Bartolini MK1 to MK 4 replacement

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Billy K, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. Billy K

    Billy K

    Nov 5, 2009
    North Bay Marin
    Just got the bad news from the guitar tech that the MK4 pickup that are supposed to be a direct replacement for the MK1 on the Ibanaz bass will not fit and the cavity needs to be rerouted to the tune of 100-125 bucks more.Now the job goes from 70 bucks upto 125 routing,100 electronics,and 50 for string replacement and setup.doesnt seem worth it.I may just put the old pups back in.Just a heads up to those who choose to change out the Ibanaez MK1 to MK4. A bit of a job.
  2. SugarySnack


    Feb 25, 2009
    Sorry to hear that. Things have a way of becoming more expensive when you least expect it. It is never an easy job with pickups... I am lucky that I enjoy the sound of my MK1's, and wouldn't want to change them for fear of losing the sound I have, but I can see how they aren't for everyone. You could just pay for the routing, and attempt to do the pickups yourself. I put some EMG's and an EMG pre-amp in a guitar by myself less than a year ago (first time doing it) and it wasn't too hard. I have seen Bartolini diagrams though, and they are a lot worse than EMG's. Good luck with whatever you do!
  3. ex-tension


    Jun 11, 2009
    It's strange, did you see it yourself? I have replaced MK1 set of my Ibanez SR905 with a MK5 set and the pickup cavities were OK. The only problem was the screw holes (MK1s have 2 screws and MK5s have 3).

    Also, I remember reading topics about MK1 -> MK5 replacement and I don't recall people talking about this kind of problem.
  4. Billy K

    Billy K

    Nov 5, 2009
    North Bay Marin
    Talked with the tech yesterday and he measured both pickups and they are ever so slightly off. He said I would have to buy a harness with preamp. Because the MK1 pre and pots are real crap.Then he said ,get this,if he played me the Mk1 and MK4 with my Ibanez 500 I could not tell the difference so he thought I should just save my money and keep what I have in the bass now.Because the cost of electronics and install is close to what the bass cost. So there it is.
  5. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    That is probably sage advice ... Dump the Ibby, find some thing you like more ...
  6. vince a

    vince a

    Jun 13, 2006
    Modesto, CA
    Yep, dump the bass. Why, you ask?

    I just (yesterday) completed the install of two MK5 Bart pickups and a Bart 4 knob, 2-band active pre-amp on a SRX705NT.

    I'm playing it through an Eden rig, and all of my other basses sound great through that rig. I've turned knobs on the rig and ajusted pup heights until I'm blue in the face.

    The bass still sounds like s**t! That said, I'm going to take the flats off and install a set of DR Hot Pinks on it to see if I can get a better sound out of it . . . but I doubt that it will sound any different.

    If no improvement . . . the bass goes for cheap. BTW, the sound I get is great for hard rock or metal - kinda of hard mid sound - but I do not play that style of music.
  7. Billy K

    Billy K

    Nov 5, 2009
    North Bay Marin
    I got a Jazz American delux and a P Hwy 1. The Ibby was a beater I thought I'd trick it out but boy was that stupid couple hundred bucks later I am where I started from but hey I learned something. Dont buy cheap basses that look cool.Think I would have learned that from High school all the cool dudes are now all dead.
  8. ex-tension


    Jun 11, 2009
    Good tone is a relative thing but my Bart MK5+Bart NTMB-preamp moded SR905 sounds great to my ears.

    Billy, here is an alternative to your situation: If you don't really need a preamp in your bass you can wire your MK4s passive. You can either have vol/vol or vol/bal. Then for the rest of the pot holes you can put a passive tone control and two rotary switches (1 for each pickup) for pickup coil switching. MK4s are dual coil humbuckers so, with the switches you can connect them in series humbucker, parallel humbucker or single coil configurations. You will have a very versatile bass with many voicings.

    I have preamp bypass switch on my bass and there is no difference between active and passive tone when the preamp is flat (=no boost or cut). So, preamp is not a must.

    ps1: MK1s are (made in Korea) 'split coil' humbuckers and MK4s are (made in USA) 'dual coil' humbuckers. Probably you could tell the difference between them.

    ps2: String replacement and setup is not a difficult thing. You can try to learn and do it yourself.
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