Gear Review: Guild Bob Marley Songwriting Guitar

Guild Guitars has partnered with Bob Marley’s family to re-create his main songwriting guitar, the Marley A-20. The new Marley signature model is based upon Bob’s 1970s A-20 by Madiera and Guild Acoustic guitar that he kept at his home in Kingston, Jamaica. 

American Songwriter received one of the first guitars off of the production line to review. The cardboard shipping box proclaimed that this acoustic guitar was something special reflecting the incredible music impact that Bob Marley left upon the world still today. The custom Marley X Guild gig bag also features Bob’s signature on the case and his lion logo at the bottom. The Marley A-20 guitar itself is simple and elegant, much like Marley’s Legendary music. 

When you first strum this Guild, you’re stunned by how loud and clear the sound is. The neck is exceptionally smooth with a comfortable C-shape that embraces capos up and down the neck for key changes. The Marley A-20 is differentiated from a standard A-20 Guild by a number of features. First, you have the M, for Marley, on the truss rod cover on top of the headstock.  Next, the Marley name is inlaid on the fretboard at the twelfth fret, while the double dots are now placed at the seventh fret. 

On the pickguard, Bob Marley’s signature is tastefully placed in the lower corner. The satin finish on the entire body and neck is very comfortable while playing the Marley A-20 sitting or standing. The tuning machine heads are open-backed Guild models reinforcing that retro 1970’s vibe that it conveys. The dreadnaught-shaped body projects just as you would expect it to. 

Guild created Marley’s signature acoustic with a solid Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides. Each Guild Marley A-20 guitar includes three custom Lion & Guild logo signature guitar picks in gold ink, a Bob Marley Poster, Behind the Guitar booklet and a custom gig bag that is created from recycled nylon. 

Guild took this partnership even further, just as Bob and his family would have wanted it. For every Marley guitar made, a tree will be planed in partnership with Onetreeplanted.org.  Guild is also supporting the Alpha School of Music based in Kingston, Jamaica by donating guitars to their music program. 

The Guild Marley A-20 is an incredibly playable and comfortable guitar design for songwriting and performances. The only thing I would personally add to it would be an inner body pickup. But it was probably smart of Guild to create it without one so you can have the pickup installed that suits your playing style best. 

When you purchase a Guild Marley A-20, not only are you getting a great instrument based on Bob Marley’s original, but your helping reforestation and supporting a music school in Jamaica. A very nice way to continue the love that Bob Marley sought to spread through his music. The street price will be $399 which is a real value for in a signature model acoustic that has many higher-end features, playability, and great tone. 

Checkout the new Guild Marley A-20 acoustic guitar for yourself at one of American Songwriters’ music gear partners and see what songs you can coax from it!

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