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Bartolini MK1 vs BH-2

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by mikelaughlin21, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. mikelaughlin21


    Mar 7, 2018
    I'm trying to decide if i should get the Ibanez SR505 or the SR875. I got to play the Sr505 at guitar center with the mk1 pickups and i liked it but i would like to get the SR875 if its a little bit better built. Just worried that it will sound alot different than the mk1 or is the bh-2 just an upgrade to the mk1?
  2. Aidil


    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    I wouldn't say that it's an upgrade. They just sound different. Production wise, the BH2 is out to replace the BH1, which was replacing the MK2. The MK2, as well as BH1 and BH2, were collaboration results of Bill Bartolini and top Ibanez engineers, thus they are proprietary to Ibanez basses. OTOH, the MK1 isn't Ibanez specific. They are being used also in Cort, Lakland, and other brand basses.

    The different sound is the result of different coil configurations inside. The MK1 has split coil reverse P configuration whereas the BH2 has dual full blade coil configuration. Thus the BH2 sounds thicker, just as typical dual coil humbucker pickups.

    But since you were asking for the 5 string configuration, the MK1-5 and BH2-5 have somewhat nearly identical dimensions. So, in case you do buy the SR875 and turns out you don't like the BH2 sound, you can purchase a used pair of MK1-5 (be careful not to be mixed up with MK1-4 and MK1-6 cause the magnet alignment inside are different) which often can be found quite cheap.

    Or, you can go all the way up to USA made Bartolini MK5, but this has another different kind of sound than any of the above.
    JoePDX, ex-tension, Frans688 and 3 others like this.
  3. mikelaughlin21


    Mar 7, 2018
    Wow thank you! That’s a lot of good info, I didn’t realize the mk1 was split coil and the bh-2 dual coil. I think I’ll just stick with the sr505 unless I see a better model with MK pickups
  4. Aidil


    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    If you care to search... there were quite a lot of different opinions in regard to how the MK1 pickup sounded. Although some might be confused with the preamp coloring that they paired the MK1 pickups with. Especially, when they paired them with preamp which is also called MK1.

    In my case, I don't have problems with the MK1 pickups, though I upgraded the MK1 pickups on my basses to USA MK6 and MK5 pickups. The reason isn't on the MK1. I just like to have single coil and dual coil options which are offered by USA MK5/MK6 pickups. Although, turned out in one particular bass that I did the upgrade, which was a fretless bass, I'm not satisfied with the upgrade, so I might refer the pickups back to the MK1.
    gscroggin likes this.
  5. Ferrport


    Feb 12, 2017
    TO, Canada
    I have the 2008 Ibanez BTB670 (4 string) with MK2's, and recently picked up the 2017 BTB 745 (5 string) with BH2's. IMO, the MK2's have a beefy, warm sound compared to the BH2's which I keep trying to push more through the bottom end. Very happy with the guitar, but the pups, not so much. I am looking to upgrade them to American made MK5 Barts, or Nordstrands.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
  6. dan foster

    dan foster

    Nov 20, 2019
    Hey Mike, I've been using several Ibanez basses for years now and have the most experience with the mk-1, great pickups, great tone. I have just ordered an Ibanez with the BH-2,s but haven't heard or played them yet so wish I had a better answer for you but I'm sure you will be happy with the Sr 505
    Turxile likes this.
  7. Vodyanoi


    Mar 24, 2020
    Do you think he's still trying to decide about that SR505? :roflmao:
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