Here is something of a rarity. In the early 1990s, Ibanez launched Starfield - something of a prestige brand through which Ibanez would market some well-equipped and nicely built instruments. Some were built in the USA, but this one was made in the FujiGen factory in Japan. The venture only survived for a couple of years, so today these instruments are uncommon. However the quality still comes through, and we are pleased to be able to offer one of these almost forgotten models.

This example is an Altair SJ Trad. It comes with many professional-specification features.

The tremolo bridge has a heavy block, helping the guitar to sustain better than most instruments equipped with tremolos. There is sufficient movement to allow the player to 'dive-bomb', although the absence of a locking nut means that this is not advisable as it does not always come back to pitch. Less aggressive use of the tremolo presents no tuning issues. The tremolo arm pushes in, and a grub screw on the bridge allows the player to set how rigidly the arm is held in place

The positioning of the tuners allows the strings to pass straight over the nut, making tuning more reliable. The tuners are Gotoh Magnum locking tuners, and are possibly the fastest locking tuners you will ever use. Both locking and tuning is conducted by the same knob - so there is no risk of losing thumbscrews or locking nuts.

The neck is a joy to play. It has a smooth satin finish on the back, so no stickiness, and the great condition of the frets has allowed us to set this guitar up with an action to standard specification with scope to go lower if the player prefers.

The electronic controls operate smoothly and silently.

The body shows several shallow dents and chips, but there is nothing here to suggest that the instrument has been abused.

Almost 30 years on, this guitar would still provide a reliable option for a professional musician, or an opportunity to own a rare product from a major manufacturer. In a market full of Chinese products, this guitar reminds all of us what quality Japanese manufacturing can deliver.

Colour See Thru Mustard
Pickguard Black, 3-ply
Serial number F149758
Year of manufacture 1991
Country of Origin Japan
Frets 22
Electrics Two single-coils and one humbucking pickup; 5-way pickup selector which splits the humbucker in position 2; Master volume; Master tone
Bridge SF-10 Tremolo, 2-point pivot, adjustable for bridge height, string height, and intonation. Tremolo arm is push-in design, adjustable for tension
Case Generic hard case included
Condition Used
Body Mahogany
Neck Maple, 1-piece
Fingerboard Rosewood
Bridge spacing 52.3 mm
Scale length 635 mm (25 in)
Weight 3.3 kg (7 lbs 4 oz)
Fingerboard radius 12-inch
Neck thickness (just behind 12th fret) 21.2 mm
Nut width 42.7 mm

Starfield Altair SJ Trad

  • £320.00