The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

Guild Starfire IV Thinline Archtop Electric Sunburst, 1977

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The Guild Starfire IV first appeared in 1963 as a semi-solid version of the Starfire I, II and III think hollow models dating to 1960. The Starfire V and V I models were further upgrades, with extra binding and inlay.

Obviously taking cues from the ES-335, the Guild Starfire IV featured a body of Maple or Mahogany laminate and matching center block and neck with rosewood fingerboard. In the 1970’s some differences started to creep in. Most of the Starfire IV models have a bound rosewood fingerboard with dot position markers. However, as seen here, some had mother of pearl block position markers, a feature taken from the Starfire V. Another example (my own 1973 mahogany model) has block markers plus a bound headstock, which was a Starfire VI feature.

Until the late 1960’s, most of these semi-solid Starfires used a standard, archtop type floating bridge, but this shifted to a post-mounted tune-o-matic style bridge with saddles rolling on a small threaded bar – allowing precise string spacing without cutting notches into a saddle. The tailpiece is a standard, distinctive Guild ‘Harp’, though some models came with a Guild-branded Bigsby.

For electronics, the Guild Starfire IV, V and VI series used a pair of Guild humbucking pickups. Early models of the Starfire I,II and III series often used deArmond pickups. A standard wiring scheme was used, with individual volume and tone controls and a pickup selector on the treble ‘horn’. From at least 1967, a highly practical master volume appeared on Starfire V and VI models just beside the pickup selector, and by 1972 this made its way to the Starfire IV.

This example, labelled as SF4SB (Starfire 4 Sunburst) dates to 1977 and was built at the Guild plant in Westerly, Rhode Island. It is in good playing condition and largely original. The pickguard is missing, and there is some wear to the finish – to be expected after 41 years! THe frets are original and are fairly low. If this instrument were to be used for long-term playing (and there is no reason it couldn’t be), the owner might consider a refret with a higher fret wire. The neck profile is very comfortable and it plays well at a standard action height. The ‘Harp’ tailpiece does allow some extra resonance, some players simply weave a short section of leather to dampen the resonance.

A non-original case is included.


Price: $2300 CAD
  • Model: Starfire IV SF4SB
  • Year: 1977
  • Finish Brown Sunburst
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 155670
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 19/04/2018

  • Consignment Item

  • Required CITIES documentation
  • Including Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 9.24lbs 4.2kg
  • Scale Length: 628.6mm 24.75in
  • Nut Width: 40mm 1.57in
Guild Website

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