, probably from rubbing against the neck rest in the case. The back has a spot of fairly discreet strap burn running up the center, with a small lamination check related to the plastic/finish reaction. The lacquer on the headstock face has a very fine checking pattern; rest of the finish is very clean and appears original and unaltered.

All hardware is original and the gold plating (often quickly subject to wear) is still overall very clean. The guitar appears to have been neatly refretted with wire slightly larger than the original style long ago. The heelcap has been replaced, likely due to celluloid shrinkage. There is a small shrunken spot on the treble side of the neck heel but the rest of the binding shows no issues at all. A strap button has been added to the heel. Other than these minor points the instrument shows no alterations or repairs.

This lovely and fairly rare Guild full-body guitar is a wonderful playing instrument, with the unique tone of the Franz pickups giving it a distinctive character. It is still in the original brown gator finish HSC that is the same NY-made piece that many D'Angelicos were originally housed in. Overall Excellent Condition.