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Roscoe, preamp enquiery

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Shiveringbass, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. Shiveringbass


    Aug 21, 2005

    Well, this is a little thing I've done when I got some time today.
    For some time, it seems that Demeter preamp in Roscoes receives a lot of prays and compliments on this forum against Bartolini preamp which is often regarded as "not so good"...
    Welle to verify that tendency, I went on Jay site at Blueberry bass and had a look at his sold bass gallery and this is the results :

    on a total of 20 Roscoe present :
    7 were equiped with Demeter pre
    12 with Bart 3 ways pre
    and finaly only 2 with Aguilar pre.

    So what are your reactions about that notice ? Is the Demeter preamp hipe is only due to a few TB members very active ?
    or don't Bartolini lovers come on TB to tell how they love their preamp ?

    I'm not juging here or questionning choice or wanting to argue... just asking and inquiering about those figures.


  2. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Demeter is the most expensive, significantly. I think many people on a budget would spring for the Bart,.

    ALTHOUGH, that could very well not be the case. They are very different sounding preamps. The bart has a rolled off high section while the Demeter is very modern and brighter.

    I think more people may sitll be loyal to the bart esque tone,

    that being said, i prefer the Demeter type tone.
  3. Shiveringbass


    Aug 21, 2005
    It's true that Demeter is more expensive but I think that when you decide to spend that sort of cash, you're not gonna be stopped by 80 or so dollars...imho.
    Of course they are two different animals but when reading some posts, you sometimes have the impression that Dem. is the only way to go.

    Thanks for sharing you opinion

  4. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    IMO, It's mainly the cost of the Demeter and Aguilar that might make the Bartolini more popular. Plus, since Bartolini pickups are used, folks might find that the Bart preamp makes a nicer fit. Personally, I like the Aguilar, but there's nothing wrong with the Demeter or Bartolini. It's just a matter of taste. Also with the Bartolini, it's easier to add switching possibilities for the mids.

    Demeter - Most expensive, clear hifi sound
    Aguilar - Tight beefy low end
    Bartolini - Cheapest, deep bass and subtle highs
  5. Shiveringbass


    Aug 21, 2005
    Ok Jive but once more here, you even didn't mention that some folks could love Bart sound and simply imagine that if it has quite success it is because it is cheaper, has more flexible connections or anything else... nothing in relation with sound.
    Are Bartolini preamp so unappreciated by TB ers or bassist in general ?
    I always thought that Bart. was a good and recognised brend making good stuff for bass players and the more I read here and the more I've got the impression that people do not consider them as good preamp are pick-ups. Quite confusing...

  6. I recently picked up a used LG-3005 with the bart preamp. All-in-all, it is pretty good. Really, I run the bass flat, or use a smig of bass boost. I thought about switching to the demeter, hoping that the highs would open up a bit, but honestly it sounds really good as is. Had I been ordering new, I'd probably have gotten the demeter, but that is just because I have bart pre and pickups in my MTD.

    p.s. I bet you get get them all within 98% of each other using amp eq controls.
  7. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Bartolini makes a fine preamp, and there's nothing wrong with the sound. Since many folks on here like boutique basses, maybe the Bartolini seems more run-of-the-mill than a Demeter. It's not that one sounds "better" than the other, one isn't found in as many basses as others.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    I have basses with all three preamps(so I'm only speaking from my experience live and in the studio).


    Very modern sounding and transparent at the same time(a feature that can be very valuable in the studio)with very pristine highs,overall tone wise very well balanced almost as if you have a high end mixing board right at your hip.

    Aguilar OB-3

    The highs are a little more suttle than the Demeter,the bass is very touch sensitive(you barely have to roll bass on to notice a very big tonal difference in regards to the low response)the mids are also bass response friendly as well,both the bass and mid range have plenty of head room).if you're ever in a situation and you need just the right amount of bass response added,this system will definitely give it to you.if you want that extra bottom in a killer Singlecut bass the Aguilar is my #1 pick.


