The Guild Guitar Company is a United States-based guitar manufacturer founded in 1952 by Alfred Dronge, a guitarist and music-store owner, and George Mann, a former executive with the Epiphone Guitar Company.
The company continued to expand, and was sold to the Avnet Corporation, which moved production to Westerly, Rhode Island, in 1966.
As the folk scene quieted, a new generation of folk-rockers took Guild guitars on stage.
The most notable Guild performance of that era was on the D-40 that Richie Havens played when he opened the Woodstock Festival in 1969.
During the 1960s, Guild moved aggressively into the electric guitar market, successfully promoting the Starfire line of semi-acoustic (Starfire I, II & III) and semi-solid (Starfire IV, V & VI) guitars and basses.
A number of early West-Coast psychedelic bands used these instruments, notably guitarists Bob Weir and Jerry Garcia and bassist Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, as well as Jefferson Airplane's bassist Jack Casady.
Alembic started their transition from sound and recording work to instrument building by modifying Lesh & Casady's Starfire basses.The rare S-200 Thunderbird solid body electric was used by Muddy Waters and The Lovin' Spoonful's Zal Yanovsky.Inspired by seeing Muddy Waters, Australian guitarist Ross Hannaford also acquired a Thunderbird, which he used extensively in the period that he played in popular Australian 1970s band Daddy Cool.Guild also successfully manufactured the first dreadnought acoustic guitar which incorporates a "cut-away" in the lower shoulder of the instrument, known as the Guild D40-C.In 1972, under Guild's new president Leon Tell, noteworthy guitarist/designer Richard "Rick" Excellente conceptualized and initiated the first dreadnought guitar with a "cut-away".The cut-away feature enables a player to have a more usable higher fret range.