Guild Instruction Sheet

The DeArmond and Fender Ashbory Basses don't come from the factory with instructions, but the Guild sure did.

Scans contributed by Mike Tavener on May 23, 2003 (introduction by Brock Frazier)

If you're looking for a user guide for the current generation Ashbory, I wrote one and it is available here.

The Ashbory is still considered by many to be radical over fifteen years later, and certainly was at the time. To help bass guitar and upright bass players transition to the Ashbory, Guild provided a two color blue and green printed guide giving basics to using the Ashbory.

Some observations about the guide:

  1. The tuners on the blue bass on the back are straight centered whereas many (if not all) Guild Ashborys had the curved centers.
  2. The DeArmond and Fender Ashbory Basses do not have the active/passive switch.
  3. Ashbory strings from Guild listed at the exact same price ($25) in 1987 as bass guitar strings even though this paper claims the Ashbory strings are half the cost.
  4. In defense of "They can last ten times as long as regular strings if they're not cut or damaged", I had a full set of Guild strings last over two years once and they still sounded great.
  5. The later NOS Guild Strings I purchaced were not pre-tied.
  6. I like to turn both the tuning peg and the tuner itself at the same time while tuning to avoid bending or breaking the fragile Guild Ashbory tuner center posts.
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         I  N  S  T  R  U  C  T  I  O  N  S      F  O  R
The Ashbory Bass

     Effective June, 1987
Restringing the
Ashbory Bass

The strings for an Ashbory are different from any other type of musical instrument string. They are made of a special, high-strength material and it is therefore important to follow these instructions carefully to ensure the correct performance from them.

Before putting the strings on the bass, they should first be stretched out by pulling them to approximately twice their length. They will, of course, spring buck to a length which is acceptable. Next, they should be given a light coat of either talcum or baby powder. Sprinkle a little powder in the palm of your hand and run it along the length of the strings. This gives them a smoother feel when played.

Remove the bridge cover by gently pulling both sides of the cover laterally, so as to clear the protruding nibs on the bridge itself, and then lift upward.

The strings have been knotted at each end to make restringing quick and easy to perform. First, turn the tuning gear so as to position the quarter moon at the left side of the string. See diagram. Next, slip the string into the capstan as shown and stretch the string towards the bridge, then hook the other end into the bridge slot. Replace bridge cover when all four strings are in place.

How to Tune Your
Ashbory Bass
The strings should now be tuned to approximately a tone below pitch. Plug your Ashbory into an amplifier and tune up to pitch by turning the tuning gears clockwise while making sure that the string winds downward on the capstan.

If the Ashbory continues to go out of tune, once you have achieved pitch, simply tighten the adjustable thumbscrew located on each gear head.

In the event that the preamp when switched on is not activated, first check the battery located behind the back plate. If the battery is drained or old, replace wkh a new conventional nine volt battery. This should restore the preamp.

Applying some powder to the strings occasionally will help maintain a good feel and tone.

CAUTION! The Ashbory preamp produces considerable gain when switched on. Due to the exceptionally low frequencies produced by your Ashbory, care should be taken either to reduce the volume level of your amp, or the volume level of the Ashbory pior to turning on the preamp switch. Ignoring this precaution could result in possible amp or speaker damage.

When reordering strings, ask for set AB-400.

Ashbory tuning capstan
  How to sound like nothing you've ever heard.
The AshboryTM Bass from Guild.*

This sheet will help you understand what you're doing when you first try Guild's new Ashbory bass. No matter what kind of bass you've played before, you must learn some new playing techniques to get the best from the Ashbory. Don't expect to pick one up and get the most out of it right away. Take your time in learning the techniques required, and it will reward you with sounds that you can't get from any other instrument.


Think light.
The Ashbory measures 30" long and weighs only three pounds, so it's easy to hold, even on top of another instrument. Use a light touch for both plucking and left hand work.

Think smooth.
The Ashboys strings not only feel unusual to your finger--they're almost sticky to the touch. Putting a little talcum powder on the strings will reduce the friction and improve the tone. The Ashbory is capable of some remarkable sounds, and it won't be long before someone (maybe you!) comes up with a new playing approach as revolutionary in its own way as were the first slap sounds.

Think flexible.
Bend a string and next to nothing happens to the pitch. Sliding up to a note isn't easy at first because the friction of the silicone stretches the string and produces a pitch lower than you had anticipated. A lighter touch provides accurate intonation, but you'll find that this effect can be used to your advantage with some styles. Sliding into a note adds voice, too.

Think precise.
When you begin to get used to the feel and touch of the 18" scale, your speed and accuracy will improve dramatically. In time you'll probably find yourself playing much faster and cleaner because the Ashbory takes less strength to play.

Ashbory Tips

If the balance feels unusual,
put the strap over your right shoulder--it might balance better that way for you.

For a natural vibrato,
rock your finger parallel to the string like upright bass players do--the soft strings respond especially well.

For a warm, fat round sound,
first roll the treble all the way off, then dial in just enough for definition. Keep the bass control all the way up (tone down your amps bass control if it gets muddy) and pluck lightly close to the neck.

For a punchy sound that resembles a standard bass guitar,
turn up the treble a bit and play a little more firmly, closer to the bridge. The strings have less flex close to the bridge and you can dig in for more bite.

For a bright percussive sound,
dial in lots of treble, and cut the bass back to about half. Try playing with a pick near the bridge. You can achieve pull-offs and hammer-ons easily, with either hand.

For a true acoustic bass sound,
turn the preamp off and adjust your amp for maximum bass and treble, with most of the midrange out. This takes a light touch and plenty of talc.

Ashbory strings are softer than steel and will never corrode.
They can last ten times as long as regular strings if they're not cut or damaged. In addition, they cost less than half the price of ordinary strings.

*U.S. and foreign patents pending.
© 1987 Guild Music Corporation

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Guild Music Corporation
60 Industrial Drive - Westerly, RI 02891