I had wanted a Starfire III for a while, and when the NAMM announcement for black re-issues came out, I waited for availability (I bet mine is first in UK!). I'll deal with features separately. Finish: for a black guitar (notoriously difficult finish) at a mid-range price, this is pretty superb, even that awkward spot under the overhanging fretboard was better than a previously-owned Gibson. Not absolutely faultless - a small 'miss' on one of the 'f' holes, but you have to look pretty hard. Otherwise, no orange peel and just follows the grain of the wood a tiny bit. Binding is lovely. Hardware: all good here. The bridge is pinned, which is a nice touch. The rather basic-looking Grover tuners actually work very nicely and smoothly. The pots are smooth and progressive. Saddles in the tuneomatic style bridge are firm and don't wobble (unlike my ex-Gibson). The Guild 'bigsby' style trem is different to my other trem-equipped guitars (PRS/Gretsch/JEM/Duesenberg) in that it is quite firm, and offers a modest shimmer. It goes out of tune rather badly (hence the 4 on quality) BUT I can tell a luthier will be able to fix that, as it is a 'nut' problem (too tight slots), given away by the odd 'ping' on tuning. However, this is a weak spot with many guitars twice this price, and is usually put right with a careful set-up. Sounds: great snarly indie-sound pickups. I bought it for sounds and looks and wasn't disappointed. Action was good on receipt, as was neck set-up with a tiny amount of relief in the neck. Note the shorter 24.75 inch scale, if you're used to (as I am) longer 25+ inch scale lengths. The neck shape is 'just right', not too thin but not 'clubby', either. The guitar is pretty lightweight being a true thin hollow-body. The provided hard case is nice - good quality and a nice fit. Did I miss anything? Oh yes, like £200 less than in UK shops!! And faultless careful packaging and a nice tracking facility from Thomann! So an overseas postal buying experience was a good one. And did I mention that I love it??
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