Guild Bluesbird Newark St. Collection (Iced Tea Burst)
Yesterday I went into one of the local guitar stores because I saw on their website that they have a guitar that I wanted to check out. The guitar I am talking about is the Guild Bluesbird from the “Newark St. Collection” series. And damn, this is a beautiful guitar, I love the “iced tea burst” design. Seriously, the guitar looks fantastic and does absolutely meet my taste. So, when I arrived in the store, I saw that thing hanging on the wall and grabbed it to hold it in my hands, checking how it is made and how it feels in the hands. The quality was quite decent, but it is a lightweight guitar due to the chambered mahogany body, but that’s fine since I don’t care if a guitar weights less.
Anyway, it felt like a really well made guitar in my hands. Then the sales person approached me and asked if I would need help and I replied that I would like to plug this beauty into an amp, without knowing that I walked into the store 5 minutes before closing time as it was Saturday and I didn’t know that they would already close at noon. I played the guitar for about 30 minutes until the guy came to me again and said “Excuse me, I’d like you to continue but it’s already 30 minutes after closing time” and I replied “Oh, really? I didn’t pay attention to the opening hours, sorry!”. They should have told me when I grabbed the guitar, but it was nice of them that they did let me plug it into the amp to play a half hour on it, that’s pretty cool.
I did hang the guitar back to the wall and the guitar guy had still time to talk with me about it and asked me if I would like it. And here is what I told him, and how I think about the guitar. As I previously mentioned, it felt like a well made guitar and it is an absolutely beautiful guitar. On top of that I liked the sound of the guitar with the Seymour Duncan humbucker pickups (Seymour Duncan SH-1N near the neck and Seymour Duncan SH-4 near the bridge). The guitar had a very nice resonance, I noticed this already before we plugged it into an amp. With the amp and clean, it did sound very crisp and it took some time until the sound died. There is nothing to complain about when we talk about the sound. However, I am a very complicated person, mainly because I know what I want, which means I am kinda picky with some things.
I like thin guitar necks and while my guitar is not really a very good guitar (otherwise I wouldn’t be in the market for a new one), it has a really thin neck and that’s at least something I like about my guitar. The Bluesbird didn’t really have a thick neck, but I also wouldn’t say that it had a very thin neck, which means it was somewhere in between. But still it felt a little bit uncomfortable to grab the neck. Again, I am very picky here, and I could definitely play on the Bluesbird and maybe I would probably get used to it. It’s just that I still prefer a thinner guitar neck. What I disliked too was that the fretboard somehow had a slightly rounded profile. I know this is a thing and some guitars have this slightly rounded fretboard profile, but I am not into this type of stuff and prefer a completely flat fretboard. These two problems turn me away from the guitar, and I know some people really like it that way, but this type of design is not my thing.
It’s kinda sad, because again, this guitar is gorgeous and it did just sound wonderful. It’s a quality guitar and you would pay two or three times the amount if you would choose a Gibson Les Paul instead. The store has the Guild Bluesbird for €750 on the wall, and that is no real money for a guitar of this quality. I did currently save about three times the amount of money since I planned to check out Gibson Les Paul guitars in the future, but I am not a brand fanatic, and I am also quite unhappy with the pricing of Gibson guitars. At the end it’s about the sound of the guitar and that it is playable, and if you get a good guitar for much less than what you would need to spend on a decent Gibson guitar, it would be fine to go with a different brand. So, yes I would have bought a Guild guitar even if it is not a popular brand, and their Bluesbird guitar is almost perfect except that I disliked the neck, this is what I find sad.
I might play on the guitar again next week, because I want to see if I can get used to the neck but at the moment I do think that it’s much more likely that I won’t get this guitar. Even if it’s a beautiful guitar of good quality, at the end it’s not a fashion product but something you personally need to be able to play, something that must feel comfortable in your hands. The thing is, every guitarist is different, some prefer thick necks, others like thin necks and so on. It’s absolutely fine and I won’t complain about this. Still I think that a half hour is not enough to test a guitar which is why I am interested to do it again to get a second impression. For anyone interested in it, Guild has some videos of the Guild Bluesbird, and you can see how beautiful this guitar is and how good it sounds…