Novak Mudbucker or Darkstar or Thunderbird

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by [CRTL+ALT+DEL], Jun 12, 2017.

  1. novak darkstar

    12 vote(s)
  2. novak mudbucker

    1 vote(s)
  3. keep it stock for resale value ;)

    2 vote(s)
  4. some boutique thunderbird PUs, like thunderbuckers?

    5 vote(s)

    [CRTL+ALT+DEL] mad scientist

    May 25, 2008
    so i have a sweet $150 epi goth thunderbird. i'm a bit of a noob when it comes to little details to do with vintage sounding bass. I'm looking to replace the stock pickups, like all my other "cheap" (expensive in the end) project guitars. and i'm more a guitar guy doing bass for my bedroom recording project so please forgive me for not knowing this stuff. i'm more trying to get a stable of very different sounding basses for recording. not aiming for the most versatile sound but more having very distinctly different voices from each bass. the equivalent of having a broadcaster stye tele and a sg for recording.

    i've been watching various demoes and i can't make up my mind. i think i also have not developed my vintage bass sound palette like my guitar palatte. so all the descriptions you have would be great.

    can someone make some convincing arguments towards which ones i should replace with?

  2. TBird1958

    TBird1958 As a matter of fact....I am your Queen! Staff Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Seattle Washington
    Endorsing Artist Mike Lull T Bass pickups
    davidprice, JJR58 and Axstar like this.

    [CRTL+ALT+DEL] mad scientist

    May 25, 2008
    that part was a joke. hence the ;). i'll check the linl

    [CRTL+ALT+DEL] mad scientist

    May 25, 2008
    i got it b stock from guitar center for under $200. a set of novak PUs will only make the bass more valuable. since they will be worth more than buying the bass, yanking the PUs and throwing away the epi
  5. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I voted for the Novak BS/DS just because they're so awesome. My argument isn't terribly convincing though. :D
    [CRTL+ALT+DEL] likes this.

    [CRTL+ALT+DEL] mad scientist

    May 25, 2008
    but i like the bass, it's looks and it feels solid. i just wanna put in some very distinct and great sounding PUs. my eventual plans are to get a few others and have them all sound very different. a 4003, and this epi bird, a cheapo iceman, and a eastwood hi flyer. the 4003 will be kept stock. the pickups in this epi, the iceman, and possibly the hi flyer will all be switched out. not sure which pick ups to put in which.

    [CRTL+ALT+DEL] mad scientist

    May 25, 2008
    if you could elaborate why they are awesome to you or how they compare to anything else, i would appreciate it. i'm like an aspiring wino but i finally have some cash to get something better than mad dog 20/20. that's basically why i am here, to bask in the knowledge of the talkbassers

    [CRTL+ALT+DEL] mad scientist

    May 25, 2008
    hey, wiley thought. would it be too much string pull to put darkstars where the original PUs were at and add a mudbucker right at the edge of the fretboard... for a total of 3 big a$$ hummers? at first glance i love the idea, but will it puul to much? would i notice if it did?
  9. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I'll see if I can dig up some sample videos, there are a bunch of great ones out there. I haven't actually installed mine yet though. :banghead:
  10. [CRTL+ALT+DEL]

    [CRTL+ALT+DEL] mad scientist

    May 25, 2008
    ive been watching some good ones of both the darkstars and the mudbuckers.

  11. Toptube


    Feb 9, 2009
    If the bass feels and plays great, who cares what its worth! A good playing bass deserves great pickups.

    Lollar thunderbird pickups. I cannot say enough good about them. Similar to the Thunderbuckers or Duncan custom shop: They are reproductions of vintage thunderbird pickups.

    Here is a comparison video. The first bass played is a real deal, all original, vintage bass. The white Kaminari Yardbird bass, has Lollars in it.

    Lollar nailed it. Thunderbucker (not heard in this video) makes very good pickups which seem to sound great and are much loved in the thunderbird club. I would also recommend them. However, when I was buying, Lollars seemed to nail the tone I was after, based on sound samples available at the time. They are fantastic. A high price, for sure.
    Mike Lull's thunderbird pickups are in the blue bass. They also sound good. But certainly different. Less depth. More of a midrange focus. That holds true in other videos with his TB pickups.

    Here is another neat video. No lollars in it, but you get to hear another real deal thunderbird:

    That metallic grey epiphone has some oretty great sounding stock pickups in it!
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2017
    CalBuzz51 likes this.
  12. snarebear


    Apr 19, 2012
    See if you can find a newer Epi Pro with the Gibson Pup s and electronics to demo. This may be the sound you are looking for in the $400 range used.
  13. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    A Darkstar" Bisonic pickup and a mudbucker are totally opposite pickups. The former is a single coil with quite a low output and the latter is a side-winder configured humbucker that has a high output and very restricted treble response. There was a fad for sticking Bisonics/Darkstars in any bass that sat still long enough, a few years back, but this seems to have passed.
  14. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Um, no. Single-coil yes, but plenty of output.
  15. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Oooh! An important person checking in!

    Depends on your frame of reference. Way lower output than a mudbucker or Fender's original Wide Range bass humbuckers. Lower than a Dimarzio Model One. Lower than the Guild bassbucker that replaced the Bisonics (I've played a bass with one of each fitted).
  16. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    I have an Epiphone EBO with a Novak Darkstar replacement pickup. It has the tone of a Guild Starfire in a nice compact instrument. It always inspires compliments on the tone. I've had several Novak pickups and they were all money well invested.
    ctmullins and jumbodbassman like this.
  17. morgan138


    Dec 10, 2007
    You'd think, but it doesn't really work that way in my experience. If you're worried about getting your money back, I'd keep the original pickups and swap them back in when you're ready to sell everything off. I've found that selling a bass with upgrades usually means losing a bunch of the extra money you've sunk into the instrument.

    I guess it's like, the people out there who'll give you good money for an aftermarket pickup aren't necessarily the same people who want a budget bass attached to the pickup, and vice versa...
  18. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    I use my vintage L2000 for a warm and piano like Gibson tone so there ya go
  19. Eilif

    Eilif Grooving under the MDW runway.

    Oct 1, 2001
    If you want to mod the bass, and are fine with the bass haveing virtually no resale value, I'd say that the Novak Bisonic or are the way to go. I love my dual darkstar bass, though mine are the Fred Hammon Darkstars. I can't state enough that the pickups will NOT increase the over all value of your bass much. The problem is that no one is going to want to pay the price of your bass plus the cost of the pickups for your bass with the new pickups in them. Further since the Epi goth pickup sizes do not match the options you're looking at, you're going to have to change the route sizes which will render your bass virually worthless.

    Thus, my final suggestion would be that you forget the options you've listed in your post. Measure the size of the pickups in your bass and then head to bestbassgear and find something that matches that route. I can almost guarantee that there's some Bartolini, Nordstrand or EMG's that will fit. You might even be able to find a set on the

    Save the original pickups, then when you want to upgrade someday, you can put the originals back in. With the price you paid, you might actually come close to breaking even reselling the better pickups and the bass (in original condition) separately.
  20. Bourbongangster


    Nov 5, 2015
    This is a great video that shows what the BS-DS sounds like. The bassist from this video is active on here, but I can't remember his user name.


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