CLASSIC GUILD: A YARD-SALE STEAL

Eric Larson of San Jose, Calif., has been playing his Guild D-50 for decades. But it was a chance sighting at a neighborhood yard sale that put a classic all-mahogany M-20 in his hands, and he quickly realized he´d found a welcome addition to his Guild collection. Eric relates:

“A few years back, while setting up my daughters´ snowcone stand for a neighborhood yard sale, I happened to look over the hedge and spied the headstock of a guitar. Turned out to be a Guild M-20. It had seen better days – the top was warped, the back had a couple of long cracks, and there were scars from a long-removed pickup installation at the sound hole. I immediately asked my neighbor ‘How much?’ She replied, ‘Three dollars – and the money from my yard sale is going to breast cancer research.’ I fished in my pocket and handed her $10 – a steal even at $10! I took it home, cleaned it up, put a new set of strings on it, and even in its weathered state, it plays great! It now proudly sits next to my D-50 that I´ve owned since the mid-´70s.”

Eric reports that the M-20 is a joy to play, considering its less-than-perfect condition. “It has a nice, bright sound, and great playability.” And his enthusiasm for the guitar was contagious. His oldest daughter taught herself to play on it, and he has since passed the guitar down to her.

As for the D-50, Eric has played it loud and proud over the years through stints in different bands, and always playing for enjoyment. “I got it in 1974, and it has held up great – that thing is build like a tank. It has great sound across the board from the bass to the treble, and it´s easy to play. The D-50 is just a cannon. It´s so loud!”

Eric came to own the D-50 when he was looking to learn classical guitar. He ended up trading his classical model for the Guild on a local guitar shop owner´s recommendation, and he has never looked back. He says, “The Guilds have held up over the years, and I look forward to many more years of enjoyment with them.”

Dealer Spotlight: California Vintage Guitar & Amp

It´s a stellar Southern California afternoon when we caught up with Dan Duehren, co-founder and resident bluesman of famed California Vintage Guitar and Amp in Sherman Oaks. As this month´s Guild Dealer Spotlight, California Vintage is one of those stores that every player dreams of walking into. The instruments are not behind glass or guarded by the ever-persistent sales person looking to make the day´s commission. Instead, it´s like walking into a living room of your house that just happens to be packed wall to wall with a holy-grail selection of the greatest guitars and amps you´d ever want to play. Fluffy leather chairs, a big wood dining room table instead of a cash counter, antique rugs and open beam ceilings, CVG is one of those places every player needs to visit at least once. We spent some time asking Dan a few questions. Here are some highlights.

“We pride ourselves on instruments that meet the standards of the professional musician,” says Dan. What this represents is that the people of California Vintage understand the rigors and desires of players at every level of experience because if you can meet the demands of pros, you are highly skilled at listening and directing the player to the perfect piece of gear. “To carry the kind of gear that we sell, you need people who are knowledgeable of the most esoteric pre-war archtop to the latest custom shop Stratocaster. So our people, whether its in gear repair, collecting or playing, are some of the best in the business,” adds, Dan.

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