Replacement for Bartolini MK-1 Pickups

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Kwesi, Jan 24, 2008.


  1. zone1

    zone1

    Dec 27, 2009
    According to the Bartolini website the pickups designated "B" are for the neck and "T" are for the bridge slot. My receipt from BestBassGear states this also.
     
  2. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oregon
    From what I can tell, the MK pickups are 108mm by 34mm. This is *very* close to the size of the Bartolini "P2" pickups (also called BC5) which are 108mm by 32mm. This means that just about any other pickups of the same dimensions will fit in the existing MK routes, with 1mm to spare on each side.

    In addition to the excellent ND3 pickups that David (SGD) makes in this shape, here are a list of other P2 size pickups that I've seen.

    Lane Poor JB4250, SB4250, HB4250
    Seymour Duncan ASB-5
    Bartolini P2 pickups, including P25CBC, XXP25C, XXP25M, XXP26C, XXP26M, 72P25C
    Carvin J99AS, H50AS, SP
    Villex P2 shape (custom order)
    Nordstrand 5-string pickups including Big Singles, Fat Stacks, Big Splits, Dual Coils
    Delano SBC "Driver Edition"

    For some of the quad-coil or split-coil pickups advertised as being for 5-string or 6-string (e.g. Seymour Duncan, Bartolini, Nordstrand) you will probably need to confirm the shape of the armatures inside, to make sure they work with your strings. Most quad-coil or split-coil pickups have a small gap between the armatures where strings won't be properly covered. Bartolini solves this by making them with gaps between A and D strings, either for 5-string or 6-string, depending on the model. You can use some "magnetic paper" to confirm that the strings don't sit above this gap. Bartolini dual-coil pickups don't have this issue, since the armatures usually go all the way across the pickup.

    For Nordstrand soapbar pickups, you're probably only going to be able to use these with a 5-string bass.

    So there are a good number of options out there, each with their own sound and tonal characteristics.
     
    Preventer and crust_cheese like this.
  3. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Yes, B is "bass" and T is "treble". Ibanez installs them the other way around, for what ever reason.
     
  4. Billy K

    Billy K

    Nov 5, 2009
    North Bay Marin
    Hey SHOWDOWN how hard was it to change out.I would like to do it myself and save 150 bucks.Otherwise the only guitar tech in my area is a month or so behind right now.
     
  5. Billy K

    Billy K

    Nov 5, 2009
    North Bay Marin
    I suppose I should have said that it would be on a Ibanez 500
     
  6. Showdown

    Showdown

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    It's pretty easy if you have soldering skills. You do have to drill new holes for the pickup screws (the MK1 have two screws, one on each end, while the MK have three, two on top one on the bottom). You just de-solder the old pickups and remove them, then drill screw holes, install the new pickups and solder them exactly like the ones that came out. Direct replacement other than the screw holes.
     
  7. btp

    btp

    Aug 30, 2009
    Lansing, Michigan
    Showdown's description of the tone for the MK-1 is *exactly* how I would describe my SR-505. I loved the tone at first ("aggressive") but that harsh almost clanky sound is getting on my nerves. And just turning down the treble is too drastic -- like tossing a wet carpet on it.

    I've noticed that some folks recommend changing out the whole package, but I'd rather not spend the $$ if the pickups are the main problem. On the other hand, I've noticed that the whole package (EQ + MK-1's) sells for $100 or so, used, but I've never seen any listings for just the MK-1s without the EQ... so it seems like people are changing all or nothing. Thoughts?
     
    denverbarnes likes this.
  8. btp

    btp

    Aug 30, 2009
    Lansing, Michigan
    I have the SR-505 and I'm considering replacing the MK-1's, but not sure whether to also replace the pre-amp (as some have recommended). Sounds like you're planning to just replace the pups?

    In addition to just being cheap and lazy, I notice that usually keep the preamp on the SR505 close to flat, and adjust the tone controls on my amp. And when I do use the tone controls on the bass itself, they seem to work fine. I'm just not sure what the extra $$ for a new preamp is going to get me...
     
  9. Must be something in the water. I have also been thinking about replacing the pickups on my SR505. I love the bass overall but those MK-1's are a bit harsh for my taste. Carvin has pickups that appear to be the right size. They have a few different options for configurations such as stacked humbucker, soapbar and single coil.

    http://www.carvinguitars.com/products/group.php?cid=71
     
    denverbarnes likes this.
  10. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oregon
    If you want a more mellow pickup, the Carvin "SP" soapbar humbuckers should work nicely. I've tested the bridge pickup and it has a nice midrange with a naturally rolled-off treble. Not harsh or brittle at all. The stacked humbuckers are more aggressive.
     
  11. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Yeah, swap the neck and bridge pickup. As I pointed out a few times, Ibanez wanted a dark neck pickup and a bright bridge pickup. Normally Bart makes the bridge pickup fuller sounding, and the neck brighter. So if you swap them they should sound more balanced. The way they are now you have an overly bright bridge pickup in a location that's naturally bright.

