Any experience with Newark St. Starfires?

DV-72 NT

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I’m not by any means a dedicated electric player and own a couple of Epiphones (both solid bodies and the Les Paul is just way too heavy for me anymore).

Am interested is a NS Starfire III at the local music store and loved it. Was told it’s a new B stock direct from Cordoba. The only defect I could find is a loose three way pickup switch – not as in loosely mounted but as in the center position felt extremely sloppy (common?).

*Pluses: Played great – much better than my Epiphones, fit and finish was top notch, the neck and frets felt perfect, setup was perfect, light weight, love the florentine cutaway.

*Minuses: I have never owned an arch top/floating bridge guitar, concerns about tuning stability with the Guildsby, sloppy three way switch and not thrilled about having to change one on a hollow body.

Firm price tag w/case is just shy of 1/2 list.

I’m also considering a Starfire II ST to eliminate the bridge and bigsby concerns but so far am not able find one locally to try out. I would greatly appreciate any opinions/concerns on the Newark St. Starfire II ST/III.
 

fronobulax

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I was going to refer you to GAD http://www.gad.net/Blog/gads-guilds/ but I can't find a NS Starfire review yet.

You might look at the price differential between A and B stock, and consider that what you are paying yourself to repair the switch. I have found I tend to value my leisure time fairly high, to the point that I would willingly pay a bit more not to have a new toy that starts out with a project.
 

Nuuska

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hello

The loose center-position is usually not an electric problem, since the switch is built so, that it opens one mic on both sides. So when you have an illusion of turning only mic #1 ON - you are actually turning mic #2 OFF - in mid position they are both ON - there is just a bit too much play - so nothing to worry about. Naturally I understand that it can be irritating.
 

Walter Broes

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I like them. Keeping the relatively low price in mind, I think they're pretty well made, fun guitars. The switches on the NS guitars are not great - I replaced the one on my 175, because it is a little loose in the middle position, and it rattles. $20 fix to put a switchcraft switch in there though, so no biggie.
 

DV-72 NT

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I was going to refer you to GAD http://www.gad.net/Blog/gads-guilds/ but I can't find a NS Starfire review yet.

You might look at the price differential between A and B stock, and consider that what you are paying yourself to repair the switch. I have found I tend to value my leisure time fairly high, to the point that I would willingly pay a bit more not to have a new toy that starts out with a project.
Thanks frono! I did see that blog by GAD. I also found this in my search. Am wondering if Cordoba has ever resolved the pickup issue, although I didn't notice an issue during my brief play time at the shop.

I also value my leisure time immensely and despise frustrations trying to repair something I've never done before :nightmare:. On the other hand, $300 less than current online pricing makes me consider it. Plus the playability is perfect for me vs. taking a chance with an online purchase. Hmmm...
 

DV-72 NT

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- there is just a bit too much play - so nothing to worry about. Naturally I understand that it can be irritating.
Yeah, it just seems real tacky to me. Switch works fine though.


I like them. Keeping the relatively low price in mind, I think they're pretty well made, fun guitars. The switches on the NS guitars are not great - I replaced the one on my 175, because it is a little loose in the middle position, and it rattles. $20 fix to put a switchcraft switch in there though, so no biggie.
Thanks for your input Walter! The rattle and slop would really bug me over time. Just not looking forward to a switch job on an arch top. But $20 is not bad.
 

GAD

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I wouldn’t pay more than $500 for one, especially a B stock.
 

Walter Broes

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Thanks for your input Walter! The rattle and slop would really bug me over time. Just not looking forward to a switch job on an arch top. But $20 is not bad.
IMO the only real competition for the Newark Street guitars, if you're on a budget, kind of, and you want a Starfire III, are the "relatively recent" USA made ones, late Westerly and Corona guitars. You can pick those up for under $1500 if you're lucky/patient, and they come with full-size 'buckers or P90's. A vintage Hoboken-made Starfire III will usually cost more, and almost always needs a little work beyond a setup - I don't have a single vintage guitar that didn't really need a refret and/or a new nut, for example.

