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BTB 455 Active Pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Rumblejohn, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. My 10yr old Ibby has had a fairly low output signal since new, but now it seems to getting worse. It is not hard on batteries (18v), but it distorts and goes dead intermittently.
    The Nuetrik input jack is worn, but not noisy.
    Any ideas on what to replace? It has Bartolini Mk1 pickups, and a generic control module.
    I'm happy with the bass other than output problems.

    I will take it to a local shop, but I trust the opinions of my fellow TBers.


  2. Aidil


    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    I think any Bartolini own preamps are always good choices paired with his pickups, even though the MK1s aren't made in his own factory. I probably would choose his HR-5.2AP/918 prewired preamp, cause it matches the number of factory pot holes on BTB455, so no drilling for extra holes would be required. It has the option to go passive, so you could still continue playing the bass in case of a dead battery. And, it also gives you options of center mid frequencies, despite it's not the sweeping type as your old Ibanez preamp.
  3. The MK-1 Bartolini pickups are passive.
    The Neutrik jack is for output & no need to replace that until it stops working.

    I'd swap the pickups for something better, so you might post the dimensions here if you want help finding a replacement.
  4. Thanks for the replies. The only reason I want to replace the jack, is that is a locking stereo jack that switches the 18v pre-amp on. They lock tab is broken, and although it seems to hold okay, it is cheap insurance.
  5. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I would definitely replace the preamp first. If it's the preamp that normally is paired with MK1's it's just a cheap generic unit that does not sound particularly good. Start there and you may be fine with keeping the pickups. But if you want something deeper, richer, and fuller then USA Bart pickups would be a good upgrade.

    As mentioned, the pickups are passive so they will work with most any preamp.
  6. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    If you have the means to, I'd recommend getting all new pickups and preamp.

    The MK1s are some of the weakest output pickups I've ever dealt with. And I've replaced quite a few for myself and others, and the results are always the same: The bass sounded better.
    And while the old preamp may really enjoy better pickups going through it, you have a ton of great options these days. I'd certainly recommend something with an active/passive capability so you can hear the pickups as they sound on their own, then affected by the preamp.
  7. Bartolini's website lists numbers for the American made replacements (MK5CBC) I think is the number). They are really proud of them.
    I might go ahead with the swap, as this bass is comfortable fit.

    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
  8. Aidil


    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    You might want to measure the total sensing width required for both pickups by measuring the total width of the strings on top of both neck and bridge pickups of your bass. Reason is, most of BTB 5 strings have a wide 19 mm string spacing which resulted a total wide sensing area required, which almost already maxed out the MK pickup width.

    If you would check Bartolini's website, you could learn that his MK5CBC (both neck and bridge side) pickups have a maximum sensing width of 71 mm, so you need to make sure the total width of all strings on the neck and bridge side pickups on your bass aren't exceeding 71 mm.

    Coincidentally, I also own a BTB 5er with a 19 mm string spacing. The total string width are somewhat 71 mm on the neck pickup and around 75 mm on the bridge pickup, which means both neck and bridge pickups (which on this BTB aren't the MK pickups) have more than 71 mm sensing width.

    And if you would check Bartolini MK6 specification, you would learn that it has a max sensing width of 84 mm, which is sufficient for both neck and bridge side of pickups of your bass. So for the MK1 pickup replacements of your bass, I suggest that you look for Bart MK6 instead of the MK5.
  9. Thanks Aidil. I may have to open the hole just a bit, but that is not a game changer.
  10. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    MK5's will be a direct replacement for MK1's. No enlargement needed. They also work fine with 19mm spaced basses, as they are a popular pickup for the Lakland 5501...which comes with MK1's.
  11. Aidil


    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    Sure the MK5 work. But given the specs from Bartolini website said the MK5 sensing area width is 71 mm for both neck & bridge pups vs. the width of all strings on top of the pickups of the BTB 5er w/ 19 mm string spacing, which are 71 mm (neck pup) and 75 mm (bridge pup), then possibly the 2 outer strings (low-B and G) will have less volume than the rests. Especially on the bridge pickup where the 2 strings are outside of the sensing area of the MK5 pup.

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