Guild Starfire / Knob Configuration

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Morningside, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. Morningside

    Morningside Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2013
    I've played a Guild Starfire for over a year, and although I generally love it, I still haven't gotten used to the Les Paul-style knob configuration, with the neck volume and tone knobs being closer to the bridge, and the bridge knobs to their right when the bass is upright (or below the neck knobs when you're playing).

    I'm probably going to have them reversed, so that the bridge controls are closer to the bridge, which I assume is relatively easy. Does anyone else find the standard four-knob configuration counterintuitive? Maybe it's just that I've always played Fenders in the past rather than Gibsons, Ricks or Guilds.

    Also counterintuitive is the fact that when the three-way toggle switch is in the middle position, turning either pickup to zero kills the volume completely. So it's not like a Jazz bass, where you can zero either pickup and you'll still hear the other. I can understand why you might want this on a Les Paul, but the Starfire has a separate master volume! Again, it's a wonderful bass, but the default knob configuration and wiring is perplexing (to me).
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018
  2. Frodolicious


    May 29, 2018
    Omaha, NE
    I really want to get a Guild, but have been leaning against the Starfire II for awhile because of all of those controls that seem annoying. The one pickup Starfire seems to be the way to go. It's too bad you dont get a neck pickup option
  3. Morningside

    Morningside Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2013
    Yeah, it's more controls than I want or need. I'd prefer either volume-volume-tone (like a Jazz or SG bass), or a three-way switch with one volume and one tone (like a Telecaster or the new Mustang PJ bass).

    That said, I do like having both pickups. They sound pretty different. And I think both of the specific "problems" I noted above are pretty easily solved with a little rewiring, and also wouldn't be an issue if you're used to Gibson guitars (unlike me). I'm just surprised that the convention on a four-knob instrument is to put the knobs for the neck pickup closest to the bridge. It's so counterintuitive that I can't get used to it.
  4. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    The SF-II layout seems pretty straight-forward to me and I especially like having the master volume.

    Try thinking of it this way:

    •switch in "up" position = neck/"bass" pup-->knobs "up" (above) control same

    •switch in "down" position = bridge/"treble pup"-->knobs "down" (below) control same

    I've played all sorts of guitars and basses and actually have found some Gretsch control configurations to be the most difficult to use "on the fly" (not counting Fender Jaguar guitars and the Epiphone Zephyr Blues Deluxe/Gibson ES-5 types).

    Go figure. What seems natural to one guy doesn't to another. But I guess I probably have played more Gibsons and Epiphones than anything else, so that may go a long way towards explaining it in my case.
    Morningside likes this.
  5. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Yeah that annoys me when a bass is wired like that. The fix is quite simple if you can solder.
    Morningside likes this.
  6. Mustang Surly

    Mustang Surly

    Jul 10, 2013
    "The fix is quite simple if you can solder."

    Certainly doable, but less "simple" when the bass in question is a semi-hollow without an access plate (such as the Guild SF) than it would be with a solid-body.
    Morningside and Axstar like this.
  7. Morningside

    Morningside Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2013
    Yeah, I'm sure that a big part of the issue for me that I've always played Fenders (until now). There's nothing inherently wrong with the Starfire setup; I'm just not used to it. You're right that there's a logic in having the bridge knobs "below" the neck knobs, but for whatever reason I've had a hard time getting used to it.

    The only thing that I really question from a design perspective why it's wired so that each volume knob can kill the master volume when the pickup selector switch is in the middle position. I get the logic of that on a Les Paul, which doesn't have a master knob, but the Starfire does (which I really like on an instrument with volume and tone knobs for each pickup). This isn't a big deal, of course; just a bit perplexing.

Share This Page