Augustus 2007 - Josh White's Guild Guitar
A lot of people in the US have probably seen the PBS series History Detectives that etc. For me the story of Josh White’s Guild started during the early ‘90s when I was still doing the research for The Guild Guitar Book. At that time I was interviewing Carlo Greco, Gilbert Diaz and several others on a regular basis, to try and gather as much information as possible about the early days of Guild. Some of our talks were about instruments that were made for specific people or artists and so we discussed the guitars Guild had made for George Barnes, Merle Travis, Duane Eddy, Paul Simon, John Denver, Tiny Grimes and many more. Some of these guitars had made it to actual ‘signature’ models like the George Barnes and the Duane Eddy but most of them were one-off instruments that were just done at the request of the artist. Now Guild never kept records of these ‘Special’ guitars and for these people that worked at Guild it was hard to remember all the specifics of these one-off guitars of which some had been made more than 25 years earlier. Showing them pictures of the actual guitars would usually trigger their memories and very often they would be able to give me more specific details about materials, construction etc. One of the more obscure instruments we discussed was a guitar that was made for Josh White. Carlo Greco vividly remembered Josh White’s visit to the Hoboken plant and the instrument that was made for him. According to Carlo it was based on the model F-30, but with a rosewood body and a wider, classical style neck. Since Josh had been playing a Martin 00-size guitar with a 12 fret neck and a 1-7/8” wide fingerboard for a long time, the Guild had to have the wide fingerboard as well. The neck that was used was made of an actual Guild Mark classical neck blank; 2 pieces of mahogany with a maple center strip and the typical ‘classical’ style heel, which was really different from the heel you would usually find on a Guild steel string guitar. It also featured a slotted headstock and a 25-1/2’ scale, features that were not standard on the regular model F-30 from that particular period. Another feature of the guitar were the ‘DeLuxe’ inlays that Guild had started using on some “Special Order’ guitars. The inlays were put into the ebony fingerboard and on the wings of the bridge. Unlike the regular F-30, which had tortoise style binding, the guitar that was made for Josh did get white binding around the top and back and the fingerboard was bound as well. I wrote down all the info Carlo gave me and at some point during my research I came across some old, rather poor-quality footage of Josh White that showed him playing what looked like the Guild guitar that Carlo had described but I never saw any good quality pictures of Josh White with the Guild and since I only had Carlo’s description, the info never made it to the book.