5 String Bi-Sonic

fronobulax

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I’ve got a Hagstrom Coronado VI. It’s one of two I’ve ever seen. I was about to buy the first out of Germany, and the second showed up in San Francisco. I’ll send Frono a picture and he can post it.
Got it but probably won't get it posted for a couple days.

I received this further reply from Roger Daguet.

"d*oes your guild fitted with originals bisonics or fred hammon reissues? if yours are the chinese reissue, you are quite far from the original"
I'm thinking it is a comment about tone/performance which has been much discussed and is in line with experiences reported here.
 

mellowgerman

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"d*oes your guild fitted with originals bisonics or fred hammon reissues? if yours are the chinese reissue, you are quite far from the original"
I'd say that Roger is just letting you know, although the Newark Street reissue pickups look exactly like the original Bisonics, they are actually quite different pickups. Both single coils, so inherently related, and I do think they sound great on their own right, but having owned basses with Novaks, Hammons, Hagstroms, and the NS Reissue, I can say they're quite a bit thinner sounding, with more focus on the upper mid frequencies (to my ears anyway). I think Roger's pickups are intended to sound like Hagstroms, so he just wants you to know that his pickups won't sound very much like the NS reissues.
I did try to record a comparison when I had several different incarnations of the Bisonic pickup on hand, but I'm hesitant to introduce that here... In retrospect, I think it was a failed experiment, as I think the setting I unintentionally had my Tascam digital recorder on, colored the tone too much. The difference is much more obvious in person, when playing through a quality, transparent amp. A good comparison between the NS reissue and the Novak (which I've found to be the most faithful recreation of the Hagstrom) is the following video, done by Chicago bass builder Serek:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuDtKF8qyNY
 
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Llewellen

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I'd say that Roger is just letting you know, although the Newark Street reissue pickups look exactly like the original Bisonics, they are actually quite different pickups. Both single coils, so inherently related, and I do think they sound great on their own right, but having owned basses with Novaks, Hammons, Hagstroms, and the NS Reissue, I can say they're quite a bit thinner sounding, with more focus on the upper mid frequencies (to my ears anyway). I think Roger's pickups are intended to sound like Hagstroms, so he just wants you to know that his pickups won't sound very much like the NS reissues.
I did try to record a comparison when I had several different incarnations of the Bisonic pickup on hand, but I'm hesitant to introduce that here... In retrospect, I think it was a failed experiment, as I think the setting I unintentionally had my Tascam digital recorder on, colored the tone too much. The difference is much more obvious in person, when playing through a quality, transparent amp. A good comparison between the NS reissue and the Novak (which I've found to be the most faithful recreation of the Hagstrom) is the following video, done by Chicago bass builder Serek:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuDtKF8qyNY
That is excellent and helpful information. Thank you!

I wonder if the tonal character you heard by comparison in the Guild reissues was a result of the pot and/or tone cap values. The Guild site advertises 500K pots in the Newark Street reissue (no mention of cap values). That might account for their apparent emphasis on upper mid frequencies? Maybe 250K pots and lower cap values would change that?

It is the tone of my Guild reissue Bi-Sonics that I love, so perhaps I'm not chasing the true, vintage Hagstrom experience after all. I heard the Serek comparison on youtube and I did prefer the Novak Darkstar but he has said he doesn't intend to make a 5 string version. Maybe the Lakland Chi-Sonics in 5 string are for me?
 

mellowgerman

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That is excellent and helpful information. Thank you!

I wonder if the tonal character you heard by comparison in the Guild reissues was a result of the pot and/or tone cap values. The Guild site advertises 500K pots in the Newark Street reissue (no mention of cap values). That might account for their apparent emphasis on upper mid frequencies? Maybe 250K pots and lower cap values would change that?

It is the tone of my Guild reissue Bi-Sonics that I love, so perhaps I'm not chasing the true, vintage Hagstrom experience after all. I heard the Serek comparison on youtube and I did prefer the Novak Darkstar but he has said he doesn't intend to make a 5 string version. Maybe the Lakland Chi-Sonics in 5 string are for me?

Though potentiometers do make a slight difference, the contrast between the pickups is big enough that it would not make a difference. The most notable thing I find is that the Novaks and vintage Hagstroms just sound have more of that big W quality (warmer/woollier/woodier), which I absolutely love and which won't really be affected by the type of potentiometer. Like I said though, the NS reissue pickup is a perfectly good pickup in its own right. I think you may really be happier with the Chi Sonics. I've had a few of them in my possession over the years as well and, now that you bring it up, they have a similar mid-focus to them. Also, not very expensive in comparison to some of the other options.

http://hansonpickups.com/chisonics.htm
 

Llewellen

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Though potentiometers do make a slight difference, the contrast between the pickups is big enough that it would not make a difference. The most notable thing I find is that the Novaks and vintage Hagstroms just sound have more of that big W quality (warmer/woollier/woodier), which I absolutely love and which won't really be affected by the type of potentiometer. Like I said though, the NS reissue pickup is a perfectly good pickup in its own right. I think you may really be happier with the Chi Sonics. I've had a few of them in my possession over the years as well and, now that you bring it up, they have a similar mid-focus to them. Also, not very expensive in comparison to some of the other options.

http://hansonpickups.com/chisonics.htm
Thanks. I have been exchanging emails with Lakland and I'm just waiting to hear back from them about how critical string spacing is for the Chi-Sonics. Ideally, I would like about 16.75mm at the bridge saddles on a 5 string for my style of play.
 

mgod

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I received this further reply from Roger Daguet.

"d*oes your guild fitted with originals bisonics or fred hammon reissues? if yours are the chinese reissue, you are quite far from the original"

I have the Newark Street reissue Starfire II so this is an interesting (if disconcerting) comment from Roger. Any feedback from forum members?
The NS pickups and Lakin’s Chi-Sonics sound nothing like the originals or Dark Stars. No idea about Novaks or Daguets.
 

Llewellen

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The NS pickups and Lakin’s Chi-Sonics sound nothing like the originals or Dark Stars. No idea about Novaks or Daguets.
Something I am learning from the various replies to my original post. Since I have never heard an original Hagstrom or Hammon, that cannot be the tone I am chasing in a 5 string. It is the tone of the NS Guild Bi-Sonics that I like and if those were available in 5 string format, that is what I would use. To reiterate, they would be used on a 5 string semi-hollow bass.

From the limited number of soundclips I have found on youtube, and from other comments posted here, it appears that perhaps Lakland's 5 string Chi-Sonics would come closest.
 

fronobulax

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I’ve got a Hagstrom Coronado VI. It’s one of two I’ve ever seen. I was about to buy the first out of Germany, and the second showed up in San Francisco. I’ll send Frono a picture and he can post it.
 

SFIV1967

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...that’s been modified. If you look at the image Frono has posted, each of my Coronados has 4 switches.
Good catch! The description from CME reads: "The original switching and tone controls have been removed and a traditional switch and pot have been installed. The original part is in the hard shell but is not functional."
Ralf
 

mavuser

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someone bought the Hagstrom VI on reverb/CME. mgod???
 
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