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Incremental NBD--throwing good money after none

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JohnnyB53, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. JohnnyB53


    Nov 1, 2009
    About a month ago I traded a Washburn semihollow electric guitar for this like-new 12-yr-old Cort Artisan Fretless. It has an all-wenge neck and mahogany body, and man does this thing play nice.

    P4120035. P4120045.

    Although it flies in the face of conventional wisdom regarding resale value, I'm so taken by its tone and playability that I decided to replace the meh Mighty Mite soapbars with the best pickups that didn't require routing or drilling. The USA-made Bartolini CF4CBC model qualified; the MMs were active so I also had to gut the factory PC board and pots in the control cavity in favor of a Bart preamp and 4-pot harness that matches the controls and holes in the original bass--vol, blend, active treble, and active bass.

    P4120041. P4120042.

    Now it's a hot rod. If the ASAT semihollow is a Cadillac CTS-V, this is a Miata with a turbo-charged V-6. It's compact, yet is a full 34" scale and angled 2+2 headstock, and the full Bartolini system provides a huge range of tones. For an extra $5 I got the push/pull volume knob to bypass the active circuitry on demand. Beats changing the battery in the middle of a song. And the preamp has a gain pot so I was able to match this bass's output to the prodigious power and output of my G&L ASAT. Saves knob twiddling when I change basses.

    Happy camper here; I'm taking it to band practice tonite.
  2. They are great bass for the money, i actually started playing on a artisan b4 fretted....

    One thing surprises me though, mine came stock with bartolini pickups and preamp, how come yours didnt?
  3. Is yours possibly a later model; are they the MK1 barts that all the Korean manufacturers seem to be using these days? The brand new ones have these in them if I remember right.

    I really dig this thing, looks almost just like my Ibanez from about the same vintage.
  4. JohnnyB53


    Nov 1, 2009
    This is an older one. It has the one-piece wenge neck, but Mighty Mite pickups. Later models come with Korean-made Bartolinis. They are no doubt better than the Mighty Mites, but are not the same as the USA-made Bartolinis. The Asian-made MK-1 pickups have a small Bartolini logo in the lower right corner of the pickup cover; the USA-made ones have a large logo that stretches across the middle of the pickup cover. This is similar to the difference between "Duncan Designed" guitar pickups on many import guitars vs. USA-made Seymour Duncan pickups. Bartolini makes a USA-made replacement for their import pickups as shown here. I had to use the Mighty Mite replacements shown here, plus the Bartolini 4.5 A/P preamp/harness.
  5. JohnnyB53


    Nov 1, 2009
    No, it's a 12-year-old "under-the-bed" bass that had about 10 hours playing time on it. It came with active Mighty Mites. The MK-1 Bartolinis are made in Asia. The Bartolinis in my pic are after I got the work done. They're USA-made model CF4CBC. Bartolini also makes a USA drop-in replacement for the MK-1 called the MK4CBC.
    As near as I can tell, the Cort B4 and Ibanez SR500 are near twins, right down to the tone woods and body shape; ditto for the Cort B5 and Ibanez SR505. Ibanez doesn't offer a fretless in the US of the SR50x series. I have a buddy who has a Cort B5FL from the same period as mine--Wenge neck, Mighty Mite pickups. Cort doesn't offer the B5FL in the US anymore, and the B4FL now has an ash body (instead of mahogany) and a laminated neck instead of the 1-piece wenge.

    But yeah, the neck geometry on this and Ibanez SR twin is pure magic for me.
  6. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    Replacing the stock pups with ones that sound better to you was very wise and good move. Congrats on new bass, looks nice.
  7. I was actually referring to carlos840's post, asking if his had the MK1's in it. Sorry about the confusion there. :)

    Seems like you'll be having alot of fun with it after being upgraded, I've been thinking of redoing mine too. The stock electronics are a bit weak but everything else (LOVE that wenge neck) just feels fantastic.
  8. JohnnyB53


    Nov 1, 2009
    If you really like your bass but the electronics are holding you back, the US Bartolini upgrade is worth it. If you plan to sell it anytime soon you won't get your money out of it (I spent $400 in parts and labor). But if you play it you will definitely get your money's worth in enjoyment. I would now play this bass in any situation where tone and playability are critical. I can play bass lines I hear in my head as never before.
  9. Mine does have Bartolini written all across the pickup cover, not a small one in the corner.
    They are stock and the bass was bought new something like 7 years ago, maybe 8 max....


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