bass soapbars


Hey all, i am building a 5 string right now and all my basses are pretty much some version of a 4 string jazz bass (Warwick Thumb and 3 fender jazzes). i want this one to be different. I am really leaning towards 1 pickup in the sweet spot. Bartolini has my heart but all the pickups i can find are either labeled for bridge or neck...If i only want a "middle" pickup which should i go for. I am going to use the Bartolini 3 band eq, i want a good full range pickup, hence the barts. Any advice when looking for a pickup, what should i look for in terms of neck/bridge relation. If i am too vague let me know. I included a pick of the bass just for reference.
play on!

When using one pickup - and its in the middle, I'd go with the neck one.

Output is not going to be a problem, nor balance (with one pickup).  The thing that gets me there is the neck is probably going to be wound a little lighter, and as such will be a little bit sweeter, better highs compared to the bridge being used in the middle.  Bridge pickups are wound heavier for a bit more output, and lose a bit of the high end in doing so.  So, best full range, I'd go with the lighter wound pickup, preamp or not.
I would suggest you look into something in a 'Music Man' style pickup configuration, and that you include an on/on/on toggle to switch the pickup between running the two coils in either series, parallel, or just one of the two. I would install this in the MM sweetspot as well.

As for which pickups, I'd really give the Nordstrand MM pickups serious consideration. The 5.2 is two single coils, the 5.3 is the same plus an added 'dummy coil' on the bottom so that you can run your single pickup in a humbucking configuration. The 5.4 is similar to the 5.2, but it uses a pair of split coil pickups instead of single coils. Here's a link with details: and both stock these pickups, and sell at a discount to list price.

I would also recommend that you choose the cover configuration that does not have the MM style ears, as it's a lot easier to make a template and route cleanly

all the best,