Guild Starfire IV Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1965)

Guild  Starfire IV Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1965)

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Item # 8388
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Guild Starfire IV Model Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1965), made in Hoboken, NJ, serial # EL-202, sunburst lacquer finish, laminated maple body, laminated mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

The Starfire series has been Guild's most consistently successful electric guitar line since its inception, and was by far the company's most popular electric instrument in the 1960s. This Starfire IV from mid-1965 is a double cutaway, semi-hollow instrument with a laminated maple body in sunburst finish, which is somewhat less common than the standard mahogany/cherry version. This one is built with the older 16th fret neck joint used before 1967, after which it was altered to feature a slightly longer neck with more fingerboard access.

The pickups are the typical 1960s Guild humbucking pickups, similar to but a bit brighter and crisper than the Gibson equivalent. Like Gibson's earlier ES-335, the Starfire IV has a solid block running through the center of the body, cutting down on feedback and giving the guitar a tighter tone, with better feedback resistance.

This Starfire IV is a very versatile guitar and has been a perennial favorite among players of many styles -- they are particularly well-thought of as an electric blues instrument. This is a truly excellent example; a fine player and still a notable bargain compared to similar Gibson instruments.
 
Overall length is 40 3/4 in. (103.5 cm.), 16 3/8 in. (41.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

This Starfire is a superb example, all original except for replaced strap buttons and showing only very minor wear. The finish has vibrant color virtually no fade and has only some typical small dings and chips. The area around the bridge has some finish loss from a previous owner gluing it down, but this is not visible with the base correctly mounted. The binding is shrinking just a bit in the cutaways, more so on the treble side.

There is one oddity to this guitar -- the neck is a 3-way mahogany laminate with a seam set at a slight diagonal angle. When we first looked at the neck, it appeared to have two long parallel cracks running down the back. On closer examination, it is simply the visible laminations on the original mahogany neck blank, which does not have a maple centerpiece. Everything is under the original finish and this extends straight through to the heel.

We often remark about the frenzy of the "Beatle era" guitar boom -- 1965 was the peak year for American builders and we have seen a number of things on finished and sold instruments that might have not been passed the final inspection a few years earlier! This seems particularly true of the New York area makers, including Gretsch and Guild.

This cosmetic oddity does not affect the guitar in any functional way and it is an excellent player; the neck angle is better than many and the sound is superlative. There is just a bit of fret wear and wear to the finish on the back of the neck in the lower positions. Other than that, it appears little used. Includes a very nice OHSC. Overall Excellent + Condition.