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  1. Pickups - location and numbers

    Two pickup basses (SF II) were produced in all eras. One pickup basses (SF I) were produced in all eras except the 90's reissues.

    SF IIs all had the pickups in the same locations, almost flush against the neck and just above the bridge.

    SF Is had the pickup in one of two locations. A location by the bridge (the "sweet spot") was used in the Early, GSR and Newark Street eras. A location by the neck was used in the Early, Vintage and '70's eras. The "sweet spot" location in the Early era predates the neck location.

    The neck location was the same on a SF I and II but the "sweet spot" is slightly closer to the neck than the bridge position of a SF II.

    There is an emerging hypothesis that some SF IIs started out as a sweet spot SF I and had a neck PU added. If it is true then it is worthy of its own post.

    Updated 10-21-2015 at 11:47 AM by fronobulax (Newark Street now includes a SF II)

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  2. Headstock

    The headstock in the '70's and in the 90's was bigger than the other eras, but otherwise is not helpful in assigning a bass to an era. (TODO - dimensions? TODO - TRC variations. TODO - did the number of lines in the Chesterfield change?).

    Updated 12-02-2013 at 02:15 AM by fronobulax

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  3. Tuners

    It is not really possible to assign a bass to an era using the tuners. The "ears" on the Newark Street tuners are noticeably larger than those from other eras but otherwise there are no known consistent variations.
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  4. Serial numbers

    The serial number list here is about as good as any listing available online, but the most accurate information available is contained in The Guild Guitar Book by Hans Moust.

    While 1965 is normally cited as the first year of production there are documented examples with serial numbers that were assigned in 1964 and will be five digits, less than 45xxx.

    For the Early and Vintage periods, the serial number has a prefix of "BA", a dash and then a three or four digit number. The serial number on the headstock generally matches the number on the paper label in the body although there are a few exceptions. There are examples of two different instruments with the same serial number. Some of them may have a "-1" after the serial number on the label.

    A '70's bass will have a five or six digit serial number, generally between 45xxx and 17xxxx.

    The serial numbering scheme for the 90's reissues was the prefix AG followed by six digits. The GSRs ...

    Updated 10-21-2015 at 11:44 AM by fronobulax (Update link to serial number chart)

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  5. Time Ranges

    Roughly speaking, there are several eras of Starfire bass production.

    The earliest era runs from 1965 through 1967 and contains a lot of variations that can be dated relative to each other but not necessarily dated absolutely. ("Early")

    The next is 1967 through 1970 when the production specifications were pretty stable. ("Vintage")

    The next is 1970 through 1977 and distinguished by a changes in pickups and headstock. ("70's")

    The bass was not in production from 1977 through 1998. It was reissued in 1998 through 2000 and there are several distinguishing features. ("90's reissue").

    A limited edition, GSR run was produced in 2012 which is easily distinguished by a different body shape. ("GSR")

    The Newark Street model was introduced in 2013 and is loosely patterned after a 1966 model. ("Newark Street")

    Updated 11-27-2013 at 10:30 PM by fronobulax

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