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1981 X-500

1981 X-500


This Guild X-500 from 1981 certainly acts its age. With over 40 years of playing baked into it, this guitar is aging like a fine wine. Much like the genre of music it was built for, this guitar houses a wealth of harmonic richness and tone that compliments and piece of music that will have it. Its array of electronics gives the player just about any tone that they may seek in a jazzbox guitar, from a punchy bridge pickup to a smooth neck tone. All things considered, this brilliant model from Guild would make an excellent addition to any player’s collection.

Playing this guitar feels much like an exercise in tonal exploration. With two volume knobs, two tone controls and a master volume, there is so much to be explored before ever plugging into a pedal. Different combinations of these can bring an amp into a territory of sparkling clean tones, or even further into some beloved tube overdrive. One of the wonderful things about this configuration is that the operator can easily achieve the classic “jazzbox” tones without ever diving into mixing and matching particular knobs. Especially when switched into the neck position, the HB-1 delivers a tone with a profound low end and blooming midrange. Being humbuckers, these pickups definitely lack a crystal-like top end that something like a Stratocaster single coil may have, but given the assumed application of this guitar, the player may not necessarily be looking for that. This is to say that one can leave the tone knob of the neck pickup at 10 and the tone will still not be excessively bright. The bridge pickup of this guitar is exactly what one would expect from it. Punchy midrange, articulated top end and a cutoff low end. Said pickup lives in a very middle-of-the-road territory. Not too bright, not too dark, but somewhere in the middle. It’s there when you need it but does not add much eccentricity to the guitar.

Like many other jazzbox guitars, the body of this particular Guild is quite large. This is to be expected from a fully hollow guitar that is predicated on its ability to resonate and produce natural tones. On the other hand, the neck profile is quite comfortable. It is somewhere in the world of an even “C” shape and provides a wonderful base upon which to anchor one’s palm or thumb when fretting chords or single note lines. In addition to this, the 40+ year old finish contributes a fair deal of comfort to this guitar. A gloss finish can sometimes be tough to play on in high humidity environments, and although this finish used to be a shiny gloss, it has since faded to a smoother feel.

For its age, this guitar is in very good condition. The aforementioned finish has aged to be a bit smoother than full gloss. While we have leveled and recrowned the frets, there is relatively low fret mass left on the fingerboard that will more than likely sustain one more fret level before needing a full refret. In addition, the guitar exhibits a fair bit of play wear, including multiple finish dings over the area of the body/neck, the most significant of which being two scuffs behind the neck pickup tone knob. Lastly, as to be expected from an older guitar, the gold hardware is starting to fade. Otherwise, this guitar remains powered up and ready to play!

  • Single Cutaway Hollowbody
  • Laminated AAA Maple Back and Sides
  • Laminated Spruce Top
  • White Binding
  • Gloss Body Finish
  • Multi-ply Black/White Purfling
  • 5-Piece Maple Neck
  • Ebony Fingerboard
  • Block Pearl Inlays
  • Black Headstock Veneer with Guild Shield Logo
  • “C” Neck Carve
  • Gloss Neck Finish
  • HB-1 Humbuckers
  • Floating Ebony Bridge
  • Guild Tuning Machines
  • Black Multi-ply Pickguard
  • 1 11/16” Nut Width
  • 24 ¾” Scale Length
  • 22 Frets
  • Hard Case
Model X-500
Serial Number(s) JB100084