    And if you don't like it, you can always switch them back, or get new pickups.
     
    denverbarnes likes this.
  12. btp

    btp

    Aug 30, 2009
    Lansing, Michigan
    I just tried replacing the stock round-wound strings (Elixir, I think) with flatwound (La Bella 760FMs). The klank is gone! I was inspired by Sundogue's thread about the beauty of flat-wound strings (http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=519803) Regardless of how you feel about flatwounds, it's worth reading -- very insprirational.

    Anyway, the tone was FABULOUS, but I did have one minor problem: on the SR505 (5 string) the LaBella low B has intonation problems. Even when perfectly tuned, it plays sharp when fretted. I think it might be due to the length of the taper, which extends more than an inch beyond the saddle. Maybe I can adjust the saddle enough to correct it -- still need to try that. Perhaps the LaBella low B is meant for a different kind of bridge with a longer space between the ball and the saddle.

    in any case, I no longer have any thought about changing out pickups or pre-amps when changing the strings is so effective.
     
  13. Showdown

    Showdown

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    When you go from a regular string to a tapered string you have to adjust the intonation. Try moving the saddle toward the back of the bridge (making the string longer) until the 12th fret harmonic and the 12th fret fretted note are the same pitch (retuning to B before checking again).

    You will want to check the other strings too. Any change in string gauge/tension will affect the intonation. They probably won't be as far off as the tapered string, but they may be off a little. If the note at the 12th fret is sharp move the saddle toward the back of the bridge, if it is flat move it toward the pickups.
     
  14. btp

    btp

    Aug 30, 2009
    Lansing, Michigan
    Hi Showdown,

    For sure, it needs to be adjusted as you suggest. I was surprised because the stock B was also tapered, with perfect intonation. The taper on the LaBella extends a LOT farther past the saddle. But thank you for the advice. I will get out my teeny-tiny allen wrenches...
     
  15. Billy K

    Billy K

    Nov 5, 2009
    North Bay Marin
    I've been following this thread with great interest. I find that my SR500 made 9/2009 has a flat(for lack of better discription)sound using the bridge only pickup. Now SGD-Lutherie says "One thing to note on the MK-1 pickups is that Ibanez installed the bright neck pickup at the bridge, and the deep bridge pickup at the neck.

    You can see this on the basses with the US MK pickups, the neck pickup says "T" and the bridge says "B".

    So if the neck pickup is too dark and the bridge is too bright, try swapping them."
    I wanted a warmer fatter sound so instead of buying some new pickups now ,Next Thursday the tech at the store I go to is swapping them around for me. I will give us all a report on how that works out for me. It is way cheaper than buying new ones. If it don't work them MK4's will be the next step.I am also going to try something else ...I am drilling and installing Ferrels in the body to go thru the body like some of the higher end Ibanez bass's I've seen.The ferrels are on their way.. My bridge has the 4 holes in it already.so it seems all I got to do is mark and drill through.If I am F'ing up someone chime in and save me from myself. LOL.
    __________________
     
    denverbarnes likes this.
  16. btp

    btp

    Aug 30, 2009
    Lansing, Michigan
    I solved my little intonation problem with the LaBella 760s. No need to adjust the saddle. I unwrapped the string, shortened it by about 3/4 inch, and then re-wrapped it. The trick is to make sure that all this surgery occurs BEHIND the saddle, so it doesn't affect the actual playable part of the string. So now, I've got marvelous massive flatwound strings, "aggressive" Bartolini pickups, and I'm very happy with the tone.

    Warm. Round. Bass. Thank you, Sundogue.

    I suppose I could spend another umpteen dollars on new pickups & pre-amp, but I'd rather go for 80% of the tone at 20% of the price.... :bassist:
     
  17. KeithPas

    KeithPas

    May 16, 2000
    Poulsbo,Wa
    I used to own a Lakland 55-01 that was upgraded with the Bart NTMB preamp and it sounded great with the stock MK-1's.
     
  18. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Reviving this thread!

    Is there a pickup that fits 5 string MK-1 routes that can come close to a MM humbucker?

    SGD/David? How about a Neo BC5 wide? I notice it can be wired series/single/parallel which would be a bonus :)
     
  19. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Yes, you can wire it series/parallel/single. The bridge pickup will actually get two different single coil tones depending on which coil you cut, since each coil is tuned differently.

    I won't say they sound like a MM pickup, as they are much fuller sounding.

    The Sidewinders sound more MM-ish, kind of a cross between a Jazz, Rick and a little MM thrown in.

    I could wind a Neo to MM specs though if that's what you wanted.
     
  20. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Carolinas
    Thanks David! If the Sidewinders are more MM-ish, I'll go with them. I just assumed the Neo's would sound more MM-ish. I don't know why. Maybe because of the Neo pickups in the Bongo.

    Which is higher output, Neo or Sidewinder? Put it this way, the bass I am replacing has Bartolini 59CBJS Jazz pickups. They sound clean, smooth, moderate output, and scooped. I want the opposite of that.
     
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