Updated bartolini Mk1 (¿pickups or preamp?)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Ricardo Ramos, Jun 20, 2019.

  1. Ricardo Ramos

    Ricardo Ramos

    Dec 21, 2018
    Hi! I need help with a decision. I have a Cort A4, have bartolini mk1 pickups and preamp, active/passive 3 band, I like the sound of the bass but I'm not crazy for it, I want to upgrade it, i have read several post about this pickups and preamp, and the majority of people said that changing the preamp its a big big upgrade for the pickups. I want to know which preamp do you recommend me? I Play most of the time jazz, funk and rock. Or if you think is better changing the pickups? I know I can't choose a lot options for the dimensions of the bartolini's, my only options I think are the American bartolini's and that's it jeje, so... What do you think would be better?: American pickups with the mk1 preamp, or Mk1 pickups with a different preamp? Thank you guys.

    Postscript: I don't have enough money to change both, for now I can afford only one.
  2. Basehead

    Basehead Now with even more synthy goodness... Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    New York NY
    Preamp, definitely. Preamp choice depends on your tonal goals. I swapped the MK-1 pre in one of my Ibanez's with a Mike Pope Flexcore...very pricey, but worth it in my opinion. I'm looking at a John East preamp now for one of my other MK-1 equipped basses, but again, a bit expensive. I've heard good things from people swapping for an Aguilar pre or Bartolini. To be honest, I am tempted to check out one of those Tone Monster preamps off of eBay, since they are pretty cheap compared to my suggestions above. Check out Johnny Long on YouTube as he uses the Tone Monster in MANY of the basses he works on....
  3. fourstringbliss

    fourstringbliss Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2003
    Puyallup, WA
    Start with the preamp. Those pickups are fine and some people really like them. Personally I would go with an Audere preamp. With the Audere you get true passive tone, stereo blend, prewired pots, flexibile configurations and relatively low prices.

    Heck, with the control holes that bass has I would go with the Classic 3-band with mid switch. I have the same preamp on my Ibanez P/J and love it!
  4. Ricardo Ramos

    Ricardo Ramos

    Dec 21, 2018
    Thanks for the answers guys! Right know I have my eye on 3 options, Aguilar OBP-3SK, John East uní-pre and bartolini NTMB. I like the Aguilar sound and reviews (plus flea use an Aguilar pre, I love his sound, I know I need a musicman/jazz bass/modulus but is a step in the right direction Jaja), the John East looks good too, plus you can use the EQ on passive mode (a big plus I have to say, but I don't know how well it works), and the bartolini I think is gonna work well with bartolini pickups, and I love the piano sound of this brand, but I'm afraid that the mk1 and the NTMB don't be so different.
    What do you think guys? I'm a noob on this active basses think, it's my first active bass. By the way i almost always use the passive mode on this bass, i only use the active when I need to EQ on someone else amp (and don't destroy his pre EQ) or when I want that juicy punchy funk with hi treble, low mids. Just if you want to know more about what I'm looking for.
  5. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I gotta say, I've upgraded this pairing a number of times in my day, every time sounding better than it did with those components onboard. In my experience, both parts are pretty unimpressive.
    The MK1 pickups are very low output and fairly blah. And the preamp is not doing them any favors. Together, the best way I could put it is, they smother the natural sound of the bass.

    If it were me on a tight budget, I'd honestly get rid of all of it, put in a good set of pickups that have the characteristics you're after, and then run them passive until I could add a preamp.

    You'll open up the sound of that bass in ways you never thought possible when the pickups allow you to hear the true character of the bass. I guarantee that there's a pickup out there that fits this bass and will allow you to get the sound you need.

    If you run that into a basic volume, tone, pan or second volume, and maybe a series/parallel switch... you'll be amazed at how much better it sounds.

    All that said, the East Preamps are amazing. Worth every penny! Not to say others aren't great, too, and mostly a lot cheaper. But the East is special.
    Having mentioned that as an option though, you could probably get a set of pickups and a Nordy, Aguilar or Audere preamp TOGETHER... and it wouldn't cost as much as the East preamp by itself.
  6. StefanBass

    StefanBass Commercial User

    Sep 29, 2019
    Greetings, I have a Lakeland 55-01 Natur. Amazing guitar. I have a problem with the buzzing. Does anyone sell their own magup and their preamp with the pot? How much ? Big tnx