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Upgrading a MTD Saratoga 5 - Add your 2 cents

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Poon, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. Poon


    May 20, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm planning on upgrading the pickups in my MTD Saratoga 5

    1.) Noise issues with the single coil Bartolinis. Not a fan of 60-Cycle Hum.
    2.) Improved sound. Bass is a bit bright for me right now.

    So my choices are...
    1.) Replace the Bartolini designed pickups with Bartolini 59J1L/S
    2.) or 59J1L/S CBJD
    3.) or "custom wound but of 59cbjd construction" via Mike Tobias
    4.) or go with another band such as Duncan, EMG, etc

    This instrument is already really acoustically bright, so I'd like something to contrast that to even out the sound. Good all around presence. Thanks

    The bass looks exactly like this

  2. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    I bought a Grendel a few years back. essentially a Saratoga but made in Czech Republic before the switch to Korea. Mike sent me some Bartolini stacked humbucker Jazz pickups that really changed the sound of this bass. It took all the edge off and gave it a big full open low end. The B speaks with as much authority as my MTD 535 does with these p-ups.And the mids have nice gusty quality. I think they are 59J's. Definitly stacked.
    I also switched out the pre-amp with a Bart 18 volt system with 3 band selectable mids. (like the 535 has) This pre has a high end thats seems voiced higher with a narrower "Q" than the Grendel/Saratoga stock Pre.
    hope that helps.
  3. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    I've never had any problem with Bart singles ran in series in terms of hum, and I've had a bunch of 'em. As long as grounding was proper, they were as quiet as actives.

    So I'd make sure the pups are the source of the hum if you like the tone. If you don't like the tone then I'd try another brand as Barts tend to sound like Barts, even though not all do. Bart also makes an active J - 9E's. In my recollection EMG's have plenty of bass but they can be real bright on trebles in getting a given tone, depending on what you want. You might read the reviews on Dimento's J experiment cause my memory is not reliable - too many pups played for too short a period. And Smash's summer showdown at the top of the pup forum page.
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I think in an acoustically bright bass, where you're wanting to temper the highs, the 59J's would be a good choice. The CBJD's are similar, they have a bit more 'air' at the top end but don't have the same low-mid growl as the 9J's.

    I don't have any experience with the active Barts luknfur mentioned. But, as he said, I think EMG's can be overly bright when installed in an already bright bass.
  5. todd 4ta

    todd 4ta

    Apr 3, 2003
    I had an MTD Beast 5 which was very similar with the Bart single coils and no preamp.

    I installed some Bill Lawrence J-45 pickups, and a Bart NTMB 3-band preamp (w/5 knobs, installed with MTD 535 layout).

    The J-45's are single coil, but I found them very quiet and thought they had a much better all around tone than the Barts.

    Here is a link for J-45 Info