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Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray MK 5 Bartolini

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by spode master, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. spode master

    spode master

    Jan 21, 2007
    I was just wondering if anyone here knows a little about the character of these bass's and the pre-amps.

    My friend wants me to do some mods on his. He installed the Bartollini MM 5 4 coil replacement pickup, so I don't know what the original was like.

    This is the Single pickup model.

    My impression of the bass and Pre-amp.

    The Bass with Pre's set flat seems very Mid range-ie, and nasal.

    They lack Fundamental, even with the bass boosted, I attribute this to the pickup(s) being very close to the bridge.

    The treble boost seems to be way out of the pickups or pre-amps useful range, it really has little effect on the brightness of the bass, the mid boost also seems mild.

    I just recently learned a bit about how the coils and poles are laid out in these 5 string pickups. I'm wondering if part of my issues with the pickups have to do with them being wired in series. Perhaps the coil sets should be wired in parallel??

    I bet it would be cool to have a buffer am for each pickup coil instead of running the pairs in Series or Parallel.

    Any thoughts??

  2. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Sounds like the coils might be wired with the phase wrong.
  3. spode master

    spode master

    Jan 21, 2007
    We tried following the original Music Man PU wiring.

    The Low end is lacking in Neck Bridge and Both position, so I don't think its a phase, issue.

    And the Bass boost/cut seem to be the most pronounce of the tone circuits, even though again. I think since the quad coil pickup is physically mounted in between what I guess you would call middle and bridge position. The pickups are going to pickup proportionally less fundamental string vibration for open strings.

    That is to be expected. I guess the strings are a little dead too.

    The one thing that I do wonder is since the 5 string pickup uses 2 coils in each position, If I Should be wiring them in Parallel instead of series.

    Oh well I'm about to pull them out and take measures.

  4. quee


    Jul 28, 2005
    The electronics in Musicman basses have changed over the years.

    If the original pickup in the bass had three coils, then that is the only kind of pickup that will work properly with the existing preamp and selector switch.

    Check the serial number with musicman and you'll find out for sure.

    If you have the original pickup, then put it back in. If you don't, the nordstrand mm5.3 would be a good replacement.

    Stingray 5s use series / single coil / parallel switching.
  5. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Barts never lack low end. You have to follow their wiring, not the original.

    because they are four coil pickups, they are like two humbuckers in each case. So if you have the two coils of the humbucking pair wired in-phase, they will sound thin with no low end, because humbuckers have to be wired out-of-phase.

    How did you know which way to wire it up?

    Here's Bart's page for MM wiring. They don't list the quad coils though.

    http://www.bartolini.net/instructions/pickups/passive/Music Man/musicman_5.htm
  6. spode master

    spode master

    Jan 21, 2007
    This is the EB MM 5, but as far as I can tell there are no options to wire the coil pairs. Its just Red Green Black and White, with a shield Drain. So the pickups coils are wired internally, not way to change the polarity but even if you could, their not arranged like traditional, gibson style humbucking pickups.

    I think 1 coil is under the first 3 strings and the other is under the last 2, so they can't interact in that way. And if they were wired wrong they would not stop hum.

    Bartolini pickups on their own don't boost the bass, perhaps their own pre-amps. But the amount of fundamental in proportion to harmonics on an open string will change depending on the pickup placement. The Music man pickup is much to close to the bridge to have strong fundamental.


    Tills articles about pickup placement are very helpful.

    I do believe that my Ibanez BTB with Bartolini pre amps has a bit of bass boost added to boost fundamental.

    That said its not the lack of bottom that is the issue here. I did some sweeps that I'll post and it looks like the two coils pickup resonances are at ~12kHz and 16kHz which isn't really in the best range for a Bass. I think I'm going to try playing with some Caps to shift the voice of the pickup lower.

  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    There are still two coils under a string, so you can indeed get one half of the pair out of phase.

    Your black should be hot, the white and red are the series connection and green is the common. If you reverse the red and green or black and white the pickup will sound thin and nasal because it's out of phase with itself.

    Try it and see.

