1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

I want your opinions on EMG or Bartolini

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by kp_funk, Dec 16, 2004.

  1. kp_funk


    Jun 9, 2003
    Hey all,

    This is an open discussion on whether I should use EMG pickups or Bartolini pickups to get the best tone for this bass. I really value everyones opinions and I would like help in making my decision.

    My custom bass is made of Zebrawood. Here is a description on this wood:

    [B]Zebrawood[/B]: This wood is very heavy with a very distinctive look, open grained with light and dark brown stripes it is becoming more and more common in the bass and guitar world. Its weight and sound are similar to Walnut and/or Hard Maple depending on the application. It is difficult to find in thick pieces, but it is more commonly available for laminated bodies where it excels. This wood may be oiled or sprayed clear, either way this wood is also very beautiful.

    I have access to both EMG pickups (soapbar EMG 40P5 - Neck Position, and EMG 40CS - Bridge Position), and Batolini pickups (Bartolini 72M45C - both positions).

    I love versitility and presence in my sound so I want to know which pickups I should use.

    If you can give me your opinions that would be great.
  2. Offbase


    Mar 9, 2000
    Depends on whether you're looking for a warmer, more traditional tone or a modern, defined tone. Barts for the former, EMGs for the latter.

    From experience, I would advise to NEVER use Barts on an accoustically dark bass, because you will get pure mud. They're great on ash basses, though.
  3. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    I've had mostly bad experiences with EMG, but you should try both. Maybe the ones I got were just flukes.
  4. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    I would go with the EMG except I would put CS in the neck and DC in the bridge. I have had that configuration before and it rocked.
  5. danomite64


    Nov 16, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    I love Barts and hate EMG's (well, I do like their 2-band preamp, but I dislike their pickups immensly). Ironically, I love talking to people at EMG and hate talking to people at Bartolini. I'd still go with the Barts, because I'd rather sound good than have a good customer/buyer relationship. That being said, I use Seymour-Duncan exclusively, because I can have both with them.
  6. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    Personally, I do not like Barts. IME, people like one or the other. If you're looking for versatility, I'd go with a pair of 40TW's and an Aguilar OBP-1 preamp. Maybe an OBP-3 if you like a mid control.

    The EMG 40TW's can be switched from Dual Coil mode to Single Coil J pu mode. You can have:

    I'm pretty sure there is a set of Barts that you can do the same, but like I said before, I just never really like the sound of 99% of the Barts I've heard.
  7. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    If you did TW/TW with an aguilar pre, how would you do switching? I'm considering doing something like this, but my bass only has four holes for controls. Oh, and I like mid controls :)

  8. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    As is often the case, all anyone can tell you is what THEY like, which may or may not be what you would like. That said, the single most awesome bass I have ever heard is my brother's early Tobias Basic 4, the body wings are solid Zebrawood with Bart pickups and electronics. I think EMG does a good modern scooped mid sort of sound very well, Barts lend themselves to a fuller mid rich sound. These are just generalizations of course. My swamp ash bodied 5 string has Barts and an Aguilar pre, and does both sorts of sounds.
  9. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    I have basses with both. I think the barts have a more traditional sound... more growl... more attitude. On the other hand, the EMGs are the cleanest sounding pickup. It's very clean almost too clean. The basses I use the EMGs are primarily ones that I want to "clean up". If the bass is not totally the way I want it to sound acoustically, I will use EMGs. EMGs tend to sound alike on many basses with the same pickup configuration.

    My personal favorite...Bartolinis.
  10. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    OBP-1: Vol/Vol/Treble/Bass

    Each volume control will have a push/pull for Single Coil --> Dual Coil operation

    OBP-3: Vol/Vol/Mid/Treble-Bass

    Each volume control will have a push/pull for Single Coil --> Dual Coil operation. The treble & bass can be on a concentric pot.
  11. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I have both EMG's and Bartolini's in my basses, I like both brands.

    My personal opinion is either brand can get a good clean tone, and either brand can be pushed into a growly tone.

    IME EMG's are a bit cleaner-sounding; Bartolini's have a slight more midrange. YMMV.

    IMO both EMG's and Bartolini's are more of a modern-tone pickup.

    The "Passive-Vintage" vs. "Active-Modern" debate is much easier for me make comparisons with.

  12. kp_funk


    Jun 9, 2003
    Thank you to everyone who has given their opinions. This is some really good info.

    If there is anyone else who has their opinion and/or preference please reply.
  13. kp_funk


    Jun 9, 2003
    Alright...So can I ask for your opinion on which is better? The "Passive-Vintage" vs. "Active-Modern"
  14. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I can only speak for myself, but I don't think either is better. I personally view them as different sounds.

    And I should clarify something: I should've said "passive" or "active". DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan manufacture passive pickups with a high output, that IMO can have a more modern sound. You don't have to go with an active setup to have a modern sound.

    I personally prefer passive pickups with a vintage sound. I have a P-Bass with a Nordstrand NP4 passive pickup that sounds like what a P-Bass "should sound like" to me. My other Fenders and Fender-clones have either DiMarzio passive or EMG active pickups, which give them more of a modern sound. I want to convert all of these basses back to a vintage-type of sound; I have the modern-type sound covered with my other basses.

    I like to have many different sounds available. I like both passive and active electronics.

  15. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    EMGs rule. I have a JV set and BTC preamp in my warwick thumb NT. Best thing i've ever done.
  16. Gomex


    Jan 7, 2005
    Because of my financial circumstances I bought a lower end washburn 6 string. It had factory pickups that while weren't bad failed to cut through guitars and drums. So I switched to EMG DCs and an EMG BTS preamp and oh god the difference was imence, I have heared some basses with barts but I always prefer EMGs tone, that being said I think EMGs passive line sounds like ****
  17. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    Another EMG fan here.

    I like the P/J pup setup and I think its definately versatile enough for me. I love how clean it sounds without IMO being sterile.
  18. kp_funk


    Jun 9, 2003
    Hey Rene,

    It's Kevin Pryce. You actually made my bass. Remember me?
  19. Rene


    Mar 8, 2004
    Hi! Kevin
    Long time no see
    I suppose somebody did not like the opinion of a Luthier
    of 20 years experience because I was cut off that "Thread"
    My opinion had nothing to do with advertising only
    research of many years with combination of exotic wood and pickups.
    Still combination of Zebrawood and EMG pickups is the best for modern sound!
    I usely pay for advertising
    Thank you for your support
    :bassist: :hyper: :help:
  20. kp_funk


    Jun 9, 2003
    No problem Rene,

    Great to hear from you. I need your Email Address.