In 1961, Guild's "Johnny Smith Artist" model was renamed the "Artist Award," and it remained the company's top-of-the-line model through the rest of the decade. For Guild founder Al Dronge, this 17" archtop represented the pinnacle of the company's achievement, and it was intended to directly compete with Gibson and even high-end independent builders like John D'Angelico.
By the early 1990s, the Guild factory had changed locations, and new ownership had pushed the company in different directions over the years, but the Artist Award model still held true to the design of the early '60s. The 17" archtop still had a 25-1/2" scale, and it was constructed of a carved Spruce top and figured Flame Maple back and sides. The 1990s iteration still has the graceful cutaway to access the upper register, and its elaborate flared headstock bears the inimitable "Artist Award" inlay. By then, the floating DeArmond pickup was updated to a floating humbucker design mounted to the pickguard with a sleek volume control. The early '90s Artist Award is a refined archtop constructed in the tradition of NYC archtops. It is a sophisticated guitar for sophisticated guitarists—a jazz box that can keep up with any player.
This 1993 Guild Artist Award is in excellent cosmetic condition, but it does have a repaired top crack from damage that occurred in shipping. This is a huge 17" archtop, and the case is particularly massive and bulky (the guitar weighs less than 7 lbs, but the case gets heavy). When it shipped to us, it was handled roughly and that caused a hairline crack in the top in the bridge area. The crack has been expertly repaired by Woodsongs Lutherie in Boulder, Colorado. Although it shows a witness line, it is very neatly repaired and 100% stable.
This 1993 Guild Artist Award is set up with .013" flat wounds. It is a big guitar with big tone. It is articulate for delicate and precise playing, and it can chunk out 2-5-1s with the best of them. Plus, the figuring of the back and the Flame Maple neck is absolutely stunning, and the nicely-aged blonde finish sets it off beautifully. Original case included.