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Ibanez new Powerspan pickups vs Bartolini MK1 pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Suncat, Feb 14, 2016.

  1. Suncat


    Jul 28, 2004

    I just recently purchased an Ibanez SR505PB bass. It's last years model and it sounds decent with the Bartolini's, but after a day of playing around with the adjustments I have found that the G string is not prominent when using the Bart's. I get better output from my J bass from the G string than the Ibanez I just bought.

    Is the Bartolini MK1 line a cheaper version of their main line pickups? Does anyone have any more information on the new Powerspan pickups that Ibanez is putting on their SR series basses? The only thing I've found is that they can be used in single coil or humbucking mode. As to the specs of the Powerpsan pickups themselves I have not found anything about them to compare them to the Bartolini's.

    It seems to me when I played an SR model with the Powerspan pickups they sounded more powerful than the Bartolini's and you can hear the definition of the G string on the notes being played on it clearly.

    I'm contemplating on going back to return the SR I just bought and go with a lower model that has the Powerspan pickups.

    Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated.
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Yes, the MK1's are Korean made pickups (Artec or G&B...I forget which) and have nothing in common with actual Bartolini's.
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  3. Suncat


    Jul 28, 2004
    Thank you for the information. I went back to GC today to try out the SR's with the Powerspan pickups and they do sound good, but I noticed that the Bart's are warmer in tone. The G string did pop out a bit better with the Powerspan pickups, but after playing my SR with the Bart's at GC I was able to make more adjustments to pop out the G string and notes on the G string with a bit more mid's incorporated.

    I will most likely replace the MK1 pickups for actual Bartolini pickups. The preamp is a whole different matter now. I don't mind the preamp in the Ibanez, but I'm sure I could replace it with a better preamp to match what is there now without making any modifications.
  4. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Quite a few on here like the MkI pickups if they're used with the preamp bypassed or with another preamp. This has been discussed in numerous threads- try to gain from other's experiences and save some $$. Try a preamp bypass switch or run the MkIs straight to the jack, then tailor the sound at your amp to see what they are really like. If it's good for you, just change out the preamp to one that others have found works well for them.
    Barts are typically warmer, and are not known for being 'hot', whether 'real' Barts or not.
  5. FingerDub

    FingerDub Inactive

    Jan 8, 2016
    I believe they are made to the USA Bartolini specs, just done by a 3rd party made overseas to be cheaper. I think that makes them have something in common.
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  6. Suncat


    Jul 28, 2004

    Thank you for the advice and suggestions. Now to check the threads for this particular subject.
  7. Suncat


    Jul 28, 2004
    Thank you for the information.
  8. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    I dunno, I seem to be one of the few here who finds no fault in either the MK1s or the preamp that Ibanez mates with them. To my ears the pickups sound fine and the preamp does its job quite well, especially the preamp with the mid switch. If your ears really tell you that the stock electronics are lacking, fine, do what you have to do. If your dislike of the stock electronics is a child of reading about how bad they are here on TB then you might want to give your ears a chance to weigh in before you spend money on changing things that might not need changing if you give them a careful listen.
    lesliegl, Phlipper and BaltoNealio like this.
  9. B-Mac

    B-Mac Just like Aretha Sang... R-E-S-P-E-C-T Supporting Member

    Got this response from Doug Somervell at Bartolini as I wanted to know the story on the MK-1 from the source as I am shopping around to replace my MEC's on my Warwick that are sooooooooooooooooo noisy:

    Hi Brian,

    The Bartolini MK1and its electronics are Bill Bartolini designed products, licensed to Ibanez for manufacture by Bill and Pat Bartolini for their benefit. They are good products and we at Bartolini, Inc. are proud of the relationships we have with both Ibanez and the founders of our company. Ibanez has made it clear that they will handle all the support of these products.

    Warwick is famous for messing with the Jazz pickups so make sure you are getting the right length for both positions.


    I am almost certain that what you need are the standard long at the bridge and short at the neck. If that's not the case then let me know and I'll get you the right pickup model numbers.. It's pretty easy we make a long neck LN and we make a short bridge SB.

    b-axis pickups are pretty awesome, they are dual coil hum killing, very mid heavy with a sharp attack. There's a demo:

    The thing about them is that they are very string spacing specific. So if your Corvette is standard fender 19mm spacing then this is an option. The are cool looking too.


    The b-axis is not available in LN or SB only the standard neck and bridge sizes.

    The 9CBJD L3/S3 would be the choice the corvette has a different string spacing.

    Let me know if you have anymore questions.
    PawleeP likes this.
  10. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    I compare them often at the local Ibanez dealer & prefer PowerSpans all day over the MK1, but I prefer a modern sound whereas the MK1 are fine if you're going for "vintage" sounds.
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  11. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    I've now owned a SR300E with PowerSpan pickups & a SR600 with MK1, they are not compatible, pickup-route wise.
    The Editor likes this.
  12. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Apr 11, 2021

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