Guild Starfire III Thinline Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1960)

Guild  Starfire III Thinline Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1960)

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Item # 7956
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Guild Starfire III Model Thinline Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1960), made in Hoboken, NJ, serial # 13993, cherry lacquer finish, laminated maple body, mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original brown hard shell case.

This is a very fine and comparatively rare version of the Guild Starfire III with distinctive features marking it as one of the earliest of this long-running series. The thin hollow and semi-hollow body Starfires have been Guild's most consistently successful electrics since their introduction, and 1960s models have become much respected as some of the finest of their type. This guitar dates to the second half of 1960 and would be one of the very first Starfire IIIs ever made. The Starfire models I and II were introduced in summer 1960, with the III added to the line slightly later.

The Starfire III was the top model of the series at the time, the same thinline, double pickup guitar as the II with the addition of a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece and bridge. This particular guitar mounts a pair of rare white-topped pickups used only on the very first Starfires, quickly superseded by standard DeArmonds with similar white faceplates but a different polepiece arrangement. The medium dark cherry finish body is made of maple instead of the customary mahogany used later, with a triple bound front but unbound back (like a T-100) and single-bound, dot inlaid fingerboard.

The early style rounded-edge back-painted Lucite pickguard has Guild logo and chevron emblem. Other fittings include individual Waverly openback tuners, transparent amber "G-logo" knobs, and a standard Bigsby B-6 instead of the proprietary Guild logo harp-shaped version introduced in 1961. The truss rod cover on the early "open-book" style headstock is the small '50s style. Many of these features were changed over the next year or two of Starfire production.

This is a very classy and versatile thin-body electric; a particularly nice example of one of Guild's finest designs, and compared to many vintage Gibson or Gretsch models, still a rather undervalued guitar. We'd rate this as one of the nicest playing and sounding Starfires we have had, a splendid early example of one of Guild's absolute classics.
 
Overall length is 41 1/2 in. (105.4 cm.), 16 3/8 in. (41.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.).

This guitar shows some play wear but remains all original and appears very well cared for. Overall the finish shows only small scrapes and dents with some typical scuffing under the ends of the floating Bigsby bridge. The only real disturbance to the finish is the back of the neck, which has been worn (or partially sanded) down to the wood and has several smoothed-over dings around the third and fifth frets. The frets are in good shape and the guitar plays very well, with a better neck angle than many of these early Starfires. Includes the original HSC with some covering loss, typical of 1960-period Guild cases. Excellent Condition.