dearmond starfire identification

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hi everyone. newbie here and i have a question or two about a dearmond starfire custom/iv that i picked up recently. first of all, the serial number: 8016222. you can see it in the pic below. was this guitar produced at the same factory as the models that start with KC? anything look hinky on it?

the truss rod cover says guild starfire. i owned a a sunburst model that said guild custom on it (sadly sold). pups are are gold tone and sound correct. the guitar shows some signs of being worked on. the most obvious bit is that the knobs are not factory. it doesn't play as nicely as my previous one. or maybe that's just nostalgia and the fact that someone i know is trying to give me a good deal on a '61 ii.



 

matsickma

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That is one of the early models and they are usually very good. Tell-tale signs are 3-bump headstock, TRC with Guild name and trc insigna, Grover type tuner buttons, DeArmond spelling on headstock on an angle.
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dreadnut

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Mine is a 98 or 99 but the serious number starts with "KC," my understanding is that this stands for Korea, Cort factory.

It doesn't seem logical that they were made in a different factory in Korea; maybe they just added "KC" to the serial number scheme later in the program.

After which Fender moved manufacturing of the DeArmonds to Indonesia.
 

matsickma

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In my experiance the less expensive Dearmonds with bolt-on necks were made in Indonesia.

Korean made were SET NECK (some exceptions on bass): T400, X155, X145, X135, SFS, SFC, SFBass, M70, M72, M75, M75T, M77, M77T, S73, 7312, Jetstar, 7Star, BajoJet, JetStar Bass, Pilot Pro Bass 4,5 & 6. Bolt-On neck Pilot Bass Deluxe 4, 5 & 6. Maybe some other Basses.

Indonesia built guitars were BOLT ON necks: M50, M55, M60, M65, M65C, M68, S65, S67, Jetstar Spl, Jetstar Bass Spl and some Basses.

I owned all of the Korean build models at one time or another and a S65, Jetstar Spl and a Pilot model bass.

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SFIV1967

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Mine is a 98 or 99 but the serious number starts with "KC," my understanding is that this stands for Korea, Cort factory.
It doesn't seem logical that they were made in a different factory in Korea; maybe they just added "KC" to the serial number scheme later in the program.
The exact meaning for "KC" was K=Korea and C=Cor-Tek. Cor-Tek is a leading OEM supplier to almost all big guitar manufacturers in the world. Cor-Tek markets its own stringed instruments however under the "Cort" brand name. Hence the confusion with Cort. ("Cort factory" is technically correct, but the company name is Cor-Tek.)
The DeArmond guitar line was stopped by FMIC during 2004 after 8 years of production. From 2002 to 2004 the M-50, M-70, M-77, S-65, S-73, Starfire 4 type and X-155 were also produced in the same Cor-Tek factories under the Squier brandname with SD pickups.
http://www.squierwiki.com/Series-24
Cor-Tek closed their Incheon/Korea factory in 2008 after big strikes of their workers for better working conditions and today still have factories only in Surabaya/Indonesia (the former "IC" serial numbers) and Dalian/China.
I also would guess that the 1997 and 1998 DeArmond set-neck guitars without KC were also made in Incheon/Korea and the KC was just added in late 1998. (without excatly knowing it).
Ralf
 
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thanks everyone. super helpful.

i'm going to post soon about finding a set of original knobs (black). if you have some, i'd be happy to make a fair deal.
 

dreadnut

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Yeah, I checked my serious number and it starts with KC9011...so it is a '99 Korean.

A damn fine instrument, I must add. Really outstanding workmanship, fit, and finish. It's heavy, but with those twin single-coil DeArmond 2K pickups, it really barks!
 
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