Ibanez SR900 Bartolini MK1 upgrade options.

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muzza
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Joined: 05 Sep 2011, 22:30

Ibanez SR900 Bartolini MK1 upgrade options.

Post by muzza » 30 Jun 2017, 15:41

Hi everyone.

I needed a reasonable 4 string bass to compliment my Stingray 5H as I just can't get through a 4 hour gig under all that weight. And I don't need a 5 string for EVERY song.

So I just picked up a mint '04 SR900 for a really good price. It is an absolute delight to play. Wonderfully slick neck and feels like half the weight of my Stingray.

BUT....

It sounds pretty awful. Quite a harsh tone and doesn't cut through the mix like the Stingray.

I was up til 2 this morning researching my options and can't find a definitive answer on what upgrade route to take.

Some say just replacing the stock PUPs will fix it. Replacing the Korean MK1's with USA MK4's will set me back a tad over $300 delivered.

Others say that spending money on pickups is a waste of money if you leave the original preamp in it. Bartolini HR-5.3AP preamp is a little cheaper than replacing the pickups, just under $300 delivered.

What other (cheaper) preamp options are there? My SR900 has volume, blend, Bass, Mid and Treble pots. That's all I need. Not necessary for active/passive switching or sweepable mid.

Ideally, I would like to get as close as possible to the Stingray tone. I realise it's a pipe dream, but I just want to feel the punch that my Stingray delivers. I usually just leave the EQ on the stingray and my MarkBass 12" combo amp flat. Maybe boost the bass a tad when I'm feeling mischievous.

My band plays classic hard rock. (and some 'pop' rubbish sometimes, reluctantly) I'm an old-school finger style no-frills, vanilla flavoured bassist. Nothing fancy. No bass solos, no slap 'n tickle.

I like to make the room rumble.

Someone just tell me what to spend my wife's money on please.

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Petebass
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Re: Ibanez SR900 Bartolini MK1 upgrade options.

Post by Petebass » 30 Jun 2017, 17:05

I'll try and find some posts I've made about this previously. I'm a Stingray 5 player as well, looking to improve the sound of my SR805. I'm at a gig now, I'll try to find it in a set break.
* 2 Stingray 5's (one heavily modded), Ibanez SR805, Ashbory, + more...
* Carvin B1500, Epifani PS1000, Ashdown Superfly amps.
* Lots of DIY neo/lightweight cabs including one made from composites http://www.ozbassforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2546

jumpin jimmy
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Re: Ibanez SR900 Bartolini MK1 upgrade options.

Post by jumpin jimmy » 30 Jun 2017, 17:22

check out Audere pre amps very transparent and a lot of options There price includes Int'l freight

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ozrider
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Re: Ibanez SR900 Bartolini MK1 upgrade options.

Post by ozrider » 30 Jun 2017, 18:43

muzza wrote:
I needed a reasonable 4 string bass to compliment my Stingray 5H as I just can't get through a 4 hour gig under all that weight. And I don't need a 5 string for EVERY song.
haha, they are beasts, I bought a giant fat strap from DSL (yes, really, it's massive). But I haven't gigged with this new strap and my Stingray 5H is equally hefty, but I need a fiver almost every song. If it doesn't work out I'll go the duo strap again which solves the problem of weight entirely.

WestOfBen
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Re: Ibanez SR900 Bartolini MK1 upgrade options.

Post by WestOfBen » 30 Jun 2017, 20:31

I love my Bart preamp and Bart MM pickups. Lots. Makes my Epi Ripper sound more than half decent.
Rickenbacker 4003JG, Epiphone Ripper, Marina P/J fretless, Tanglewood ABG, 1960s Rose Music Tempo SS semi-hollow bass, an acoustic guitar, GK 700RB-II, SWR Henry 8x8, some pedals
My band is called Ascribe!

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Petebass
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Re: Ibanez SR900 Bartolini MK1 upgrade options.

Post by Petebass » 01 Jul 2017, 02:02

Ok I found the thread. Have a read:-

http://www.ozbassforum.com/viewtopic.ph ... ro#p284108
* 2 Stingray 5's (one heavily modded), Ibanez SR805, Ashbory, + more...
* Carvin B1500, Epifani PS1000, Ashdown Superfly amps.
* Lots of DIY neo/lightweight cabs including one made from composites http://www.ozbassforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2546

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DeadlyErnest
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Re: Ibanez SR900 Bartolini MK1 upgrade options.

Post by DeadlyErnest » 01 Jul 2017, 10:21

The Bart MK 1 is very bright. I put stainless steel strings on my Sr 705 and it sounded truly awful, for example.

Black Beauty strings made a huge difference.

I would try new pickups before i tried a new pre amp.
Will play for food.

muzza
Posts: 19
Joined: 05 Sep 2011, 22:30

Re: Ibanez SR900 Bartolini MK1 upgrade options.