    Bartolini makes so many different pre's that it can be a little hard to actually pin point what could be the Bartolini sound over all(some of their pre's sound hi-fi,dark,transparent,modern,even growly and I have never heard the other two pre's having this tonal character),plus Bartolini makes their own pickups and Demeter and Aguilar does not.remember Bartolini has been making specific custom pre's for Luthiers close to 30 years and in doing so that has allowed luthiers to have signature sounding instruments that bass players seek out(and now it seems that may be the case with Roscoe Basses).I have heard and own many Basses with Barts and again the tonal spectrum varies.Demeter and Aguilar are basically the new kids on the block and for now you get what they offer.all three companies have made custom Pre's for me(and I do use their market pre's as well)and I will probably continue to use pre's made by each company because for me they all have something very useful to offer.
  9. Shiveringbass


    Aug 21, 2005
    Thanks to all for your share.
    Jauqo, your last message very complete makes me think to something. Since all those preamp are so different, where does the famous Roscoe tone come from ?
    Is it more a question of woods used and construction ?
    Or does it come principaly from their Bartolini soap bars, and to that respect, has someone already try to change pick-ups in Roscoe and with what result ?
    Does a Roscoe without its Bart. pick-ups is still a Roscoe tonaly speaking ?

    Thanks for sharing


    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    The Roscoe instrument gained it's notice not by Keiths talent as a Luthier alone but with the use of Bartolini pickups and electronics(the use of Aguliar and Demeter came later and if Roscoe thought any less of the Barttolini product I think with all due respect he would simply stop offering them) and as a reminder,80% of the Basses in use today have Bartolini Pickups and electronics or simply one of their many to choose from Pre's and that is from some of the best and most proven luthiers to date.

    Again the Bartolini Pre's really do cover to vast of a spectrum to pinpoint,therefore instead of someone bashing them they should respect the fact that maybe Bartolini is just not their sound.

    Hey shiverinbass what type of preamp are you getting in your Roscoe?
  11. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Although I agree with much Jaquo has said, I find it difficult to agree with his statement that Keith's basses gained popularity in large part because of the Bartolini pickups and preamp he has always used. If that were true, then anyone making basses with Bartolini pups and preamp would be as successful as Roscoe Guitars is now. That being said:

    I have two Roscoes with Demeter preamps. The first one I got is a SKB-3006 fretted with a Bartolini preamp. I eventually switched it for the Demeter for a little less midrange and a better slap sound. Mission accomplished. The Demeter is also less noisy than the Bartolini. There is a little bit of hum with the Bartolini- just a little. For me, the Demeter is the way to go for a fretted Roscoe. I loved this bass with the Bartolini, but the Demeter just brought the instrument alive for me.

    My other Roscoe is a SKB-3005 with the Demeter, but it is fretless. I will take this bass to my grave. I love it. But there is a very good arguement for the Bartolini preamp in a fretless Roscoe as it will accentuate the covetted mids that fretless players like. My Roscoe could use a little more mids and a little less highs for most bass players, but I love the sound of my bass. Even my guitarist has said that my Roscoe fretless has "the majic" that you are lucky to come across once in your life.

    Aggie preamp in a Roscoe: I know nothing about. Period.

    As for why are most Roscoes still made with Bartolini preamps: My guess is that the Demeter only began to gain popularity in the last 12-18 months. My prediction is that you will continue to see a shift away from the Bart preamp to the Demeter pre. How long will it take for the Demeter to be the most popular preamp in a Roscoe? Who knows? I think it eventually will based on what I've read here, but I may be wrong.

    As for different PUPS: I heard a rumour about one set of Mike Pope pickups or was it Nordstrand pickups acquired by Keith? Now I run the risk of spreading untrue rumours. :confused:

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.

    No thats not what I'm saying at all.many years before Keith was using Demeter or Aguiliar he was using Bartolini(and because he had Barts in his instrument,it did help him make a sale) and most of the basses that he has sold to date has a Bartolini pre(but thats because Demeter is the new kid on most peoples block).it has not been until the last year or so that he has been using Demeter(and for the record I have nothing but respect for Keith and his talent as a luthier)Keith is open minded enough to give a bassist what they may be looking for and for what ever reason.He's not like some luthiers,that they will only have it their way.it goes back to,if one can have the pre of their choosing then what more can one ask for?in the end the luthier wants the customer to be happy.

    like you said yourself,you had a Bart pre and you decided to change it and have a Demeter installed,but when you Bought your first Roscoe did the Barts help you in your decision?(and I am not all being sarcastic).

