A favourite of rock revivalists The Black Keys, Guild's T-Bird has been enjoying somewhat of a renaissance of late. However, unless you want to chance it on a vintage model, these rare birds can be quite hard to come by. All that is set to change though, with the heritage brand returning the T-Bird to the market – capturing the best of what made the original great with some contemporary appoitments that will suit the modern player.
The T-Bird ST P90 is endowed with a striking Pelham blue finish, that shimmers beautifully when it catches the light. A finish like this is usually reserved for higher-end (read: overpriced) guitars, so it's great to see it applied to a guitar that won't cost you three months worth of rent to afford. Capping off the aesthetics is the T-Bird's iconoclastic, offset shape. It's really a body unlike any other, calling to mind the middle ground between an SG and a Jazzmaster. Its larger body size helps it resonate too, meaning you can work some interesting vibrato techniques into your playing just by moving the instrument while doing so.
The build quality of the guitar is solid all round, with a fixed Tune-O-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece helping to lock down any intonation issues. A simple three-way toggle switch and master volume and tone pots make for a simple, sleek design that aides playability. However, if you're looking to blend tone between the neck and bridge pickup by altering two separate volume switches, you're out of luck. A tortoiseshell pickguard ties it all together nicely, reinforcing the throwback vintage vibe that's oozing out of this bad boy.
As for the tone, two P90 soapbar pickups are packing some serious grunt. Wired at 6.76k at the neck and 6.6k on the bridge, these really shine with some overdrive and dirt applied to them. They'll certainly drive your amp a little harder that a standard single coil would; making this guitar ideal for rock and blues styles. Leads sing and riffs come out with a pleasing grunt. Clean styles work well, with some nice depth coming out of the instrument for rhythm playing that seems to lend itself to soul and classic styles.
The pickups are billed as a reconstruction of the original Franz soapbars that made the originals so great for searing tones that'd cut through the mix like a knife. Without having an original to compare with, I can say that these sound more 'vintage' than a modern pickup. Thick thin and fizzy, but in a pleasing way. The one-piece mahogany neck is rounding out with a C-shape neck that makes dextrous lines a breeze. Though some players may find the action a little on the light size, overall it plays exceptionally well and holds its tune nicely.
Whether you're a player looking for their first high quality electric or a more experienced player who just wants to get some P90s into your arsenal, the Guild T-Bird doesn't disappoint. Strap it on and let it soar.
Hits and Misses
P90s pack a punch
The finish is fantastic
C-shaped neck is a winner