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Upgrading a Cort Curbow

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by MrWalker, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. MrWalker


    Apr 3, 2002
    Which should I get? I got a cheap Mighty Mite equipped Cort Curbow with a dead preamp recently, and want to upgrade it. However, I feel the mic lacks quality, so I was considering upgrading the entire electronics package (but run passive, only).

    The size of the routing is identical to the EMG 40 / Bartolini M4.

    I was just looking at the EMG 40TW, is this a good pickup(s)? It could easily be wired to occupy the 4 knob / 1 switch control layout of the Cort/Curbow (switch between single and double coil, as well as separate volume and tone for each pickup, if I've understand the description correctly).

    Then I also took a look at the Bartolini M4. I'm under the impression that it can be wired series/parallell, and in that case, I presume I can do a VVT (or VBT) as well as a series/parallell switch (which would leave only one dud knob).

    Are there other alternatives? I really don't want to go all the way and flesh out the money for a new preamp unit for the bass, as I don't see the need for it as long as I've got an external one. A good passive (I know the EMG is active, but still) wiring scheme is ok. :)

    Input appreciated!
  2. EMG also makes the HZ series which is passive, and fits the same cavity as the active version.
  3. MrWalker


    Apr 3, 2002
    Yeah, I know... I haven't played them, though. Are they any good?
  4. I've heard them both good and bad, but it depends on the bass you know? They are inherently "brighter" sounding (ceramic magnets...hot), but still "nice and full"...I don't know how they would react with a Luthite body...
  5. MrWalker


    Apr 3, 2002
    Yeah, that about the luthite body is somewhat scary. :)

    Actually, I love the bass so far. The low weight is such a relief! And the stock pickup sounds nice, but not very "full." And it being a relatively cheap Mighty Mite, I presume higher-end pickups should also have a chance of sounding decent...

    Looking at the Curbow web site, they do have a "US Bartolini upgrade," which I presume would be the Bartolini M4 and a Bartolini preamp... and I've read somewhere that luthite should be very similar to wood (that's why it's being used, obviously).

    I think maybe the Bartolini M4 will be the "safest" choice, and the EMG 40TW would be the farthest "out there"... :)

    But I guess all the uncertainty is part of the fun when dealing with stuff like this! :D
  6. I have the Bartolini upgrade pickup and electronics for my Cort Curbow 5FL on my desk as I am typing this.

    At first I contacted Cort. No response. I then contacted a local vendor, here in Canada, about upgrading my bass from MightyMite to Bartolini. They told me that currently available pickups would not fit in place of the MightyMite pickup.

    Not yet convinced, I finally contacted Greg Curbow himself the get the story straight. Quite a nice and helpful man, I must add. He explained that he had some custom-made pickup especially for Cort Curbow owners with MightyMite.

    There are some small modification to the bass to be done for the upgrade. Mr. Curbow usually installs the upgrade himself but since I'm located in Canada, he agreed to send the material here for me to install myself or have it done at a local guitar shop.

    I'm just waiting for him to respond to a few questions before I go ahead and install or have it installed, depending on the type modification is to be done. If there is some drilling and/ou routing to be done, I wouldn't be confortable doing it myself.

    About the electronics, the current Slap switch is replaced by a three position Mid select switch, which is much better according to Mr. Curbow.

    Hope this help... I'll tell you how it sounds once everything is installed.


    To contact Mr. Curbow:
  7. MrWalker


    Apr 3, 2002
    Actually, I'm also waiting for a response from him regarding the various electronics options. He seems very nice and helpful, although he is somewhat slow to reply on e-mail. :D

    What's the difference between the Mighty Mite and the Bartolini system? I've measured the pickup width and length, and they seem to match... is it the depth of the pickup that is the problem?

    Looking forward to hearing how it goes. If it's not a too "painful" process, I'd might consider it myself.


  8. MrWalker


    Apr 3, 2002
    I did a thorough comparison with an EMG 40CS that is currently installed in my fretless today. The routing of the Cort Curbow is slightly larger than this, so the EMG 40 will leave a gap all around the pickup. Nothing major, approximately one mm or something like that. So, the stock Mighty Mite pickup is slightly larger than the EMG 40 size.
  9. FoxInSocks


    Jul 27, 2010
    Penticton, BC
    Dead thread resurrection time ... what ever happened with the upgrade? Did it work? was it worth it?