NBD Japanese Mockingbird content

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by KillerEddie, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. KillerEddie


    Aug 10, 2016
    so I’d seen these Fernandes Mockingbirds sold a lot over the years but had long assumed they were just cheap knock odds. However I was told, and clarified via this forum, they they are in fact Nagoya built (NJ) Mockingbirds simply branded with an F on the headstock for sale in Japan. They apparently are literally part for part the exact same bass. What’s interesting is while most were the general three or four knob variety, many were also sold as late as 1997 using the Moser Varitone circuits. So I snatched one up to see how it compares. This is a Fernandez MB90 which is the model that has the Moser circuit, I believe the other is called an MB85. The seller claims it’s 1997 model but I see no manner of knowing this as I can find no serial number at all. This bass is quite literally an NJ Mock with an F on the headstock. The circuit is identical and it functions just as well.

    I’m going to compare the body to a Heritage Classic Mockingbird as that’s the one most seem familiar with lately.
    What is interesting is these are built using the older 80s specs meaning the edges are more beveled . I’m sure this reduces body weight by some miniscule amount but I’m not sure. The top ledge as you see is more beveled versus the Heritage’s flat edge.
    Also note the strap button is mounted on top of the horn which is weird and I assume meant to help counter neck dive. If it does, it’s only slightly.

    The hardware however does seem a bit lighter and the overall weight is a hair lower. The bridge for example is the one the 80s models used and not that chunky diecast one in the Heritage and other newer models. So without having removed them and rigged them I’d gues it is surely lighter. The timers are a bit larger and also feel lighter.

    Now on to the backsides:
    You’ll notice the sweep the the body is more oronounxed on the Feenandes. This I presume also diminishes weight in some immessurably small way. Looks cool though . You’ll also note that this one like the newer one has one of my pet peeves about activebasses: NO BATTERY DOOR! Why BC Rich has never seen fit to add one and instead bury the battery haphazardly in the wiring compartment is beyond me and given the Moser circuit is even more cramped here I literally have the battery laying on the back of the Varitone pot. Ernie Ball adds doors yet few other do.

    Anyway with that rant out of the way, let’s talk about controls.
    So this is a whole other beast compared to most control setups. For those unfamiliar with this old circuit, it, not the body shape, is what gave these their names. Neal literally designed a circuit to “mock” most common basses. So you can get grinding Geezer tones or mellow J Bass vibes. The trio of dip switches are from left to right, a boost for the bridge pickup, a boost for the neck pickup, and an in/out of phase selector. I’ve personally never seen the draw to running pups out of phase but to each their own. The pointed knob is the Varitone control and goes through a litany is settings mocking different instruments. It’s complicated in tandem with all the other options but the possibilities are near endless. The switch with the black cap selects pups . I personally use one or the other with the respective boost as having both on seems a bit weaker unless you have both boosts on which can bea bit too much. The other single switch lets you switch from active to passive, a feature I wish all acfivebasses have (the Heritage lacks this feature) the top black Knob is master volume whereas the second black knob is preamp volume. The final knob is tone.

    On to the pups:
    These appear to be early 90s DiMarzios which are of course extremely beefy. They seem s but fuller and have a bit more low end that those on the Heritage (I’m not sure what brand are on the Heritage, does BC Rich make their own or are they outsourced? Anyone know?)

    Overall I love this thing. With Moser circuit equipped mocks feat Ching between 1-3k this is a whole lot better deal and you’re getting literally the samebass not a knock off. These are simply ones made to be sold in Japan.
    DeeDeeKing, sko1270, Doctor J and 4 others like this.
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Just about to start reading, (tl;dr-yet) ;) but that is darned fine looking!
    KillerEddie likes this.
  3. KillerEddie


    Aug 10, 2016
    Yeah it’s teally well built. It’s got that aged cream color that older white guitars often get. Under the back plate you can see the original ore-aged. I personally like the aged look and am going to get s friend of mine fill in the nicks and try to match up some paint so I can keep it this color. It’s amazing how well these are built, and I wonder if Fernandez was somehow founded by Bernie Rico, what history. I can find says they also made classical acoustics first which is exactly how Bernie got started. Another in fact is apparently they even made some guitars at Matsumoku which I never knew
  4. 9c1ny

    9c1ny Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2008
    Not a comparable to the heritage series Mock, an early 80's NJ, maybe. These were copies much like Japan stole countless designs in the 70's and 80's, it was likely produced under very similar conditions to an early NJ maybe even in the same factory. Throw a Badass bridge on it and some Grover tuners and crank it to 11 :)
  5. Oren Hudson

    Oren Hudson

    Dec 25, 2007
    Gastonia, NC
    So - Merry Christmas!
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