Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - 60
Column Q&A With George Gruhn
guIld nameS and
In 1987, while working as Guild's Executive
VP of Research and Development/Artist Relations, I rewrote Guild's model nomenclature
to be more consistent throughout the line.
At that time, the F-44 was renamed
GF-60; GF models were 16" wide,
while JF models were 17" - the
letters indicated a size and
shape, while numbers
And an Oddball Gibson Byrdland
indicated level of
After I exited the company at
the end of 1988, much of what I had
done was discontinued when Guild changed
Can you tell me if Martin stamped model
sizes on the inside heel, along with the
serial number? - Jim Gates
have an '87 Guild GF-60 with maple back
and sides. Its serial number is GF600001,
and I'm curious about any historical
significance it may have. - Barry Hopkins
Guild's GF-60 was introduced in '87 and
represents a continuation of the earlier F-44.
It's a flat-top with 16" lower bout, thin waist,
and was available with maple (GF-60M) or
rosewood back and sides (GF-60R). It has
scalloped bracing and multi-ply binding.
The neck is mahogany with a bound ebony
fingerboard (255 / 8" scale) and notched diamond inlays. The "snakehead" peghead shape
is also bound and has the "G-shield" inlay.
Tuners are gold-plated.
Maple back and sides were discontinued
on the model in '89, while rosewood was
offered until '91, but the guitar was re-named
GF-55 in 1990.
In 1984, I designed si x models for
Guild - three 16" mini jumbos and three
square-shouldered dreadnoughts. Each was
available in mahogany with plain ornamen-
tation, while maple and
rosewood models had
fancy ornamentation with
multiple bindings, "Guild"
and the G logo in pearl on the
peghead, and slotted diamond
inlays on the fingerboard. The
series consisted of the F-42, F-44, and
F-46 and the D-62, D-64, and D-66; F did not
indicate the size of a guitar, but simply that
it was a folk shape (not like a dreadnought).
The F-30 measured 15" wide, the F-40 was
16" wide, and the F-50 was 17".
Guild's number designations also made
little sense; the D-40 was a mahogany guitar
with plain ornamentation and dot inlays,
while the F-40 had multiple bindings, maple
back and sides, and large block inlays on
the fingerboard as well as more inlay on the
peghead. The D-50 had dot inlays on the fingerboard and rosewood back and sides, while
the F-50 had elaborate binding and pearl and
had laminated maple back and sides with an
arched back with no bracing on the interior
of the back, while the F-50 R had solid rosewood back and sides with back bracing. The
D-55, on the other hand, had the exact same
ornamentation and basic construction as the
F-50R, but was a dreadnought. Mahogany and
rosewood dreadnoughts were designated as
D, but for reasons incomprehensible to me,
maple dreadnoughts were designated as G.
Martin started stamping serial numbers
on the interior neck block on their guitars
in 1898, but did not stamp model sizes on
the neck block until October, 1930. If your
guitar was made after that time, it would be
stamped on the neck block with both model
designation and serial number.
I recently acquired a '69 Gibson Byrdland
with a 20-fret neck and 251/2 " scale. Its body
conforms to the specs for the model, the
serial number is 812613, and I believe its
components are original, including finish.
I'm wondering which version it is. - Raúl
The standard specifications for a Byrdland
call for a 231/ 2" scale. Your guitar conforms
to Byrdland specs except it has an L-5 scale.
The L-5 and Byrdland were given the same
inlay, binding, and wood. There was also
the L-5 CT, which had a 243 /4" scale and
body depth the same as a Byrdland. This
variation was introduced December of '59
and offered in an acoustic version. A few
were also made with humbucking pickups
through '62. It was offered as a Custom Shop
model in '83 only, then reintroduced in '98.
Your guitar has essentially the same
features as the L-5 CT, though a full-length
L-5 scale and a Byrdland tailpiece. Chicago
Musical Instrument Company (CMI) sold
Gibson to Norlin in '69 (right before your
guitar was made), and this was a time of
considerable turmoil and poor recordkeeping. I don't have access to accurate
production information from that time, but