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Pickup/Electronics for Ibanez RB850

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by rusanderson, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. I've got an Ibanez RB850 that I'd love to put back in live action. It currently has the stock pickups/electronics which sounded decent in their day, but now are hum and buzz monsters.

    I currently play and Ibanez SR500 and really like the sound of the stock Bartolini MK1s in it.

    Any suggestions on what to use in it?

    I'll probably have to stay with passive as there isn't a space to put a battery for active.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I had one of these a while back and when I measured the pickups, a replacement set would never fit "just right". EMG 35 size, I believe, were the closest. (Bart M3 would be same size, $100 each at bestbassgear.com)
    So if you do plan on a swap, some cosmetic fixes may be in order. Pickup rings, maybe some wood shims painted to match, and may even have to widen the pickup cavities to fit something in.

    HOWEVER... what I did with mine to rid it of single coil buzz was to switch the push/push pots with push/pull and wire the pickups series/parallel. It gave a lot of tonal options and never had single coil hum.
    Didn't cost much and worked great!

    And if you go with 3 push/pull pots, wire it volume/volume/tone, you can have each pickup series/parallel, but also add series/parallel to BOTH pickups and have even more passive tone options.

    Without adding a battery cavity, it's true that there's really no space to put a preamp in there. But the Push/Pull pots fit in no problem.
  3. Thanks, rojo!

    My tech skills aren't quite to the level of rewiring with confidence so will have to take it to the shop for that. Good suggestions, either way.

    I'm not totally against doing some cosmetic changes to it since it wouldn't be totally stock anyhow.
  4. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    When I had an RB850, I also had the coil split switches replaced with serial/parallel switches--much more useful, especially if you get rid of those goofy push-push switches in the pots and replace them with something that allows you to see what position the switch is in!

    I've seen other people who have installed EMG HB's (guitar humbucker size) with pickup rings made of pickguard material to cover the larger route.