Bartolini J's vs. Soapbars

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ChasFL, Nov 10, 2001.

  1. ChasFL

    ChasFL Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Sarasota, Florida USA
    Has anyone had a chance to compare the Bart J pickups against the Soapbars on a same model bass. I just snagged a Modulus Genesis 5 (very sweet) with the NTMB, figured maple fingerboard off e-Bay with J pickups (the standard) but noticed on the Modulus website that there's an option for the MG5's to upgrade to Soapbars for $100 more.
    Is there that big a difference in sound, versatility, tone, etc. and if so, what are the differences.

  2. Hmm...I just might be able to help you out.

    Until recently, I owned two Brubaker NBS-Custom 5 strings; one had the 59J's and the other had the XXP25 soapbars. I can't make a complete direct comparison, since they were made of different woods, but I think I can give you a general idea, which I think is what you're looking for.

    The J pickup set sounded a lot like a J bass, only with (my opinion only) nicer mids and low mids. It seems to really nail that signature Jazz Bass warmth and phatness. Actually, I sold that bass last week because I have a Genesis VJ with DiMarzio Ultra Jazz pickups that also does a very admirable Jazz Bass simulation.

    The P25's are a completely different thing. They are much more aggressive and bright, which are both good things for a live setting. They really sound nothing like a Jazz Bass at all, and I personally wouldn't even bother trying to come close to that.

    I should note that the major difference between the two basses was that the one with J's had a wenge fretboard, and the one with soapbars has a maple fretboard, in which case, the characteristics of each set of pickups (warmth for the J's, and brightness for the soapbars) would only be accentuated by the fretboard material.
  3. Berme


    May 11, 2001
    Funky, just a question, do you remember the kind of wiring of both pups? For example, the P2 (and the others Bart soapbars) are available with Deep, Bright and Brightest tones, and they are quite different between them. Sorry, just wanted to give some more info here ;).
  4. The bass shipped to me with the pickups attached and I never removed them to check what kind of windings they had. I should say that I may have overstated the brightness of the soapbars. But since the J pickups are ultra-warm, by contrast, the soapbars are very bright, but they somehow manage to keep from getting harsh. So they're bright, but only when compared to other Bartolinis.
  5. ChasFL

    ChasFL Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Sarasota, Florida USA
    Thanks, I really appreciate the feedback.
    Since I'm more prone to the vintage warm wood sound over the bright piano attack, it let's me know I did make the right choice to get the sound preference I wanted, both with the Genesis 5 over the Quantum, and the J's over the Soapbars.
  6. Jsonnenblick

    Jsonnenblick Guest

    Apr 7, 2000
    Bethlehem, PA
    I sold the brubaker bass with the soapbars to Funky, so I have some experience to add!

    IME, the bart soaps sound substantially fatter in the low mids than the j's. I love the soaps in the bridge position, because they never sound thin, and I've always thought a soloed j bridge pu sounded thin. However, in the neck position, the j seems to cut better because the thinness brings some needed definition.

    That's not just true of the brubaker, btw. I have a Dean Jeff Berlin (awesome bass,btw) with soaps, and never play it without favoring the brdge pu.
  7. ChasFL

    ChasFL Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Sarasota, Florida USA

    So would you say you prefer overall the dual J's over the soaps for a sound quality blend of both bridge and neck pickups. Just going by dimensions, I would think the soaps blended would give a thicker, deeper tone than the J's blended because of the width of the pickups, and that dimension-wise the J's would give a thinner sound with their thinner dimensions. I just haven't had the chance to test both side by side. I do tend to blend them and lean a little more towards the neck most of the time and except when I need that slap funk and then lean towards the bridge. But they pull through prime both ways without a weaker side.
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    The Bart J-equipped basses I've had didn't seem to have as aggressive and thick low mids as I like. That's why of the Bart basses I have now, they're all soaps.

    Bart soapbars IME seem to allow a closer representation of the acoustic sound of the bass through... the actual bass has a lot to do with it.

    My Elrick fretless 5 sounds huge, great blossoming sound that is still very articulate. OTOH my Zon Legacy Standard fretless 5 can get close to that but really excels at the soloed bridge sound, punchy as heck, very tight but moves serious air. Pan it to the middle and it gets a very articulate, punchy fingerstyle or slap. My 84 Tobias 5 has killer lows, mids and highs. My Clover sounds like a cross between the best of Zons and Modulus, very open sounding, especially on the B with a tight, almost compressed sounding top-end, with well-defined mids.

    A luthier I'm talking to uses pairs of Bart soaps with coil taps so you can go from thick to thin at the flip of a switch.

    What they all have in common is articulate sound, the highs are never harsh and they really seem to capture the sound of the bass they're installed in.
  9. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    it seems like the ultimate setup would be a pair of those quad coil soapbars, with four 3-position switches to go between front, back, and both. so you could have J + J 4 different places, P + J in a bunch of places, two P's, soapbar and P, soapbar and J, two soapbars....

    i think that's what my next bass will have. the "bright" ones.

    if anyone's confused by what pickup i mean, they look like this:

    | ==== === |
    | ==== === |

    with the = being the coils inside.