Am I Unhappy With Bartolinis, Or Just This Model??

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by LostInSauce, May 21, 2019.

  1. I'd like to describe my problem, but I'm not even sure I have the right terminology (in " ") at my disposal to do so.

    I've had a 5 string bass made and it came with a set of Bartolini MK5CBC (Classic Bass). The tone of this bass is wonderful at practice volume and everything seems to be "bell-like" and clear. However, the tone is "huge" and everything is incredibly "smooth". However, "smooth" might not be what I'm looking for. I play rock and metal and when I crank my volume it's like mashing down the bass keys on a piano. Huge "punch", no "percussive" quality. It's like is missing a certain degree of "focus".

    I've been looking into replacing these pickups and have been wondering about the Original Splits (Reverse P [P2 Shape - XXP25M]) and Original Quads (P an Reverse P [P2 Shape - XXP25C]). Which leads me to the question: What's the difference between a P and Reverse P?

    My former main bass was an Ibanez SR805 with the Bartolini MK-1s. That bass seemed to have better "punch" that my new bass, although the tone was much "thinner".
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  2. Leonid Nidis

    Leonid Nidis

    Jan 1, 2018
    IMO what you described is the bartolini sound,clear,clean,almost sterile.
    They work for me only on agressive guitars you want to smoothen out.
  3. vedi


    Sep 16, 2008
    Luxembourg, EU
    how are MK5 wired? from what you describe they could be in parallel, and wiring them in series might suit your needs better. if they are in series already, you may have to consider another brand. I had an opportunity to compare the same bass with MK1 (reversed P) and MK5 (wired in series), and while the sound was similar in a way (you could tell they share some heritage), the MK5 were far superior in dynamics and had a bit broader frequency range in both directions. both had similar response to the onboard preamp, however where MK1 compressed the sound when digging in, the MK5 would bark.

    reverse P is a mirrored P. on a "normal" P you have the upper (EA) coil closer to the neck, while lower (DG) coil is closer to the bridge. this is reversed in a reversed P.
    LostInSauce likes this.
  4. sprag


    Sep 15, 2011
    Melb Australia
    Mk5 cbc I have in my Lakland are quite polite. I have the original split and a deep tone music man Bart in my custom build which give me a little grind if I dig in (I play flats so a little is the best I'll ever get).... not sure if it will be enough for you

    Try raising your current pickups closer to the strings if possible, the wiring change suggested above is another good idea that won't cost anything

    If you do decide to change them out
    The mk5p model should also be on your radar.
    As to the the tonal difference between them (split p bass in a soap bar) and the original split model - I'm curious to find that out myself
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
    LostInSauce likes this.
  5. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    A different Pre-amp might help.
    LostInSauce likes this.
  6. The Mk1's will have more "focus" compared to the MK5 because of the coil design. The Mk1 are essentially a split coil j pickup with the bass coil closer to the bridge and the treble coil closer to the neck. This tightens the bass response while opening up the upper strings. It sounds like you prefer the narrower tone print of single/split coil pickups over the much wider dynamic range of dual coils. You can actually have the xxP25c (or xxP25cx bright wind) wired for p/quad/reverse p so you could switch btwn them all till you find what you are looking for as well as have versatility.
  7. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Can you share a little bit more about your setup? The preamp you've got in there, etc?

    I've got a number of basses set up with Bart CBCs. Huge sounding, yes, and all can get punchy and percussive.