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Thread: Newark Street Starfire Bass Review

  1. #1
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    Newark Street Starfire Bass Review

    How long have you owned the Newark Street Starfire Bass: Several months now.

    Year & specific model: 2013 Newark Street Starfire Bass. Only version on the market at time of purchase.

    Purchased new or used: New

    Price paid: $1,100 USD covered bass, case, shipping, sales tax and left something for a set of strings.

    Owners rate 1 (least appreciated) to 10 (most appreciated) in following categories with comments as desired:

    Build quality - 9 - I cannot find anything to complain about except maybe that the backs of the tuners do not seem perfectly aligned. I may have been lucky since other people have reported things like off center skunk stripes, rough fret edges, and string buzz that could not be adjusted away. But not my bass.

    Looks - 10 - What's not to like about a shiny cherry red Starfire?

    Bass - Solid and never muddy.

    Mids - Rich mids, very musical. (Stole that from someone else).

    Highs - Approaching thin and tinny with factory installed roundwounds.

    Sustain - Phenomenal.

    Playability/comfort - 10 - Shape works for seated and standing (with strap). No balance issues, at least with a wide strap that doesn't slide on the shoulder. Reasonably light weight although have not put it on a scale. Neck shape is the same as the Guild short scale bass necks prior to 1977 so if you like those, you'll like this.

    Dependability - Dunno. Holds tuning well. No signs of any failures at this point.

    Fingerstyle - Very flexible. With the thumb rest and the PU itself there is an opportuinity for a lot of variation in right hand position.

    Flatpick - N/A

    Strum - N/A. I'd say Strum and Flatpick are not appropriate for a bass but then there is this.

    Condition (Mint/Excellent/Good/Fair/Poor): New

    Favorite Strings (one selection only): TI Jazz Flats

    Would you buy another if lost/sold: Depends. I have the luxury of owning a 1967 Starfire I as well and it is hard to justify owning both if I am not playing out. But when I am there's a lot to be said for using an instrument that is currently being produced.

    Overall Assessment: Outstanding.

    Most Appreciated Characteristic: Degree to which it successfully emulates a Starfire bass from the 1960's.

    Least Appreciated: Factory installed roundwounds followed by my personal observation that there are slight differences in tone between the vintage Bisonic pickup and the Newark Street pickup.

    Favorite Story/Moment: When I realized I had decided to walk out of the store with it even though I had the '67.

    Other observations/comments: If you don't compare this bass to its vintage brethren then it is a very fine bass and it holds its own against similarly priced new instruments. If you do compare it to its vintage brethren then it is a 95% solution. Once you swap the rounds for flats, the discerning ear can still hear slight differences in the tone so the question becomes: Is that difference in tone worth paying two or three times more?

    Moderator's Note: The vision for the review section is a collection of reviews in a common format. While it has not always been enforced, the hope is that discussion of the review and the instrument will occur elsewhere on LTG (here for example) and the review's author will edit the review if things are unclear or if certain questions deserve an answer in the review. Thank you.
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.

    '67 Starfire I Bass (Cherry)
    '71 JS II Bass (Walnut)
    '82 B-50 Acoustic Bass (Natural)
    '87 Pilot (Black)
    '13 Newark Street Starfire Bass (Cherry)
    '16 Betts Bass "Walnut Bottom"

    LMG I, II, III

    This space available.

  2. #2
    I've had my Newark St Starfire for about a month now and I can only repeat what fronobulax has stated.
    With the exception that I cannot speak to the accuracy of the pickup vs the original, since I've never played an original.
    But it is a very good sounding pickup nevertheless.
    The overall build quality is excellent IMO.

  3. #3
    Bought my Newark SF-I new about a week ago at a 20% discount below the common street price of $1099.00. Had the Newark SF-II been available at the same discount percentage at this time, I probably would have paid the extra bucks for one of those, but such was not the case. I was worried that the single pup version might disappoint, but happily, have been able to dial in a sound I'm quite satisfied with (though I'm sure that the SF-II would have offered a wider tonal palette).

    Build quality is excellent on my specimen: tuners aligned, neck stringer properly centered, no finish or binding blems, intones well and no fret or neck issues. I really like the neck carve and FB radius: very comfortable. The case is very well made, aligns well when lid is closed and the latches closed effortlessly due to proper placement (not always the case with other HSCs I've had). As mentioned by others, the rounds with which the factory strings these basses suck, so I immediately restrung it with medium scale D'Addario Chromes (ECB81M: .045-.100) which yielding a huge improvement in both tone and playability. But then I put flats on everything, so your results may differ.

    I really have nothing negative to say about this instrument and would buy another or a Newark SF-II if it was to get stolen or destroyed.

  4. #4
    Had my Newark SF-1 for just over a week ( bought used on ebay - UK ) Korean made 2012 , spent some time setting up , changing strings , adjusting neck , adjusting string height of saddles , electrics were crap , now reasonable ( treble " bleed " circuit on volume control shorting out on pot - though I am going to re wire with CTS pots and sprauge caps )
    Build quality is excellent , neck feels really good , bit of neck dive - good strap sorted that out .
    Used it at two rehearsals this week , even with the " reasonable " electrics sounded good through mt Mesa Boogie M-Pulse 600 and two Powerhouse 2x10 cabs ,
    nails that 60`s sound with a pick .
    Pete

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