1968 Guild Starfire Bass I

Electric acoustic bass guitar

1968 Guild Starfire Bass

The Guild Starfire bass changed a little throughout the 1960s, but this is a typical 1968 one-pickup model. The pickup is a Hagstrom Bi-Sonic single coil; a well regarded unit, and is situated at the neck. Earlier one-pickup Starfire basses had it in the bridge position, but this changed at some point in 1966. Hagstrom built guitars in Sweden during the 1950s-1970s, under their own, and other brand names, also providing components for other manufacturers. Another Hagstrom part on this bass is the bridge. Again slightly changed (in shape only) from earlier Starfires, this bridge stayed in use into the 1970s.

Like many hollow-body guitars of the period, this Starfire has a maple body and short-scale (30 1/2") mahogany neck. Although available in custom colors, the Sunburst finish on this bass was available as standard (along with Cherry red, although Cherry models usually had a mahogany veneer). Note the model name on the truss-rod cover, and Chesterfield inlay with three-black stripes; a typical 1960s feature. The finger rests are offset in this example - though numerous Guild Starfires had the level with each other.

At this time, the price of a single-pickup Guild Starfire-I was $350 (Nov. '67), which was actually less than the equivalent Gibson EB2 at $395 (Sept. '67). With high-end features such as the Chesterfield inlay and front and back binding, the Guild must have given serious competition to the better known Gibson, although by this time hollow-body basses were losing ground to solid body models. In fact, the Starfire bass was tonally quite distinct from the Gibson equivalent models; it's single coil Bi-sonic being a lot less boomy than the heavily-wound humbuckers fitted to the Gibson.

1968 Guild Starfire bass - a closer look

1968 Guild Starfire Bass - Hagstrom bisonic pickup
This bass is fitted with the very distinctive looking Hagstrom Bi-sonic single coil pickup. The four pole pieces (upper row) are height adjustable via four screws (lower row).
1968 Guild Starfire Bass - Hagstrom adjustable bass bridge
The Guild Starfire (along with the solid body Guild JS bass) was fitted with a Hagstrom adjustable bass bridge - a simple design with rosewood saddles.
1968 Guild Starfire Bass - rear body detail
The beautifully finished sunburst body was completed with three-ply (white/black/white) body binding front and back.
1968 Guild Starfire Bass - heel detail
The neck is unbound, though where the body meets the neck, the binding also extends to a heel cap.
1968 Guild Starfire Bass - headstock detail with Chesterfield inlays and model-designated truss rod cover
Headstock detail with Chesterfield inlays and model-designated truss rod cover. Note also that the headstock front (though not neck) is also bound
1968 Guild Starfire Bass - headstock reverse
The reverse of the headstock is not bound, but it does hold the basses serial number. Tuning keys are open gear Klusons, as fitted to many other similar basses of the period.

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clark austell Comment left 19th June 2012 08:08:52 reply
I am looking for a nice starfire bass with bisonics or darkstars. twin pup pref. cash waiting
joe scungio Comment left 20th February 2012 18:06:10 reply
what is a 1973 starfire bass worth? in a good condition ?



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