Hollowbody / Production 1956 – 2007.
The Artist Award was Guild’s johnny Smith Award model, but only for a short period of time. Guild began its guitar business in 1952 just as Smith released the track Moonlight in Vermont, that bought him fame for his beautiful chord melody Jazz style. In 1955 guild dragged him in for a signature model and the Johnny Smith Award debuted in 1956. By this time Smith was one of the most influential and respected guitarists in Jazz. Although strangely enough he never considered himself a true Jazz player.
Smith brought an of impeccable reputation to the Guild brand and Guild line of guitars. Unfortunately, Johnny Smith Award was not the guitar Smith has specified. Guild had altered it in order to make it easier to produce, and Guilds production head refused to change it back to Smith’s spec. Smith ended the relationship, and Guild simply renamed the model the Artist Award. Despite there madness in changing the spec, It still remained the top model of the Archtop line through several Guild ownership changes and finally discontinued along with all Guild guitars in 2007.
Here’s a thought, I wonder where Guild would be now if they had kept with his original ideas and kept Smith’s specifications with a Johnny Smith signature model. I wonder where Gibson would be now if they had change the specification on Mr Les Paul’s ideas and said, “no it to difficult to make” and can not be bothered to produce it the way it was meant to be?