    I love the Demeter Bass products,I even use the Demeter VTBP-201 preamps live and in the studio(and on my own CD's).

    I have a new bass that will be at this months namm show with a custom Demeter pre in it.
  13. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member


    I was fortunate to be able to play my first Roscoe in a store with a number of other Roscoes. They all had the Bartolini preamps. I wasn't influenced by the Bartolini pickups only because I could play the instrument and it felt and sounded like what I wanted. If it had sounded the same with different electronics, I would have gotten it anyway. But it's obvious that the Bart preamp helped give that bass it's sound. That's the best answer I could give you.
  14. Shawnost

    Shawnost It's all about the Hamiltons baby! Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    Huntersville, NC
    As a new Roscoe owner I can walk you through my selection of the preamp in my bass.

    When I first started looking around at Roscoes I was fortunate enough to be able to play an awesome Koa SKB-3005 with the Bart preamp and I was totally blown away by the overall sound and flexability of this preamp, but I was a little less than jazzed about the noise (it is a tad on the noisy side). That aside I thought long and hard about my preamp choice and came very close to selecting the Bart (after all I had not heard the Demeter). But what really put me over the edge for the Demeter was simply talking to others on this website (JOME77, Gard, and others) who had used both the Bart and Demeter pre's and describing to them what I wanted from the bass soundwise which was deep lows and highs that just sing without the mids being too harsh. I was actually very concerned about this given the maple top and fretboard. But at the end of the day the Demeter is EXACTLY what I was looking/listening for in a preamp and I am very happy that I decided to go that route.

  15. I've owned all three preamps in various Roscoe basses, so I can give a very reliable opinion.

    First off, I think you're looking a bit too deep into the numbers of the Bart equipped basses through Jay. For one, the Demeter option just became available again, so if you ask me, and if you take a look at the numbers again, I'd bet Jay has sold more Demeter equipped Roscoes as of late.

    My general opinion of Roscoe basses are that they're a "dark" sounding bass. I also equate a dark sound with Bart electronics. To me, the Bart pre can make a dark sounding bass sound like mud. The Demeter is the antithesis of the Bart. It makes the Roscoe sound extremely clear and open. If you like to slap, in general, I'd say a Roscoe isn't for you if you're looking for a "Marcus" sound, but the Demeter makes Roscoes slap tone amazing.

    The Aguilar is a great preamp as well. It's closer to the Bart than the Demeter, but it's definetly got more in the highs than the Bart. It's also got a much better bass response as well. I tend to prefer the mids on the Bart a bit better than the Aggie, but overal, they're very usable. All in all, the Aggie is sort of a compromise between the Demeter and the Bart.

    The Bart to me is nice, but I think it's best suited with fretless basses. The mids on the Bart really add to the fretless tone IMO, especially with a Diamondwood board. Outside of a fretless, I doubt I'd use a Bart in a Roscoe unless I had a Roscoe with an Ash or Maple body, Ash FB, and a Maple top, then I think a Bart would be okay because the bass would tend to be on the brighter side to begin with.

    The bottom line is that you pretty much have to try them all to see which one you like the best. At first, I was convinced that I was going to hate the Demeter, being that I had hated it in a previous bass, but I soon realized that it works unbelievably well in a Roscoe.
  16. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Wow...what a neat thread! :smug: I just got home from a gig and just stumbled across this before calling it an evening. First of all. thanks for checking out the Sold Gallery...lots of good stuff in there. :) Secondly, I should be able to offer some relevant comments here, both specific to Blueberry Hill and more in general with respect to the various preamps.

