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Thread: DIY two-pickup NS M85's

  1. #1

    DIY two-pickup NS M85's

    Interesting thing I noticed on reverb.com yesterday... there are two NS M85 basses with DIY dual bisonics, from different sellers, and one has Novak bisonics.

    https://reverb.com/marketplace?query=guild+m85

    After checking it all out, two things come to mind:

    #1 I'm surprised that there are two NS M85's like this when I have yet to see an NS SFB with the two pickup mod (though this may be because a SFB2 is offered for just $200 more).

    #2 both appear to my eye to have a slightly crooked factory bridge pickup. At first I automatically assumed that the crooked/non-parallel appearance was because of the DIY added pickup... until I noticed both basses had this. Furthermore, the neck pickups look like they're in line with the straight neck heel. I understand that things like arched top and angle of the photo come into play with apparently crooked pickups... but I think the fact that there are two of these, done by different people, with lots of pictures of both, makes it seem that the factory pickup may be mounted at a bit of an angle. Of course this doesn't have to be shoddy craftsmanship, since there are a lot of basses and guitars like strats and mosrites that come with angled pickups. But I'm curious if the starfire ones might be at a bit of an angle too? Furthermore, was my 1966 SFB's pickup at an angle?! I don't think it was... with the straight bridge I think I would have noticed

    In any case, I bring this up more as a general discussion about the NS basses, which is why I posted it here instead of in the ebay/craigslist section.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by mellowgerman View Post
    Interesting thing I noticed on reverb.com yesterday... there are two NS M85 basses with DIY dual bisonics, from different sellers, and one has Novak bisonics.

    https://reverb.com/marketplace?query=guild+m85

    After checking it all out, two things come to mind:

    #1 I'm surprised that there are two NS M85's like this when I have yet to see an NS SFB with the two pickup mod (though this may be because a SFB2 is offered for just $200 more).

    #2 both appear to my eye to have a slightly crooked factory bridge pickup. At first I automatically assumed that the crooked/non-parallel appearance was because of the DIY added pickup... until I noticed both basses had this. Furthermore, the neck pickups look like they're in line with the straight neck heel. I understand that things like arched top and angle of the photo come into play with apparently crooked pickups... but I think the fact that there are two of these, done by different people, with lots of pictures of both, makes it seem that the factory pickup may be mounted at a bit of an angle. Of course this doesn't have to be shoddy craftsmanship, since there are a lot of basses and guitars like strats and mosrites that come with angled pickups. But I'm curious if the starfire ones might be at a bit of an angle too? Furthermore, was my 1966 SFB's pickup at an angle?! I don't think it was... with the straight bridge I think I would have noticed

    In any case, I bring this up more as a general discussion about the NS basses, which is why I posted it here instead of in the ebay/craigslist section.
    I've come to the conclusion that the quality control on the NS M85 basses is close to nonexistent, and that's why you see so many of them for sale Ingo. I ordered not less than four of them from MF when they were a Stupid Deal of the Day, and returned all four of them for various reasons, all quality control related. After that I just gave up, and wonder if the M85s came out of a different factory than the rest of the NS series.
    Sandy

    '59 X175AB, '68 SFII Bass (Green), '73 D50NT, '82 Mark V, '87 Pilot SB602M, '88 Pilot SB602M
    '10 F512NT, '11 F50ce Std (Sunburst) '13 R30S (Resonator), '13 Orpheum Jumbo Prototype

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by twocorgis View Post
    I've come to the conclusion that the quality control on the NS M85 basses is close to nonexistent, and that's why you see so many of them for sale Ingo. I ordered not less than four of them from MF when they were a Stupid Deal of the Day, and returned all four of them for various reasons, all quality control related. After that I just gave up, and wonder if the M85s came out of a different factory than the rest of the NS series.
    Yikes, I didn't have internet for a while so may have lost track of your M85 SDOTD conundrum... didn't realize they sent you FOUR lemons! Sorry to hear that, Sandy!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by mellowgerman View Post
    Yikes, I didn't have internet for a while so may have lost track of your M85 SDOTD conundrum... didn't realize they sent you FOUR lemons! Sorry to hear that, Sandy!
    Other than the inconvenience, it wasn't really a big deal. They covered the return shipping on all four of them, so at least I wasn't liable for anything out of pocket. Ironically, the first one I received was OK, but they packed it so poorly it was sloshing around inside the case resulting in this.



    The side of the case was actually cracked from the inside due to the headstock hitting the side of the case so many times. Amazing that the headstock didn't crack. I might have kept that one if they had just replaced the case, but who knows how much stress the volute received from slamming the side of the case so much. In the end it was OK, because I really don't need another bass anyway!
    Sandy

    '59 X175AB, '68 SFII Bass (Green), '73 D50NT, '82 Mark V, '87 Pilot SB602M, '88 Pilot SB602M
    '10 F512NT, '11 F50ce Std (Sunburst) '13 R30S (Resonator), '13 Orpheum Jumbo Prototype

  5. #5
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    I would say my NS SF I has the PU aligned properly. Things that ought to be perpendicular to the strings are. Strings are centered over the A and D pole pieces and slightly offset on the E and G.

    Ditto for my '67 but since that butts up against the neck and is obviously parallel to the frets I'm not sure how you could get that wrong and still have a playable bass. Maybe that's why they moved the PU :-)

    Dunno why there are no NS SF I -> II conversions. The factory SF II in the price ballpark might be one reason. It might also be people are too smart to mess with success ;-)

    The M-85 was a lust object for me until I played one and couldn't figure out why I needed it with a Starfire in the stable. So I haven't been paying that much attention. But I think Sandy is the only person I recall posting about hands on experience with the NS M-85.
    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.

  6. #6
    they don't look crooked to me. but the factory bridge pickup looks too close to the added neck pickup.

    Not like the GSR which is real nice:


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