One of the most famous names on a bass guitar pickup, electronics expert, Bill Bartolini, has died aged 84

Bartolini Split-Coil Humbucker
(Image credit: Future)

Bill Bartolini, famous in the bass world for his pickups and electronics, has died aged 84. The news was confirmed on social media via the Bartolini Pickups Facebook page. “With heavy hearts and sadness, we must announce the passing of one of the legends in the musical instrument industry. An innovator and creator to whom many owe so much. Generous and a mentor, he launched many successful careers over a span of 50 years.”

Bartolini was among the world’s foremost experts on the science of acoustics. “Every musician jokes about how it’s not rocket science,” said Gary Willis. "But Bill got his start at Lawrence Livermore Labs and really was a scientist! There isn’t a human alive that hasn’t heard a bass guitar with one of his pickups. I was extremely fortunate to be able to work with him when developing my GWB pickup with Ibanez. The man was relentless! We went through 26 prototypes to arrive at the final version.”

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.