Guild was a relatively young company in 1960 having entered the guitar business six years prior. Already having a good reputation for acoustics, Guild was gaining momentum in the early 60’s electric market with signature models for Duane Eddy and Johnny Smith.
The Day the Music Died in 1959 was real. Jazz and rockabilly were on their way out and a harder pace of Rock music was on the way in which included solid-body electric guitars.
Guild slowly took notice and introduced their first line-up of solid bodies in 1963.
Three years before in 1961, “for the young artist with a flair for showmanship”, Guild introduced the Starfire series.
One young artist that picked up a Starfire happened to be Jerry Garcia playing with his band the Warlocks. He used it to record the Grateful Dead’s first self-titled album released in 1967.
Specifically, Jerry played a cherry-red Starfire III at this time. His first was a 1962 model that was mangled at the Tripps Festival in January of 1966. His second was a 1964 or 65 Starfire III that was used on the album.
The Starfire’s had a good run including a double cutaway series IV, V, VI. Among a number of Starfire players in the 1960s were Dave Davies and Buddy Guy.
Guild discontinued the original run of Starfire’s in 1973.
1964 Guild Starfire SF-III Specs: Mahogany body, Honduran mahogany neck, Rosewood fretboard, Guild Adjusto-Matic bride, Bigsby Vibrato tailpiece, Guild anti-um humbuckers, two volume and tone controls, 3-way switch.