Guild Pilot 4 , both FL and fretted Reviews 4

About $225 from Daddy's. I almost tripped over it where a customer left it, and its case, on the floor. The customer left when his lowball offer was refused. In about 10 minutes, I owned it at the asking price of $230 with case. Later, also from Daddy's, I acquired its near-twin for $225 also with case. The "twins" are fretted and fretless but otherwise differ only by color.

Very light weight bass with smallish body, slender neck, and classic tone. PJ setup is fairly versatile even without any coil tap, series, or other switch controls. I've been able set low action and minimal relief on both of them [barely detectable relief and about 2mm action at the octave]. Feels not only light but balanced on your shoulder, possibly due to a very assymetric body with longish lower bout [think of an exagertion of the offset shape of a Fender Jazz].

Needs a 9v battery even though it sounds like many passive basses of its era [80's] and has only one tone knob. Also rather have a PU blend knob rather than seperate volume knobs. Due to the very assymetric body, you can't lean it up against anything without it just falling over. It requires a stand. I have no serious complaints and like the bass well enough to love it warts and all.

The finish on both of these 20-yr-olds has remained quite intact and shiny [other than the various minor collision scars]. Necks are excellent [still allow low action] and appear to be one-piece maple with rosewood fingerboards. Bodies seem to be alder or poplar or something similar, light but not as soft and easily dented as basswood. My Pilots have vaguely Fender-like pegheads [some have the Kramer-like "sickle" head]. Necks are bolt-on. The fretless is unlined with a rather dark fingerboard but I don't think that it's ebony. 21 fret 34" scale. Pickups are real EMGs, tuners are Grovers, and bridge is the once-common Schaller of the adjustable spacing type [roller saddle type]. Knobs are VVT and both basses came with clean-sounding pots all around with no evidence of prior replacements one these obviously used basses. The original hard cases are quite nice as well with a large storage bin, body-shaped custom fitted, good hardware, and the top opens to the usual angle but without need of those retainer straps common to most hard cases.

Easy on the shoulder, a fast neck, great classic tone, and easy on the wallet too. Just plain old great basses from the 80's but without the weight of many other tone champs of that time. Tone-wise the Pilot closely resembles my G&L near-twins [also fretted & FL] in essential character, but the G&Ls have more variations through all their switches and knobs. The Pilots are all about tone and feel, not features. Warning: I've tried the Dearmond Pilot, a copy of this bass. It feels really nice but expect to replace the PUs if you want the big tone.

Golem rated this unit 4 on 2003-09-25.

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