b-axis Information page
Since the introduction of the original Hi-A pickup series in the early 1970’s, Bartolini has been known for providing musicians with world-class pickups and electronics. Continuing that legacy, President and Owner, Clyde Clark has recently announced the next generation of Bartolini Bass Pickups for Jazz-style basses, the b-axis series.
Due to begin delivery in mid-late April of 2016, preliminary interest is high and pre-sales have already begun. According to Clark, “We are very excited about the interest in our new product series. Based on that original ‘Bartolini High A’ guitar pickup design, the b-axis series will take the jazz bass to the highest level of voice and tone. With a complex, asymmetric response, this fully-encapsulated and exposed pole design with Alnico V magnets will give the musician the ability to play any musical style.” said Clark. “These pickups have a huge punchy tone plus an amazing versatility that can give an instrument its true voice.”
The b-axis series pickups come in both a 4-string and a 5-string variety with a dual-coil hum-cancelling design. The new pickups will give the artist that sought after tone while allowing them to play a Jazz style instrument in their chosen genre. It greatly broadens the choice of options available on the market.
Bartolini has long been recognized worldwide by music professionals as the choice for upgrading the tone and voice of their instruments. Go to danabgoods.com, Bartolini’s US Distributor, to find a Bartolini Authorized dealer near you.
Geeky But True
The new Bartolini b-axis pickups series is based on the very foundations of Bill Bartolini’s initial pickup designs back in the ’70s. The main design principle was to provide a highly asymmetric magnetic field in order to preferentially sense string vibrations normal to the string plane. This high asymmetry provides tonal characteristics similar to acoustic instruments, which have a naturally asymmetric response due to the bridge structure and increasing and decreasing biased tension.The new Bartolini b-axis pickups series is based on the very foundations of Bill Bartolini’s initial pickup designs back in the early ’70s. The main design principle was to provide a highly asymmetric magnetic field in order to preferentially sense string vibrations normal to the string plane. This high asymmetry provides tonal characteristics similar to acoustic instruments, which have a naturally asymmetric response due to the bridge structure and increasing and decreasing biased tension.
Initially, Bartolini pickups were branded as ‘Hi-A’ as shorthand for high asymmetry, but the brand was later changed to Bartolini for the same pickups designs. Some of the first Hi-A pickups were multi-coil such that they had a coil for each string and some were split coil such that each coil would sense multiple strings. From those first designs forward, Bartolini has been focused on asymmetric response. Most of our designs to this day feature magnetic structures to create asymmetry. Therefore, the magnetic structures are much more complicated than what is found in what we call Simple Flat-work Pickups (SFPs) where a magnet is pressed into flat flanges to create a bobbin for winding the coil. Due to this complexity, our pickup structures (or skeletons as we call them) are often not physically self-supporting, so we encapsulate our pickups in epoxy. This of course, has additional benefits of keeping out moisture and sweat while also eliminating microphonics.
For decades, customers have been asking us for pickups with exposed pole pieces. Many design iterations and prototypes have been produced. We’ve had little interest in creating SFPs because they are so common. So there have been two primary challenges…
1. How do we have holes in the shell for pole pieces but still encapsulate the structure in epoxy?
2. How do we create an appropriate asymmetric field relative to the coil without modifying the top of the magnets?
The solution comes down to precision. We now have the capability to control positioning of the skeleton in the shell with accuracy of 5 thousandths of an inch. This allows us to stage the encapsulation process with a milling process to create the holes for the magnets after the skeleton is already assembled. We also now have the technology to create a precise magnetic structure along with the Alnico V magnets, below the surface of the pickup shell so that we can control the magnetic coupling to the coil on each side variable with the traverse of the string. The optimal magnetic structure offset to the coil was calculated to be contained in a 26 degree angle with a separation of 0.053″ between pole pieces. And we have the technology to create very precise full bobbins to position the coil wire relative to the magnetic structure for control of the relative level of asymmetric response.
The result is a fully encapsulated pickup with exposed poles and asymmetric response that provides a huge punchy tone.
Breaking it down:
b-axis – Jazz
4 string is designed for 19mm string spacing. Shipping April.
Bridge pickup – b-axis J44J-L – E-Center to G-Center = 56.5mm.
Neck pickup – b-axis J44J-S – E-Center to G-Center = 53.2mm.
5 string will be available in 3 versions.
Standard V 18mm – Same as 9J size – Fits Fender Standard Jazz V, etc.
Bridge pickup – b-axis J45J-L – B-Center to G-Center = 70.4mm
Neck pickup – b-axis J45J-S – B-Center to G-Center = 66.7mm
Standard V 19mm – Same as 9J size – Fits MTD Saratoga, etc.
Bridge pickup – b-axis J45J-L-19 – B-Center to G-Center = 74.1mm
Neck pickup – b-axis J45J-LN-19 – B-Center to G-Center = 69.7mm
American Standard V 19mm – Same as 57J size – Fits Fender American Standard Jazz V, etc..
Bridge pickup – b-axis J55J-L – B-Center to G-Center = 74.1mm
Neck pickup – b-axis J55J-S – B-Center to G-Center = 69.7mm