The Surfliner is Guild’s first new solidbody to come along in decades. A thoroughly modern design with classic features, there’s no mistaking the influence in this offset guitar.
Named after a California railroad line that stretches from San Luis Obispo to San Diego, the Surfliner has a comfortable bolt-on, medium C-shaped satin-finish neck with a 25.5″ scale and six-in-line headstock, which means it’ll feel familiar to Fender players. Indeed, the guitar feels broken-in right out of the box, and Tone is provided by a Guild LB-1 Little Bucker in the bridge and two new DeArmond Aerosonic single-coils in the middle and neck. Three on/off rocker switches above the neck pickup access seven pickup combinations – their location may mean more-aggressive players bump a switch or two in heated moments. There are also master controls for Volume and Tone.
The Surfliner does clean twang very nicely, with plenty of sparkle and chime, and even a bit of Strat-like quack. Even the humbucker has more top-end response than you’d expect. The seven tonal combinations give the player lots of choices – but, does it take to distortion and overdrive?
The answer is a firm “Yes.” The Surfliner responded well to a Klon-style OD and a fuzz pedal cranked through a vintage tube amp, which means its highly versatile/useful for many musical styles. Our one nit to pick falls at the tailpiece; while a vibrato may seem a natural in this format, you won’t find it here. Still, the guitar balances nicely and stays in tune even when subjected to serious thrashing and string bending. And let’s not forget the cool factor; the Surfliner is a looker in every way.
This article originally appeared in VG’s October 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.