Guild Newark M-85 Bass Question

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So I just picked up a used M-85 bass and am loving it. I grabbed a Guild bisonic neck pickup with the thought that I would have it installed and have a 2 pickup bass. Before having a tech proceed I was curious if its possible. I removed the bridge pickup and it seems like there is no solid block or bracing along the top that would cause a problem. Does anyone know for sure? Thanks in advance.
 

mellowgerman

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Congrats on your new Guild! This same idea has certainly crossed my mind too. Always intrigued by vintage M85's with Bisonics, but can't justify the price over a vintage Starfire with Bisonics. Either way I think structural integrity is key and would say definitely make sure you don't (or your tech doesn't) cut through any braces in the top. Otherwise it probably can be carefully done. I know I've seen at least one Newark Street M85 bass with a neck pickup added for sale online. Will it weather 5, 10, 40 years though? Maybe there's a reason they haven't offered a 2 pickup M85 in the newark street line. They're definitely not to exact vintage spec, so maybe they were only designed with that one pickup in mind.
 
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I'd love to see them re-pop the M-85-II also, but in sunburst or trans red finish (like the limited-edition, prohibitively-expensive-at-time-of-issue/now-almost-impossible-to-find GSR model). Sadly, that's probably very unlikely to happen. Especially now, given the current, economically chaotic state of affairs we're experiencing.
 

twocorgis

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I'd love to see them re-pop the M-85-II also, but in sunburst or trans red finish (like the limited-edition, prohibitively-expensive-at-time-of-issue/now-almost-impossible-to-find GSR model). Sadly, that's probably very unlikely to happen. Especially now, given the current, economically chaotic state of affairs we're experiencing.
The trans red over mahogany on the GSR is just gorgeous. I love mine, despite the not inconsiderable neck dive (it only weighs 6.2 pounds). I have a set of Hipshot Ultralite tuners that I bought for it, but an having a hard time defacing the back of the headstock.



I shouldn't really worry. If I ever sell it, the original tuners would cover up the new holes that you'd have to make for the Ultralites.
 
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I put ultralites on the one I picked up and it cleared up the head dive completely. As you said the original tuners will cover the holes so I was fine with it. Great looking bass by the way!

I always assumed the import m-85 had one pickup to keep the cost down a bit and to not compete with the4 expensive US version. The US version for sure has top bracing so that must not compete with the two pickups. I actually don't think the korean one IS top braced. When I removed the bridge pickup and put my hand in I did not feel anything. I should get a mirror down in there I guess.
 

fronobulax

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I always assumed the import m-85 had one pickup to keep the cost down a bit and to not compete with the4 expensive US version.
My opinion is that the market for the GSR M-85-II and the Newark Street M-85-I don't overlap. If I had to guess why there was not a Newark Street M-85-II it would be because the M-85-I did not sell well enough to justify it. A vintage M-85 I or II had been my grail Guild for a long time. But once I actually played one, I realized that that, as far as tone, I could not justify a vintage M-85 when I already had a vintage Starfire. Oh yeah, the GSR run of M-85-II was less than 30 instruments worldwide. Therre were also GSR Starfire I's and II's and that didn't seem to matter. But IMO, YMMV.
 

twocorgis

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I put ultralites on the one I picked up and it cleared up the head dive completely. As you said the original tuners will cover the holes so I was fine with it. Great looking bass by the way!
Thanks. I really lucked into it, and when I found out how rare they were, I'm really glad I bit. Easily one of the nicest finishes I've ever seen. A combination of a Hipshot Utralite tuners and Supertone bridge completely transformed my Casady Signature bass, and the balance became ideal after the mods. I don't expect such a dramatic improvement with the M85 II though.

I always assumed the import m-85 had one pickup to keep the cost down a bit and to not compete with the4 expensive US version. The US version for sure has top bracing so that must not compete with the two pickups. I actually don't think the korean one IS top braced. When I removed the bridge pickup and put my hand in I did not feel anything. I should get a mirror down in there I guess.
I tried to get a Newark Street M85 no less than four times when they were a Stupid Deal of the Day at MF, and I returned all four of them for one reason or another. I think they had a lot of QC issues with the line, if my experience was any indication. I'm glad you managed to get a good one; I gave up!

My opinion is that the market for the GSR M-85-II and the Newark Street M-85-I don't overlap. If I had to guess why there was not a Newark Street M-85-II it would be because the M-85-I did not sell well enough to justify it. A vintage M-85 I or II had been my grail Guild for a long time. But once I actually played one, I realized that that, as far as tone, I could not justify a vintage M-85 when I already had a vintage Starfire. Oh yeah, the GSR run of M-85-II was less than 30 instruments worldwide. Therre were also GSR Starfire I's and II's and that didn't seem to matter. But IMO, YMMV.
If Kim K's recollection is correct, the production number for GSR M85II is more like 12 or 13, and I'm not sure if that counts mavuser's. They were having problems sourcing the pickups, and a lot of them (six I heard) came back with broken headstocks from shipping. Apparently the combination of a large headstock, sub-standard cases (like the Orpheums), and I would guess poor packing caused the damage. When I told Kim I got one, the first thing he asked was if mine had a repaired headstock (it doesn't). I've never seen another for sale since I bought mine, and I'm glad I own it, but as you say they're not sonically different enough fro Starfires. I do like the reduced weight over the Starfire, and that might crack six pounds with the Ultralite tuners. Geezer heaven!
 
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