School me on modern, USA Starfire III

Mr_Christopher

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I’ve been reading reviews and jonesing for a Starfire III for years now but I’ve never seen one in any of the shops in my city or on CL.

I ended up buying a Korean model which I discovered was a second, so I returned it. I also paid too much (even had it not been a second).

I liked the guitar but I’m considering spending a little more on a USA made one.i have a few questions:

Is a model made in say 1998 the same as one made in 2002?

Are the pickups in modern USA ones the same as the Korean model?

I’ve read where some people swap the pickups (bridge to neck, neck to bridge) for a better balance. Is that a thing? I found the bridge pickup a bit weak (as expected) but I don’t mind fiddling around, even have my guitar dude rewind one if needed.

I’m a super happy Gretsch 5420 guy, but I want to add the SF III to the family. Loved how it played and quality.

And my apologies if this is covered in another thread, searching on my phone is challenging

Chris!
 

Default

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The Korean pickups are recent. They came out during the tail end of the New Hartford era. The mismatch is not representative of Guild pickups. Fender/Guild purchased a mismatched set by accident. CMG/Guild doesn't care.
 

Mr_Christopher

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Thanks for that, what pickups are on the ones made in Corona/Fender? Same as Korea?
 

GAD

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Thanks for that, what pickups are on the ones made in Corona/Fender? Same as Korea?
Nope. They're generic Fender humbuckers in a Guild-looking cover. They may well be import, but I've not seen any proof of where they come from aside from the fact that similar looking pickups. Here's a Fender pickup from the 2000s that looks very similar to the Guild/Fender HB1s:







Lots of pickup and Starfire info in my blog (see my sig)
 

fronobulax

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Thanks for that, what pickups are on the ones made in Corona/Fender? Same as Korea?
Korean pickups date 2013 and later. Fender sold Guild in 2014. I don't recall the exact Corona dates for FMIC but they were out of there circa 2008.
 

GGJaguar

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Some basic info is HERE. If you want in-depth, GAD's website is the place to go.
 

parker_knoll

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I can say that Corona made Guilds are EXCELLENT - brilliant build quality, great hardy finish, light resonant body, especially fantastic necks. The pickups are humbucker size so easily swappable for a million options, but also good of themselves IMO.
 

dreadnut

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Then there are the Korean-made DeArmond Guild Starfire Specials, made only in '98 and '99. Really nice, with DeArmond 2K pickups. This was a collaboration between Guild and DeArmond when they acquired both companies.

 

bobouz

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I picked up a 1997 Starfire III a few years back with a swapped out harp tailpiece (perfect for me, as I don't like Bigsbys).

My understanding is that in '97 (and maybe part of '98?), Fender used Seymour Duncan pickups before going to their own. These have a very nice tone for what I like to do (clean fingerpicking, with a bit of reverb). Here's a photo:

IMGP3202.JPG
 

GAD

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Beautiful guitar!
 

GGJaguar

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The mid-1980s to 2001 Westerly guitars had the best sunburst finishes and that one is no exception. (y)
 
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