Up for sale, a 1998 Guild Starfire III in near-mint, 100% original condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case and hangtags. Produced in Westerly, RI, this Guild hollowbody faithfully captures the look and feel of an original ‘60s Starfire, featuring a Bigsby vibrato, SDI humbuckers, a fully hollow thinline maple body, a maple neck, and a rosewood fretboard.
The Guild-branded Bigsby vibrato tailpiece and corresponding aluminum bridge set this model apart from the Starfire II, and the natural acoustic tone is bold and sweet, with a clear, chiming treble cut and the foundational airy resonance of the fully hollow construction. The SDI humbuckers are visually and tonally reminiscent of the iconic HB-1 anti-hum pickup originally featured in ‘60s Starfires, delivering a powerful, articulate range of tones with an ideal blend of definition and warmth. These pickups have an immediacy to the note attack, with a sparkling treble response, tight-yet-full lows, and a taut, dynamic feel. Weighing 7lbs 4oz, this Starfire III has been professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 12-53 roundwound strings, low action, and accurate intonation.
The two-piece maple neck has a medium C-shaped profile carve with modest shoulders, measuring .845” deep at the 1st fret and .930” at the 9th. The bound rosewood fretboard has a 12” radius, and the slender fretwire is immaculate. This guitar plays cleanly up the 24 3/4“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod, and the nut measures 1 11/16” in width. The headstock sports a Guild logo and Chesterfield inlay, and the original Grover Rotomatic tuning machines turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch, with chrome-plated kidney buttons. There is one short diagonal split in the maple extending from the bass side edge of the nut on the profile carve, professionally addressed with a tiny bit of lacquer touch-up.
All of the electronics function as intended, with dedicated Volume and Tone knobs for each humbucker. Plastics comprise the original quartet of knobs and the one-ply stair stepped pickguard with Guild script. All of the original hardware is notably clean including the Guild-branded Bigsby vibrato tailpiece, floating aluminum Bigsby bridge, and chrome-plated pickup covers. The Bigsby spring has great tension, actuating smoothly and bouncing quickly back to pitch with good arm height, ideal for broad, expressive gestures and surfy warbles. The serialized oval label is intact and visible through the bass-side F-hole, with a serial matching the number imprinted on the headstock, noting "Made in USA" and Westerly factory provenance. And while the label and corresponding factory paperwork note a Starfire II, this guitar unquestionably left the factory as a Starfire III (equipped with a Bigsby). Cosmetic wear on the gloss Sunburst finish is exceedingly limited, with barely a scratch on the body, and the smooth gloss on the neck profile is immaculate.
The original Guild-branded hardshell case is included, along with the hangtags.