Request: History & Facts of the 2014 Guild GSR M-85 II Bass

twocorgis

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the Newark Street pickup, at least when it first came out, is apparently a copy of the Dark Star, not a vintage Bisonic. So Fred Hammon may have very well been involved with the beginning stages of that pickup being reissued, one way or another.
Quite possible, I'd guess. We'll probably never know for sure.

I really like the bass, but don't play it much. My bandmates are all old school, and Fender is all they know (and P-Basses preferred). I'm OK with that, because I've been playing mine since I was 15, and it's still a terrific bass. It's funny that in all the basses I bought since I got the disease, the one I play the most is the one I've owned since I was a kid.
 

mavuser

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How similar are the 2014 to the 1972 model?
1972 is a solid body slab, and not as deep of a body as the full hollow body 2014 GSR...as such, 1972 is considerably heavier than 2014.

Factory pickups in 1972 are the Guild HB-2 bass humbucker- big fat mud bucker tones. the Dark Star/Bisonic reissue in 2014 is again the vintage Dark Star "tribute sound" which is more of a hot single coil that does not sound like 1972
 

theFPVgeek

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the Newark Street pickup, at least when it first came out, is apparently a copy of the Dark Star, not a vintage Bisonic. So Fred Hammon may have very well been involved with the beginning stages of that pickup being reissued, one way or another.
Oh damn I made the bad assumption that the 2014 was a reissue of the 70s and assumed the body was the same thickness. I guess the 2014 is lighter yet thicker / taller body?
 

SFIV1967

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The 1971 catalog already showed the solid body version:

1613998624318.png



But the 1970 catalog still showed the what they called "semi-solid" version with 2 3/4" deep body:

1613998987161.png


1970 vs 1971, also compare the different pickups:

1614000196863.png
1614000273566.png


Ralf
 
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theFPVgeek

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The 1971 catalog already showed the solid body version:

View attachment 15178

There are only two numbers from the specs to compare between the solid body and the GSR model, the other numbers are not given for the GSR model:

Body depth: 1 5/8" vs 2"
Scale length 30 1/2" vs 30 3/4"


But the 1970 catalog still showed the hollow body deep body version with 2 3/4" deep body:

View attachment 15179

Ralf
Thanks! Helps a lot. Guess I'm in search of a 70s (preferred 1972) M85-II
 

mavuser

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Oh damn I made the bad assumption that the 2014 was a reissue of the 70s and assumed the body was the same thickness. I guess the 2014 is lighter yet thicker / taller body?
the solid body 1970's M-85 is likely a little thinner in the body than the GSR, but not by much- those 2 would be close. other than that though, and being short scale Guilds, they have very little in common. the 60's version of M-85 is a super fat body- just like the Newark St. reissue. those are "in the neighborhood of double fattness" when compared to a 70s solid body M-85, or a GSR M-85, or both, or at least it would seem that way.
 

fronobulax

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Given that the M-85 model name was used for a lot of specs, it is helpful to distinguish between the 60's hollow body, the post 1973 solid, the early 70's transition, the 201x GSR and the 201x Newark Street just because it is easy to confuse people like me when the distinction is not being made :)

That said the only solid body version was made during the '70's so the ambiguity isn't quite as bad as it seems.

I note that Guild says here that the (modern) Guild BS-1 Bisonic is similar in specification to a Hammon Darkstar. This is of interest to me because it verifies @mavuser 's comment (which I could not recall hearing before) and is circumstantial evidence for the hypothesis that Fred Hammon had something to do with Guild's modern Bisonic.
 

hieronymous

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Thanks! Helps a lot. Guess I'm in search of a 70s (preferred 1972) M85-II
Hi, I own an early '70s M-85 II - I think it's mid/late 1971. It has the thinner solid body and came with the Guild humbuckers. It's factory fretless though, so difficult to compare to other (fretted) basses sound-wise.

