Unequal Output from Neck PU and Bart Bridge Pickup

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by jsorvik, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. jsorvik


    Mar 22, 2000
    I have an inexpensive BRICE 5 String BAss that is my experimental toy. . . I recently routed in a Bartolini MM style pickup into the bridge location. It sounds great, but the Bartolini Pickup as much lower output than the stock Brice Jazz at the neck. These pickups are really Hot!!!

    Anyways, I can get somewhat close to balanced output by pushing the neck pickup WAY down, but the balance is not close enough. Is there any way to attenuate the signal that comes from this pickup without changing its tonal quality?

  2. Can you raise the bridge pickup anymore?

    The way i normally do this is to get the sound i want from the bridge pickup and adjust the neck to match but you might be able to do it the opposite way. If not check under the neck pickup, if there is a bit of padding that can be thinned down to get the neck pickup lower or in extreme cases you could rout out more wood to lower the pickup. Other than that its probably easiest to use a seperate volume for bridge and neck and use the neck volume turned down the appropriate amount.

    Or change the neck pickup to one that matches better :D
  3. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    Barts are typically comparatively low output. If the Bart is wired in parallel you can wire it in series and that will increase output substantially. It will alter tone as well but you may like it better as it will beef it up. Don't know unless you try. Or if the neck is and an HBJ 4 lead wired in series you could wire it in parallel drop output there, which would also alter tone.

    By "push way down" I assume you're talking about blend mix. If "pushing down" meant lowering the neck pup then doubling the distance of the neck poles from the strings will drop output by about 60% but it will also alter tone by thinning it out noticeably.

    It's been so long since I've had onboard controls (or even have used two pups for that matter) I've nothing to draw on recently but you should be able to get whatever mix you need. Even with the mismatch, assuming the pups put out a desired tone, the pups should exhibit a desired blend. Whether you favor neck or bridge, start with volume maxed at the pup you favor then roll the blend till you get what you want.

    It may seem like the Bart isn't putting much out becuase it's being overwhelmed by the neck pup which is inherently going to be louder in neck position, although the Bart being an HB at the bridge helps balance that out some. If you get an optimal mix then roll the blend all the way to the neck you'll get some idea of much of the total sound the Bart is putting out - you might be suprised. Or it may be you prefer the neck so don't need much of the Bart so it's adjusted to not put out much - and that would occur with any pup.

    The blend is 100% neck > 1% /detent 100% both/ 1% > 100% bridge so maybe there's some confusion there.

    You could replace the neck pup with a Bart but that would alter tone. I always strongly favored the bridge and just used enough neck to thicken tone a bit so practically any neck pup would do for me. I basically eliminated the neck pup altogehter once I found bridge pups that could stand alone. For someone who favors more of a balance that probably may not cut it. I assume someone who favors neck strongly could get by with about any bridge pup, but I wouldn't know that.

    There are buffers for imbalanced outpus but I have no experience with that. Maybe someone else does.
  4. jsorvik


    Mar 22, 2000
    The Bart is currently wired in Series, so I guess I am getting its max output. . . I can sort of fake my way through it with the blend knob, but it does not seem to have a very tapered transition. It almost seems to work like a 3-way switch.

    I wish I could go with a Volume -Volume approach, but the preamp I am using (a Fender preamp) has the preamp connected to the volume pot and really will not allow you to configure things that way.

    Anybody know about the concept of a buffer to control the volume on the neck pickup? I agree the tone has been altered by lowering it as much as I have. . .

  5. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Bartolini makes a variety of small preamps that are specifically for boosting output level. They're *just* a preamp - no eq. And the boost level is adjustable, so you can get exactly the level you need. You could wire one of these in between your bridge pickup and your current preamp.

  6. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    The blend transition should be smooth.

    If you want to try two volumes, any preamp that can be wired for a vol/blend can be wired vol/vol (at least to my knowledge). Use this Aggie diagram:


    Just compare the vol/blend and vol/vol and swap the wires as indicated.

    I went around about this recently but it's been too long since I've had onboard controls to remember (and care I might add), but what I do recall is blends although useable were not what I prefered. They seemed less intuitive, more prone to wierd responses, and the crossovers were a pain to wire. That and vol/tone vol/tone was the most versatile passive pot scheme I ran across tonewise.

    But I had to think to figure out what would create full bridge and no neck with a blend (or any other combo for that matter). With two volumes there's no thinking to it - neck off bridge maxed. You just do it and you know exactly what you've got when you've done it.

    At any rate, I wouldn't be a bit suprised if the issue was resolved installing two volumes. On the other hand, I wouldn't be suprised if it wasn't either.

    You won't know till you try.