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Replace my J Barts with?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Doug Parent, Nov 20, 2004.


  1. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    Do EMG's have "harder" or "faster" attack/sound than Barts?
    I'm looking to get a more solid punchy sound out of my Grendel which has stacked humbucking J style pickups made by Bartolini at the moment. I think I'm looking to get a more sensitive nuanced sound as well from it. The body is Alder or Tulip (not sure) the top is flame maple, the neck is maple and the fretboard is wenge. (already pretty agressive sounding bass with more high mids and not as much low end thickness)
    Maybe Aero or Noordstrand pick-ups would be even better, but have no expierience with those brands.
    The pre-amp is a Bart 18V 3 band with mid select. (like a MTD 535)
     
  2. gfab333

    gfab333

    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    IMHO, you're on the right tract as far as looking into Nordstands and Aeros. These are great sounding pickups. Over the past few years I've modded a Jazz and a P Bass while looking for a fatter tone (but not a Hi Fi tone). Although I had used Barts in the Jazz for years, I moved to SD Basslines Hot pickups on both. I'm very pleased. Vintage tone, with a slightly fatter bottom and higher output. Keep in mind these were passive basses.

    I'm guessing that you want an aggressive Hi Fi tone with a fatter bottom? My experience with EMGs that they'll give you a very clean balanced tone which lacks the warmth that Barts are known for. It has excellent highs, lows and mids. The EMG tone doesn't appeal to me but it works great for other players. If you haven't done so already, a search of this forum's pickup section will provide you with many threads commenting on various Jazz bass replacement PUs. Otherwise, keep researching pick up reviews, and you'll eventually find the right pick up. I think I sifted through pick up reviews for a month before settling on the Basslines as being the right pick up for my "old school Fender bass tone" projects. good luck and happy hunting.!
     
  3. r379

    r379

    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Smash's Summer Showdown at the top of the Pickups Forum may head you in the right direction.

    As I understand it from talking to Carey Nordstrand on the phone, his hum-canceling Jazz pups may give you what you are looking for. I have his single coil NJ4s and love them. Smash reviews these in his Summer Showdown.
     
  4. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    gfab333, thanks for the insightful response. I forgot to mention that I'd also be happy with a Fender/Marcus sound if I could coax it out of this bass. My MTD Grendel so superior to my FenderDeluxe MIA Jazz V in so many ways, but I do prefer the fat roundness of the Fender instrument over the spikey trebly sound I'm getting now from the Grendel. Can't help but wonder how much of that is the wood or the electronics though, and if putting SD basslines would give me the Fender vibe. Suppose its worth a shot, although wondering if I would be better off leaving the bart pre-amp in there instead of switching that out too.
     
  5. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    Your Grendel has an 18 volt Bart preamp? Nice. :)

    I personally wouldn't want to scrap that Bart preamp. If you haven't already, shoot an email to Bartolini and pass on to them the type of tone you'd like to get out of your bass. They make several different J-style pickups. There's a good chance you'll find a model that'll work for you.

    -Art
     
  6. spc

    spc

    Apr 10, 2004
    South of Boston
    Jason Lollar single coils:http://www.lollarguitars.com/
    I have a Marcus Miller sig. I hated the preamp that it came with, had it removed, the pickups were replaced with a set of Jason Lollar single coil j-bass, I love the bass now. The pickups are very warm and round, very musical...
     
  7. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:
    in my experience about 90% of the tone of the bass itself comes from the neck, strings, and pups. Pretty much all the manufacturers make pups that will and won't work with a given bass, rigging, music style/accompaniment. The same "exact" model bass can have very different acoustic properties. Pups that are exceptional in one bass won't be in another. All J Barts don't sound alike and some don't even sound like Barts. Active EMG's can produce an amazingly passive tone and not necessarily their stereotyped hi-fi tone.

    It's a bit of a crap shoot but just look for evidence of what you're describing consistently in reviews.
     
  8. gfab333

    gfab333

    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    As a clarification up to my previous "quick overview post" and Arthur's & luknfur's posts above, my opinion is generally based on my experience with the Bart's and EMG's respective traditional/original design pick ups which were put out as far back as 10-20 years ago. These original models (forgotten the model #s) still retain the original tone character as when they first came out: Barts - more warmth, slightly less bright; EMG - less warm, slightly brighter and very clean.

    Both companies now have a much wider selection of pick ups to choose from. So, you may very well be able to find the tone that you're looking for in either company's inventory of models. I've heard good things about the Lollar pick ups but have never played a bass equipped with them.

    Thanks to Arthur and luknfur in getting these finer points clarified for a fellow TBer to go on his hunt for pick ups.
     
  9. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    Well to make things even trickier, the grendel has pickups that are the same width as 4 string pickups, even though its a fiver. The longer replacements would either call for larger hole to be routed out, or I'd have to find something that had pole pieces/magnet area that extended the complete length of the pickups like the existing ones do. In this case being "unique" isn't always desirable.
     
  10. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    Not sure about the given models but many Barts and EMGs are bar/blade magnets. But as long as you've got the width, I've had no problems with the pole pieces not being in line with the strings in terms of picking up the strings. Ken Smith J45's for example are used in both his 4 and 5 string basses, using 9 pole pieces. The strings run in between the poles on the 4's and a pole runs directly under the strings in the 5's - at least I think that's how it went. At any rate, you usuallly just need to be close. What you want to watch for sure is the perimeter strings which could get bent out of range of pole piece so you get a volumn drop as you bend away. Which is why bi-pole pups were implemented to begin with.
     
  11. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    FWIW:

    Not sure about the given models but many Barts and EMGs are bar/blade magnets. But as long as you've got the width, I've had no problems with the pole pieces not being in line with the strings in terms of picking up the strings. Ken Smith J45's for example are used in both his 4 and 5 string basses, using 9 pole pieces. The strings run in between the poles on the 4's and a pole runs directly under the strings in the 5's - at least I think that's how it went. At any rate, you usuallly just need to be close. What you want to watch for sure is the perimeter strings which could get bent out of range of pole piece so you get a volumn drop as you bend away. Which is why bi-pole pups were implemented to begin with.

    Also, if it comes to it, I have Schaller roller bridges on all my basses which permits lateral string adjustment. A Schaller may not be ideal for your bass but there are other bridges with lateral adjustment. It may permit you to use pups you couldn't have used otherwise - like maybe 4 string pups. There is no bass or treble to a bass pup (or right hand left hand) as there is for many guitars - not unless is has staggered pole pieces.
     
  12. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    Thanks Luk! I'll definitly keep that in mind.