Guild Newark St M-75 Aristocrat review

A pristine soul machine

  • £929
  • €1160
  • $1425
The Aristocrat has the classy looks and tones to live up to its name

MusicRadar Verdict

A great tool for jazz, funk and soul players, the M-75 Aristocrat looks the part, sounds the part - and your back will thank you for it, too!

Pros

  • +

    Ideal for bright soul and jazz tones. Extremely comfortable to play and hold.

Cons

  • -

    Not much.

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The M-75 Aristocrat, from Guild's vintage-appointed Newark St range, is so refined, you'll want to put on a suit before playing it.

You might even consider strapping it on a little higher. But no matter how you wear this vintage single-cut, it's designed to complement the human condition - spiritually and physically.

"The Aristocrat specialises in the sort of clearly enunciated bright-pop and bell-chime tone that would be right at home on Soul Train"

It's more than sympathetic to your sciatic nerve, as its chambered mahogany body with laminated spruce top lends itself to a guitar that feels compact and as light as balsa.

The spiritual fillip comes from plugging it into an amplifier, wrapping your hands round its vintage soft U-profile neck and wondering how such a comfortable guitar could sound so beautiful and, moreover, so substantial. The Aristocrat has a pair of Guild's Frequency-Tested single coils in neck and bridge that confound expectations.

With a clean tone, the neck pickup is all warm and woody cream, but where a solidbody would be layering it on thick, there's a lightness, an aerated quality that might be weight-relieved but never sacrifices depth.

In the bridge position, the clean tones could convince you that your suit should be brightly coloured with a wide trouser; the Aristocrat specialises in the sort of clearly enunciated bright-pop and bell-chime tone that would be right at home on Soul Train: 100 per cent jazz, funk and soul.

Turning up the gain finds a yowling, chewy rock voice hidden beneath the finery, too - a reminder that a guitar's looks can be deceiving, and its tone is whatever you make of it.

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.