    You said it was a 4 coil pickup... then there are two coils under each string.

    I've been using Bartolini pickups since 1976, and I still have my first Hi-A pickups. barts are well known for being very warm sounding pickups. They have ample low end. If you are not getting any low end you have something wired incorrectly.

    Right and I make pickups and build basses, so I'm very familiar with pickup placement. And in reality you can put a pickup anywhere you like.

    Not when it's set flat, no. Try some Barts passive and see how much fundamental they have.

    Huh? You said:

    So which is it? Fundamental is the lowest frequency.

    I can play you some clips of a Jazz bass style pickup that's close to the bridge and has plenty of fundamental.

    So did your friend buy the bright Bart and not the deep Bart? The deep Barts are supposed to go at the bridge and the bright Barts at the neck.

    I still think you have them wired incorrectly, but hey, I'm trying to help. You are being defensive and don't have any answers.
  8. quee


    Jul 28, 2005
    You can check the serial number on the bass and find out when the bass was made on the website below.


    If it is after 1992 then you need to use a 3 coil (phantom coil) pickup and that is the reason you are getting a strange tone with your 4 coil bartolini.
  9. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    He does need the three coil pickup to make the bass' switch work correctly, of course, but that pickup could be made to work, just not with the switch.

    I've had many phase switches on basses back in the 70's, and the tone he is describing is exactly that, a midrangy hollow nasal tone with very little fundamental.

    He has the pickup wired out-of-phase with itself. Barts are often described as warm and even dark, but this guy comes here asking for advise, and then argues when the answer is given.

    He said:

    That's problem number 1. That wont work. I posted a link to the Bart site showing how to wire it, but that's for the 3 coil Bart.

    That's problem number 2. You can't wire that pickup to that switch that way. You need the 3 coil pickup like quee said.

    Secondly, it's a one pickup bass, so there is no neck and bridge setting. That switch is for the coils in the pickup.

    You need to take the bass to someone who knows how to wire it up.
  10. spode master

    spode master

    Jan 21, 2007
    I got it now

    I still don't like how Bart doesn't provide its pu schematics, or any other useful information like Z and LCR.

    The Wiring diagram we got from Bart was actually wrong, and has nothing to do with the EB MM so it was a little confusing, that's why we tried to copy the mm wiring.

    This is the first time I've seen the correct diagram. And its still more vauge than I'd like.
  11. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    OK, now we are getting somewhere! :D

    That diagram on the Bart site, which is obviously a scan of a printed piece, is very confusing as far as the colors of the wires coming from the Bart pickup.

    I don't think it matches the pickup, but it might match bass you are putting it in.

    Depending on what year the bass was made, the switch either selects both coils in parallel/series/series with a filter, or with the older version series/parallel/single coil with dummy coil.

    So what you need to figure out is how to wire in the Bart.

    If you know where the hot wire was from the original pickup, the Bart's black wire goes there. The green is the common that goes to ground. So the next two wires are the ones that are the other ends of the two coils (even if the pickup has four coils, it has two coil pairs).

    Assuming you have the black at hot and the green at ground, two swapping the red and white wires and see if that doesn't fix the problem.
  12. spode master

    spode master

    Jan 21, 2007

    The strange thing about that wiring diagram is the colors they say are the stock EB MM colors are not what the stock pu had, and the Colors on the Bart PU match what they say the stock PU should have but not what the Bart should have.

    Talk about consistency problems.

    I'm pretty sure I didn't have it wired the way shown on the diagram I think I paired the Black and White and the Red and Grn.

    The Bart Pickup I have has six pins that are wired like this.

    (gnd) blk wht
    (gnd) red grn

    Not sure if the blk wht and red and grn are arranged but they are paired.

    The Ground I'm assuming is a drain for a Faraday cage.

    The Blk and Wht read about 7.08k Ohms
    The red and white read about 7.11k Ohms between them

    Their doesn't appear to be continuity between any other pairs. Which would mean this isn't a 3 coil pickup, so I'll have to check the continuity again.

  13. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Black and white is one coil (or coils) and red and white is the other.

