’64 Guild Economy M20

Ah the stuff of dreams. My hero Nick Drake held one of these on the cover of his second Bryter Layter album.  The nearest I could get back then was my D25M.  After over thirty years of looking, I found my M20, bought sight unseen via ebay.

I couldn’t believe what a sweet, intimate voice it has when I first played it. It weighs nothing, sounds beautiful and plays great.

The nice case it came in is not original and now houses my Russ Wootton mahogany S12 model.

A fortnight after the M20 landed, I found a matching original case going cheap on ebay. It cost more to ship to UK than it did to buy, so the guitar is now reunited with the right case. (The latches of which are the smoothest of any of my cases, but perhaps that’s getting a bit anal…).

It was quite a Nick Drake week. I also acquired the original inner sleeve photography for his first album, Five Leaves Left. I notice his three albums on original early labels now command very high prices amongst collectors. Nope, I’m not selling them either!

8 Responses to ’64 Guild Economy M20

  1. Martti says:

    Hi is your guild m20 for sale ?

  2. Rockbeare says:

    Thanks, Martti, but it took me 31 years to admittedly pretty casual looking to find, so I’m hanging on to it tight! Good luck with your search : competition is stiff – a friend of mine just sold his to Coldplay’s Chris Martin for good money. I just hope he deoesn’t cover it with paint…

  3. Kevin Parsons says:

    Why do people still say Nick Drake recorded with one of these? It’s been pretty well
    proven that he didn’t, and neither did he own one. If this sort of thing died down
    perhaps it would go back to being a reasonably affordable old guitar.

  4. James says:

    I have to respectfully agree with Kevin Parsons’s query about Drake’s use of an M-20 Guild. Drake used it for the Bryter Layter cover shoot but never recorded with it – this is well-documented. The sound engineer for all 3 albums – Robert Kirby- stated that he never saw him with a Guild m-20, and I’d place great store in his measured opinion. Yamaha and Martin guitars, yes but not a guild. It’s bizarre to see the prices the guitar fetches these days but human imagination and fetishism should never be underestimated. Enjoy the guitar but I honestly believe that if alive, Drake would probably be playing something very different these days to project his fingerstyle virtuosity.

  5. Neal says:

    To be fair, the brilliant British guitarist , Richard Thompson who played on two of Nicks albums, said “I only ever saw Nick play his small-bodied Guild guitar”

  6. Martin says:

    I would agree with Kevin Parsons too. According to the recently published Remembered For A While book, the Guild M20 (previously owned by some guy called Eric Clapton…) was a prop for the Bryter Layter album cover shoot. More disappointingly, the shoes at Nicks feet were props too. The price of brothel creepers have annoyingly rocketed in recent years but I never saw Nick wearing a pair at any of his gigs…

    Seriously though Remembered For A While is a beautiful book and well worth a purchase if you’re a fan. All Nicks guitars are detailed inside with photos too. Martins, Yamahas and Levins but no Guild M20 I’m afraid.

  7. Martin says:

    Remembered For a While HB now £7 off in Waterstones… While stocks last. Where did you see Nick play back in the day Rockbeare? London or in the provinces? He played my home town once. It was an apprentice ball, whilst he played they cleared away the tables. Another confidence shattering performance apparently.

  8. Martti says:

    Anybody saying that Nick Drake didn’t play this guitar hasn’t played one obviously. Once you do, and work hard on finger style muting the strings like blues plalyers do, then it is obvious that the Guild M20 is on quite a few songs. It becomes obvious because of the way the Guild booms on bass notes and low mid ones. And the way the highs are sort of dry and edgy. Go on the Nick Drake tabs that shows you the open tunings, tune accordingly , on some songs he is in A432hz. The Guild M20 booms on certain notes… of course not all songs are played on it and the recording thechnic and acoustic properties of the room all add to the sound. Now no one can be sure 100% but it seems to me that even with the gad120 you will hear the way the Guild shape booms like on some of Nick Drake’s songs… slightly bigger that a martin 017, slightly smaller than the 0017… it takes time and pratice to get that rumbely bass sound because the guitare is very dynamic and needs a very good palm muting technic and playing and playing it to hard will overdrive the sound… like sometimes on Parasite, the muting come on right after ringing the notes insteand of always muting as ous play the notes, the left hand also contribute in muting by puting the finger on the fret etc now i’m not a great guitar player but my hears are pretty trained… Again no one can be sure 100% but the m20 is very close to the sound on some songs like Pink Moon , Place to be, From the Morning

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