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Bartolini M5 types - who has experience?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by SanDiegoHarry, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Okay, so on a whim, I bought a showcase 5 string body from Warmoth. It is routed for two p'ups in the shape of EMG45's.

    I'm not a big EMG fan, so I'm looking at what Bartolini offers... And it turns out, they offer *four* different p'ups in that form factor:

    72M55C, M55CBC, XXM55C and the XXM55M

    Now, the Best Bass Gear web site gives some general info on these p'ups, but I'd like to hear from real users as to their experience. I expect I'll mate these to a Bart 3 band preamp.

    Oh - and one of these p'ups (XXM55C) is listed as a "Quad Coil" - - why might I want that, as opposed to dual coil?

    And for those who want more data before commenting - Body is swamp ash, and I will be using this bass (hopefully) as my primary slapping 5 (My Zon 5 will be my go-to jazz/fingerstyle bass).

  2. The whole quad coil and dual coil thing is just for phase switching your pickups. If you don't plan on adding a switch or two to your bass then just get the cheaper one.
  3. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Jess... I get that - I was hoping for some "tone" feedback... I really don't plan on cluttering this bass with a bunch of switches - I just want two *good* pickups that will have the warmth to offset the swamp ash body a bit...
  4. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Just out of curiosity, which Showcase body did you buy? Do you have any images to share? :)

    I've had some experience with some of these Bartolini pickup armatures in different shapes (M4 and P2) for 5-string, so it's probably safe to say they are going to sound fundamentally the same as the same armatures in the M5 shell. So I'll use underscores below, and you can substitute the shell code (size plus string count) for it. :)

    The quad coil XX___C "deep tone" pickups have two separate twin-coil inline humbuckers. You can use these individually or together (in series or parallel) and the pickup will be humbucking in any configuration. Each of these twin-coils used by itself is going to sound deep, with a clear fundamental, a round lower midrange, and a modest upper midrange. The treble is going to be restrained, but a tiny bit metallic in the upper reaches. (This is more evident on the neck pickup.) The bridge pickup is going to be a bit more muted in the treble and upper midrange. When using both coils together, the midrange fattens up a bit, but you'll still have a rolled-off upper midrange and treble. When both neck and bridge pickups are used together, you end up with a somewhat scooped tone that sounds good for slap or perhaps smooth jazz or jazz fusion, but doesn't usually have the aggressive qualities needed for rock or metal. But it sits in a mix nicely without a lot of EQ (though a passive tone control can help).

    When I played these pickups, I heard a lot of the tones that Jimmy Haslip gets on some of the older Yellowjackets albums. But I wouldn't claim to sound nearly as good as he does. :)

    I would imagine that the XX___M pickups, which are a split-coil configuration, are not going to sound too different from one of the two XX___C coils used by itself. I haven't used one of these yet, but I would like to.

    I don't have any experience with the 72___C pickups either, but I would imagine that they would sound similar to the XX___C as well.

    The ___CBC "classic bass" pickups are a very different beast. They have a lot more presence and warmth in the fundamentals, and the upper midrange is much more clear and resonant. I think these sound more like an interesting mix of Precision and Jazz characteristics, even though they aren't really intended to be a "vintage" sounding pickup. The bridge pickup speaks with a very clear voice, and here the resonant upper midrange really gives a distinct character. The neck pickup is warmer and fuller than the "deep tone" and still has a good amount of midrange clarity and brightness. When used together, there is a bit of scoop in the midrange, but the resulting tone still has a good bite and an assertive feel, and cuts through a mix nicely.

    I prefer the "classic bass" pickups, especially for fretless bass, where I want the voice of the instrument to be heard more clearly. The bridge pickup reminded me of some of the more recent Tribal Tech albums with the signature Gary Willis tone.

    But I can understand how the "deep tone" pickups have been popular for a while.
  5. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA

    Nice - thanks for the info!

    As to which body I got - well, I don't have pix, and Warmoth took them off the site (since I bought that body). It is a clear finish Jazz 5, with very pronounced ash grain - bookmatched right down the middle. I'm a complete sucker for pretty wood, and while Ash isn't fancy-shmancy, it is still as nice looking wood.

    The routing is interesting too - the pickups were routed such that the neck p'up is only a an inch from the bridge - I suspect that the finished bass will have a sound not unlike a Zon Custom - mid focused with more burp and less thunder than a standard J p'up arrangement. That's okay by me - Marcus Miller already sounds like Marcus Miller - I don't need to sound like that. I suspect it will sound more "Ken Smith" than "MIA J-bass".

    Between the body being ash and the pickup routes being more toward the bridge, I'm thinking I want pickups that will have enough bass warmth that allows it to have some oomph when I want it.

    Does that make sense?
  6. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    I remember seeing this body in the Showcase! Very nice catch. But I thought this one had EMG40 (M4) pickup routes instead of EMG45 (M5)? If you still have the Showcase item number, I can probably find the pictures on their site. :)

    Yeah, I see what you're trying to achieve. That's pretty much what Zon does, for the Sonus Custom and Legacy Elite Special anyway. Their pickups have more of a lower-midrange emphasis to complement the tighter placement.

    The pickup configuration of this body is actually very close to the standard placement on the Warmoth Gecko bodies for EMG40 (M4) pickups, and I've tried the Bartolini pickups in this configuration as well as a "turbo" configuration where both are even closer to the bridge. They sounded good both ways.

    I think you'll be happy with the "deep tone" pickups. They really do have a good clean midrange tone and they should work just fine in this configuration. You're really going to like the tone from the relocated neck pickup.

    I've got a few ideas for some other (non-Bartolini) pickups which could also work well in this body, but let's not muddy the waters just yet. :)
  7. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I was originally thinking of Nordstrands, but those are significantly smaller than the routes in this bass... Which begs the question: Do folks order these bodies/necks and then fail to pay for them, so Warmoth then sells them? This body has a few things that were fairly unusual - including a route for a double battery case (I guess that's something I'll have to buy - even if I don't want an 18v preamp!)

    re-reading the paperwork for this bass body, it does indeed state it was routed for EMG 40s... Good thing I didn't place an order for 45s!

    I'm also now seeing that Nordstrand *does* make p'ups in this shape... Hmmmm....
  8. maurilio

    maurilio Musician - Owner Mo's Shop & MBD - Tech Nordstrand Commercial User

    May 25, 2003
    Redlands, CA
    Nordstrand does all kind of shapes/sizes...... just ask!

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