    Think of a regular humbucker. So black is the (+) on the first coil and white is the (-). On the other one red is the (+) and green is the (-).

    You want green to ground and black to hot. If you are running the coils in series the white and red connect together.

    If you are running it in parallel the black and red are (+) and the green and white are (-).

    Here's the link at bartolini for the wiring instructions.

    Scroll down a bit and you will see how the coils are wired.

    Here's that part of the guide:

    Attached Files:

  14. spode master

    spode master

    Jan 21, 2007
    Just for confirmation the PU is an MV52CBJD3

    Quad coil Bartolini Music Man

    I'm guessing the coils are already in series, and each coil on its own is a humbucker so I need to figure out how to wire the MM to do

    1-1&2-2 on the switch, so I'm going to actually draw out the EB schematic. Which unfortunately they don't provide.

    For the curious

    Here are series sweeps I took of the Bartolini Quad Coil


    I put a frequency sweep through the pickup in series maximum impedance occurs in a parallel RCL circuit at resonance, so thats what the dips in signal are.

    I'm guessing that 1 coil has a resonance @ ~12kHz and the other @ about 20kHz.

    And a correction for the pickup wires

    From pu top (Bartolini upright)

    (Gnd) Grn Red
    Blk Wht (Gnd)

    So where to go from here? I'll look at that wiring chart again.

  15. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Is that with the typical load a pickup sees? Or unloaded? Seems on the high side for a high impedance pickup.

    First make sire it's wired the right way, black to hot and green to ground. Then attach the series connection, red and white. Then try the pickup out without the rest of the circuit in the bass. Wire it right to an output jack. Then try it out and see if it sounds thin. I'm guessing it wont, and then you have to figure where to wire it in the bass.

    Did you make note of how the original pickup was wired in?

    The easiest way to test it while in the bass' circuit is first make sure you have black going to hot, and green going to ground, then swap the red and white wires on the switch. I'd do that first. If it sounds better, that was the problem.

    You can't assume how they are doing the hum cancelation, and since all the coils sum together, you still need to watch the phase relationship. Even if it were to split P type humbuckers in an X pattern, you can still have phase cancelation problems, because its like two separate pickups.

    The important thing is to try changing the wiring. Situations like this can lead to over analyzing, but sometimes just swapping wires around until you find the combinations is faster... that along with tracing the switch wiring.
  16. spode master

    spode master

    Jan 21, 2007
    Well I did try running the sweeps with a 1 meg ohm in series, their is still a dip at ~12 and 20kHz although greatly reduced, so that appears to be the two coils resonance. Each coil I am assuming has its own RCL characteristic hence the 2 resonances.

    I will try wiring the Black and White directly to a 1/4" jack and see if it hums or not.

    For some reason I don't think, running with a 14+ Kohm DCR is what the plan was unless they wanted to run with a lot of output, and a very complex resonance characteristic. But if it sounds good I guess thats all that matters.

    I'm pretty sure I stumbled upon the Quad Coil 5 string layout. But can't find it now. As far as I remember it has asymmetrical series coils.

    Like the J bass in this link


    Anyhow I'll see whats up.

  17. spode master

    spode master

    Jan 21, 2007
  18. quee


    Jul 28, 2005
    There's a good wiring diagram on the SD site I successfully used for series/single/parallel with a quad coil nordstrand

    If you want 1-1&2-2 switching just look up the telecaster switching on the SD site

    The two coils in this diagram are color coded
    black+ white
    red+ green

    black and red are hot
    This is the factory wiring for the switch that came in my 1989 Stingray 5 but the original pickup had different colored wires.

  19. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I think this might be the best way to do it. Since the Bart is two J pickups in one case, the switch could be wired for A/A+B?B switching. All three positions would be hum canceling.

    So for that wiring the green and and white connect to ground, and the black and red would be hot and attached to the switch the way a Tele would be wired.

    Wire it up that way and can be assured it's wired correctly.
  20. spode master

    spode master

    Jan 21, 2007
    Thanks Guys!!

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