Other Guitars

Guild Starfire III questions

1

I read several threads on the Starfire III here and also ones linked in those threads. Some of those threads are 3-4 years old so I want to revisit the subject but the leading Guild forum has disabled registration so I can’t ask there. So here I am, my dudes, asking you.

My understanding is either you like the modern pickups or no. The bridge is under powered compared to the neck seems to be the primary concern.

Guild sells replacement pickups but they seem to be the same, so why bother? Does anyone make drop in replacement pickups?

Lots of complaints about wonky toggle switches and knobs/pots. Guild sells a complete wiring harness, is it an upgrade or just as wonky?

I owned a 60s Starfire III when I was too young to appreciate it (and traded it for something stupid no doubt) and everyone seems to agree the modern ones are a great value and quality construction and finish.

So I’ve got my eye on getting a modern one but I’m trying to figure out what might need replacing and what replacements are available.

I’m probably going to buy used for reasons of economy so we’re talking about a Korean made one and not the 90s USA one unless I stumble onto a total deal.

So anyhow, school me please.

2

First, visit this site. http://www.gad.net/Blog/gad.... G.A.D.'s Guilds.

GAD is Gary A Donohue who has a great collection of 60s and later Guilds. He also writes about them in extreme detail. He happens to be on a review of several iterations of Starfire IIIs at this time. That will include the Newark Street model. He already has separate reviews posted of the Corona-made Starfire III-90.

In the meantime, I'll offer my 2 cents. The S-III is the only Newark Street model that I have spent any time with. I have to say I was really impressed. Great guitar, extremely light. You already know the main drawback with the pickups. That bothers some, others -- not so much. Biggest problem is that for just a little bit more you can get a Westerly or Corona-made Starfire III. And, as nice as the Newark Street model is, it is not nearly as nice as the American made ones.

If you get a great buy on a Newark Street model, go for it. Otherwise, look around. You may find a Westerly for about the same price.

3

My understanding is that the pickups on the Newark St. models are resized and wired to be very very close to the originals. But, if you are patient and bold, you might be able to find a 60s model for under $1500. Not too enormous a price difference if you like vintage vibe and remember your old instrument.

5

But I have really enjoyed the Newark Street models I've played a few times. And that gets you under a grand.

6

Weird you can't register on the Guild forum...are you sure?

The Newark Street Starfire III's are really nice, especially considering the price. The pickups are a little unbalanced indeed, but you can correct most of that by tweaking the pickup heights.

I've seen them on Reverb and Ebay for six, seven hundred used, and if you can find a deal like that, it's a LOT of guitar for the money.

I have a '61 Starfire III, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how close the Korean Guild reissue feels to the real thing.

7

I have a MIK Guild NS X175B Manhattan and it's a great guitar. The neck and frets are great. No problems with the electronics either....full size Alpha pots feel very smooth, pu selector switch feels ok and no noise and no problems with the output jack either. The NS Guild Mini 'buckers do have a rep for being imbalanced. The neck pu is 7.2K while the bridge pu is only 5.06K. As per the guys on the Let's Talk Guild Forum this was a goof from when FMIC introduced the NS Series which has never been corrected. Allegedly, they had the misfortune of copying a set of vintage Guild mini buckers that were unbalanced that way. You could always get the bridge pu rewound. On the more recent NS guitars the pu's all have quick connects, so no soldering.....easy pizzi to remove and put back in.

8

Weird you can't register on the Guild forum...are you sure?

The Newark Street Starfire III's are really nice, especially considering the price. The pickups are a little unbalanced indeed, but you can correct most of that by tweaking the pickup heights.

I've seen them on Reverb and Ebay for six, seven hundred used, and if you can find a deal like that, it's a LOT of guitar for the money.

I have a '61 Starfire III, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how close the Korean Guild reissue feels to the real thing.

– WB

I’m quite sure the Guild forum with the motherload on this topic has disabled new registrations.

And the price point of a used one is precisely my motivation to get one. The American versions are appealing but for a few hundred more I could get a used 5120. So yeah I like the 600-700 range and I’ll adjust the pickup height and related tidbits if that’s my only option.

Cheers!

10

The American versions are appealing but for a few hundred more I could get a used 5120.

Is the Gretsch what you'd rather have, or do you think it's a superior guitar? (even though I AM biased, it honestly isn't - a lot of people feel the Korean Guilds feel and sound at least as good, if not better)

I sent a message to the Guild forum moderators btw, about the registration weirdness you're getting.

11

The American versions are appealing but for a few hundred more I could get a used 5120.

Is the Gretsch what you'd rather have, or do you think it's a superior guitar? (even though I AM biased, it honestly isn't - a lot of people feel the Korean Guilds feel and sound at least as good, if not better)

I sent a message to the Guild forum moderators btw, about the registration weirdness you're getting.

– WB

One day I’ll add a 5120 to my modest collection but I like the price point and quality of a used Korean Starfire for now. It also gives me a thinner hollow body option. Thanks for passing on the registration thing.

12

As someone who has owned a couple vintage Starfires and a couple 5120s, I think the Korean Starfires are an amazing value. They feel and play like a quality guitar and compare pretty well to the originals, IMO.

I replaced the pickups on mine with T-Armonds, so I can’t really comment on the stock pickups, although I remember them sounding just fine for what they are.

13

Shoot! There is a used NS Starfire III on reverb for $550. That's a silly good deal.

14

As someone who has owned a couple vintage Starfires and a couple 5120s, I think the Korean Starfires are an amazing value. They feel and play like a quality guitar and compare pretty well to the originals, IMO.

I replaced the pickups on mine with T-Armonds, so I can’t really comment on the stock pickups, although I remember them sounding just fine for what they are.

– Dhdfoster

Tell me about the T-Armond replacements, how challenging was it and how do you like the tone? Thanks

15

Tell me about the T-Armond replacements, how challenging was it and how do you like the tone? Thanks

– Mr_Christopher

I didn't put them in myself, but the guy who did said it was pretty challenging.

I took a look at what the job entailed and decided not to do it myself. There are spacers made of rubber that cover just a tiny bit of the pickup holes, but it looks pretty good.

I was a bit surprised that the pickups aren't as bright as I thought they would be, but they do sound very good. They are more refined and warm than the vintage DeArmonds I've used. My original SF with DeArmonds is a very bright sounding guitar.

17

The Korean Newark Starfire models are better constructed and finished than the equivalent USA models; I have owned both at various times in the past and I would never switch my current Korean Newark Starfire V for the equivalent USA version.

Many owners switch over the neck and bridge pickups which produces an (almost) equal matched output from both pickups; its a ten minute job to reconfigure and re-solder the wiring on the pickup selector switch.

18

I think the HB1 pickups are excellent. Perhaps my favorite humbuckers, even over filters.

19

swapping the PU positions sounds like a good solution.


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