    The distrubution that Shiveringbass is referencing is interesting, but as some have mentioned, it doesn't necessarily account for time or my own personal preference. First, the Demeter preamp that is custom made for Roscoe basses is a relatively new option. More early basses were ordered with Bartolini preamps (which are very good) because that was the standard option. I rarely get requests for Aggie pres in Roscoes and don't necessarily see the need to order basses with them. I like the standard Bart 3-band as the default set-up, and is one that has made a LOT of Rosocoe owners very happy for years. However, after trying the Demeter in a few basses, I really liked it as an alternative to the Bart system. Most of the basses that have been ordered wtih the Demeter have been custom projects, but I will be ordering more basses with the Demeter pre in the future.

    As for why people choose the Demeter over the Bartolini, I seriously doubt that it has to do with price. Once you discount the prices, and once you consider how such a small percentage of the overall price of the bass is attributed to the preamp, the "cost" factor can pretty much be thrown out the window. I have yet to encounter someone who balked at the Demeter because it was a shade more expensive than the Bartolini preamp. The PRIMARY factor with me, and with my customers, is ALWAYS tone. Without a doubt, the reason why I recommend one over the other has to do with the type of tone my customers tell me they're looking for....what they like and what they don't like.

    In general, I like both preamps for Roscoes....both the Bartolini and Demeter 3-bands. They're both custom made for Roscoe basses and help to retain that "classic" Roscoe tone. While there some tonal and performance differences between the two, they both still allow a Roscoe to sound like a Roscoe. There are some TBers who feel very strongly about the tone that they can get with the Demeter, and it may appear as if one preamp is being outperformed by the other. That's simply not the case. I think that Roscoes with Bart pres sound fantastic, will continue to order them in basses, and will continue to recommend them where appropriate. However, the Demeter now offers a fantastic alterntive, and even the Aguilar (which I've used on a lot of other basses) is still an great option for those Aggie fans out there.

    My advice....do as much research as you can, read everyone's comments on the forum, critique them, look at them critically, take advice where you can trust it, but ultimately, make the best decision that is best for YOU. ;) I hope that helps. :D
  17. Shiveringbass


    Aug 21, 2005
    Hey Jay,

    Thanks for that very complete answer which sum up exactly what I think and which clarify things.

    Have you got an idea for my second question which is :
    Does the famous Roscoe tone come from Bartolini soap bars ? or only from woods and construction ?
    I know it can't be 100 porcent one or the other but does a Roscoe with other pick-ups still sound like Roscoe ?

    I've meet a guy on the french net who has changed his Roscoe pick-ups by some Rough Crystal soap bars. Those pick-ups have a very wide range and apparently are more open than Barts.

    For him the change was realy a good operation to open things up. Unfortunatly I won't be able to try that bass cause I'm at the other side of France however it sound interesting to me.
    This could be the answer to add that highs and that openess I'm lacking sometime on my freted Roscoe all Bart equiped without having to change preamp ?
    What do you think ?


  18. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Bronx, NY
    The Demeter pre's in Roscoe's started when I put the standard Demeter in my first Roscoe and was blown away. I posted my thoughts on Talkbass and here we are today! :D

    I knew I had to try the Demeter in my first Roscoe because I had played a few Tyler's that had Bart pickups and their own Demeter spec'd preamp and it was unbelievable. I don't like the Bart pre's because they compress the bass' signal so much. It kills the dynamics of an instrument. The Bartolini's in the Roscoe are the typical sound that we associate with Barts; they have a low mid emphasis with a muted top end. The demeter's clarity really opens them up. The only difference in the Demeter pre for the Roscoe's and the stock Demeter are in the mid eq points.

    As for different pickups, I know that Roscoe has some pickups from Carey Nordstrand but last I heard they hadn't tried them yet. I would love to see Keith try the newer Classic Bass Barts. They don't have that muted top end and are much more balanced across the board. I like the Roscoe basses a lot but I'd love if they were more open sounding. If they decide to use Carey's pickups it'd be great to see a more traditional placement with the pickups as well. That'd be a great option.
  19. I guess I am the anti-marcus, 'cuz I really like the slap tone of my Roscoe w/ the bart pre. I was really surprised. From everything I read, I heard the the Roscoe slap sound wasn't all that. Actually, it is great, and cuts through like a champ.
  20. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I have a sweet LG3005 on order with the Demeter, should be ready in a few months :).