The Newark Street SF's though...I just took a look on Reverb, and you can pick them up used, with a case, starting at a little over $600. For a decent quality electric archtop, realistically speaking, that's chump change. It'll need a setup, and maybe a new switch, but my experience is that almost any guitar you buy, new or used, cheap to boutique will need some kind of setup to make it play the way *you* want.

There's the pickup issue with the reissue mini buckers, but honestly....the ones I've played : if you mess with the pickup heights for ten minutes, you can balance them out volume-wise. If that doesn't do the trick, reverse them and put the neck pickup in the lead slot and vice versa. the different pole piece spacing will be an aestethic issue more than anything else.

So my 10 euro-cents : get a gently used or heavily discounted Newark one, invest another hundred in a pro setup/fret dress, and you have a very serviceable, great playing, good sounding, great looking guitar for well under 1K.
The next step up is a used Westerly or Corona SFIII, but that will set you back about twice that amount.

Btw, don't let a Bigsby scare you. If your guitar was set up well and you use a Bigsby for what it's made for, a gentle wobble and the odd half step dip, you'll be just fine. take it from someone who has six Bigsby equipped guitars, with a seventh on the way. :)
 
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GAD

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Walter speaks the truth, and he's got the experience to back it up.

The NS Starfires are nice guitars, but I have my doubts that they'll last 40 years like the old Guilds do. 40? I meant 50+ :wink-new: I've been eager to get one for the right price so I can write one up but since I won't spend more than $500 on one they're a bit harder to come by for me. $600 would make it easier to find one for sure.

Though they tend to look and play great, I believe that some quality time with a bore scope will prove me right, but I've got about 380 other guitars in front of the line being written up so it's not been a priority for me to make it happen.
 

DV-72 NT

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Thanks Walter and GAD!
My budget definitely won't allow vintage. Yeah, I guess I'll be keeping my eye out for used. I did scan Reverb also and getting one for just north of $600 would allow a few bucks for a setup. The one at my local shop just played so darn beautifully! I'm weighing $800 for a perfect player (albeit sloppy switch) vs. taking a chance online. It's hard for me to buy without holding it 1st.
 

DThomasC

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Let me see if I understand this. You want a thin hollow body. You found a specific instrument that speaks to you. It fits your budget.

OK, so what's the problem?
 

DV-72 NT

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Let me see if I understand this. You want a thin hollow body. You found a specific instrument that speaks to you. It fits your budget.

OK, so what's the problem?
To simplify my initial post: I found a guitar I like, know nothing about them or their track record, and am asking for opinions of said guitar from anyone who may own/has owned one.
 

dbirchett

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I have played one and was very impressed with it both in its playability and its sound. A fellow forumite, Synchro, owns the one I played and he has been very, very happy with his. There is a mismatch with the pickups with the bridge being underpowered that many have commented on. Some have had the bridge pickup rewound, some have replaced it with another neck pickup and others have just lived with it. Cordoba is aware of the "problem" thatt they refuse to recognize as a problem (probably because they would then be asked to fix it) so they just keep putting out the guitars with underpowered bridge pickups. I am probably making too much out of it but there has been a lot of discussion about it.

If you like the guitar (and I do), and it fits within your budget, go for it!!! You could do a whole lot worse and for the money you are talking about, you couldn't do much better.
 

DV-72 NT

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Thanks for your input Don! I did read an old thread here about the pickup issue and was wondering if Cordoba ever fixed it. Guess not. I can't say I noticed the problem while playing it. I'll have to go back for a 2nd try. If it doesn't bother me then, I can live with it.
 

