Replacement for Bartolini MK-1 Pickups

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

  1. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    It al depends on how the pickups are wound. MM humbuckers are wound on the low side, so that gives them a bright tone. My neos are bright, but I designed them to sound fuller in the low end. I wanted something that sounded good soloed, and didn't thin out.

    The Sidewinders are partly based on Lane Poor Bilateral Twin coils, so they sound like a single coil, but don't hum. I wound them a little hotter to give them more output and a warmer bottom.

    My older Sidewinders were wound a little lower and have a brighter tone.

    The neos are a bit louder. The Sidewinder Jazz pickups are brighter, but the neo Js are fatter sounding, while still having a bright top end.

    Is this for a bass with J shaped pickups, or MK-1s?
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    This will either be for a bass with MM pickups or MK-1's. It just depends on which one I find a better deal on first. I just wanted to make sure that there were some good MK-1 shaped pickups out there before buying a Lakland 55-01.

    What I was wanting to to was covert my bass with Jazz pickups (Brubaker Brute) to hold MM pickups, but I've found it's near impossible to get new pickguards from Brubaker. Lakland 55-01 and MTD Kingston Heir are the other basses on my radar...they have the right specs and are in the right price range. This will serve as a backup to my USA Spector NS-5 with an EMG MM humbucker. THAT bass is incredible. The dynamics and punch are just out of this world. I want to get closer to that, but not identical. I haven't been able to do it with Jazz pickups.
  3. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Inactive Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    You can have a new pickguard made. I did a bunch of these for the same guy:


    But speaking for my own pickups in the Jazz shape, I'd suggest the Neo Jazzbuckers. The have a lot of bite and aren't thin sounding.

    Here's the bass and drums from a project I played on with the Neo jazzbuckers in my Ibanez

    Bass & Drums
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    David, I'm going to PM you to pick your brain if you don't mind :)
  5. luvmuziq


    Nov 7, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    my gosh, could this be the reason why mtd z5 sound so ******, i got bart quads in her. i'm gonna by the duals. wish they had single coil in that p2 shape. too bad.
  6. CSEbass


    Feb 11, 2013
    Don't know if anyone mentioned this but the MK sized pickups is identical in length and narrower in width by 2mm compared with a P2 sized pickup. Tonally you have more options with a P2 as Bartolini,Delano,Nordstrand, and now Aguilar manufacture a pickup in P2 size.
    Bartolini's traditionally have modern and smooth characteristics with emphasis on the low and low midrange with the top slightly rolled off. The only difference is their pickups that have "Bright" mentioned on them. In this case the top end is cleaner and more pronounced. Practically note bright. Nordstrand and Delano's vary with model. Nordstrand has their Signature DC, Fat Stack, Big Single's and Big Splits in P2 size. Delano has HE models in P2 Driver size. These are similar to Bartolini's but slightly different. Fantastic low and midrange, clean and mellow top end, and very even response string to string.

    Nordstrand can manufacture any of their pickups under a P2 cover. You want a MusicMan pickup under a P2, they can do it. A 6-string under a P2, then can do it. They are not limited to string spacing or models with some exceptions.
  7. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    The P2's will fit as well with no modding (negligable size diff.). Just the screw pattern is different. I just put some MK5's in my bass. As mentioned above, smoother, clearer and perfect mids setting where I don't have to use my mids control. I coulda saved myself some money as the MK1's didn't sound bad with the Bartolini NTMB 5.2AP pre.
  8. KickBasser


    Feb 23, 2006
    Hey all, i bought (for a steal price :D) a used Cort A4 bass and i freakin love it! :hyper:
    Top quality VFM! Modern sounding, good looking, thin fast neck and overall a very very good bass that can compete other basses 3 or 4 times more expensive!

    The stock MK1's are very harsh (at least for my taste), like others mentioned. So i want to uprgade them, the question is which one? Same price, same specs, almost same size: Bartolini P2 vs MK4? I like the idea of P2 that they are curved to match the fretboard radius and let all the string sound even.

