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 condition and has been beautifully preserved over the years. The gold plating on the engraved tailpiece and Grover Imperial tuners still look brand new. All around, the guitar is free of severe bumps, bruises, repairs. or issues. The frets are pristine, and all of the over-the-top details show substantial build quality. This is a fine archtop guitar, and it is a responsive instrument with a rich, powerful archtop tone.
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.