Bartolini first appeared at the dawn of replacement pickups for electric instruments in the Early 1970’s. Started by Bill Bartolini in 1973, Bartolini Pickups and Electronics was one of the very first companies to offer a pickup that was not from one of the big 5 guitar companies Fender, Gibson, Gretsch, Guild or Rickenbacker. Although he may not have known it at the time Bill and his pickup contemporaries like Larry Dimarzio and Overland (EMG) were in the right place at the right time. Fender and Gibson had been bought out by CBS and Norlin. And the revolution in musical styles of the late 60’s and early 70’s created the demand for new instruments and tone qualities that went beyond those of the previous years. Bartolini and others experimented with new concepts in tonal quality, which led to an offering of replacements that quite effectively re-voiced these instruments and allowed their customers get the sound they wanted out of the instruments they already had; it was a perfect solution.
The 70’s and 80’s was to be the era of guitar modification At the same time many young, soon to be famous, luthiers were learning their trade and they needed to figure out where the pickups where to come from. Some of these new luthiers had the desire for a more modern pickup design and sound. Bill worked closely with these builders creating many unique pickup designs to bring out the full range and accuracy of their instruments response- “you can hear the wood” was a common response. He also defined the many different shapes and sizes of pickups that we see today. The sounds and shapes of these Bartolini pickups is now the standard that we compare all other pickups to. To this day Bartolini offers more shapes of pickups and pre-wired on-board electronic harness configurations than any other company. A list of luthiers that have used Bartolini reads like a who’s who of modern bass building. Tobias, Pedulla, Ibanez, Spector, Zon, Roscoe, Elrick, Warrior have all used Bartolini’s, and a few use them almost exclusively.
We are proud to be full-line stocking dealers for Bartolini. We recommend them equally to any bass modders and experienced luthiers alike. They are very satisfying to install for first timers. You will notice a night and day difference in the tone of your instrument. If you are starting a bass building business and are wondering what pickups and pre-wired harnesses to be using look no further. Bartolini is the perfect choice. It’s always a challenge to find buyers for your spec-built bass that agree with every choice you made in the specifications. Bartolini pickups will help you avoid having to sell someone on the pickups you chose for it. Used on countless thousands of custom basses, Bartolini is the original custom bass pickup.