Guild Starfire Bass II Semi-Hollow Body Electric Bass Guitar (1968)

Guild  Starfire Bass II Semi-Hollow Body Electric Bass Guitar  (1968)
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Item # 9606
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Guild Starfire Bass II Model Semi-Hollow Body Electric Bass Guitar (1968), made in Hoboken, NJ, serial # BA-1758, sunburst lacquer finish, laminated maple body, laminated mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

The 1960s Guild Starfire bass has a well-deserved reputation as one of that decade's most distinctive bass guitars, and this 1967-70 double-pickup Starfire II is the most famous and sought-after version. Despite a resemblance to the more common Gibson EB-2 and Epiphone Rivoli, 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 hollow body bass.

Starfire II basses, which from this period are much rarer than the single pickup Starfire I, 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. With a very slim and fast-playing neck, the Starfire is the perfect bass to "take off" with and remains as unique as when first designed.

In this period the Starfire Bass became one of the Guild's most popular items. The body is not fully hollow; there is a solid block running through the center in the manner of an ES-335 giving a tighter response than a true hollow body bass. The real secret to the early Guild basses' unique sound are the large Hagstrom-made Bi-sonic pickups, used only from 1965-70. These look like double-coil unit but are in fact more akin to a giant DeArmond Dynasonic. With large magnet slugs for polepieces, this pickup has a very powerful attack and a broad harmonic range quite unlike either the more familiar Gibson bass "mudbucker" or Guild's own humbucking pickup which replaced it around 1970.

The double-pickup Starfire II was added to the line in 1967, two years after the single pickup model debuted. It carries a rather lavish electronics package with individual tone and volume knobs for each PU, a master volume control, pickup selector switch and a pushbutton "baritone" switch which cuts low end on the neck PU. The chrome Hagstrom bridgeplate is extended on the treble side to allow for longer saddle travel; it also looks rather more like Guild's traditional "harp" tailpiece in an attractive if possibly unintended touch.

This particular Starfire II is from mid-1968, with the sunburst finish that is one of two standard catalog options. The sound is extremely well-defined and powerful; this is one of the most sonically versatile basses of the 1960's. Playability is excellent and we are pleased to offer this very nice example of what has been one of our more frequently requested 4-string instruments.
Overall length is 45 7/8 in. (116.5 cm.), 16 3/8 in. (41.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 30 3/4 in. (781 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/2 in. (38 mm.).

This is a very nice and all original bass; overall well-preserved with some light play wear. There are two spots of finish worn down to the wood on the top above the pickups from finger wear, and two tiny patched holes with some finish blemish marks from a small thumbrest previously mounted between the pickup rings. Other than these the bass shows very minor scuffing overall and some isolated small dings and chips; a few on the top have been discreetly patched up.

All the hardware is original and complete; there is some minor wear to the plating on the pickup covers. The plastic headstock veneer has shrunken slightly but is not pulling up or separating as many do. The neck is excellent and the original frets show only very minor wear. Looking only lightly used since the summer of '68 this bass is a truly excellent player, complete in a nicely preserved Guild-branded OHSC. Overall Excellent Condition.