Guild Starfire XII 12 String Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1966)

Guild  Starfire XII 12 String Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1966)
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Item # 11298
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Guild Starfire XII Model 12 String Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1966), made in Hoboken, NJ, serial # DC-400, cherry lacquer finish, laminated mahogany body, laminated mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

The Starfire series models have been Guild's most consistently successful electric guitars since their inception, and by far the company's most popular electric instruments in the 1960s. This Starfire XII is one of the more obscure variations, a product of the mid-1960s boom in electric 12-strings driven by the Beatles and the Byrds. Guild had seen solid success with their flat top 12-strings, so it must have seemed a no-brainer to adapt the thin-line electric Starfire to the format. The Starfire XII appeared at the end of 1965 in time to enjoy fairly good sales in 1966 although it never equaled the 6-strings in popularity.

This is a typical 1966 12-string cherry-finish Starfire, completely original except for the missing pickguard and a fine player. It uses mostly the same layout as the 6-string Starfire IV, a double cutaway, twin pickup semi-hollow instrument with a laminated Sapelli mahogany body and laminated mahogany neck. The obvious difference is the long headstock fitted with two banks of tuners. When this XII was made, the neck joint on the double-cut Starfires had not yet been moved out from the 16th to the 18th fret giving this one a slightly better balanced feel.

The twin pickups are the typical 1960s Guild humbuckers, similar to but a bit brighter and crisper sounding than the Gibson equivalent with a nice wide tonal range that work well on a XII. Like Gibson's similar ES-335 series, the Starfire XII has a solid block running through the center of the body, cutting down on feedback and giving the guitar a tighter tone. Other hardware is mostly shared with the rest of the Starfire line including the "harp" tailpiece, rosewood adjustable bridge, back-painted Lucite pickguard and G-shield tone and volume knobs.

The electric 12-string boom petered out by the late '60s. Although this model was not officially discontinued until 1974, very few if any Starfire XII's were made after 1969. It appears just slightly over 800 of these XII's were shipped in total, nearly all of them (like this one) in 1966-7. The serial number DC-400 indicates this was the 300th example stamped.

This Starfire XII has a fairly narrow 1 5/8 nut but a chunkier feeling neck than some electric 12's, offering a bit more to hold on to than the typical Rickenbacker or Fender XII. It is a very versatile guitar, and one of the best-playing electric 12-strings we have had. Although this model is not generally thought of as a blues instrument, Robert Jr. Lockwood played a Starfire XII for some years. This cherry example looks sharp, is a fine player, and still a real bargain compared to similar period Gibson, Rickenbacker or Fender 12-strings.
Overall length is 42 1/2 in. (108 cm.), 16 3/8 in. (41.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 13/16 in. (4.6 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

This is a very nice example of this medium-rare Guild, showing some wear for its 55+ years on the planet but unaltered and all original except for the missing pickguard. The finish retains a good cherry color with not too much fade and shows typical checking. There are some small chips, dings, and dents overall but no large areas of wear. The back of the neck has some small feelable dings and chips, the deepest behind the second fret area.

All hardware and fittings are original and intact, again except the 'guard and everything works as intended. Unlike many period Guilds this one sounds like the pickups are wired in phase in the center position. The plastic headstock overlay has less shrinkage than most and is not lifting at all. This 100% authentic original example is also a fine player's guitar. The original frets show some light wear in the lower positions but still play fine and the action is low and easy for a 12-string. This Starfire would make a truly excellent studio or performance electric 12, not as flashy as the Rickenbacker 360 but without many of the quirks. The guitar is housed in the original Guild HSC that has some fabulous period psychedelic decoration; this guitar has been on a least a few interesting trips! Excellent - Condition.