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Bartolini "Classic Bass" pickups - who here uses them? What do you think?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by fourstringbliss, Sep 16, 2008.


  1. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Who here uses Bartolini "Classic Bass" pickups? What do you like about them? What do you not like about them? How do they sound?
     
  2. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I've installed some in a few basses. They sound very good. Nice crisp top end while keeping the famous Bart warmth. I think they are modeled off his old Hi-A pickups.
     
  3. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I'm replacing Bartolini MK-1 pickups in my Lakland 55-01. If you don't know, they're a split coil pickup and have a barky kind of midrange sound and an overall dark tone. They're well suited to rock playing but I'm looking for something better balanced and more versatile.

    So, the USA CB Barts are warm and clear? Have you ever coil tapped them? I was thinking of individual series/single coil/parallel switches.
     
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I had one in a custom bass for a while, and it was definitely more crisp and "flat" than I was expecting- not that it was as hi-fi as some other pups out there, but again not as "fat" as I expected, and certainly brighter on the top end than I expected. Some of that may have been from the woods/build of the bass though. If they're modeled on the Hi-A's, that makes me want to try them again in a different bass, maybe with a Bart preamp.
     
  5. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Do they sound thin?
     
    vicdagoat likes this.
  6. CrashClint

    CrashClint I Play Bass therefore I Am

    Nov 15, 2005
    Wake Forest, NC
    DR Strings Dealer (local only)
    I have Bart Classics in my Roscoe. They produce a nice tight bottom with a slight low mid bump and they have nice open high. On my LG I have them with a Demeter preamp and I can dial in a nice warm jazz bass finger tone and I can easily dial up some punchy slap tone as well. For the price I don't think any other pickup comes close.

    The soap bar version does not sound thin at all.
     
  7. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Good deal! Tight and warm bottom end with open highs sounds great! I was thinking of pairing them with an Audere preamp which is reportedly very transparent. Do these pickups need a preamp that colors the tone?
     
  8. CrashClint

    CrashClint I Play Bass therefore I Am

    Nov 15, 2005
    Wake Forest, NC
    DR Strings Dealer (local only)
    I actually had mine paired with an Audere, but for me I preferred the Demeter. No, these pickups do not need a lot of coloration. For me, when I had the Audere installed, I set the Hi-mid completely off, Lo-mid set at 1 above center, bass set 1 above center and highs 1 above center. The Audere can dial in some hot hi-mids that can cut through any mix. This combination will definitely destroy a Ken Smith in tone.

    I thought my preamp was going to get delivered before I needed to play, so I pulled the bart preamp out. Well, when my preamp didn't come on a Friday and I had to play, I wired the Classics straight to the jack and they sounded great, just had to set my preamp input to passive on my amp.

    I prefer the Demeter preamp because it has a very flat mid when set to center and the bass sounds nice and punchy. My LG has a Redwood top with an Ash body that adds the punch.
     
  9. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Wonderful! The Bartolini MK5 pups are a drop-in replacement for the MK-1's in my bass and the price can't be beat.

    Thanks!
     
  10. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Yes. I used to use Hi-A pickups, and that's what they sound like. Good highs, and a full low end. Not thin or dark. Very musical sounding.

    They work well with series/parallel switches. You can do split, but you need to check and see if one coil is louder than the other. Bartolini often mismatches the coils to get better top end.
     
  11. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I'll have to contact Bartolini and see which coil is louder. Would parallel be close to a single coil sound?
     
  12. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Parallel is brighter, and sounds very similar to a single coil.
     
  13. CrashClint

    CrashClint I Play Bass therefore I Am

    Nov 15, 2005
    Wake Forest, NC
    DR Strings Dealer (local only)
  14. 12bass

    12bass

    Jan 2, 2003
    Victoria, Canada
    Just saw this thread.... somehow missed it earlier.

    The only CBs I've tried are the 9CBJS-3 which are the "deep tone" single coil Jazz pickups. Compared to other Bartolinis, these have more open highs and have a sound which I would describe as warm and clear, with slightly low output - definitely more zip on top than the rounded-off highs of most regular Bartolinis. Haven't tried any of the humbuckers....
     
  15. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    I definitely think I'm going with the Bartolini MK5's and I'll probably go with an Audere preamp of some sort. I'm still debating about how much I would use the Z-mode switch.
     
  16. I have a pair of them in my bass and I am only using them through a Ashdown combo and they sound great. Paired with the 18v bartolini preamp they really work well. Great tone, and plenty of output. The active/passive switch is a great touch too.
     
  17. Hello,

    I use them on a Five string custom bass. Tight lows (even low B) bright highs and a mid bump that gives that growl that is so bass, IMHO. I use the Bart 5.4 A/P 18 volt NTMB 3 band pre system with the BC5CBC Neck and bridge pickups. Very yummy bass tone with total tonal pallet options at your fingertips.

    Thanks,

    Steve
     
  18. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Hey, neighbor!

    All good stuff to hear! Do you think the NTMB colors the sound at all? I had planned on going with an Audere 3ZB or one of their Classic 4-band preamps (mainly for the active blending and direct DC connection).
     
  19. Hello,

    I'm not sure what your intertupratation on coloring is? Since it's a preamp, it does color the sound. Every Pre amp colors the sound. The question really is, does it make the tone YOU want? For me, this pre system, absolutely give me what I want in many aspects. Changing the center freq for the Mid sweep, I can get great slap and pop tone, to driving Rock, to greasy jazz. However, what it doesn't do is Gibson EB-0 SG Bass tone like Jack Bruce. That sidewinder pickup and the 30.5 inch scale, just has a sound (or color) all it's own, no on-board pre.

    So when we talk about "Color" I like to speak more in terms of like and dislike more than does it "Color" the sound. The correct answer is yes, but I like it.

    Thanks,

    Steve
     
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I've found the NTMB to be an excellent preamp. If you have a great bass that doesn't need "help" I've found it to be my favorite pre. If you have a bass that could stand more coloring or other than flat EQing, who knows. I'd probably still go with the Bart but someone else might something more drastic.

    I installed a set of CBs in a Marcus Miller 4 for a friend and the difference was pretty dramatic over the OEM pickups. Bigger, tighter, nicer highs.
     

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