    Can anyone with experience help? Thanks in advance!
  9. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    MK4's are replacements for MK1's since they are the same MK shape. P2's are smaller. MK4/5's are also radiused.
  10. Daedraziel


    Aug 19, 2013
    Toms River NJ
    This the same issue I'm having with my conklin gt4. It has mk-1's and I hate them, I just replaced the preamp with the Bart 5.4ap and it only helped the EQ options a bit more, these pickups have a slight buzz and hard time with dynamic control using my fingers. Seems I'm getting string "clack" a lot more as well instead of solid tone.

    The imported mk-2's in my ibanez BTB are far better in my opinion for my playing style.

    I've been tearing my hair out trying to figure out what pickups to replace the mk-1s with. I guess I could just go with the 4's as mentioned here but I'm wondering about other options other than turning my conklin into a Lakland clone
  11. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    Despite the results by previous posters, seems no one wants to try string changes first-
    they're lots cheaper, NPS typically have less of the extreme highs, and are a bit mellower than s/s.
    I always move strings around (to find a great combo) before changing pups or pre's.
    Start at the source before changing what amps it all down stream.
  12. Daedraziel


    Aug 19, 2013
    Toms River NJ
    haha, throwing money at a bass without changing the strings just feels wrong..

    in my case It came with D'addario medium nickels...
    -changed to DR sunbeams before preamp
    -didnt like it or notice much change so went with Elixirs (my standard) major change in my problems.
    All strings were new and i know when there is a electronic problem. Its certainly the pups at this point, Im just curious to know what the options are OTHER than bartolini MK4's
  13. I replaced my pickups with Nordstrand Fat Stacks and the pre with Mike Pope on my Sr785. Don't regret it in the least!
  14. KickBasser


    Feb 23, 2006
    Thanks a lot! I will go for MK4, great to know that they also radius shaped :)

    The next question would be which pre-amp? lol
    Never had any experience with good ones, based on reviews and price i tend for OBP-3, Flex-Core also a good option but expensive. I know this is something tottally personal but any recommendation helps in the end.
  15. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Just to be clear, the pickup cases are not radiused, but the blades inside are.

    Can't go wrong with an OBP-3 or a Bart preamp. I prefer Bart because they have an output level control trim pot for fine tuning and matching levels if you have multiple basses.
  16. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    I replaced the stock MK1s in my Ibanez SR700 with MK4CBCs and then the preamp with an Audere Pro-Z. The combination has been outstanding. The resulting bass stands up formidably against any number of boutique instruments I've played. The MK4s are still warm and characteristically Bartoliniesque, but more focused, airier, and defined. The mids are hard to describe, but they punch through a mix on timbre alone without any sense of an annoying bark. The pre is as delightfully transparent as my other Auderes. On the lowest Z setting and all controls flat, the bass sounds perfect to my ears, and vastly tweakable from there.
  17. Daedraziel


    Aug 19, 2013
    Toms River NJ
    Great information in this thread. I'm in talks with a custom pickup guy here in jersey about making a replacement set of mk sized pups to go with the Bart 5.4ap pre I've got. If it doesn't work out. Ill do the mk 4s and hope for the best
  18. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead!

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    This seems to be the most popular one for this topic so I'll post my findings in here..

    I bought and returned a new SR600 that I thought had some issue with the preamp or the tonewood making it too bright, but a several months after I decided to pull the trigger on an older-style SR500 (no mid freq. switch on the preamp). I put a heavier, darker set of strings on it only to find that there was still a lot of "ping" to it no matter what. Did lower the pickups some and it helped, but there just seemed to not be any useable middle ground. Decided to throw in an Audere Classic 3-band pre that I had laying around and it seemed to do the trick. The stupidly zingy treble is gone and the tone is much more balanced. The Auderes are known for being much more transparent, which is why I didn't hesitate to use it in this application, so if you are having issues with your Bartolini MK1-equipped bass, try swapping the preamp out if lowering the pickups and changing strings doesn't do it for you.

    Mar 28, 2015
    Anyone having a good alternative to MK1 for fretless? Nordstrand Big Singles with Alnico III seems to be a good choice, considering their description (Jazz Bass®-on-steroids)... I like aggressive bone-dry, growling, lower mids. Other (more available here in continental Europe) suggestions?

    Ibanez SRF705 Workshop/Portamento fretless 5-string...
  20. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Bartolini MK5's would be fantastic.
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