How do I tell where a guild was made?

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Hi there. I am looking at guild Starfire IVs and Vs, and I see Starfire IVs and Vs from the mid to late 90s for around $2600 Canadian, and there is a Starfire IV westerly that I am looking at that is selling for $3200 Canadian. I know the westerly guitars are of an awesome quality; what I don't know is where the regular guild starfires were made in the 90s. Are they made in America? The newark guitars are MIK, but I am not sure when they started. Any info on this? Thanks.
 

fronobulax

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90's Starfires were also made in Westerly.

Newark Street guitars will be circa 2014 and later. If you can get a serial number and/or a label you should be able to tell the difference. As you apparently have noticed there are sellers who deliberately or inadvertently blur the distinction between a made in the USA Starfire and a made elsewhere Starfire.
 
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All guilds made before 2014 were made in America? Are they all called "westerly" then? I wasn't sure if "westerly" was like the "custom shop" version of a made in America guild. Thanks for the answers. I'm learning a lot about these guitars thanks to the guys on this forum.
 

wileypickett

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Welcome!,

Somebody can fill in the dates and correct me if I'm missing any, but Guilds were made in:

NYC
Hoboken, NJ
Westerly, RI
Tacoma, WA
New Hartford, CT
Oxnard, CA

The Westerly plant (so far!) was active the longest, but great guitars were made in all the locations.

In terms of how to tell, most Guilds have labels that indicate where they were made, or at least the acoustics and electric archtops do, which is what I'm familair with.

Hard to find because it's currently out-of-print, but Hans Moust's *The Guild Guitar Book* covers the early decades and is highly recommended.

Glenn
 

SFIV1967

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Roughly (with some overlaps) the main US locations were those:

NYC (1952/53-1956)
Hoboken, NJ (1956-1966...)
Westerly, RI (1966...-2001) (starting 1997 till the mid 2000's there was also a Custom Shop in Nashville)
Corona, CA (2002-2004)
Tacoma, WA (2005-2007)
New Hartford, CT (2008-2014) (New Hartford operated a Custom Shop under Ren Ferguson from 2013-2014)
Oxnard, CA (2015 onwards)

Guild Starfire IV and V models were produced in the US from roughly 1964 until 2004. Means in Hoboken, Westerly and Corona. A slightly different GSR Starfire VI was made as very limited model in New Hartford as well.
Guild restarted the Starfire models at SPG in Korea in 2013 (the "Newark St." models).
Starting 2020 the "Starfire I" line (both single cut and double cut shapes, very confusing...) are producted at P.T. Samick in Indonesia, but the "real" Starfire IV and V continue to be produced at SPG in Korea.
And all Guild Starfire models since 1964 have internal labels showing the location of production.


Ralf
 
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walrus

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If you are looking at particular guitars, just ask the seller for a photo of the label!

walrus
 
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Thanks for all the information, guys! I like to make informed buying decisions, and you have all helped me a lot. I'll put up pictures when I get my first Guild. Hopefully I can find a nice one that was made in America. Does anyone care to share there opinions on the differences in the pickups between the different eras of guild starfire IVs and Vs? I'm trying to decided if I should go vintage or not.
 

SFIV1967

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It depends a bit what music you want to make. In the 60ies mostly the small Guild humbuckers were used and they sounded good. From the early 70ies tilll about 1997 the HB-1 Guild humbuckers were stronger in sound, probably the most famous of all Guild humbuckers. In the 80ies some higher output humbuckers from DiMarzio, called XR-7 were used for the more hardrock type buyers. Mid 90ies a SD made HB-1 was used. Late 90ies till 2004 a Fender made humbucker was used. The Korean models use a close copy of the 60ies little humbucker now called LB-1. To learn about all of them read GADs blog posts:


Some reviews of Starfires are here:

Ralf
 

fronobulax

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Just to add, there are some non-US factories. There were some Guilds made in Spain and labelled as such and the ARCOS line was made in Mexico. I can't keep recent overseas production straight but there are (legitimate) Guilds from China, Korea and Indonesia.

The current "Westerly Collection" of acoustics was named in homage to the American factory in Westerly, Rhode Island,but the instruments are made elsewhere. The "Newark Street Collection" was named in homage to the Hoboken factory, but again, the instruments are made elsewhere.

Knowing the date (from the serial number or neck block stamp for some time periods) can eliminate a number of possible factories. Knowing a model number can also eliminate some possibilities. Labels sometimes help but since there were Hoboken labels used on instruments made in Westerly the label cannot always be relied on. And then recent Oxnard Guilds don't have a paper label but have the information etched on the neck block.
 

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And don't forget about the Korean-made DeArmond by Guild Starfires; I have a Starfire Special modeled after the Starfire III, body and neck built in Korea and finished in Westerly, RI with electronics and hardware.

 

dreadnut

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Apparently...I've read this before too, but here is from the Unique Guitar Blog FWIW:

"It was in 1997 that Fender designed a series of guitars based on Guilds electric guitar lineup, but to be manufactured in Korea and Indonesia. The plan was to ship the guitars to the United States and install the electronics including new DeArmond pickups."
 

SFIV1967

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DeArmonds were finished in Westerly?
That's something that I can't remember if it is true. And I would doubt it happened in "Westerly", if at all, FMIC might have shipped them to a warehouse somewhere in Southern California where they would have been finished with the pickups. Yes, a few sites copy and pasted that info about such a procedure but there is no real source to check. Not sure if it ever was discussed here and only Hans would know I'd think.
Ralf
 

adorshki

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That's something that I can't remember if it is true. And I would doubt it happened in "Westerly", if at all, FMIC might have shipped them to a warehouse somewhere in Southern California where they would have been finished with the pickups. Yes, a few sites copy and pasted that info about such a procedure but there is no real source to check. Not sure if it ever was discussed here and only Hans would know I'd think.
Ralf
The DeArmonds first show up in the 2nd half '99 Guild Gallery:
So the chronology cited could be true, and I think the operative word in that Unique GuItar Blog quote was "the plan". But I agree, I doubt those were ever routed to Westerly. But there was a precedent for at least a couple of MIJ solid bodies from the mid '80s that were finished in Westerly, that's been mentioned and confirmed by one of the Westerly alumni, but I forget which models they were (think they were in the "SuperStrat" category?) and too lazy to search right now...:rolleyes:
 

Prince of Darkness

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The DeArmonds first show up in the 2nd half '99 Guild Gallery:
So the chronology cited could be true, and I think the operative word in that Unique GuItar Blog quote was "the plan". But I agree, I doubt those were ever routed to Westerly. But there was a precedent for at least a couple of MIJ solid bodies from the mid '80s that were finished in Westerly, that's been mentioned and confirmed by one of the Westerly alumni, but I forget which models they were (think they were in the "SuperStrat" category?) and too lazy to search right now...:rolleyes:
Burnside?:unsure:
 

SFIV1967

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GAD

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But there was a 1998 catalog already by that time!

MIJ ??

I was searching for hideglues or WiW's posts but the search function only shows a tiny bit of posts, not sure what's wrong with the search function currently.

Ralf

What did you search for, and what results made you think there was something wrong?
 

adorshki

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MIJ ??

I was searching for hideglues or WiW's posts but the search function only shows a tiny bit of posts, not sure what's wrong with the search function currently.

Ralf
See your post #9 here with a quote from Hideglue:
Wasn't quite able to capture the post with his quote in it to just show it instead of the link. I only google searched for "Japanese solid body" although yes it created a lot of hits. I only remembered having seen it in the last couple of years but that thread title rang a bell so looked at it and got lucky pretty quickly.
:)
 
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