Mark WW

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Hey DV-72 NT greetings. I own a 2003 Corona Starfire III with the Fender Buckers and a 2016 NS Starfire III. I am OCD and very quite anal about things that are broken or not right and have had no issue with the "mismatched" pups in the Newark Street and love the minis. No disrespect meant to those folks that have an issue with this I really do understand but I have volume controls for both pups and volume controls on my amps. All I can say is the NS sounds terrific to me. This is my second Corona and the pups seem to sound better than the first one I had but maybe that is a result of my hearing loss? The neck on the Corona is a little chunkier which I prefer and the guitar body is a little thicker than the NS. I can't see me selling off either one. I may replace the pups in the Corona but just hate modding it for some crazy reason. They both make me smile when I play them.

And that is what it is all about for me.

NS Starfire III



Corona SF III

 
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DV-72 NT

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...The neck on the Corona is a little chunkier which I prefer and the guitar body is a little thicker than the NS. ...
Those are great looking guitars Mark!
I found the NS I played had one of the best necks on an electric that I've ever played (maybe it was the fingerboard radius? I dunno.)

I've never owned a floating bridge and wonder if I would have issues using a bit of a heavy hand/palm muting. I read a couple of reviews that state the bridge is pinned on these (NS), but surely that can't be the case? (My understanding of a pinned bridge is that the base, the rosewood portion on the NS, is attached to the top - no?)
 

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Those are great looking guitars Mark!
I found the NS I played had one of the best necks on an electric that I've ever played (maybe it was the fingerboard radius? I dunno.)

I've never owned a floating bridge and wonder if I would have issues using a bit of a heavy hand/palm muting. I read a couple of reviews that state the bridge is pinned on these (NS), but surely that can't be the case? (My understanding of a pinned bridge is that the base, the rosewood portion on the NS, is attached to the top - no?)

A pinned bridge generally means that pins have been placed into the top and holes drilled into the base so that the bridge still floats, but does so over the pins so that it can't really move around.
 

GAD

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Hey DV-72 NT greetings. I own a 2003 Corona Starfire III with the Fender Buckers and a 2016 NS Starfire III. I am OCD and very quite anal about things that are broken or not right and have had no issue with the "mismatched" pups in the Newark Street and love the minis. No disrespect meant to those folks that have an issue with this I really do understand but I have volume controls for both pups and volume controls on my amps. All I can say is the NS sounds terrific to me. This is my second Corona and the pups seem to sound better than the first one I had but maybe that is a result of my hearing loss? The neck on the Corona is a little chunkier which I prefer and the guitar body is a little thicker than the NS. I can't see me selling off either one. I may replace the pups in the Corona but just hate modding it for some crazy reason. They both make me smile when I play them.

And that is what it is all about for me.

As for the pickups being "mismatched" there's no need for quotes because they are and I can prove it empirically and mathematically. As for there being multiple volume controls, that's true, but the issue (for me at least) with the pickup debacle is the fact that these guitars are assembled and function differently than pretty much every other 2-humbucker guitar out there. Sure, you can work around the limitation using volume controls, but you shouldn't have to, especially on a guitar that retails for over $1000. But that doesn't offend me and neither does your post.

Really, though, what bugs me about the whole affair is that the guitars could be so much better with properly matched pickups. It's really inexcusable for Guild (multiple personalities included) to not fix this issue, to not recognize and admit the issue, and to further publish lies about the issue to cover it up. THAT offends me.
 

Walter Broes

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I've never owned a floating bridge and wonder if I would have issues using a bit of a heavy hand/palm muting. I read a couple of reviews that state the bridge is pinned on these (NS), but surely that can't be the case? (My understanding of a pinned bridge is that the base, the rosewood portion on the NS, is attached to the top - no?)
I have a bunch of guitars with floating bridges, and the thing you do with those is "unfloat them" (did I just invent a word?)
I have sandpaper under the bridge feet of one, ultra thin double stick tape on another, screws or pins through the base on yet another one, and it's all good. It's something you can easily do yourself, and it's not hard, just takes a little patience. Unless you use super heavy strings, a floating bridge will move some, and that is annoying.
 
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