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Thread: Newark Street Starfire Bass

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

    This is a placeholder for comments by people who actually have played one and for questions from potential buyers. I started my comments over here but I will probably post in both places as appropriate until I finally get my act together for the definitive comparison to a 1967 Starfire.

    Two immediate comments. I have received a PM that supports my impression that the sound is not 100% vintage Bisonic but agrees with me that it could be the roundwound strings that are causing that impression and not the PU. So the jury is still out on that, IMO.

    There have been quality control questions. The first review I saw was from a blogger named John B. who ultimately returned it after a week because there were a couple of things that were not quite right for him. I've heard a report of another bass that could have had better alignment on the tuners and did have a finish crack. I have not looked for that on my bass although I will be doing so soon. Basically I trust my dealer's own QC and if there were anything obvious he would have told me or not sold me the bass. That said, I am hearing some extraneous sounds that are probably bad technique on my part but could be a high fret. So that will take some investigation on my part. I will certainly report any QC problems I note.

    Still have to say that, since this is my first new bass since, 1972, I am very pleased.
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuball48 View Post
    Frono: You are correct----again.

    '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 am the one that sent Frono the PM. the bass I ordered was likely on the same delivery truck as his, I got the call the same day.

    the big difference is mine did not come home with me. had a finish crack in the neck seam very similar to the issues in this thread (dropped the ball and did not take a pic- but very similar to the "red 94" in the thread)-

    http://www.letstalkguild.com/ltg/sho...-already/page2

    which in my opinion...is not limited to Koren guitars, USA guitars, or even Guild guitars. any guitar placed in hardshell case that does not fit properly is going to result-much of the time- in 1 pressure point right above the neck heel, and another pressure point at the bottom of the body where it sits in the case. if the body is "floating" in air (even just a little) and the only parts realy truly touching/resting in the case is that neck right above the heel...and the bottom of the body at the bottom corner of the case...THAT is what im talking about. then u close the case and all the pressure is right on those 2 points. hard to describe without showing someone in the flesh. anyway ill cut this hypothesis off here-just a warning to you all. this drives me CRAZY. always has. i see this in Guilds and Gibsons. Gibson "gig bags" are a disaster as well, and i have told them so. they fit like a glove. A GLOVE THAT IS TOO SMALL. they fit so tight, it warps the necks on Gibson USAs. i am very anal about how my guitars fit in hardshell cases. a couple were tricky to find the right fit, and the case still needed to be modded by raising the floor in the body area, or further depressing the neck valley-or both. in all instances i am talking about cases from the factory that came w the instrument new, or were deisgned for a specific model instrument. they just make them too tight a lot of the time. this is all just my opinion/speculation...maybe there is another reason those neck seams have cracks in the finish. i am not a beliver that the finish "sinks" though. something is pulling it apart.

    back the NS SF bass, the tuners appeared offset to one side on the back of the headstock, but looked good on the front. I came home and noticed my 1972 JS1 is basically identical to that-so there must be a reason it appears that way on the back- not an issue.

    now to the big question- which Frono may have misunderstood in my initial message to him-i was being conservative and did not want to be held accoutable, but to ME-MY ears, MY opinion- it sounds ALOT like the old one(s). I suppose some of you may want to disect and dismantle the subject of tone and bring in the dark star and a million other things...I am going to fail at all of that but i can tell you it sounds UNREAL and from what i know of the 60's SF basses, they sound very close to each other. put on Flatwound strings and that might require a blindfold test. at least to ME. I cannot emphasize enough however, this is only my personal opinion, and I do not own a 60s SF bass.

    as for the 2013 model I had INTENDED to own...they gave me some options which I am currently mulling over. I hadnt paid for the bass yet (other than a 20 percent deposit from a few months ago-fully backed by a credit card compamy of course...) so i dont feel like ive been dealt such a bad hand necassarily, but proceeding with caution. i will not wind up with the blemished one, that much i know.

    with all that said the instrument was really nice, and sounded absolutely amazing. the neck is super thin like an early 60s fender mustang bass. played like a dream. I need all the help i can get on bass, and this thing was basically playing itself.

    so i am looking forward to hearing more from Frono and anyone else. will check in again when i have an update on my situation.


    also i THINK the serial # was .......097 which to me means the 97th Newark St instument-NOT the 97th bass. but that is just a guess.

    cheers,
    mu

  3. #3
    Senior Member SFIV1967's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mavuser View Post
    also i THINK the serial # was .......097 which to me means the 97th Newark St instument-NOT the 97th bass. but that is just a guess.
    Yes, numbers are used for all the Newark St. models, I have seem numbers as high as 99x on ebay, so they have produced more than 1000 of the complete series so far. You can't see at all how many of each model were shipped, unfortunately. Also it is still a mystery about the number 12 (behind the KSG), at NAMM we speculated that were year 2012 started prototypes, and I would have expected that this number changes to 13 for 2013, but that has not happened. Nobody was available to explain that to me yet. It would have been so nice to see the year of manufacture in the serial number!
    Ralf

  4. #4
    Ralf,

    A friend of mine had a lot of guitars built in Korea. The quality varied from shipment to shipment.
    In fact the quality gradually went down-hill and the guy stopped marketing those guitars. True story.

    I asked him how it could have been different and he said if he'd gone to the factory more than once every couple of years it would have been different. They'd mess up silly things like (scale lengths, good capacitors with the cheap wiring, pickup routing positions, neck binding would be missing the side dots, etc.). Mistakes a guitar player would never make, but a guy who was barking orders at 5 employees might do when he grabbed the blueprints for one neck along with the specs for another body. One time 50 necks were ruined. They had to ship the replacements via air freight.

