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Thread: Bi Sonics, Dark Stars & Humbuckers. How do I tell them apart ?

  1. #1
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    Bi Sonics, Dark Stars & Humbuckers. How do I tell them apart ?

    Been reading about the Bi Sonics, Dark Stars & Humbuckers. How do I tell them apart ??

  2. #2
    Welcome. You've come to the right place.

    The humbuckers have silver faces.

    The Bisonics (originals and reissues) and Darkstars have black faces. I have one base with each and by sight, I'm not sure if I Could tell you which is which.

    Hopefully others will chime �� in.

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    Thanks Happy Face for the info. The humbuckers have silver faces/covers and the Bisonics (originals and reissues) and Darkstars have black faces.
    OK, how do you tell the difference between the Bisonics (originals and reissues) and Darkstars ??

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by jc2940 View Post
    OK, how do you tell the difference between the Bisonics (originals and reissues) and Darkstars ??
    there is also the NuSonic, Chisonic, and Curtis Novak BS/DS, in addition to the Dark Star, the Guild re-issue Bisonic, and the original Bisonic. just by looking at them, im not sure how you would tell them apart unless you removed the pickup from the instrument. in listening to them, it would be easier to conclude what is what (although some of the aforementioned options will definetly sound similar). The originals are pretty "vintage sounding" (very warm & punchy, and very hot). if you couldnt tell them apart by listening, i suppose that says something (good) about the reissues

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    Thanks Mavuser for the info. So, as I now understand, the only way you would tell them apart would be to remove the pickup from the instrument other than listening to them. So when they are removed, how would you tell the difference ? What would you be looking for ?
    I do agree with what you mentioned when you said,
    " if you couldn't tell them apart by listening, I suppose that says something (good) about the reissues "

  6. #6
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    Sometimes I just have to repeat what everyone else has said, just because.

    Guild bass humbuckers have chrome covers.
    P1010701.jpg

    Bisonics generally have a black insert and have a row of pole pieces and a row of adjusting screws.



    I know Dark Stars were available in neck and bridge versions and I believe if you measured the distance between the pole pieces you could tell the bridge and neck versions apart. I do not know for certain whether the vintage (Hagstrom) Bisonics and the Newark Street Bisonics had different bridge and neck versions. I don't think they did but... Curtis Novak offers his BS-DS with two different pole piece spacings. One aligns well with the standard Gulld "harp" bridge and the other aligns well with a "Fender" type bridge. He also offers a custom, non-black insert at extra cost.

    All this is to say, if the PU is installed in a bass it is going to be difficult if not impossible to tell which PUs are there unless pole piece measurements provide a clue.

    I'm not one of those folks who take things apart out of curiosity because I am one of those folks who can never get things back together "just right" so I don't know what markings are on the back, if any. So I don't know what back markings are there and am not about to find out.

    Curtis Novak says that the difference between his Bisonic emulation and his Dark Star emulation is just the number of windings in the coil. That suggests that electrical measurements might provide a clue.

    I have vague recollections that some of the vintage PUs have one magnet and others have two. That may lead to another clue.

    But it is pretty much a matter of sound. Some day I will make sound clips and if you need me to repeat my observations, I'll be glad to do so although I don't guarantee I am consistent :-)

    The humbucker photo comes from a for sale listing by bassmanpatsfan who sometimes posts here. The bisonic photo is Curtis Novak's BS-DS from his web site.
    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.

  7. #7
    JC2940, i am not specifically familliar with whats "under the hood" of all of those pickups, but suffice it to say, the bottoms of all of those pickups will not appear nearly as identical as the tops...

    you should be able to find a picture of the underside of an original vintage Hagstrom Bisonic somewhere online. same for the Novak BS/DS (those will say Novak and a date written in Sharpie marker on the bottom). and if you look hard enough for the others im sure you'll come up with something.

    if you don't mind me asking, what exactly is the goal? are you in the market for a SF bass? i live in NY too and could possibly help you find one (in my closet!) which pickup is the one that you are after? are you just looking to acquire stand alone pickup(s)? or just general curiousity on how someone would tell seemingly identical pickups from one another (a quite reasonable inquiry in itself for sure)

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    Mavuser, thank you and everyone here for all the info & input about the pickups and wiring. I'm considering putting together a Custom Bass, possibly a short-er scale
    { 31" or 32" } and I'm looking into the pickups. Looking at the usual.... EMG, Aguilar, Seymour Duncan, Nordstrand, Curtis Novak, TV Jones brands etc. A possibility of an onboard pre amp also. So I compiling as much info as I can about the electronics & wiring. I was also looking into picking up a used bass and doing some modifications to it, but I'm still up in the air about that route. It seems like Mr. Novak maybe the way to go p/u wise, since he'll custom tailor the p/u to you personal taste.

  9. #9
    JC, very cool. you may consider a Fender Musicmaster with a Novak BS/DS, or possibly a Novak Musicmaster or Mustang reissue/replacement pickup. heres a nice example of one:




    here is what the bottom looks like:




    and here is the bottom of a Guild Newark Street reissue Bisonic:


  10. #10
    Super Moderator fronobulax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jc2940 View Post
    I'm considering putting together a Custom Bass
    You might be interested in this thread. Or not :-)
    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.

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