1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

PJ Mod to MIM Jazz - Should I do it?

Discussion in 'The BASS Place' started by Okieactor, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. Immo

    Immo Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    667
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Location:
    Poznań, Poland
    I went PP instead of PJ and, man, I guess my interest in double pickup basses is gone as I found perfect two pickup bass for the, say, brighter side of tonal spectrum. I know I've shown it already, but hey, I'm proud ;)
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Manolete

    Manolete Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,045
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Location:
    Here
    You did a good job on that!
     
  3. howlin

    howlin Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,344
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    Location:
    Who wants to know?
    Nah, call up Curtis Novak and order one of his Dark Star pickups and turn your bass into a "tractor" bass like Barry Oakley did.
     
  4. Manolete

    Manolete Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,045
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Location:
    Here
    I always liken Dark Star pickups to the 'Tulip Mania' that swept through Europe at one point in time. People blew their life savings on tulips, pictures of tulips, tulip paraphernalia... at the end of the day, somebody must have said "look, they are just boring wee flowers" because the mania seemed to stop fairly quickly.

    The Dark Star pickups were made by the mysterious Fred Hammon. They are built around the specs of the original Hagstrom Bi Sonic pickups, though Fred changed some design elements. For a while people were tripping over themselves to awkwardly shovel these pickups into every bass known to man. Quite why a massive, idiosyncratically designed bass P90 pickup caused such a mania I do not know. People talked about them being 'warm humbuckers' (they are single coils), or sounding a certain way because of the 'coil topology under the strings' or other garbage....

    A French maker built some Bi Sonic clones in a more conventional pickup housing and nobody cares. I guess people are after the look of the Bi Sonic over and above the sound, because once you remove the chunky black cover plate and the weird 2nd row of adjustment screws it no longer looks the part. Sure Phil Lesh and Jack Casady used them, but typically that was in modified Guild Starfire basses into fairly uniquely modded rigs. If you want Phil Lesh's early '70s tone, start at the amp or the preamp, not with the pickup that was heading up a bunch of early Alembic electronics.

    Curtis Novak does make a faithful Bi Sonic replica, or at least claims to. They cost $275 each. I guess he had to get a lot of unique parts patterned up. In his blog section he repairs an original BS, and notes that a magnet is missing. He then attaches a random magnet that just happened to fit. Many BS pickups left the Hagstrom factory with a single magnet inside and the empty spacer for a 2nd magnet. Hagstrom differentiated neck and bridge Bi Sonics by adding either one or two magnets. If Curtis Novak didn't know this, then I cannot justify $275 on a pickup that looks the business but might not actually be that thoroughly researched.

    As for Berry Oakley, I own the ABB live album from one of the Filmores. I listen to it very occasionally. Berry's bass tone is fairly 'vanilla' for sure. Pictures of the era show that he was daisy-chaining random Fender, Sunn and Marshall amps together (including those Sunn amps with the power amps built into the cab, which are apparently decidedly terrible). His tone isn't especially 'bassy' for all that, and certainly not worth the butchery involved in adding a $275 Curtis Novak pickup to a Jazz bass.

    All my opinion of course, people do make Tractor replicas.
     
  5. Peltogyne

    Peltogyne Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,014
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2012
    Location:
    Northern California
    I agree with your assessment of the Dark Stars completely. But it's no different except for small details from all the products marketed on the promise of being able to buy part of a dream. The Dark Star craze on Talkbass went way beyond the usual magic beans of the week they usually do. It reminded me of how some women get over names on shoes and handbags.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.