1980s Starfire IV features

GGJaguar

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2011
Messages
756
Reaction score
291
Can anyone confirm if these dates sound about right for these features?

Strap button moved from neck heel to body - very early 1980

Block markers changed to dot markers - 1981

Rosewood fingerboard changed to ebony - 1981

No pickguard - 1981 to 1986

Pickup selector switch on bass horn - very late 1981 to 1986

The most difficult feature to pin down is the change from harp tail to stop tail because both were fitted on SF-4's from 1981 to early 1984. From mid-1984 onward, I think it's all stop tails.

Thanks!

GG
 

SFIV1967

Venerated Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2010
Messages
10,902
Reaction score
80
Rosewood fingerboard changed to ebony - 1981
Pickup selector switch on bass horn - very late 1981 to 1986
I thought the ebony fingerboard with dots only happened around 1983, same for the pickup selector switch on the bass side due to the added master volume on the treble side. Also a 3 piece maple neck started around 1983 I believe.
Ralf
 
Last edited:

GGJaguar

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2011
Messages
756
Reaction score
291
I think the change from 5-piece maple to 3-piece maple neck happened in 1979 (it was a transitional year with overlap).
 

fronobulax

Backup bassist, Frono and the Mod Squad
Joined
May 3, 2007
Messages
16,979
Reaction score
147
My attempts to date Starfire and JS basses by date of feature introduction circa 1965-1977 failed miserably. The big problems were that it was not always true that the higher serial number left the factory (or was a completed instrument) before the lower numbers and sometimes a feature would appear and disappear and reappear, suggesting that Guild was more concerned with using parts on hand than meeting "catalog" specs. Since you are working in a later decade, maybe you won't run into these things or won't be as frustrated as I was by making a statement then adding exceptions.

Edit: As noted below, I should have said "lower number left before the higher". Probably confused even myself with the negative. The basic assumption, that instruments were completed in serial number order is not correct for all of Westerl'y production.
 
Last edited:

adorshki

Reverential Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2009
Messages
28,532
Reaction score
40
The big problems were that it was not always true that the higher serial number left the factory (or was a completed instrument) before the lower numbers
Strictly to assist readers with less intimate knowledge of how that occurred, I think you meant it the other way 'round:
"...it was not always true that the lower serial number left the factory (or was a completed instrument) before the higher numbers"
and sometimes a feature would appear and disappear and reappear, suggesting that Guild was more concerned with using parts on hand than meeting "catalog" specs. Since you are working in a later decade, maybe you won't run into these things or won't be as frustrated as I was by making a statement then adding exceptions.
Couple that with the fact that it looks to me like most (if not all?) spec changes were running changes and not specific start/stop date changes, and that they weren't even necessarily completed in s/n order, and that'd tend to "amplify" the issue you describe about anachronistic specs appearing on a given piece.
But after seeing his site I suspect GG's well aware of those issues and looking to at least nail down a pretty good idea of "start" dates (maybe call 'em "announcement" dates?) for those specifics he mentions.
Stop/harp tails?
Maybe both were offered at buyer's (dealer's) discretion until they finally ran out of harps or just decided to drop 'em?
We had a member who was a dealer at the time, John Evans, "JTE" I think his handle was.
Haven't seen him post in ages but maybe he'd answer a PM?
 
Last edited:

SFIV1967

Venerated Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2010
Messages
10,902
Reaction score
80
Again, Hans second book is missing to help clarifying all of this! Hope at some point we will finally hold the second book in our hands!

Ralf
 

adorshki

Reverential Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2009
Messages
28,532
Reaction score
40
Again, Hans second book is missing to help clarifying all of this! Hope at some point we will finally hold the second book in our hands!

Ralf
It just occurred to me Drumbob might recall some details too, at least about something like the stoptail/harp; having been involved with artist endorsement pieces?
 
Top