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Upgrading Pedulla Rapture J 5 String

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by socialleper, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. I have a Pedulla Rapture 5 string with the Bartolini Jazz pick ups and pre-amp. I've had it for more than a decade as a reliable backup, neutral sounding, bass that has a basic jazz tone. I've always felt it was a shame that I could never get a tone out of it that I could use regularly since it is so "polite" and, well, sort of bland sounding. It looks great, feels great, it just lacking in the zazz department.
    As most people have noted, Bartolinis don't have a lot of snap on the highs and tend to be a little nasal sounding in the mids. When I emailed Pedulla about the model of pickups and electronics they were using at the time, they said it was custom made for them by Bart, so I can't compare it directly to another model of Bart products. It has a very passive, vintage quality even though it has a active preamp that is OK.
    What should I upgrade if I wanted to make this bass a little more aggressive sounding? What suggestions for preamps and pickups can you give me if I want a more ballsy tone?
    NOTE: I'd rather not have to drill more holes or route the body to fit anything.
  2. BruceRichardson


    Dec 31, 2008
    If you decide to sell instead of modify, I've just had a J2-5 stolen, and am trying to secure a replacement. My apologies for jumping into your thread...it popped up on my sad daily search...

    Best regards,
  3. Well that sucks; sorry to hear it. I'll keep that in mind.
    Pedullas aren't the most common beasts out there, new or used.
  4. I sold a Rapture because of this issue. Mine had a single soapbar. Just never could get the sound I wanted. Beautiful bass, just not my cup of tea.
    I'm interested what you find out.
  5. Sponsored by:

  6. BruceRichardson


    Dec 31, 2008
    Thanks for the reply. I'm very sad about it, that bass worked super well for me in the studio, and I am hurting at the loss (not to mention getting evil looks for showing up on gigs with only a Pentabuzz, equally amazing bass but...).

    Yes, if you decide to go a different direction, please get in touch...bruce at brucerichardsonmusic dot c o m
  7. bgartist


    Feb 4, 2004
    Chicago, IL
  8. Some years ago I replaced the Bartolini C-type humbucker in my Rapture 5 with a Q-tuner BL-5. While I liked the original tone, I also found it somewhat lacking in presence. The Q-tuner brings out more of the upper midrange and highs, while retaining the general character of the instrument. There are a few alternatives for a J-style bass. The newer Bartolini Classic Bass pickups have a more open sound than their regular pickups. Delanos probably have a more "modern" clear sound. What sort of change are you looking for?

    Here's my old pickup thread: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f38/q-tuner-review-bartolini-comparison-samples-269689/
  9. jbrooks


    Sep 7, 2007
  10. I would like the highs to have a little more sparkle to them, especially the B which never seems to have any attack to it. The lows on the existing preamp seem OK but they just don't meld together with the signature Bart high mids. I guess I'm looking for something a little more scooped without losing the lo-mids/hi-lows.
    I'm not looking for a subtle, classic jazz tone. I'm playing loud heavy music, not pretty Jaco style finger or Miller style slap. I guess I'm trying to cheat my way into more of Warwick SS2 or Thumb tone.

    Two bass players I like (Brian Richie and Ryan Martine) both use EMG jazz pickups. My worry is that I might have trouble cramming them into the existing slots or how it would work with the existing 9-volt harness.
  11. I haven't heard of Delano before. To be fair though I hadn't heard of half the stuff people talk about on TB before I joined it.
    Do you know of any pros that use them so I can get an idea of their tone?
  12. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I ordered one new and LOVED everything about it except the live tone. I think it's the bolt on with small maple body concept more than the Bart's. My lakland 55-94 sounded great with basically the same pickups. The rapture J2 just isn't a bass with a lot of oomph. Sounded good in the studio.
  13. A part of this I'm also looking for advice for is whether I should start with the preamp or the pickups. I've been playing for decades and have had more than a few basses, but I've never tweaked around with the electronics, so I'm not sure what changes what.

    Also, if I have a preamp and go with an active pickup, do I have to have 2 9v batteries in the bass?
  14. IMO, the NTBT preamp is also a bit "polite" sounding, as it seems to roll off some of the extreme highs. That said, I think that the pickups are probably the bigger factor here; I would start there. The Q-tuner definitely brought out more definition from my Rapture 5.

    Might be worth contacting SGD and telling him what you're looking for. He's got a new humbucking Jazz pickup that sounds like it might fit the bill.

  15. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    IMHO pickup swaps make a substantial difference, preamps are more subtle, neither will drastically change the character of the bass, is a subtle refinement and "upgrades" are often unsuccessful. That's said, I've done a lot of it and it can work well. For the rapture I've always wondered what it would sound like with sadowsky single coil Js and preamp. Or go with the maple body theme an Spector it up with some EMGs. EMJ-JVs could be interesting.

    You can power pickups and pre from the same 9v.
  16. In another thread about aggressive jazz pickups the Delano JMVC and the DiMarzio Ultra Jazz kept coming up. After listening to some samples of these on YouTube I think these might be good candidates. On one hand the JMVC seems like it should be a better fit; boutique bass with boutique pickups. On the other the Ultra Jazz set is WAY cheaper and seem to have a nice low end response.
  17. bearhart74


    Feb 26, 2009
    I would start with the cheapest option.. different strings
  18. I've gone through a lot of strings on this bass. I can get a little more zip here and there, but there are some things a string just can't help. With a tapered B I get at least a little life out of it, but even then the tone is super lo-fi and too vintage for what I want. The B has a lot of lows and some mids, but almost no articulated presence. No floppiness though; they did their job right on that.
  19. FWIW, after trying a number of others, I've found the Pedulla PS5A set to be the best match for my Rapture 5. The B on mine is quite defined for 34" scale, and it seems to match well with the other strings.
  20. jza57

    jza57 Supporting Member

    My vote is on the DiMarzio Ultra Jazz with a side note, I had it set up with a Sadowsky pre. I put OG guts back in because I was going to sell bass stock but I may just go back to that setup. The Rapture J5 is so much lighter than any 5 string bass I own.
  21. I tried the Pedulla strings with mixed results. I can't remember if it was the nickle or steel set that I tried, but it did help the B a little. I wasn't a fan of the tapered E string. They are pretty nice strings though. I'm thinking about throwing a set of Fodera strings on it since I like what they did for my Warwick.

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