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Thread: 1966 Starfire XII Wiring and Finish Questions

  1. #1

    1966 Starfire XII Wiring and Finish Questions

    I've noticed with this guitar, unlike all my other Guilds, that with both pickups selected and the volumes on full, there's not much volume. Seems like maybe the two pickups are cancelling each other out. Is that normal? What's the advantage? Is there some magic tone you can get out of this setup? I have played around with volumes and tones, but so far the mystery eludes me. The only thing I can think of is maybe leaving everything on full, using that as a softer rhythm sound, and having two different louder lead tones available by switching to just one pickup.

    Also, mine has a somewhat odd finish on it. It looks old, if not original, but I'm no expert and can't really tell. It looks like the label calls it a Starfire XII SB. It's kind of bursted on the left side but on the right, the black outline isn't really there. On the back it looks a lot more like a normal sunburst. I kind of like the look of it, but I'm curious if this looks to the more educated eye like an old amateur refinishing job, a factory second, or some other explanation.

    The guitar in question:


    D25 6, 12, Corona F50R, JF-30, F212XL
    B30-E, JS-II carved, Starfire XII
    S-100 "Night Blue"
    M-80 2nd gen sunburst

  2. #2
    Hello

    Very nice guitar - perhaps one pickup is rewired out-of-phase.

    Check this - put the selector switch in "both" position. Start with both volumes and tones full. Then turn one volume down a bit - does the sound get fuller? Repeat with the other volume. If "yes" - then it most certainly is wrong wiring. Easy remedy : just pull one pickup out and reverse the leads.
    First good guitar - GUILD Duane Eddy 400 - I was 3rd owner - still regret letting it go 25 years ago - used to have Artist Award and Starfire - no regrets here.
    Present guitars - all bought new - F50R 1975 - F512 1977 - F212CSB 1979 - OM-240CE 2018 - Schecter Startocaster
    Bought secondhand - B30SB fretless - RED Songbird - White Songbird - S-60D - D-125 - Gibson 3/4-size acoustic 1957 - Carmelo Gonzales nylon string - old Levin Lute

  3. #3
    The top has been refinished.

    Here's my '66:


  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by The Guilds of Grot View Post
    The top has been refinished.
    I'm not convinced it's a refin -- I think it might just be heavily faded, which would better explain the uneven shading around the edge. Remember that transparent black Guilds of the era can fade all the way out to a kind of dirty orange color. I don't see any reason the same couldn't happen to the pigments on other finishes.

    '66 Starfire XII (sunburst) SOLD
    '71 S-100 (natural) SOLD
    '74 Starfire VI (walnut/mahogany body) TRADED
    '94 X-700 (natural)

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Nuuska View Post
    Hello

    Very nice guitar - perhaps one pickup is rewired out-of-phase.

    Check this - put the selector switch in "both" position. Start with both volumes and tones full. Then turn one volume down a bit - does the sound get fuller? Repeat with the other volume. If "yes" - then it most certainly is wrong wiring. Easy remedy : just pull one pickup out and reverse the leads.
    That is exactly what it does. I didn't know if it was somehow deliberate and potentially useful. Thanks! Am taking it in for a setup with flatwounds shortly, will have them fix the wiring while they're at it.


    Quote Originally Posted by kakerlak View Post
    I'm not convinced it's a refin -- I think it might just be heavily faded, which would better explain the uneven shading around the edge. Remember that transparent black Guilds of the era can fade all the way out to a kind of dirty orange color. I don't see any reason the same couldn't happen to the pigments on other finishes.
    Like maybe it sat with the front facing the sun for a while? I didn't think of that. Dirty orange is a good description for it.

    I like this explanation a lot. I like how it looks, and bought it on the spot because it seemed kind of unique. I feel better thinking my weird orangey burst guitar came by its appearance somewhat naturally, rather than that someone was just really bad at aiming the layers of sunburst. But either way, it's my XII and I love it.

    Thanks, I knew you guys would have answers!
    D25 6, 12, Corona F50R, JF-30, F212XL
    B30-E, JS-II carved, Starfire XII
    S-100 "Night Blue"
    M-80 2nd gen sunburst

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Gorgar View Post


    Like maybe it sat with the front facing the sun for a while? I didn't think of that. Dirty orange is a good description for it.

    I like this explanation a lot. I like how it looks, and bought it on the spot because it seemed kind of unique. I feel better thinking my weird orangey burst guitar came by its appearance somewhat naturally, rather than that someone was just really bad at aiming the layers of sunburst. But either way, it's my XII and I love it.

    Thanks, I knew you guys would have answers!
    Yeah, that's what it looks like to me. Depending on how wide the outer band of color originally was and how consistently the parts have been on it, you may find some darker color underneath the front edge of the pickguard and under the edge of its mounting bracket, perhaps a bit under the outer two knobs, and under the tailpiece. In my experience, amateur burst finishes tend to suffer from blotchy transitions and heavy edges, and much less often from the opposite: an under-applied look like yours, with parts of the rim barely getting any burst at all.

    '66 Starfire XII (sunburst) SOLD
    '71 S-100 (natural) SOLD
    '74 Starfire VI (walnut/mahogany body) TRADED
    '94 X-700 (natural)

  7. #7
    Senior Member walrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorgar View Post
    ...it's my XII and I love it...
    Congratulations! Nice guitar - I like the faded finish a lot!

    walrus
    2011 Guild F-30RCE
    2008 PRS Hollowbody Spruce

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2005
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    Gibson charges extra for a finish like that on a 335!

    BTW, I had a red SF XII with a bridge like yours years ago and it was also wired the the pickups out of phase.

    Some guitarist like that configuration for the unique nasal tone and ability to widen it out by adjusting pickup volume. Adding a pull-pot to one of the pickups would give you the best of both the inphase and outofphase tone.
    M

  9. #9
    One of the guitars I picked up last year has an "aged & faded" burst (but straight from the shop floor) like this one. IMO this XII looks lovely!

    I've been kind of an out-of-phase nut since getting my '73 S-100. ;) The skinny sounds aren't to everyone's taste, though. Don't think I'd care much for 'em on a 12 string either.

    -Dave-
    1962 F-20 Troubadour
    1970 M-75 Bluesbird
    1971 S-100 "Black Cherry"
    1973 S-100 "Nature Boy"
    1990 Nightbird Custom
    1999 X-170T
    2013 NS M-75 Aristocrat
    2016 NS S-200 T-bird

    c. 1971 Foxey Lady

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by matsickma View Post
    Gibson charges extra for a finish like that on a 335!
    Like the faded lightburst, you mean? I like those. I couldn't resist the ginger burst though, so that's what my 335 is.

    The XII is in the shop, and will come back with the pickups in series and some Pyramid flats. I just can't really get into the out of phase sound. I don't use it on any of my Guilds, and I don't use positions 2 or 4 on my Strats either. I'd rather take up less sonic space by playing less than by thinning out the sound. It's cool that it's an option though, for those who want to use it.

    Thanks for all the compliments on the faded finish. I certainly like the preserved burst posted by Guilds of Grot, beautiful guitar, but I'm also pretty happy with my dirty orange 12.

    Someday, I'll get a Starfire II or IV to go with it. Maybe a mahogany one, since I've got two all-maple semi-hollows.
    D25 6, 12, Corona F50R, JF-30, F212XL
    B30-E, JS-II carved, Starfire XII
    S-100 "Night Blue"
    M-80 2nd gen sunburst

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