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Why bartolini?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Sywannab, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Sywannab

    Sywannab Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2010
    Alameda, CA 94501
    Although some factories like Fbass, benavente, alembic, sadowsky, and new lakland make their own pups and electronics, I have seen lots of high-end basses like zon, modulus, roscoe, surine, brubaker, mike lull, and old lakland got installed bartolini pups and electronics if they don't have their own pups

    EMG sounds great and Fodera uses EMG pups, but it seems people prefer Barts over other good pup and electronics.

    so my question is why bartolini?
  2. My opinion... take it for what it's worth...

    Seems to me that Barts are a little more of a "lowest common denominator" sort of sound. You can use them in a lot of different situations, and they will adapt fairly well. I personally don't care for them and use EMGs in everything that I can, and EMGs are a pretty well regarded sound, but they are not everyone's cup of tea. Other brands out there sound great, but seem much more pigeonholed.
  3. cfsporn


    Aug 20, 2011
    New York City
    Because people like them. Tis the way the free market works.
  4. svtb15

    svtb15 Commercial User

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig
    I liked Bartolinis for their clean output.. And they are tailored to fit different situations and custom builds for each company..
    The thing that hurts Bartolini in this day and age, is their lack of a well organized website.
    Their site is very dated and not organized at all... and does not have a flow that is needed in 2012 to do smoother commerce...
    Their products are great... but their info spreading ability is challenged.
  5. "Why bartolini?"

    Why the hell not ?

  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    This. I imagine they are very good at working with bass manufacturers as well.

    I find them to be a little too "polite" for my taste. But they are very versatile. I have one bass with them installed and I am able to get many usable tones out of it.
  7. lowfreqgeek


    Mar 15, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    Endorsing Artist: Regenerate Guitar Works, Honey Badger Pickups, Westone Audio
    I'd bet the vast majority of Bartolini's production output is OEM products. They may be branded Bartolini for name recognition, but it seems that very few (large) bass manufacturers use standard spec Barts. Most have their own custom variation on the same theme. While their website is outdated and not real useful to aftermarket consumers, I seriously doubt that is their largest market.

    I love the sound of some basses with OEM Bartolinis, but I have yet to get the same results from their standard spec pickups. They never sound "bad", but there are other offerings that work better for me.
  8. Chico16


    Apr 2, 2012
    Yuma, Az
    I've never used EMG or any of the other big ones out there, but my bass came stock with Bartolini MK-1's + preamp and I'm very happy with them! I prefer mostly a scooped tone even in a band setting and the sound is really smooth and clean. As soon as I start boosting the Low Mids my tone becomes really growly/aggressive with Hi Mids. I hear a wide variety of tones obtainable with these Bartolini's and they're not even their top of the line stuff. I imagine this might one of the answers to "why Bartolini?"
  9. Nick Dilley

    Nick Dilley

    Mar 25, 2012
    Clean output, versatility. Case closed!! I use Bart's and I love them. I like other pickups too, and sometimes I like others even more, but instead of considering them the "lowest common denominator," I think they are good all around pickups. Maybe they don't cater to a super specific taste, but perhaps they're meant to be a "jack of all trades" pickup.
  10. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I've asked myself that question over and over and over again. You bring up a good point: A lot of high end companies build basses with Bart pickups and nothing else.
    (True, there are a lot that offer many options as well as Barts, but let's not go there...)

    PERSONALLY... I have asked this question as a buyer/seller every time I decided to give a Bart-equipped bass a try, thinking it would change my mind... and then invariably gets sold because I can't jive with the Bart tone.
    Pickups, preamp, both... doesn't matter. Personally, I don't like the sound they make under my fingers. I've tried many, many, MANY times and don't dig it.

    So that's why I'll never seek out a Tobias, Pedulla, Elrick, Zon, or any other bass that exclusively uses Barts.

    That said, they are popular components and people buy the stuff that gets swapped out all the time.
    I had a Matt Pulcinella that I changed from Barts to Delanos and the difference was IMMENSE!
  11. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Personally... people have different tastes. Mine is just like yours only I can't figure out why people buy EMG. Many years ago I had an Aria Pro II magna. I tried EVERYTHING to get a decent tone out of that bass. Single coils, Carvin stacked coils, and finally the FULL EMG active Jazz pickups wih the BTC tone system. NOTHING really worked. I sold the bass WITH the EMGs and never looked back.

