Guild Jetstar/Thunderbird

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by The Sound of the Police, Nov 20, 2001.

  1. Hey,
    I'm interested in a bass I've seen by Guild and reissued by DeArmond. I've seen it called both a Thunderbird and a JetStar. It has a funny gumby shaped body and two single coil pickups.
    This ebay item is the only DeArmond on eI've seen:

    I want to know more about this instrument, but I can't find any information. If anyone has had any experiences with them, or can point me in the direction of some websites, I would be very greatful.

    Thanks a lot,
  2. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    the jetstar has nothing to do with the thunderbird. de armond was making this bass as reissue of a guild model, not gibson. now the bass is discontinued. said that, i played a couple of them. they are really good basses, a mix between a jazz and a thunderbird. personally i hate that body style, but i have to admit that these basses sound good.
  3. I tried one, and was really impressed by the sound (like a short-scale Jazz bass with that hollow growl) and playability.
    I found a slight flaw in the string output level balance- the E and G sounded louder, maybe because the p/up polepieces aren't staggered to compensate for the curve of the fretboard.

    Dearmond also did a cheap long scale bolt-on version with one P p/up- the Jetstar special.
    I bought one for £65 in a clearout.
    the tone was really thin due to the P p/up being too close to the bridge, so I did some routing and put a Kent Armstrong MM p/up in instead.

    I also changed the bridge- the E string saddle tends to topple over under heavy playing.
  4. -barroso

    They called some similar model a Thunderbird. I wasn't talking about the Gibson Thunderbird, they just have the same name. The guitar was also called a Thunderbird. They both have a "thunderbird" inlay on the headstock.
    As for the body style--what's wrong with you? That's the best part!

    Thanks for the replies.

  5. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    i didn't know anything about the thunderbird thing so i misunderstood and thought innediately to the thunderbird made by gibson. why i don't like the body? mmh maybe it's just because i love traditional styled body and this one is not so beautiful for me, but it's just a matter of personal ideas!;)
  6. I'm just giving you a hard time. It is a strange shape. You either love it or hate it.
  7. ukulelelab


    Apr 14, 2013
    I love it. Has anyone else here got one?

  8. Yowzers, that's sweet! 1965 and with an original hagstrom bi sonic pickup. I bet it sounds incredible. You should show that off at the Letstalkguild forum if you haven't already.
  9. D.M.N.

    D.M.N. (O))))

    Oct 6, 2008
    Friday Harbor, WA
    Is this a new necro-thread record? Almost 11.5 years old, DANG.
  10. Any excuse to see ukulelelab's bass is fine by me. Nice amp too. Wonder if the OP is still looking for a Jetstar. He hasn't posted since 03'.
  11. ukulelelab


    Apr 14, 2013
    Thanks SturmUndDrang, yes I'm coming from that forum but it's down at the minute and for several days so I thought I venture elsewhere and maybe find out if someone else has one like this. Bit silly to resurrect that old thread but it took me longer than 11.5 years to even see a picture, nevermind find an original and unmolested Guild jetstar bass with the bisonic pickup like this one. I still can't believe this one turned up here in the uk about a month ago and when it did I jumped on the train the following day to collect it. It's very very light (I think the wood is Honduran mahogany), very well balanced and resonant. Action, intonation are all good. Pickup is awesome. Enough with the bragging
  12. I noticed letstalkguild was down too. Hope it comes back, especially in time for the Newark st. Starfire. Nice folks over there. I joined after picking up a B301. I started a thread about this bass.
    The necks are mahogany with a maple stringer but the bodies are alder. Maybe someone else can confirm that for me.
    Wish I had an extra few thousand dollars. Enjoy your bass and don't be afraid to crank up that amp!
  13. ukulelelab


    Apr 14, 2013
    I paid about $1300 for mine. I think the ones with sunburst finishes have alder bodies and the cherry red ones have mahogany bodies.
  14. Meddle


    Jul 27, 2009
    I own this Dearmond. I stripped the pink paintwork myself, defretted it and wired the pickups in series to try and get some more meat out of them.

    Your Guild looks much nicer, ukulelelab! I plan to strip the clear coat off my Dearmond and maybe stain it or something, but solid cherry red also looks good!

  15. ukulelelab


    Apr 14, 2013
    Charlotte Kemp Muhl has the same one:

  16. Wagz


    May 2, 2012
    Milwaukee, WI
    Very unique, great curves, flawless finish, love that cherry red color...
    The bass isn't too bad either.
  17. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    The DeArmond basses came in a bunch of really strange colors, too. These were Keith Brawley designs based on the Guild Thunderbird.

    FMIC dumped what they claimed were $1,000,000 in unsold DeArmond Jet-Star guitars and basses on the VH-1 "Save the Music" foundation for educational use, but they were too heavy for the kids to play. They wound up selling them for $169 each, new, in the original boxes. For some reason, I didn't buy a bass.

    Here is a pro shoot of one of my Jet-Star guitars done for a guitar calendar some years back.
  18. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    Call it what it really is - the "Gumby" bass. Definitely a unique style.