NAMM 2022: Guild unveils Surfliner series – offset electrics with a cool colours, retro vibes and lots of tone-tweaking controls

Guild Surfliner
(Image credit: Guild)

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NAMM 2022: In what could quite possibly be the sign we have been waiting for telling us summer is finally here, Guild has unveiled the Surfliner series, a trio of retro-inspired electric guitars with an offset shape and a set of controls that offers a total of seven pickup combinations.

The announcement comes days before NAMM 2022 and it sees Guild offer the Surfliner in three colour options, each inspired by its Southern California surroundings; there’s Sunset Orange, Catalina Blue, and White Sage, each subtly transparent so that the grain of the poplar body is visible underneath.

This is an all-new solidbody design for Guild and yet there is something familiar about the offset doublecut shape, one that references ‘60s and ‘70s guitar-making without bringing a shape back from the dead. 

The headstock calls to mind a Fender Starcaster but again, it’s just an impression, and the headstock itself adds to the anachronistic vibe with an ‘80s Guild logo making these hard to date. Perhaps that makes the the ideal guitars for 2022. 

The Surfliners have a poplar bodies with chamfering on the lower waist and contoured armrest. The satin-smooth maple necks, 25.5” scale, and are stringed through the body with a tune-o-matic style bridge. 

Where the Surfliners get really interesting is the pickups, which in the spirit of the ‘60s offer a smorgasbord of tone options, bordering on the eccentric but nonetheless in keeping with the series’ vibe. A Guild  “Little Bucker” LB-1 occupies the bridge position, with newly-designed DeArmond single-coils in the middle and neck positions. 

The master volume and tone controls are self-explanatory but the Guild Rocker pickup switching system with its on/off switch for each individual pickup giving the Surfliners a very versatile set of tones, with seven core sounds all in, and that’s before you touch the tone and volume.

Completing the spec there is a three-ply pickguard, and round the back these are finished off very nicely with the stencil cutout Guild logo on the neck plate. Very cool.

Very cool and inexpensive. The Guild Surfliner series is priced £395 / $449. See Guild for more details.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.