Bartolini NIGHTMARE! Who thinks they know electronics?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Josh Curry, Oct 15, 2003.

  1. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX

    Has anyone here ever replaced the pre-amp in a pedulla or other boutique bass that uses active bartolini pickups?

    I bought a Bartolini 5.1 harness thinking that "Hey, it's bartolini, it'll work, right?"


    This is the biggest nightmare I've ever had. I've spent probably close to 6 hours experimenting with different wiring configurations to get a good tone out of the system. I've also spent close to 3 hours on the phone with a technical guy from the place I bought it from who actually made some mods to it for me. I won't mention who they are because they've been very helpful and it's not their fault (I think) that it doesn't work right.

    Basically, If you wire the system up the way it's specified it sends out a VERY HOT distorted signal. The pickups definitely work right, but the onboard pre is being overdriven to death. The blend pot being used is 250K and he says it might need to be something more. It's impossible to tell what the original blend pot was rated at because someone decided to rough and soldier the ground to the casing right where the value is printed.

    For anyone who's wondering. The wiring coming out of the pup is 4 leads (white, red, black, and green) and a ground shield. It's been determined by testing and by remembering how it was wired previously that the green is the hot, black is ground, red goes to a battery lead, and white is not used (tech guy said probably a coil tap). Bypassing everything and wiring a pickup straight to a jack produces a VERY hot signal, only slightly distorted, which the tech guy said is OK.

    So, now that we know how these pickups work we hook everything up the way it says with the following mods:

    1. attach both red leads from the pickups to the red battery lead (which also feeds the active pre-amp)

    2. attack the black leads to the ground, along with the ground shielding.

    3. attach the green leads to the blend pot as shown.

    So, this results in an extremely hot, extremely distorted singal coming out of the bass, not exactly what I was hoping for. Anyone have experience with this?
  2. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    Bartolini shows a 250K blend pot on their site. I don't think that's your problem.
    I don't want to sound stupid, but have you tried turning the gain down on the preamp? There's a little pot stuck to the side of the large module that is screwdriver adjustable for gain. Give it a turn counter clockwise. If you haven't already...
    Make sure you have the right value volume pot too. It looks like a 25k on their site.
    Other that those things, I have no idea what could be the problem...
    Ok, after looking at the Bartolini site a little more, are you sure the pickups are active? They could just be dual coils. What model are they?
    The reason I ask is that the colors of wires you've mentioned are their standard dual coil wires. Try tying the red and white together and using the green as ground and the black as hot. That just might be your problem...
    Good luck.
  3. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    Whoah, I guess I gotta learn to type faster...
  4. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    just to clear up some things...

    - The blend pot is 250K
    - The vol pot is 25k
    - yes I've tried the gain pot
    - I'm almost positive the pickups are active. When I first took apart the old system the red lead from the battery went to both red leads from the pickups. The tech guy helped me prove this.
    - I did try to tie the red & white together, but since their not passive pickups, this didn't really work the way expected.
    - The pickup model is definitely custom, I had to take one out and give the number to my tech (sorry, I don't remember it, maybe I can get it from him again tomorrow) and he said it was definitely not standard. a brief look at the Pedulla site confirms that these are custom made just for this bass, ugh.

    Meekster: thanks for the link!!! The Bartolini site sux, I don't know how you found that, you rok! I'm going to forward that to my tech and see if he can figure it out. However, it looks like those are for passive pickups, so I dunno.

    Here's a link that might help. This is basically what I have

    Bartolini NTMB-918

    Maybe you guys will see something I don't.
  5. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    OH! And if anyone has wicked skills and can locate a wiring diagram for a mid 90's Pedulla ET-6 that would be awesome. I haven't had any luck, probably because it doesn't exist except on some guys desk at Pedulla, but I think being able to look at that might clear up some questions.
  6. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    OK, well looking at that I would guess that using a 250K blend pot would be correct. Although, I am kind of confused about that pickup because it has 5 leads, not 4. at least it shows the red lead going to a battery, so that matches up with what I figured out. I would really like to see a diagram showing 2 dual coil active pickups with atleast 1 volume and 1 blend knob. This is starting to help though.
  7. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    This diagram has nothing to do with my system, however, the wiring on the pickup is almost perfect and looks almost exactly like what's coming out of mine. it's a guitar pickup, but the way it's wired is exactly how mine was before taking it apart.

    green = hot
    black = ground
    white = not used
    red = battery
    white on pickup has a jumper to another lead on pickup.
  8. Josh Curry

    Josh Curry

    May 29, 2003
    Frisco, TX
    OK, I'm going to post to my own thread again...

    Well, the verdict is in. Evidently the pickups that come in this particular model, the Pedulla ET-6, and also the pre-amp is 100% custom Pedulla and is NOT compatible with anything else. The pickups are made by Bartollini specifically for Pedulla and Bartolini doesn't even know what the electronics are that Pedulla is using. It's supposedly a heavily guarded secret and their not telling anyone.

    So, what did we all learn today??

    The Pedulla ET-6 is carrying 100% custom electronics and pickups and you can't replace either. You have to replace both the pickups and the pre if you want something else.

    After looking at the Pedulla site it looks like the following models carry this configuration, hopefully anyone else who is considering what I already went through will see this and decide against it.

    Pedulla models:
    T4, T5, T6, ET4, ET5, ET6, TB4, TB5, TB6 (ET-4, ET-5, ET-6, TB-4, TB-5, TB-6)

    edit: Luckily the place I bought the pre-amp from will let me return it, even against their standard policy since nobody know that this was going to happen. They have been extremely helpful during this entire process and I would buy from them again. I can't wait till they get their licence to carry EMG pickups and pre-amps, I think I will replace the entire electronic setup in my bass when that time comes.
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