    All this is a prefatory statement to the idea that it would be wrong to expect that the korean manufacturer would change the year info from 12 to 13 unless he got 5 emails about it from Guild/Fender America.

    Never expect linear thinking.

    gilded
    Quote Originally Posted by fronobulax View Post

    And I like Harry's approach.
    '66 Starfire I SB bass, '67 Mark IV pear wood, '68 F-112, '75 Mark 4 P padauk,
    '66 Thunderbird amp, '68 Thunder 1 RVT amp and, yet another '68 Thunder 1 RVT amp!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by gilded View Post
    Ralf,

    A friend of mine had a lot of guitars built in Korea. The quality varied from shipment to shipment.
    In fact the quality gradually went down-hill and the guy stopped marketing those guitars. True story.

    I asked him how it could have been different and he said if he'd gone to the factory more than once every couple of years it would have been different. They'd mess up silly things like (scale lengths, good capacitors with the cheap wiring, pickup routing positions, neck binding would be missing the side dots, etc.). Mistakes a guitar player would never make, but a guy who was barking orders at 5 employees might do when he grabbed the blueprints for one neck along with the specs for another body. One time 50 necks were ruined. They had to ship the replacements via air freight.

    All this is a prefatory statement to the idea that it would be wrong to expect that the korean manufacturer would change the year info from 12 to 13 unless he got 5 emails about it from Guild/Fender America.

    Never expect linear thinking.

    gilded
    Harry,

    I think that you post goes a long way towards explaining the wild swings in QC of the Epiphone Jack Casady Signature basses. I'm happy that mine is a good one (great really, especially with the Hipshot upgrades), but others here haven't had as positive an experience. I know mellowgerman got a terrible one, and have a friend here on Long Island that returned one, swore he'd never buy another, and can't believe how good mine is. He's considering trying again now.
    Sandy

    '59 X175AB, '61 Mark VI, '68 SFII Bass (Green), '73 D50NT, '82 Mark V, '86 Pilot 602P, '87 Pilot SB602M, '88 Pilot SB602MF, '99 DeArmond Starfire Bass, '10 F512NT
    '11 F50ce Std (Sunburst), '12 F50 Std (Sunburst), '13 R30S (Resonator), '13 B54ce Std Bass, '13 Orpheum Jumbo Prototype, '13 Orpheum OM Mahogany, '13 GSR M85II Bass

  6. #6
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    I think my serial ends with 977. I'm too lazy to go look at it. Rocky Streer Sounds has one on eBay that is something like 944.

    As for tone, to clarify...

    I had rounds on my '67 for many years so I kind of delude myself into thinking I remember what they sounded like.

    If I that '67 and the NS, dial the tone to the minimum value I am hard pressed to tell a difference. There is one but it could be due to the strings, the PU location or where I pluck. With the tone down to zero I'd be comfortable advising people to start the search for the bisonic tone with the Newark Street.

    But, as I dial the treble up on each bass, the similarity diverges. I think that is because the rounds are brighter but I am not certain enough about that to unconditionally endorse the NS as the vintage alternative. That may change when I change strings or get more ears or get other folks to play both basses.

    No signs of finish or other cracking on my bass. I will still look harder.

    Did I mention the tuners? If you laid a straight edge across the top it would not lie flat over the E and G or the A and D. Close but no cigar. It doesn't bother me and I need to look and see whether it is that way on any other basses.
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuball48 View Post
    Frono: You are correct----again.

    '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.

  7. #7
    I should clarify, in my "tone review" I had the tone pot turned all the way off (or zero). and the volume all the way up. that's how i always play bass. I like that "thump" without any tone dialed. The NS SF 1 with the tone dial "off" (zero) sounds like the old 60s SF bass to me (location of tone dial unknown on the 60s one).

    I should also emphasize the fact that as I pointed out in my previous post- the thread I posted the link to...refrences 2 guitars. both are Guilds. one is a GSR (starfire?) guitar made in the USA. it sounds expensive and only 18 were made. the other is a "red 94" (starfire ?) which i presume is a Guild and I presume is made in the USA. the problem with the NS SF bass I saw was very similar in nature to those guitars, but honestly not quite as bad (yet).

    so say what u want about Korea or Koreans...but they alone are clearly not the problem. In fact I have every faith in the craftsmenship. the bass was absolutely beautiful and sounded UNREAL. sure things go wrong from time to time, fingers will be pointed and blame can be placed appropriately. such is life, blatant mistakes will be made. that does not appear to be the issue here though. not with the bass i saw/played. i stand by my hard case theory. but who knows
    Last edited by mavuser; 07-08-2013 at 12:13 AM.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    Back to my bass - my bass teacher loves it. I also think it has better sustain than the '67. I still have to get pics and maybe even clips and a string change but this is not looking to be a lazy weekend with lots of time.

    In case this thread is the first thing a potential purchaser finds, note that Guild's specs say a hard shell case is included in their posted MSRP, but there are some dealers who are either not mentioning the case or explicitly advertising No Case. Thus make sure you get a case or a price adjustment.
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuball48 View Post
    Frono: You are correct----again.

    '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.

  9. #9
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    Hey Frono, gonna update your signature? Or is the jury still out?
    Guild 66-J amplifier (Hoboken)
    Guild D-55 (New Hartford)
    Guild F47R (New Hartford)
    Huss & Dalton DS Custom (Staunton)
    Huss & Dalton TD-R Custom, "The Pilgrim" model (Staunton)

  10. #10
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Ashton View Post
    Hey Frono, gonna update your signature? Or is the jury still out?
    Chances of the jury returning a negative verdict are pretty slight so..
    Quote Originally Posted by mgod View Post
    What he said.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuball48 View Post
    Frono: You are correct----again.

    '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.

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