NGD - NS Starfire II ST Dyna

GGJaguar

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Like Jack going to sell a cow and coming home with magic beans, I sometimes come home with “magic beans” after selling some gear, in this case a NS Starfire II ST Dynasonic.

Starfire II ST Dyna.jpg

While it shares the same body and neck shape as the NS Starfire III, the guitar has an unusual construction design. Don’t be fooled by the Guild specifications that state it is a semi-hollow body. It’s fully hollow, but instead of traditional parallel braces holding the arched top in place, there is a large block of wood under the bridge and stop tailpiece that is supported by a smaller block of wood attached to the back of the guitar. If you’d like to see some great photos of the construction technique, please visit GAD’s review of his Starfire I SC. The Indonesian-made guitar in GAD’s review is constructed in the same way although the Korean-made guitar’s interior fit and finish is cleaner (but not perfect). There’s not very much arch in the top and I’d say it’s more of a “bulging” flat top. The result is an acoustic voice with more bass. Okay, so from an archtop purest’s viewpoint, the guitar’s design is half-assed and was probably done to save money as well as allow the use of a drilled-in bridge and stop bar. Still, the guitar is a lot of fun to play and sounds good. At 6 lb (2.7 kg), the guitar is very lightweight and is easy on my aching back.

As usual, I needed to shim the pickups just a bit higher to get them into my preferred tone zone. While doing so, I was surprised to find that both pickups use the neck pickup dimensions which is short/shallow. Normally the Dynasonic bridge pickup body is taller than the neck pickup body and that is the case with the X-160 Rockabilly and NS X-175 Special. Even with the shorter body, the bridge pickup on the SF II Dyna is wound hotter (8.4K ohm) than the neck pickup (7.3K ohm). I assume the shorter body was used to avoid string contact due to the shallow neck angle. The neck’s fingerboard extension is in contact with the top to very end of the fingerboard. No portion of the fingerboard floats above the body as on a typical archtop. It seems it would have been easier to use the regular bridge pickup and just set the neck a little steeper.

Unlike on the X-175 models, the bridge pickup is properly placed on this guitar. Specifically it is ½” (12 mm) closer to the bridge compared to the X-175 Dynasonic and X-175 Special and the difference in tone is obvious. There is more twang and chime which is a good thing (for me). This also means the sound is noticeably brighter with both pickups played together. Sadly, the volume controls are relatively useless. Roll the knob back to “6” and there’s no sound coming out of the amp. So, you have an effective volume range of “7” to “9”. My other NS series guitars do not have this issue so I’m not sure what’s going on with this particular model. In comparison, the tone controls work well through their entire range.

I really like the Korean Dynasonic pickups, including the “short body” bridge pickup on this guitar. With a pair of Dyna-equipped X-175s, an X-160 Rockabilly and this ST Dyna, I just need for Guild to offer a Starfire III with these pickups so I can add it to the “Dyna” group.
 

GGJaguar

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Although the guitar does not come with a pickguard, I kind of like the way it looks with one. The pickguard here is the classic rounded acrylic guard with chevron logo from the NS CE-100D. It is a near perfect fit although I’d need to get gold mounting hardware for it to match. What do you think – with or without pickguard?

Starfire II ST Dyna PG.jpg
 

freddyfingers

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Congrats! Ive been watching those for a while. The few times one was in my price range i didnt have the means. Not many to be found at this point. Still not sure why Guild did not offer a case with this, but does with the starfire 3.
 

BradHK

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Although the guitar does not come with a pickguard, I kind of like the way it looks with one. The pickguard here is the classic rounded acrylic guard with chevron logo from the NS CE-100D. It is a near perfect fit although I’d need to get gold mounting hardware for it to match. What do you think – with or without pickguard?

View attachment 30347
That’s a really cool guitar! I really like the look of pickguards on arch tops with f-holes. I just think it looks “correct”. However, they can get in the way of my playing if they sit on top of the pickup rings. With the dynas this is not an issue....but...the pickguard having cut outs for the pickup height adjustment screws and the dynas not having pickup height adjusting screws would put my OCD into overdrive. I would definitely vote yes if you could get a pickguard without the height adjustment screw cut outs.
 

mellowgerman

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I was very tempted by these. My buddy has a vintage SF-III with Dynasonics and it is to die for. If one of these pops up on the local used market at a good price, I won't be able to ignore.

It looks even better with that pickguard!!
 

Longnose Gar

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I had one of these. I thought it sounded great. Pickups reminded me of TVJones T-Armond pickups in a Gretsch I had for a short while. I don't like pickguards, but that addition does look cool. I thought this guitar was ugly - in a retro 3-way Magnavox cabinet TV kind of way. Super light guitar, so if weight is a concern, this is a good choice. I sold it only because I'm phasing out of import guitars (except my NS X-175B which sounds as good as any guitar I've played).
 

GGJaguar

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I thought this guitar was ugly - in a retro 3-way Magnavox cabinet TV kind of way.
Ha! Yeah, I struggle with it having a stop tail and wish it has a harp tail instead. I also don't like the triangular TRC. It's just so non-Guild and makes the guitar look cheap.
 

matsickma

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I have found that adding a Guildsby to a guitar with a hard stop can be done with a permanent modifications by replacing the typical hard stop with a "forked" model from the Guild 80's stop design. That also allows you to adjust the height of the stop to lessen the angle over the bridge. You can then install a classic archtop Bigsby or Guildsby.
I did such a mod on the nonofficial Nightingale with P90's.
The attached picture isn't that great of quality but it might show the concept. If interested I can get better pictures and highlight the parts. I will say that getting a gold plated Guild hard stop with "forked" ends might be a little difficult. A Starfire 2 will have more space to fit a floating Guildsby between the hard stop and base of the guitar top.
M

IMG_20220115_174526.jpg
 
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