Bartolini Pickups – The Ultimate Installation Guide

Mojo Pickup Installation

Today we will create a Bartolini pickup installation guide to show you how to install every type of passive guitar pickup that they make. Bartolini is a California company founded in 2010. The founders, Bill and Pat Bartolini, started working on pickups long before going into business as Bartolini Pickups, and it has given them insight into the tone guitar players want.

Before You Begin

The Bartolini pickup installation guide is not a step by step tutorial but a collection of illustrations that show you how to install your pickups with some explanation added to explain how they work and why they are unique. To use this guide, you will need to know how to read the illustrations and apply them to your installation. There are several here at Humbucker Soup under the pickup wiring section if you need a simpler tutorial for installing pickups.

Single Coil Wiring

The Fender Stratocaster is an extremely popular guitar, and it uses three single-coil pickups to create five possible tones with its five-way pickup selector switch. Single coil pickups have two wires that you will need to solder to install them into your guitar. Bartolini has several single-coil models for sale that you can use to replace any other, including those in a Fender Stratocaster. They use a braided wire scheme, which means the HOT wire is inside a braided metal shield wire that acts as the GROUND.

We’ve illustrated how to install Bartolini pickups in your Fender Stratocaster in Example 1.


Example 1

Humbucker Wiring (4-Wires)
The humbucker uses two coils to eliminate the noise inherent in single coils. They wind the coils opposite each other, and the signal from the two are combined, which removes the noise through phase cancellation but leaves the guitar signal unchanged. Bartolini has several humbucker models available, and they each have four colored wires plus one bare wire so you can perform modifications on your guitar to find new tones. To install a four-wire humbucker, you need to know the wiring code to know which wire is HOT and which is GROUND.

Bartolini Wiring Code

  • Black = HOT
  • Red + white = soldered together and taped off
  • Green + bare = soldered together and GROUND

We’ve illustrated the Bartolini wiring code in Example 2

Example 2


Once you know the wiring code, you can install the pickup. We’ve illustrated how to install Bartolini in you’re a Gibson Les Paul style guitar in Example 3

Example 3

Humbucker Coil Splitting (4-Wires)

In this next section, we’ll show you how you can perform a coil-split modification on your guitar. A coil-split modification will allow you to turn off one of the coils in your humbucker to have access to a new tone similar to a single-coil. The first thing you will need to do to converts one of your standard tone controls into a push-pull pot. The push-pull pot looks complicated, but it’s quite simple, and it has everything your standard pot has so that you can install it the same way.
In Example 4, we illustrate what a Gibson Les Paul style guitar would look like with the push-pull pot.

Example 4


Once you have the push-pull installed, you only have two steps left.

Solder the red and white wires from the Bartolini humbucker to the switch.
Add a short GROUND wire from the switch to the case of the tone control.

We’ve illustrated these final steps to complete the Bartolini coil split in Example 5.

Example 5


When you complete the modification, pulling out the push-pull will split the coil giving you access to the new tone. Pushing it back, it will return everything to normal.

Summary

Bartolini pickups sound great, and you will notice the high-quality as soon as you open the package. They also have a full line of onboard electronics you can add to help shape your sound further, and provide access to even more tones for extreme versatility.
We hope we have helped get your pickups working, and you have enjoyed reading. If you think it can help others, please share this Bartolini pickup installation guide on Facebook and Twitter.

Ed Malaker Our resident electronics wizard came by his skills honestly — first as an apprentice in his father’s repair shop, later as a working musician and (most recently) as a sound designer for film. His passion for guitar led him to Humbucker Soup, where he continues to decode the wonders of wiring and the vicissitudes of voltage. Ed has never taken his guitar to a shop — he already knows how to fix it.