Operated by former Alembic employees, this company manufactured guitar parts and built custom high-end instruments in the ’70s.
On the left, a 3-point standard mandolin, featuring a mahogany body with a walnut top and a through-body neck composed of maple and purpleheart.
On the right, an electric mandocello, built in 1979–80, that features a three-layer laminated body with a highly figured bookmatched walnut top. The main body appears to be a figured mahogany and sandwiched layer is likely a light-colored maple. Through-body neck is 5-ply, including slices of purpleheart and maple.
Headstock comprises seven different layers, with embossed serial number and Stars Guitars nameplate. Tuners are mini-Schallers with pearlescent knobs.
Fretboard is ebony and has pearl dot inlays along with side dots. Bridge and tailipiece on this instrument are replacements. Bill Lawrence L500 humbucker with Bartolini TBT active bass and treble preamp. Volume knob can be pulled out to split the pickup to single-coil mode.
Former Stars builder Brandt Larsen had this to say about this mandocello: "It was one of four built to send to Japan. James Verhoeff and I, Brandt Larsen, built all the new design instruments at Stars. James is now deceased, but we both had previously worked at Alembic in Cotati, California. ... I think we used New Guinea walnut on the tops; it had a tung oil finish. We built many electric mandolins as well, some 4-, 5-, and 8-string models, but mostly built long-scale basses and guitars. As far as I can remember we only built 5 mandocellos. One was for a collector, the other 4 were for sale."