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Putting Barts in a Thumb

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by pgnbstrd, Jan 24, 2003.


  1. Has anyone changed out the stock mec pups in the thumb?
    Every time I've played a bass with Barts in it, I've really liked the tone.
    Don't get me wrong my thumb sounds good now, But why not switch them out if it makes it sound better(at least to my ears anyways).

    So if anyone has done this or played a bass that has had this done please let me know.
    Thanks,
    Jeremy
     
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
  3. hands5

    hands5

    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    none
    Switching out the MEC pups was the 1st thing I did when I got my Thumb bolt-on 5.I replace them with Bartolini pups/ntmb 3 band eq with a push/pull passive switch which really gave it a rather distinct character of its own.The lows were real nice/tight and so were the low-mids.There is a reason why a lot of bass luthiers such as Mike Tobias,Keith Roscoe,John Sukop,and other luthiers use these pups/electronics,it's because "it works"
     
  4. CS

    CS

    Dec 11, 1999
    UK
    I nearly bought Barts but decided on

    [​IMG]

    The MEC's were too unreliable. The final straw came when have spent £30 on the right volume pot the pan pot shorted out in a scratch band of pro players (and me) and in front of 1000 people.

    I got mine from basscentral and others have remarked how switched on grasshopper is re pickups in general.
     
  5. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    You know, when I first made the MEC/Bart switch I was happy. I was forced into making a change as the MEC's died. I was relatively happy with the MEC's, sure the top end was hissy but I really liked the bass response.

    Since putting in the Barts, I feel like the sound is 'muddier' now and not as clear/tight in the bottom end. I now have to put the sound through a parametric eq prior to the preamp to get the sound I used to get with the bass eq alone.

    As there are many happy Thumb/Bart owners out there, including many pro players much better than me, obviously I'm in the minority. But I think I need to investigate a brighter pickup, maybe EMG's or SD's. As I have the thumb 5, my options are more limited - Alembic don't make J 5 pups.

    I did consider MEC again, on the 'devil you know' principle. But I tried talking to the Dana B Goods technician, he insisted I needed to get one short and one long pickup. I explained that I had the older Thumb with different pickup angling and two pickups the same size (3.75 * 0.9) but he wouldn't listen.
     
  6. hands5

    hands5

    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    none
    Well david if i were you the 1st thing i would do is try to get in contact with Bill or Pat Bartoilini via email or telephone and explain to them the type sound you are presently getting with the type of Bartolini pickups that you have and then let them know what type of tone you would like to have,because you might not have the right type of preamp for those pickups.I think by talking with 1 of them I'm sure they could assist you in getting the right electronics to mate with those pickups,thats if you still would like to keep them.I.ve since sold the bass to kid in college.However,he has change to his electronics from the Bartolini to the new Aguilar op-1 preamp which is more agressive than the Bart electronics.I hope this helps.Good luck
     
  7. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Hands5, thanks for the suggestion. I did speak with the distributor at the time, and got the 59J pickups and hr 3.3 2 band preamp. This was the 'right' selection from a technical point of view. It's just not the end sound I'm looking for - I'm not saying Barts are crap, obviously many people are happy with them. For those people, MEC's to Barts was a step forward.
    For me, I feel it was a step backwards and I'm obviously annoyed that I spent a lot of money to get a sound that I don't like. But that's not Bartolini's fault, their stuff functioned correctly and works fine. I just don't like the end output!

    Now I'm trying to decide what to do next - URetro pre with EMG, SD or Dimarzio pups. Or go back to all MEC
     
  8. hands5

    hands5

    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    none
    Well David,if you can remember(depends on how long you've been playing) the real earlier J.D.Warwicks came with EMGs (80's).My ? is what type of amplification are you currently using ? Because a real crappy amp good be a tone killer.Also have you consider of purchasing a real good DI box(Direct box)I have found that these work tremendously,now as far as tighting up the bottom end I've been told that the SD's pup/preamp that are used with the Brubaker Basses have phenominal tight lows and low mids so,you may would like to check out that direction.Also is your bass neck-thru or bolt-on ? IMO the bolt-on neck has more punch than the neck thru,and as far as electronics go I have always wanted a sweepable mid pot regardless of who made or manufactured the bass because I wanted to have more control and balance for the type of tone I was able to get.However if you stay with the Barts"and are able to contact bill or pat ask them will your pups mate with the Bartolini TCT preamp this particular system was in some of the earlier Tobias Basses and let them know that you would like to be refered to a preamp of theres that will give you the tightes lows /lowmids possible then,call Seymore Duncan to see if they may have something that may have more HRTZ'S down low that what Bill/Pat maybe offering.I hope you find the desired town that you like buddy.
     
  9. my teacher has barts in his thumb 6, and i think it sounds amazing, like was said earlier, really tight lows and mids. I wanna get barts in my Bass Collection, but might hold out for a thumb 5

    *Si*
     
  10. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY

    Yup, there's no point paying $x thousand for a good bass and playing through bad amps. I have an Aguilar DB659 preamp, QSC 2402 power amp going into an EA CXL 112. My other basses, a Stringray4 and Fender Hot Rod P sound great into this setup with no tweaking. I'm putting the Thumb (neck/thru) through a Carl Martin 3 band parametric eq before the preamp, to get the low end I'm missing. The Hot Rod P has EMG's, the Stingray has SD alnico MM pup+circuit in it which gives it a much warmer bottom end.
    I agree that's a great thing to have, which is why I'm looking into a U-Retro preamp from John East (www.j-retro.co.uk) On three stacked pots, you get pickup blend, volume, bass, treble, bright pull, mid sweep, mid cut/boost :)
     
  11. hands5

    hands5

    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    none
    I've heard really good things about John East preamps.That just maybe the ticket Dave just make he makes 1 that can match to your Bart pups if you still have them.Keep me posted