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1964 Vintage Guild Starfire Semi-Hollow Electric Bass Guitar w/ Case #25967

Availability: In stock




BRAND - Guild

MODEL - Starfire

FUNCTION - Semi-Hollowbody 4-String Electric Bass

DESCRIPTION - This listing is for a very rare, perhaps one-of-a-kind, stock "Natural" finish 1964 Guild Starfire 4-String Semi-Hollow Electric Bass with a hard case.

From the previous owner:

"Starfires came on the market in 1965, but the serial number (38169) dates this one to 1964. It was likely built in '64, but not sold to the public until '65. [Guild Serial database]

I brought it to the renowned Jim Mouradian in the Boston area for a set-up and some fret work. There were a few upper-register frets that were buzzing, so he and his son leveled them in such a way that they no longer do that. They also adjusted the bridge saddles and the nut so that it intonates nearly perfectly and stays in tune extremely well.

The tuning machines are original except for one screw and washer set. The bridge is not original to this bass--I swapped it for a later Guild/Hagstrom harp bridge so that I had more room for the saddles to travel (front to back and side to side). This bridge is from the late 60's I would imagine. The pick up is not original of course, but it is a Dark Star and those are nearly impossible to find these days. The pickup was installed and the electronics were rewired at Rock n Roll Vintage Guitars in Chicago nearly a year ago. The small switch was installed when a humbucker was on this instrument previously and so it no longer does anything. The nut is brass.

The finish is a beautiful caramel-orange color, which you'll probably never see on another Guild bass. There has been debate on Guild forums if it's original or not, but no one seems to have an answer. Guild was known to do some bizarre things, especially in the earlier years, so it's very possible that they put a one-off finish on this bass. [We at Techno Empire examined the finish under black light and cannot detect any signs of a re-paint or paint-over. By observation, this bass appears to be one of the rare, but occasionally seen, examples of  a stock "Natural" finish model that has darkened over time.]

Unlike most Starfires, the fingerboard on this puppy is made out of wenge. I first noticed that it had a different grain to it when I bought the bass and I've had two different luthiers/repair men confirm that it is in fact wenge. Why? Who knows. Again, Guild did some odd things. Either way, it's quite gorgeous (but hard to capture in photos). The body and neck are both mahogany. The neck is an early one piece model, with two extra mahogany wings in the headstock.

The scale is 30.75" and the string spacing at the bridge is around 16.75mm. The neck is very thin front to back, which makes it extremely easy to play and fast. The action is set to be medium-low."


  • Bass Weight: 7.4 lbs.
  • Serial #: 38169
  • Nut Width: 1.5"
  • Scale Length: 30.75"
  • Body: Maple
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard: Wenge
  • Nut Material: Brass
  • Dark Star Pickup (Not Original)
  • Rare Natural Finish (Stock/Original)

ACCESSORIES - This item comes as seen in photos, and includes only the following accessories:

  • Hard case
  • Installation paperwork for the aftermarket bridge
  • 2 extra strap holders

PHYSICAL CONDITION - Very Good - The bass has a small chip in finish on top near 1/4 jack, finish wear by the finger rest, and a few dings on the back of neck. The top layer of the head-stock, near the nut is lifting slightly on one side. A very minor issue that can easily be fixed with the proper glue.

Overall, the wear is consistent with the age of the guitar. The case has scratches and a few small tears in the tolex, but is still solid.

WORKING CONDITION - Excellent - An absolute joy to play, this bass has a "can't put it down" feel and sound, with its compact neck making speedy playing utterly effortless, while the Dark Star pickup's tone is just tremendous on this bass, yielding a tone that's somewhere between a thump and a growl.

Just exactly the way you want it to be, this bass is a dream come true.


TOTAL PRE-SHIP DIMS - 48.5" x 5" x 18.5"

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