Why Players Know Guild: Chris Putnam

There’s a long history behind each member of Putnam’s Guild family. He recalls that his first, the D-25, came from his guitar instructor. Shortly thereafter, he got the D-40 from Gruhn Guitars in Nashville, Tenn., which is where “the disease started.”

Putnam said he didn’t need more guitars, but he was destined to cross paths with the ’95 Bluesbird and the ’99 Starfire, which he bought on eBay. The latter was a lonesome instrument that had been sitting in a storage room for seven years as part of a music dealer’s bankruptcy settlement before it fell into Putnam’s lap and found a cozy new home.

But out of his five models, there’s one that holds a very special place in his heart—the 45th anniversary model he bought online from New Hope Guitar Traders in Fayetteville, Tenn. He owns number 10 out of the 45 limited edition models built.

“Not only is it a beautiful guitar to look at, but the complexity of the tones on this guitar; I’ve never picked up anything by any other brand that was quite like it,” Putnam said. “It’s an extremely nice guitar.”

And when it comes to tone, you can’t fool Putnam. He specializes in audio and acoustic engineering; sciences he’s been practicing for years.

Putnam noodles for fun, but is also a devoted member of his church’s band, in which he plays his second-favorite model, the ’99 Starfire.

“I play regularly in a band at church with my Starfire, so it gets a lot of play,” he said. “It plays well, has a good tone and it’s got the Bigsby® tailpiece.”

Putnam is also a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International.

Dealer Spotlight: Robb’s Boulder Music

Robb’s Boulder Music in Boulder, Colo., holds a special place in the community, and it’s been that way since it was established in 1978.

Founder William “Robb” Candler opened the shop in the once-vacant box office of the historical Boulder Theater. After the business grew, Candler moved it to several locations across town, and sold the shop to current owner Seth Goodman before retiring in 2007.

Robb’s Boulder Music is now thriving in its current Steel Yard neighborhood location, where it serves hundreds of loyal customers seeking a vast selection of high-quality instruments. And since high quality is their specialty, so is Guild.

Store manager and Guild aficionado Mark Arroyo is an experienced guitar connoisseur with over 30 years of experience.

“As a bit of a studier and someone who grew up around guitars, I can say Guild is probably the only American company that’s never really seen a significant slip in quality,” he said. “It never seems like Guild had a drop-off in quality, and that is the general consensus across the board.”

He is also the proud owner of two vintage Guild electric guitars, a 1964 Guild Starfire IV and a 1966 Starfire III. Arroyo knows Guild guitars are built to last.

“Over time, Guild guitars don’t get taken down nearly to the level that other competitors’ products do,” he said. “Oftentimes, Guilds are built a little heavier than other manufacturers’ products, and they handle the Colorado climate better.”

Robb’s Boulder Music does very well with acoustic guitar sales, which can be attributed in part to Colorado’s booming bluegrass scene. Some of the more popular Guild guitars sought by customers are the D-55, F-47, F-412 and F-212 models.

Arroyo hopes to add a Guild F-30 to his personal collection and to the shop’s inventory.

“We have a lot of customers that will associate instruments with certain artists,” he said. “By having an educated crowd as far as clientele goes, people will see the F-30 and think of Mississippi John Hurt, or say ‘Hey! Richie Havens opened Woodstock on a Guild guitar!’”

Robb’s Boulder Music has received many accolades over the years, and was recently named one of NAMM’S top 100 U.S. retailers.

Robb’s Boulder Music
2691 30th St.
Boulder, Colo., 80301