Retrofret Stock # 4718. Guild Starfire Bass I Model Semi-Hollow Body Electric Bass Guitar (1967), made in Hoboken, NJ, serial # BA-1068, cherry lacquer finish, laminated maple/mahogany body; mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, black hard shell case. One of our most requested instruments, the 1960's Guild Starfire bass has recently gainined attention as one of that decade's most distinctive bass guitars. Despite a general resemblance to the more common Gibson EB-2/Epiphone Rivoli line the Starfire is a completely different animal sonically, putting out a very clear and powerful sound with a wide frequency range and almost piano-like growl unusual in a hollowbody bass. Starfire basses became a prominent part of the San Francisco sound in the late 60's with both Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead and Jack Casady of the Jefferson Airplane choosing the model for their psychedelic explorations of the low end. Other early prominent users of the model were Steve Boone of the Lovin' Spoonful (who had the first two-pickup model built for him) and Chris Hillman with the Byrds. With an unusually slim and very fast-playing neck the Starfire is the perfect bass to "take off" on and remains as unique as when first designed.Guild did not offer any electric bass until 1965, when the semi-hollow Starfire line and the solidbody line both had a single-pickup bass added. The solid body Jetstar Bass quickly crashed and burned but the Starfire Bass soon became one of the company's most popular items. Unlike most 1960's basses the body is not fully hollow, there is a solid block running through the center in the manner of an ES-335 (and EB-2) giving a tighter response than a true hollowbody bass. Still, the real secret to the early Guild basses' unique sound is the huge Hagstrom-made Bi-Sonic pickup, which looks like a double-coil unit but is in fact more akin to a giant DeArmond Dynasonic. With magnet slugs nearly 1/4" wide for polepieces, this pickup has a very powerful attack and a broad harmonic range quite unlike either the familiar Gibson EB bass humbucker or the later Guild humbucking pickup which replaced it in 1970. This particular Starfire I is from 1967,the peak production year for these basses with over 1,000 units shipped from Hoboken. This bass is the quintessential 1960's example with cherry-red laquer over striped "Sapeli" mahogany that was originally the defining "Starfire" finish. This Starfire I has several older-style features that would be changed during 1967. There is no pushbutton "baritone" switch; that was added soon after the single pickup was moved closer to the neck so this is a relatively rare version with the single neck PU but no switch (the earliest Starfire basses had the single P.U. close to the bridge). The chrome Hagstrom bridgeplate is symmetrical-it would soon be extended on the treble side to look more like Guild's traditional "harp" tailpiece. The tuners are the typical American-made Klusons where the very first models had European Van Ghents.Overall length is 45 3/4 in. (116.2 cm.), 16 5/16 in. (41.4 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 30 1/2 in. (775 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/2 in. (38 mm.). Some general minor wear but all original, and a very fine player. Excellent Condition.
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