Post by muzza » 01 Jul 2017, 10:48

Petebass wrote:Ok I found the thread. Have a read:-

http://www.ozbassforum.com/viewtopic.ph ... ro#p284108
Thank Pete, though that thread didn't really help me.

I've already decided that if I do replace the pickups, I'll go with the Bart MK4's

What I'm trying to ascertain is which upgrade path will give me the biggest improvement for a similar financial outlay - pickups or preamp.

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Petebass
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Re: Ibanez SR900 Bartolini MK1 upgrade options.

Post by Petebass » 01 Jul 2017, 14:50

Oh ok, the first thing I'd do is ascertain if your bass is one of those with the shallow pickup cavity. If it is, any pickup change would require additional routing to make the cavity deeper. If you're able to do this yourself, no problem. But if you need someone else to do it, that'll add substantial cost to the pickup upgrade option, and probably tilt it heavily towards a preamp upgrade. That's currently where my mindset is with my SR805, though I am too busy and poor at the moment to do anything about it ..... One day :)
* 2 Stingray 5's (one heavily modded), Ibanez SR805, Ashbory, + more...
* Carvin B1500, Epifani PS1000, Ashdown Superfly amps.
* Lots of DIY neo/lightweight cabs including one made from composites http://www.ozbassforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2546

muzza
Posts: 19
Joined: 05 Sep 2011, 22:30

Re: Ibanez SR900 Bartolini MK1 upgrade options.

Post by muzza » 01 Jul 2017, 22:24

Yep, I've got plenty of skills and power tools. That wouldn't be an issue for me. I was under the impression that the MK1 and MK4 were identical dimensions.

I Googled the Audere preamp that Jimmy mentioned. The one I'd be interested in works out at a tad over $200 AUD delivered.

I'm still leaning toward the MK4 tho'.

My band had its first gig last night and I played the SR900 on two songs and it sounded bearable in pub rock conditions. I had the treble on it turned right down and it seemed to take much of the harshness out of the tone. It's shortcomings are much more obvious in the rehearsal studio.

EDIT: I just re-read your reply above and,reading between the lines, you seem to be leaning toward the replacing the pickups as the way to go?

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Petebass
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Re: Ibanez SR900 Bartolini MK1 upgrade options.

Post by Petebass » 01 Jul 2017, 23:52

No I'm actually leaning towards a preamp change first. Like yourself I struggled through a rehearsal recently. I also wound out most of the treble first off, and that definitely helped. So initially I was thinking that a simple RC circuit on the output Jack of the bass to filter out highs might be all I needed. But then I realised the low eq knob is unusable IMO, every adjustment just made things sound worse. I happened to have a good eq pedal with me (9 band), so i set the bass eq flat and used the eq pedal as the preamp. Doing it that way I was able to get much better tones. Not perfect, but much improved. So I deduced from that little experiment that the pre might be a bigger problem than the pickups.

I'm also not confident i could successfully deepen the pickup cavity without mucking it up. I really love the look of this bass, and I'd never forgive myself if I scratched the finish (or worse). This isn't an issue for you though.
* 2 Stingray 5's (one heavily modded), Ibanez SR805, Ashbory, + more...
* Carvin B1500, Epifani PS1000, Ashdown Superfly amps.
* Lots of DIY neo/lightweight cabs including one made from composites http://www.ozbassforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2546

lesliegl
Posts: 32
Joined: 13 Nov 2011, 18:17

Re: Ibanez SR900 Bartolini MK1 upgrade options.

Post by lesliegl » 02 Jul 2017, 15:02

I've done the upgrade to SR900 with Bartolini MK and NTMB 5.2..very happy with it..definitely worth the effort..pick ups are the same size

Leslie

muzza
Posts: 19
Joined: 05 Sep 2011, 22:30

Re: Ibanez SR900 Bartolini MK1 upgrade options.

Post by muzza » 02 Jul 2017, 19:28

I ended pulling the trigger on this.

http://www.bartolini.net.au/electronics ... trol-holes

The Audere was about $100 cheaper but what pushed me to the Bart was not having to wait to get it from the States.

I hope I won't need pickups as well.

muzza
Posts: 19
Joined: 05 Sep 2011, 22:30

Re: Ibanez SR900 Bartolini MK1 upgrade options.

Post by muzza » 06 Jul 2017, 12:07

Wow! It's here already. NZ to Queensland in 4 days.

muzza
Posts: 19
Joined: 05 Sep 2011, 22:30

Re: Ibanez SR900 Bartolini MK1 upgrade options.

Post by muzza » 06 Jul 2017, 12:09

lesliegl wrote:I've done the upgrade to SR900 with Bartolini MK and NTMB 5.2..very happy with it..definitely worth the effort..pick ups are the same size
Leslie
HI Leslie
Did you try the preamp with the MK1 pickups before installing the MK4s? I'm hoping the preamp will be enough.

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