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Berry Oakley Tractor Build:Pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by TomTomGPS, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. TomTomGPS


    Feb 20, 2013
    Hi all, I've been asking around on other forums, but I think this is the best for what info. I need.:help:
    I'm going to do a Tractor build, and need help with that infamous and hard to find Hagstrom/Guild pickup he had in the neck.
    I was going to try Epi mini humbuckers from a Viola bass. Then I found out that the Hagstrom was actually single coil. While I still like the idea of the Epi Violas, I found 2 pickups on eBay I think might be better. One is a Univox hi flyer, from the bridge position (to be used in neck) wound to around 11K, it's supposed to be a mosrite copy. The other one just says Guild, and against my better judgement, since I am rather unversed in the ways of bass pickups I'll put up the link and pray one of you doesn't nab it while I question if it's worth it:rolleyes:. I'm just hesitant because I don't know if it is similar to Oakley's. And any opinions on the Epi Viola pup idea? Thanks
  2. TomTomGPS


    Feb 20, 2013
    Oh, and while I'm at it, what about a Gibson Bass pickup? Like one of the ones from an EB-0 or EB-3...
  3. I thought those Dark Star pickups tb's seem to talk about were a Guild style pickup. I dont know if they are the same as the model in the tractor?
  4. andertone

    andertone Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Southwest USA
    The Ebay pickup is the later Guild humbucker that replaced the Haggie Bisonic, OK pickup but not what you want if you are going for the Berry Oakely tractor sound

    It has to be a Bisonic, or Fred Hammon Dark star if you can find one. I hear Guild is going
    to reissue the Starfire II and Bisonic pickup, that is where I would start to see if they will sell some. Dark Stars come up on Ebay at a huge price. Curtis Novak, a guy in France, and some others are going to start making them. There is also a rumor that Fred Hammon is going back into production, that would be the best as he probably has made more of these pickups than all others combined and they are excellent

    Good luck!
  5. TomTomGPS


    Feb 20, 2013
  6. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    There is lots of good info here on TalkBass about the Tractor. Search and you will find.

    Deciding on which pickup to use depends on what exactly you're going for - do you want yours to look like the original, or sound like the original? Or perhaps both?

    For visual authenticity, at the moment, you're limited to either finding an original Hagstrom BiSonic (rare as hen's teeth) or a DarkStar (slightly less rare, but still pretty expensive). There are others working on replicas, but (to my knowledge) they're not available yet.

    If you're just interested in that sound, then your options open up. There's Roger Daguet's "DagStar", and there's Curtis Novak's "EB-BS". There are several others working on sound-alikes in various form factors. And I'm quite sure that if you contact any of the boutique pickup makers and explain what you're after, they could wind you something suitable in whatever case you want.

    Read through the Club Dark Star thread for lots more info.
  7. TomTomGPS


    Feb 20, 2013
    I'm more concerned with sound. Looks is just a bonus. And andertone, you were right, they already have a Bisonic in their 2013 Starfire basses. There's no way I'll be buying one of those just to rip a pickup out of it though... maybe a certain eBay seller I know will though:D
    I'm pretty sure we all know, actually.
  8. spacebassed


    Jan 31, 2009
  9. Peer75RI


    May 1, 2009
    I've built a Tractor some years ago and used a Darkstar (when Fred was still in business)



    If I would build one now, and sound would be my priority, I would probably also check the Vintage ChiSonics (with AlNiCo 5 instead of NeoD.), as Hanson voiced these to be as close to a DS.
  10. ronaldpdbrandt

    ronaldpdbrandt Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2011
    Suffolk County, NY
    Sponsored by The Letter Z
    Ignore the Hi-Flyers, Guilds, or any kind of HB. You want the BiSonic/Dark Star sound, and those won't give it to you.

    BTW, I'm almost done building a mono-only P-bass version of the Tractor right now:


    I was actually able to snag a Dark Star from a TBer by putting up a WTB ad and bumping it up every day for about a week. It was pricey though, so if you have some patience and can wait for either Roger Daguet, Kurt Novak, or Hagstrom itself to come onto the market, you'll be better off. Once there are a few suppliers, the price shouldn't be so bad, either. LHN Born out of the UK is another pickup maker that is working on a prototype at the moment, so add him to the list as well.
  11. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    Nice Tractor builds guys!! I might do up my jazz some day. Good info on the new prod copies.

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