Iron Mike Norton Guild Nightbird ST

Iron Mike’s 1990 Guild Nightbird ST

In 1997, my dad and I walked into Seminole Music & Sound in Seminole, FL. Little did I know, I would walk out of that store with one of the greatest guitar purchases of my life, a 1990 Guild Nightbird ST.

There really wasn't anything particularly special about that Saturday. We had our usual band practice, (my dad played bass for me at the time) and for whatever reason we headed over to Seminole Music.  I had several friends working at the store, including the manager, Jeff Bain, who at the time of this writing, still works there.

For whatever reason, we asked about any Les Paul style guitars, and Jeff said, "Hang on a minute."

He walked over to a corner and came back with a funky red guitar.

Iron Mike's Guild Nightbird ST

I'm not gonna lie, the guitar was in rough shape. The neck was chipped up pretty bad, there were dings all over the body and the pickups looked like a horse drooled on them.  Overall, the appearance of the guitar was just...odd. Despite its excremental appearance, we pooled our resources and bought the guitar on the spot for $300.

Even though the guitar was ugly, it actually played nicely.  The action was fast and smooth, almost like those old Gibson fretless wonders.  The pickups on the other hand, were another story.

The pups were made by Kent Armstrong, who is located here in Florida, if my memory is correct.  They make fine pickups and I have a set on my muffler guitar.  In this particular case the pole pieces were badly rusted, and the output was so low you could barely hear the guitar. It was obvious the guitar had a rough life, despite the fact it was only 7 years old.

I initially loaded it with a Seymour Duncan 59 in the neck.  Later, I changed this out for a Phat Cat. I put a Duncan Pearly Gates in the bridge.  The guitar went from being a muted, wimpy strummer, to a snarling beast.  I was in love.

I made a few other modifications to it over the years. as discussed in the video below. But the REALLY crazy thing was the serial number; which ended in 007.  Doing a little research, we were able to determine this guitar was number 7 off the line.

As the late Billy Mays used to say, "...but WAIT!! There's MORE!"

Turns, out, it was number 7, of only 20 made, making it one of the rarest production guitars Guild ever made.

Over the years since, it has appeared on several of my recordings, traveled across the United States, and has been played in front of thousands of people. I've been offered more than the price of a decent used car for it on multiple occasions, but I'll never sell.

So thank you Jeff Bain, Rob Troke and Seminole Music & Sound for a great deal on a guitar, and a lifetime of great memories since.

Iron Mike Norton

Please visit my friends at:

Seminole Music & Sound
Guild Guitars
Seymour Duncan Pickups

Posted in Gear and tagged , , , , , , , , .

Comments are closed.