Up for sale, a 1964 Guild Starfire III in excellent condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case. 100% original save for a professional refret, this Starfire III is one of the first to feature Guild's HB-1 humbuckers, a running change from 1963-64, as the catalog boasted the HB-1's new "anti-hum" design with a small insert photo.
Produced in Guild's Hoboken, New Jersey factory, the Starfire III has a fully hollow thinline mahogany body, and a two-piece mahogany neck capped with a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard. The Guild-branded Bigsby vibrato tailpiece and corresponding aluminum Bigsby bridge set this model apart from the Starfire II, yielding a natural acoustic tone that's bold and sweet, with a clear treble cut and the foundational warmth of the fully hollow construction.
Arguably the pickup which has become synonymous with the Starfire model, the original HB-1 anti-hum pickups are slightly smaller in stature than a full-size humbucker, delivering a powerful, articulate range of tones with excellent definition and warmth. These pickups have a certain note attack and immediacy, with a sparkling treble register and taut, woody wound strings. Featherweight at 6lbs 8oz, we've had this Starfire professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action and accurate intonation.
The two-piece mahogany neck with maple center stripe has a modestly chunky C-shaped profile carve at the nut, with ample shoulder in every register, measuring .855" deep at the 1st fret and .925" at the 12th. The bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard features pearl dot inlay, flawlessly refretted with medium jumbo fretwire that has plenty of meat and shows no wear. The guitar plays cleanly up the 24 3/4" scale with a straight neck and responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod. The nut measures 1.675" in width, just fractionally shy of a full 1 11/16". The headstock is notable for being Guild's earlier and shorter "open book" shape that more closely mirrored a Gibson, and the headstock veneer, complete with Guild logo and Chesterfield inlay, sits notably flat on all edges. The original Grover open-gear butterbean tuning machines are present as well, functioning smoothly and reliably.
All of the electronics work as intended, with dedicated Volume and Tone knobs for each HB-1 humbucker. All of the original hardware is notably clean including the Guild-branded Bigsby vibrato tailpiece, floating aluminum Bigsby bridge, and chrome HB-1 pickup covers. The Bigsby retains its original spring, offering a very smooth response with ideal arm height off the body for broad, expressive gestures. The plastic parts are all accounted for and near-mint, with the original pickup rings, reflector cap knobs, and elevated pickguard. The serialized oval label is intact and visible through the F hole, with a serial matching the number imprinted on the headstock, noting "Made in USA" and Hoboken factory provenance.
The original Cherry Red gloss nitro lacquer finish is 100% original with no touch-up or overspray, exhibiting some notable finish checking on the lower bout edges on top, modest buckle rash central to the back, and some additional minor nicks and scuffs on the instrument as a whole, consistent with careful use. The finish on the neck profile is largely worn to the smooth, bare mahogany from contact with the palm.
The original black tolex hardshell case is included, with a black textured exterior that presents very well and shows some modest wear on the edges of the lid. The original metal Guild badge is intact, the latches are functional, and the original handle is present.