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Thread: Any experience with Newark St. Starfires?

  1. #1

    Any experience with Newark St. Starfires?

    Im not by any means a dedicated electric player and own a couple of Epiphones (both solid bodies and the Les Paul is just way too heavy for me anymore).

    Am interested is a NS Starfire III at the local music store and loved it. Was told its a new B stock direct from Cordoba. The only defect I could find is a loose three way pickup switch not as in loosely mounted but as in the center position felt extremely sloppy (common?).

    *Pluses: Played great much better than my Epiphones, fit and finish was top notch, the neck and frets felt perfect, setup was perfect, light weight, love the florentine cutaway.

    *Minuses: I have never owned an arch top/floating bridge guitar, concerns about tuning stability with the Guildsby, sloppy three way switch and not thrilled about having to change one on a hollow body.

    Firm price tag w/case is just shy of 1/2 list.

    Im also considering a Starfire II ST to eliminate the bridge and bigsby concerns but so far am not able find one locally to try out. I would greatly appreciate any opinions/concerns on the Newark St. Starfire II ST/III.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    I was going to refer you to GAD http://www.gad.net/Blog/gads-guilds/ but I can't find a NS Starfire review yet.

    You might look at the price differential between A and B stock, and consider that what you are paying yourself to repair the switch. I have found I tend to value my leisure time fairly high, to the point that I would willingly pay a bit more not to have a new toy that starts out with a project.
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuball48 View Post
    Frono: You are correct----again.

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  3. #3
    hello

    The loose center-position is usually not an electric problem, since the switch is built so, that it opens one mic on both sides. So when you have an illusion of turning only mic #1 ON - you are actually turning mic #2 OFF - in mid position they are both ON - there is just a bit too much play - so nothing to worry about. Naturally I understand that it can be irritating.
    First good guitar - GUILD Duane Eddy 400 - I was 3rd owner - still regret letting it go 25 years ago - used to have Artist Award and Starfire - no regrets here.
    Present guitars - all bought new - F50R 1975 - F512 1977 - F212CSB 1979 - OM-240CE 2018 - Schecter Startocaster
    Bought secondhand - B30SB fretless - RED Songbird - White Songbird - S-60D - D-125 - Gibson 3/4-size acoustic 1957 - Carmelo Gonzales nylon string - old Levin Lute

  4. #4
    Senior Member Walter Broes's Avatar
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    I like them. Keeping the relatively low price in mind, I think they're pretty well made, fun guitars. The switches on the NS guitars are not great - I replaced the one on my 175, because it is a little loose in the middle position, and it rattles. $20 fix to put a switchcraft switch in there though, so no biggie.

    -1960 CE100D
    -1961 Starfire III Special
    -1962 X175
    -1963X175
    -2011 F47R
    -2015 Newark Street X175 BLK

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by fronobulax View Post
    I was going to refer you to GAD http://www.gad.net/Blog/gads-guilds/ but I can't find a NS Starfire review yet.

    You might look at the price differential between A and B stock, and consider that what you are paying yourself to repair the switch. I have found I tend to value my leisure time fairly high, to the point that I would willingly pay a bit more not to have a new toy that starts out with a project.
    Thanks frono! I did see that blog by GAD. I also found this in my search. Am wondering if Cordoba has ever resolved the pickup issue, although I didn't notice an issue during my brief play time at the shop.

    I also value my leisure time immensely and despise frustrations trying to repair something I've never done before . On the other hand, $300 less than current online pricing makes me consider it. Plus the playability is perfect for me vs. taking a chance with an online purchase. Hmmm...

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Nuuska View Post
    - there is just a bit too much play - so nothing to worry about. Naturally I understand that it can be irritating.
    Yeah, it just seems real tacky to me. Switch works fine though.


    Quote Originally Posted by Walter Broes View Post
    I like them. Keeping the relatively low price in mind, I think they're pretty well made, fun guitars. The switches on the NS guitars are not great - I replaced the one on my 175, because it is a little loose in the middle position, and it rattles. $20 fix to put a switchcraft switch in there though, so no biggie.
    Thanks for your input Walter! The rattle and slop would really bug me over time. Just not looking forward to a switch job on an arch top. But $20 is not bad.

  7. #7
    I wouldnt pay more than $500 for one, especially a B stock.

  8. #8
    Thanks GAD!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Walter Broes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DV-72 NT View Post
    Thanks for your input Walter! The rattle and slop would really bug me over time. Just not looking forward to a switch job on an arch top. But $20 is not bad.
    IMO the only real competition for the Newark Street guitars, if you're on a budget, kind of, and you want a Starfire III, are the "relatively recent" USA made ones, late Westerly and Corona guitars. You can pick those up for under $1500 if you're lucky/patient, and they come with full-size 'buckers or P90's. A vintage Hoboken-made Starfire III will usually cost more, and almost always needs a little work beyond a setup - I don't have a single vintage guitar that didn't really need a refret and/or a new nut, for example.

    The Newark Street SF's though...I just took a look on Reverb, and you can pick them up used, with a case, starting at a little over $600. For a decent quality electric archtop, realistically speaking, that's chump change. It'll need a setup, and maybe a new switch, but my experience is that almost any guitar you buy, new or used, cheap to boutique will need some kind of setup to make it play the way *you* want.

    There's the pickup issue with the reissue mini buckers, but honestly....the ones I've played : if you mess with the pickup heights for ten minutes, you can balance them out volume-wise. If that doesn't do the trick, reverse them and put the neck pickup in the lead slot and vice versa. the different pole piece spacing will be an aestethic issue more than anything else.

    So my 10 euro-cents : get a gently used or heavily discounted Newark one, invest another hundred in a pro setup/fret dress, and you have a very serviceable, great playing, good sounding, great looking guitar for well under 1K.
    The next step up is a used Westerly or Corona SFIII, but that will set you back about twice that amount.

    Btw, don't let a Bigsby scare you. If your guitar was set up well and you use a Bigsby for what it's made for, a gentle wobble and the odd half step dip, you'll be just fine. take it from someone who has six Bigsby equipped guitars, with a seventh on the way. :-)
    Last edited by Walter Broes; 08-22-2018 at 11:59 PM.

    -1960 CE100D
    -1961 Starfire III Special
    -1962 X175
    -1963X175
    -2011 F47R
    -2015 Newark Street X175 BLK

  10. #10
    Walter speaks the truth, and he's got the experience to back it up.

    The NS Starfires are nice guitars, but I have my doubts that they'll last 40 years like the old Guilds do. 40? I meant 50+ I've been eager to get one for the right price so I can write one up but since I won't spend more than $500 on one they're a bit harder to come by for me. $600 would make it easier to find one for sure.

    Though they tend to look and play great, I believe that some quality time with a bore scope will prove me right, but I've got about 380 other guitars in front of the line being written up so it's not been a priority for me to make it happen.
    1970s: [ S60D | S70D | S300ADs ]
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