    Not so long ago a like-new Modulus Q6 came into Music-go-round. At only a grand, I was VERY interested. I tried it and it had EMGs. UGH! That same old too bright and too thin EMG tone. I turned up my nose at the bass since I did not want to bother changing pickups. However, some NYC dude saw it online and drove all night to buy it! Shows you.

    Bottom line is MY modulus 6er has three Barts. These things are smooth as silk and cut the mix like a hot knife through butter. I've NEVER played a bass like this one. I'll never sell that bass.

    But I'm well aware that in recent days somehow the EMG tone has become a fad and very popular and likewise there always have been a large percentage of players that just hate the Bart sound. It's OK. There are no rules that say everyone has to like the same thing.
  12. rimbaud

    rimbaud Banned

    Nov 17, 2011
    You are partly wrong:
    -Mike Lull mainly uses Lindy Fralin or Nordstrand pickups, Seymour Duncan also a few when he do not install his own. about electronics, you can also choose Aguilar.

    -Fodera ? you can choose either their pickups or Seymour Duncan's now, and it was Aero's before that time.

    -Sadowsky: ask Larry Di Marzio before saying that Roger builds his own pickups. Ok, they are wounded to Roger's specs (they are good old friends after all !! :D) but.... the Sado's humbuckers jazz are very similar to Di Marzio's badged ones.

    -Lakland ? ahem.... they used to install some Aero's before, you should spell "skyline Lakland" for barts.... and not for xx-02 series: they are lakland-hanson's pickups and electronics.

    2 facts now:
    -You can also find many many many SD pickups everywhere on basses: Bartolini and Seymour Duncan are the biggest, the more versatiles groups, they can ship instantly all the pickups you need, and any kind of pickup you need !! even if it's hundreds of pickups, you can get them very shortly, and they work, not for everybody's taste of course ... ;)

    -EMG.... ahem.... they seem to be aware that 5 strings Jazz Basses or P are an important market since... not a very long time!! but ... they use their own proprietary connectors system, not reliable for luthiers: you want EMG pups, you MUST use EMG preamp.... :rollno:

    So Barts everywhere ?? maybe... I'm a JB guy, and I see SD, Lindy Fralins or Nordstrands everywhere, that's life :rolleyes:
  13. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    My main bass is equiped with Barts. It was made in 1995, I spent thousands of hours on it, yet every time I plug I think "whoah, this sounds fantastic".
    That's why.
  14. scrumpyjack


    Oct 28, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    This is not true at all. Fodera uses EMG Pickups with the Pope Pre, and I have a bass where I have an EMG J set and an Aguilar Preamp.
  15. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Just because it's not your taste does not mean it sounds bad.

    The reason a lot of builders use barts is because they've tried a lot of pickups and they think their basses sound best with them. (for manufacturing cost vs. tonal results)

    I would not pass over a bass that plays like a dream but didn't have the exact tone i wanted. Changing pickups is a very simple and reversible operation. If you like EMGs, use them.
  16. Swipter


    Sep 7, 2009

    I am with you on this...:hyper:
  17. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Why more then 4 strings?

    Why a fretless bass?

    Why a painted body finish over a exotic wood top finish?

    See, these kind of things are going nowhere. It's something people like, that's what we call taste :)

    I don't like EMG's, but because I don't like them, doesn't mean nobody shouldn't like them.

    Like with each bass guitar, pickups deliver their own sound. I like Bartolini's, but I would prefer Nordstrand pickups anytime :)
  18. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Seems to me, the OP was questioning why some companies only choose Bart for pickups, not so much why people like or dislike them.

    But if put that way, I guess it's almost impossible to answer. :bag:
    Maybe they give good deals to the manufacturers.
    Maybe the designers love Bart stuff.

  19. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Possible. Or they just tried several pups and choose the Barto's. Or the request for Bartolini pups was so big, they decided to use the Barto's as an standard
  20. Sywannab

    Sywannab Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2010
    Alameda, CA 94501
    That's right. that was what I wanted to know
    In other word, what's so great about Barts? :D(no matter it's your opinion or what the Barts actually do)
    I guess I have had some good answers so far. Thanks TB