The Guild Stratford, or Guild X-350 was a particularly deluxe model notable for its three pickups, and its panel of push-button pickup selector switches allowing any combination thereof. It was launched in 1954 and remained in Guild price lists through to 1964. With many of Guilds luthiers ex-Epiphone employees, certain Guild guitar models of the early 1950s took inspiration from pre-Gibson Epiphone models. The Guild Stratford has an awful lot in common, electronically in particular, to the Epiphone Emperor Zephyr Regent, each having the same Venetian cutaway body style, three pickups with a master volume and tone, and the same bank of selector switches. The guitar was also filling the same musical purpose as the Gibson Switchmaster ES-5.
Naturally, the guitar evolved over its ten year production period; the majority of production seems to have been fitted with Franz single coil pickups (early examples have black, but usually white covers), with early 1960s examples fitted with DeArmond units. Then the very last guitars (from 1963) were equipped with Guild Anti Hum humbuckers.
The Guild Stratford X-350 was described as follows in the 1963 Guild catalog
A marvel of electronics ... a masterpiece of the guitar maker's art ... an instrument for the swinging soloist and technician. The Stratford has a fast-action, 3-piece hard maple neck with adjustable steel neck rod. Ivoroid bound fingerboard is of finest ebony, with 8 mother-of-pearl position markers. The Stratford's body is 17" wide by 21" long by 3 1/8" deep, is made of finest highly figured curly maple, and is bound with 5-ply black and white ivoroid. Three Guild pick-ups, with master volume and tone controls, are controlled by 6 marked push-buttons to allow instantaneous selection of all possible pick-up combinations. All 3 pick-ups may be activated simultaneously. Individual string adjustment screws in the pick-ups make it possible to achieve perfect tonal balance of all strings. Equipped with gold-plated non-slip pegs, tailpiece and accessories, and with Guild EA-610 Strings.
1958 Guild Stratford X-350 Image Heritage auctions
Electric guitar advertisements originally published from 1962 onwards. Click on the images for larger copies. Check out other vintage Guild advertisements
Guild Stratford X-350 - Which Guild for the sound you want? (1962)
Early sixties Guild ad for three hollow-body electric guitars: the ornate Guild Stuart X-500, the electronically innovative Stratford X-350, the thinline Freshman M-65; one flat-top acoustic the Va...