If I may ask - why are you looking for a 1972? Something about the appearance? The sound? Is there something you don't like about your current one? It sounds to me like you are dissatisfied somehow - you also made the Plek post, right? Does it not play well? Or not give you the sound you are looking for?
 

theFPVgeek

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Hi, I own an early '70s M-85 II - I think it's mid/late 1971. It has the thinner solid body and came with the Guild humbuckers. It's factory fretless though, so difficult to compare to other (fretted) basses sound-wise.

If I may ask - why are you looking for a 1972? Something about the appearance? The sound? Is there something you don't like about your current one? It sounds to me like you are dissatisfied somehow - you also made the Plek post, right? Does it not play well? Or not give you the sound you are looking for?
Yeah, a few reasons I'd prefer the 72, one is 72 is a good birth year ;) and two, Sheryl Crow's version is what lead me on the search. But with that said a 73 or other 70s solid body would work as well.

As far the current one, I, unfortunately, backed out of the purchase because I mistakenly thought the 2014 was a reissue of the 70s but found out it's not the same (70s being solid & thinner).
 

krysh

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just in case someone is interested, this is how my 2014 M-85 sounds in my hands.
1st half with a pick, 2nd half with fingers.
 

hieronymous

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Yeah, a few reasons I'd prefer the 72, one is 72 is a good birth year ;) and two, Sheryl Crow's version is what lead me on the search. But with that said a 73 or other 70s solid body would work as well.

As far the current one, I, unfortunately, backed out of the purchase because I mistakenly thought the 2014 was a reissue of the 70s but found out it's not the same (70s being solid & thinner).
The two basses in the first post in this thread are mine - I believe they are both 1971 - I was born late in 1970, I consider these close enough to my birth year! But I never heard of nor thought of that idea until long after I acquired them. If you can get one in your birth year that's cool, but to me, having one close is good enough - best of luck in your search!

I will say that I personally wasn't too fond of the humbuckers, but take that with a grain of salt - 1) mine are early, not sure if the design changed at all afterwards, and 2) mine is fretless so maybe they weren't "subtle" enough - they certainly were loud pickups! I am a long time Alembic user and had the opportunity to have Alembic pickups and electronics installed, they are perfect for me. But I have friends that love the Guild humbuckers, or "sludgebuckers" as they were affectionately named at the Last Bass Outpost, after the mighty Gibson Mudbucker found on the EB basses like the EB-0, EB-2, EB-3, etc.

just in case someone is interested, this is how my 2014 M-85 sounds in my hands.
1st half with a pick, 2nd half with fingers.
I tried to play it but it said "This track was not found"
 

mavuser

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Quite possible Eric. I wonder if all the GSR M85IIs have these same pickups.



Ralf, I'm reviewing the text messages I had with Kim. The serial number of his is NQ 346002, and mine is NQ308004.

He told me that all but one or two that shipped came back with headstock breaks, and remembers having six to repair and re-lacquer, but didn't remember how many they got done before Fender shuttered the plant. He said at that point there were four or five others that were completed but unshipped. And he remembers 12 in total being built...

...That does raise the possibility that maybe there was something done to these pups here, before they were installed in the bass? Who knows? Maybe Kim does, but it was eight years ago now.
we have accounted for 12 so that part adds up for sure.

Mine was *not one that got sent back for repair, as mine was never completed in the first place. I got mine from a factory employee a few months after Guild was completely moved out and shuttered. I was told mine was never completed in the first place, due to a very minor blemish/scuff on the top of my bass, and so was set aside while the factory was still operating (minor like would be on any guitar on the show room floor of a store), and about 6 weeks after the factory stopped operations, on literally the last day anyone was working there under Guild, my bass remained along with a couple other guitars on a rack- and my bass at the time had no nut, no strings, no case, no case candy, no strap, and no paperwork. This employee wound up with the bass as partial compensation/bonus for those last days at the factory under unique circumstances (IF FENDER NEVER SELLS GUILD AT THAT TIME, I NEVER OWN A GSR M-85 BASS). So this employee finished my bass in his house, when they got around to it, and sold it to me, un-cased...
employee also had a B-54ce with no case or paperwork or anything- that bass was also missing a label and had no serial number- and was an amazing piece! i just couldn't buy 2...even at their rock bottom prices. my bass was one of the very, very last to leave NH Guild factory. among the final 5-10 instruments out the door, during the summer of 2014.

