Guild Artist Award Archtop

The Guild Company was founded in NY in 1952 by Polish-born store proprieter and musician Alfred Dronge (1911-1972) and his business partner George Man. Mann had formerly worked for Epiphone, and soon established Guild’s impressive reputation for it’s instruments. These were especially highly regarded by some of the Big Apple’s leading jazz players.

In 1955, one of this elite group, Johnny Smith, agreed to collaborate with Dronge on the development of a Guild archtop, to be named the Johnny Smith Artist Award. The instrument appeared a year later.

But due to a disagreement over it’s specifications, the musician never used it in public or in the studio. Smith’s name was dropped in 1960.