A Gorillaz-designed Guild S-200 T-Bird owned by The Cure’s Robert Smith is going up for auction

Robert Smith Guitar Auction
(Image credit: Simone Joyner/Getty Images; Bonhams)

A Guild electric guitar that was owned by The Cure’s Robert Smith and features a custom finish designed by Gorillaz is going up for auction.

The S200 T-Bird’s finish was designed by Gorillaz's Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, and the guitar made its first public appearance last August at London’s O2 Arena, when Smith joined Gorillaz onstage for a performance of Demon Dayz.

It is now being auctioned by Bonhams on 20 October, with all proceeds going to Brian Eno’s climate charity EarthPercent, which hopes to raise $100 million from the music industry by 2030. 

Finished in black, with a tribal flame pattern and the number 23 on its shoulder, the T-Bird is a change of pace from The Cure frontman's usual complement of Schecter UltraCure signature guitars

A retro-style offset, the Guild S200 T-Bird has always been something of a curio – as though the body shape had melted in the sun. It was first produced in 1964, whereupon it was popularised by electric blues guitar pioneer Muddy Waters, and later used by by the likes of Dan Auerbach.

Smith’s T-Bird is a reissue from Guild’s Newark St Collection, an all-mahogany build, equipped with a pair of LB-1 Little Bucker electric guitar pickups. Its neck has a vintage C shape and is glued to the body. There are vintage-style open-gear tuners and an early ‘60s-style Hagström Tremar vibrato.

But the T-Bird’s big talking point is its controls. Those dual mini-buckers have a cornucopia of switches and dials to get the most out of them. Good luck remembering what they all do when you’re onstage. There is a mini-switch to toggle between modes, with Mode 1 offering the neck pickup only. When active, volume and tone is controlled by two smaller black dials.

Mode 2 brings into play a trio of switches on the body’s lower horn. The white switch activates a Tone capacitor that gives the illusion of single-coil tone, while the other two black switches turn the pickups on and off.

When active, Mode 2 is controlled by the two larger volume and tone dials with the silver Guild-logo inserts. Easy, right? Well, maybe it’s best just to keep it in Mode 2. 

Weird, but kinda wonderful, and that Thunderbird inlay on the headstock is very cool. To buy one new, expect to pay around £45. Bonhams expects this custom Robert Smith x Gorillaz T-Bird to fetch £5,000 to £7,000, which seems a little conservative for a true one-off.

For more details, head over to Bonhams .

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.