anyway, again, we have accounted for 12, so this info seems solid from Kim. However, mine did come with a shop tag that says "24" and is certainly feasible if 25 were made, that mine would be second-to-last. maybe 24 were planned to be made (not 25), and the "24" simply refers to the entire run (or what it was supposed to be)? but the 24 seems to be associated with my serial number?

9C02D0AE-40A9-408F-B370-3E810A27B992.jpeg
 
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fronobulax

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I will say that I personally wasn't too fond of the humbuckers, but take that with a grain of salt - 1) mine are early, not sure if the design changed at all afterwards
For the OP's benefit, the people who are most vocal about the inferiority of the Guild humbuckers tend to be in love with the Hagstrom Bisonic. I had played a Starfire but for reasons I cannot recall bought a JS II new. I liked the humbuckers and had a lot of fun. The memory of the Starfire haunted me and I bought one used several years later. But it took about 5 years before I pretty much put the JS down and used the Starfire exclusively. So they are not bad at all and there is versatility with the Deep/Hard switch but they just aren't my preference any more.

I have heard no reports that the humbucker design or build changed during the 1970's.
 

SFIV1967

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...but the 24 seems to be associated with my serial number?
I don't think that "024" would refer to #24 of 25.

I wonder if they do have actually a New Hartford label inside the body under the pickups?

1614115457264.png


Actually I think that 024 has a totally different meaning. Here is a GSR F-30R label with 280 and this was only a 20 pcs. run, not 280...

1614115865820.png


Ralf
 
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lungimsam

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I don’t like the melted plastic wings around the base of the 2013 NS Bisonic. Flimsy and mine cracked. It sits in the cabinet now, no wires on it.
For reference, mine reads 7.21 kohms.
 
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mavuser

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I don't think that "024" would refer to #24 of 25.

I wonder if they do have actually a New Hartford label inside the body under the pickups?

View attachment 15295

Actually I think that 024 has a totally different meaning. Here is a GSR F-30R label with 280 and this was only a 20 pcs. run, not 280...

View attachment 15296

Ralf
Hi Ralf, I know the serial number has the day of the year the instrument was completed, but perhaps the second number ("24" or "280" in our examples) corresponds to the day of the year that the ticket with those bar codes was printed? it would seem to make sense in both examples.
 

mavuser

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I have heard no reports that the humbucker design or build changed during the 1970's.
Fro, there have definitely been varying reports and pickup value readings on those 70s humbuckers, as well as various configurations and values of the pots and caps. to be honest, i think you probably just forgot. I also recall reading something where one person claimed there were three different versions of the 70s Guild bass bucker, claiming it changed over time...with wildy different readings, which would be consistent with what i've seen around over time (this did not include the 90s version). I have heard some variation with my own ears for sure, particularly in your own 1971 JS-2, which sounds more defined or "single coilly," and better- than any other 70s Guild bass humbucker i've heard.

I also recall being told about a slight cosmetic difference in the early ones, but was something very minor, such as a Guild stamp or date etched in the back of the pickup (or lack therof)
 

SFIV1967

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Hi Ralf, I know the serial number has the day of the year the instrument was completed, but perhaps the second number ("24" or "280" in our examples) corresponds to the day of the year that the ticket with those bar codes was printed? it would seem to make sense in both examples.
Certainly something to think about. Let's see if I find another example.
Ralf
 
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