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1965 Guild Starfire III Vintage Thinline Hollowbody Cherry Red w/ HB-1, Bigsby & Case, Hoboken


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Up for sale, a 1965 Guild Starfire III in excellent, 100% original condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case. This vintage USA-made Starfire III was produced at Guild’s Hoboken, New Jersey factory, featuring a fully hollow thinline mahogany body, a two-piece mahogany neck capped with a Brazilian rosewood fretboard, and a pair of Guild’s HB-1 humbuckers.

The Guild-branded Bigsby vibrato tailpiece and corresponding aluminum Bigsby bridge set this model apart from the Starfire II, and this guitar has 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 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, with ample shoulder in every register, measuring .860" deep at the 1st fret and .920" at the 9th. The bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard features pearl dot inlay, and the slender fretwire exhibits wear beneath the plain strings on the crowns of frets 1-10 that becomes progressively lighter approaching the octave. This 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 sports the Guild logo, Chesterfield inlay, and “Starfire” truss rod cover, and the original Grover tuners turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch, with butterbean buttons.

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 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, and cosmetic wear includes some minor finish chips on the body as a whole, with an area of more concentrated wear along the lower bout perimeter, some scuffing on top adjacent to the bridge feet, and minor buckle worming on the back. The neck profile retains its smooth gloss with a few shallow nicks that don't distract the palm while fretting.

The original Guild-branded black tolex hardshell case is included. The original metal Guild badge is intact, the latches are functional, and the original handle is present.