Guild Newark Street T50 Slim
Purchased by Cordoba Guitars in 2014, Guild's post-Fender deal means new distribution for Guild in the UK, and the return of the Korean-made Newark Street range of instruments, which faithfully capture the look and style of many classic Guild models from the marque's golden years.
As if to emphasise that things are definitely looking up, the Newark Street range has recently seen two new additions in the shape of the Starfire IV ST and the non-cutaway T-50 Slim, both now available in the UK.
The T-50 Slim is an update on the original 1960s T-50, coincidentally later named the Cordoba. The only non-cutaway model in the present Newark Street range, the T-50 Slim has a 45mm-thick laminated maple body, married to a two-piece mahogany neck.
A solitary single-coil pickup connects to a volume and tone control topped with period- correct clear control knobs - much more of a hardcore jazz/blues vibe perhaps.
The standard of finish is practically flawless. The T-50 Slim has a particularly attractive dark Antique Sunburst top combined with a deep red brown-stained back and sides, plus a single layer of ivory plastic binding on the top.
Visually, it strongly evokes the classic Guild look, with vintage-correct details such as the round-head pins used for control knob pointers, and open-back Grover Sta-Tite tuners.
The neck has a more modern vibe. Guild describes the profile as a vintage soft U; we'd say it's more of a D, with less meat on the shoulders than many vintage necks. The other contributor is the relatively high fretwire, which is around three-or four-tenths of a millimetre taller than average. That may not sound like much of a difference, but most players easily detect this small variation.
This neck and fret combination is complemented by the 0.011 to 0.049 gauge strings supplied as standard, adding extra meat for an enhanced tone with the benefit of better tuning stability.
The neck joins the body at the 14th fret and the T-50 is a proper hollow acoustic, with bracing under its laminated arch top and a tune-o-matic bridge mounted on rosewood feet.
Feel & Sounds
It feels immediately comfortable to play. Frets are nicely finished with no sharp corners, while the slim neck profile favours players who hook their thumb over the top of the fretboard to grab bass notes.
The slightly higher fretwire makes bending and vibrato easy, even with Guild's standard issue strings, while the slim body dimensions are easy to play seated or standing.
The T-50 Slim's hollow body makes a huge difference. It's acoustically bold, with less of the 'pinginess' that often affects new instruments until they're properly played in.
The DE-1F single-coil pickup is punchy and has a nice balanced tone that doesn't favour highs, mids or lows, making it easy to use the T-50 for almost any playing style.
String choice can make a big difference; the round-wound strings supplied are great for blues, rock, slide and country, while players who want authentic jazz or rockabilly tones should try it with a decent set of pure nickel round-wounds or flatwounds.
The T-50 Slim has plenty of character and presence; non-cutaway guitars are in vogue right now, and this fits the niche perfectly. It's an ideal tool for the lead singer who doubles on rhythm guitar, with great looks and tone to match. Jack up the action, and it also makes a killer slide platform with a little compression and overdrive.