Up for sale, a 1968 Guild Duane Eddy Signature DE-500 in exceptional condition and in perfect working order. One of Guild's most collectable and rarely seen archtops, the Duane Eddy signature, and especially the Blonde-finished "Deluxe" iteration seen here were produced in sparingly small quantities, with only 41 examples made from 1965-70. This particular example is unique, as it was refreshed with "new" Guild hardware and pickups circa 1974, most likely at the Guild factory, given the complete, matching nature of the hardware from the tuning machines to the Muller roller bridge, to the all-important full-size Guild HB-1 humbuckers.
Arguably Guild's most lauded pickup, the HB-1 premiered in the 1970s, replacing the smaller Anti-Hum/LB-1 minibuckers originally seen on the Duane Eddy model circa '68. Richer, fuller, and very PAF-esque in their tonal intent, the HB-1 was widely considered an improvement over Guild's previous humbucker designs. This pickup pairs beautifully with the fully hollow spruce and maple tonewood combination of the DE-500, yielding a broad, smooth range of nuanced tonalities, from clear, percussive bridge pickup snap and sparkle to bold, sweet neck pickup richness. The treble response is further articulated by the slab ebony fretboard, adding a distinctive glassy snap to the tone and ensuring optimal note clarity, perfect for complex chord voicings. Featherweight at 7lbs, we've had this Guild Duane Eddy professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, strung with roundwound 12s with a plain G string and dialed in for optimal action and intonation.
The heavily figured flame maple neck has a an easy-playing effortless medium C profile carve with moderate shoulder and gentle taper up the board, measuring .840" deep at the 1st fret and .930" at the 12th. The profile is silky smooth and flawless, and the bound ebony fretboard features multi-ply binding both at the fretboard edges and inset 1/16" from the outer binding, framing the pearl and abalone block inlays. The original fretwire is just shy of medium jumbo with a fairly flat fret dress, showing light, uniform wear on the crowns of frets 1-5, and fainter wear extending just beneath the plain strings until fret 8. The guitar plays easily up the 24 3/4" scale length, and the nut has been upgraded with a hand-carved piece of bone, measuring 1 11/16" in width. The tuning machines are '70s Guild gold gears with Schaller-style paddle buttons. The headstock face is bound and inlaid with both the Guild name and chesterfield logo.
The humbuckers feature hand-etched date stamps from 1974 on the pickup baseplates, which are also stamped "Guild USA." The control array includes a three-way pickup selector toggle, mini Master Volume knob on the treble side cutaway, and individual Volume and Tone knobs for each pickup, capped with skirted Guild reflector cap knobs. The body measures a full 17" in width, and the maple back and sides have light curly flame figuring highlighted by the Blonde gloss nitro lacquer finish. Visible through the F hole, the original Guild oval label is intact noting the DE-500 model, G for gold hardware and "Blonde" handwritten, along with the serial number. Interestingly enough, the handwritten serial has the EI-prefix designation for the DE-500, yet the matching number on the headstock has the EH-prefix of the 400 model. Clearly this model was originally intended to be a standard, Sunburst finished iteration yet left the factory as a DE-500 with gold hardware and Blonde finish as stated on the label, which also notes Guild's Hoboken, New Jersey factory.
The gold hardware is very clean, showing only light wear on the edges of the neck pickup cover and bass-side bridge thumbwheel. The roller bridge has adjustable string spacing, and is mounted to the top, providing more stability than Guild's earlier floating Bigsby bridges. The pickguard is custom made by Quick Guards with the correct thickness, material, stair-stepped design and gold pinstriping and Guild logo, a one-off that perfectly accommodates the Guild HB-1 humbuckers. Cosmetic wear on the original Blonde nitro lacquer is limited to faint finish checking on the body as a whole, with light strum wear across the pick path and some very minor finish scuffs and nicks on the back.
A modern Cedar Creek custom commissioned black tolex hardshell case is included and a perfect fit for this Guild.