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Bartolini versus EMG

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by bassdr, Jan 10, 2001.

  1. I have an Aria ProII fretless and it has a p/j pickup setup. I am goinf to upgrade the electronics to get a fatter sound more fitting for a fretless. Should I do Bartolinis or EMGs? My store can get both. Batolinis warmer; EMG louder. Any other input?
  2. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Really tough one to answer as any pu may sound different from bass to bass. I would go out of my way to listen to EMGs though as they have a real distinctive "tong" kinda sound that isn't everyone's cuppa tea. I've got a set (p is new, j is used) you can have for $50usd if you decide you like 'em. I didn't
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Are you doing just the pickups or the preamp, too?
  4. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    What is a "tong" sound?
  5. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    I knew I was gonna have to explain that. If I coulda been more specific with frequencies I would have and not been reduced to lame onomatopoeia. And no preamp just the pu's and shipping not that it matters now that they're gone.
  6. brewer9


    Jul 5, 2000
    C'mon, you can do better onomatopoeia than "tong." After all, we're bass players.
  7. jrock111


    Oct 10, 2000
    Well from my own experience and what alot of people say EMG's excell in the active pu department and their passive pickups never really got any rave reviews. Bartolini's passive pickups however, sound awesome, at least to me on Fenders.
  8. Here are the 5 things I absolutely love about EMGs:

    1. No connection between bridge and circuitry. 100% shock-proof. American bassists traveling overseas may overlook this, and it might get them killed, no fooling. See http://oyt.oulu.fi/tbl/300-399/bl368.html for important information on this (it contains several relevant posts). A discussion of this just ended on alt.guitar.bass under the subject line Fender Grounding Problem .

    2. With passive pickups, you'll read that one winding is too bright for some bassists, and one winding is too dark. Most are really committed in terms of sound, either guts or brightness. This is bad, because the playing situation is always changing. But with EMGs, everything comes through, and the player decides what to take out of the sound if anything. Nothing escapes EMGs. If you crank the treble, they are totally unforgiving. Wooten says they helped him perfect his technique.

    3. Very low magnetic pull on the strings. Most bassists will try to set up their basses themselves. Some will really mess up and put the magnets too close to the strings, then they get a weird warbling. With EMGs, you can run the pickups right up to the string, in fact, the factory encourages this, and if you look at used EMGs, you'll see that many show clear erosion from string windings, you'll see the little grooves.

    4. They're hot and quiet. Very strong signal due to the onboard preamps (the P has two, one for each section). Given that they're eerily quiet anyway, they must have the best s/n ratio of any pickup out there. Also, for some reason, the P has double the bass of a passive.

    5. They sip at their batteries. I have had batteries as long as 3 years for my J set, but somewhere along the line, I started to change them every year just for luck.

    Players either love or hate the sound of EMGs. For sure they are very different. But players who are willing to work up new EQ settings (or lack of the usual boosts) are more likely to love them. Also, engineers love them first because they're quiet, and also because all the sonic information the engineer needs is present in the signal, so getting the sound he wants is merely a straight-ahead EQ thing. It doesn't hurt for a bass player to make things easier for his engineers.
  9. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Generally speaking, Barts are fatter sounding. I have heard EMGs sound good on some basses but IMO not as smooth and fat as Barts on fretless.

    The preceding points are valid but:

    Grounding: if you use metal control knobs you're back at square one.

    Setup: I run Barts very close to the strings and have yet to have any issues with magnetic pull. The trick is to learn how to set up a bass properly for you.

    Passive pickups: "This is bad, because the playing situation is always changing" I don't think I get this.
    The unforgiving part about EMGs is correct, probably why I don't like them.

    S/N ratio: I guess it depends if you want eerily quiet or just damned quiet;)

    Battery usage: My EMG soapbars have always gone through batteries much faster than my passive Barts:D

    Also, faster than my Bart preamped basses.

    I did check out a P/J EMG-equipped fretted Fodera 4 string that sounded incredible, so I guess anything's possible. On my fretless (Zon Legacy Standard 5), it's Barts and they sound incredible.

  10. Randy Payne

    Randy Payne

    Jan 1, 2001
    I agree if you're talking about the active EMG's. The Selects have too much magnet IMHO.

    I have both the EMG's and Bart's, and the Bartolinis are incredibly quiet. I should say UNBELIEVABLY quite. They're so quiet, they're almost like a dead short. You can turn the bass up to unbelievable volumes, and the pickups stay dead quiet! (I have the Bartolini quadra-coil J pups) Yes, EMGs are quiet too.

  11. Working Euro bassists say the EMG no-grounding thing is a big deal. I guess it's because you're likely to be holding the strings when you kiss a mic. Also, that spasming thing that makes a person grip something tighter when they're being shocked--that would probably happen if your hand is around a bass neck, but probably not if you're holding a knob with two fingers.

    Yeah Randy, I should've specified, I'd never use the selects. You say you really like those quadracoils? I saw an interesting quadracoil, a 3/2 split P for 5-string. Do even the humbucking Barts have to be wired to the bridge to not hum?

  12. Randy Payne

    Randy Payne

    Jan 1, 2001
    Sorry, I couldn't tell ya. I always ground my bridge, so I don't know how they'd be without the ground.

    I heard a rumor that Bartolini isn't making the quadracoil J pups anymore. Is this true? I guess they have a substitute that uses a different construction that is more "cost effective"!

  13. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    I agree, the spasm probably wouldn't happen. The shock would.
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Brad -

    Say "fat Barts" 20 times real fast.
    bass nitro likes this.
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md

    Cut it out, Munji.
    Munjibunga likes this.
  16. depends on what you want it too sound like man, personally i prefer the sound of bartolinis, if you want a fatter sound i would look into some dimarzio pickups, not sure if they make them the right size but they got a fairly good sound.
  17. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Y'all do realize that this thread is more than 9 years old, and the OP has probably long since done whatever pickup swap they were going to do...
  18. BigOldHarry


    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I ran both in the same bass on multiple occasions (as in, tried EMGs, swapped to Barts, etc)..

    Barts: Warm, fat, not very bright
    EMGS: Bright, flat, a bit sterile.

    I used to run EMGs in all my basses... back in the '80s. But I got tired of tone - it wasn't bad, it just wasn't me. And I found, after playing around a bit, that I could get the same output & better "Rock" tone using SD Quarter Pounders (running passive!)

    So while I wouldn't yank EMGs out of a good bass, I wouldn't use them to replace.

    Barts - now, I know that Barts aren't the "Flavor of the month", but I dig them.
  19. BigOldHarry


    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA

    how did *that* happen?
  20. Webtroll

    Webtroll Rolling for initiative

    Apr 23, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I've seen a few zombie threads lately, what in the wide wide world of sports is a goin on here?