Nordstrand Pickups & Preamp + Warwick Jazzman = ?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Modern Growl, Nov 2, 2012.


  1. Modern Growl

    Modern Growl Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Location:
    NY/NJ Metro Area
    I love the concept of the Warwick Jazzman (MM + J) in addition to their exotic tonewoods... love me some Wenge + Ash.

    The stock electronics are decent, but Im not crazy about the MEC preamp for multiple reasons... and I wish the MM humbucker was Alnico instead of Ceramic (a bit too midrangey).

    So Im going to dress up the Jazzman with the following:

    - Nordstrand 3 Band Preamp
    - Nordstrand NJ4SV
    - Nordstrand MM4.4 (wired for 3 way switching - single coil neck - both parallel - single coil bridge)

    Expectations:
    Should be killer. The Nordy 3 band is an amazing preamp. The quad coil Alnico MM4.4 pickup wired for single/parallel/single should warm things up, in addition to giving a huge tonal pallet. I like series, but the volume jump makes it impratical and not level w/ the neck pickup. Plus having 3 rows of coils, with a blend knob is very appealing.

    This bass has the possibility to be a versitile tone monster. From burpy finger funk, to fat & smooth ballet style tones.

    Nordy stuff is on order - will post back soon. :)
  2. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Location:
    Upstate, South Carolina
    Definitely want to hear your results. I replaced the MEC stuff in my Jazzman with Delano electronics. It sounded great, but after the honeymoon phase I realized I missed the stock MEC electronics. It just no longer sounded like a Warwick. It sounded like every other (higher end) bass out there but lost that Warwick magic. Like I said, nothing against Delano, they sounded superb. Just not like a Warwick should.
  3. Modern Growl

    Modern Growl Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Location:
    NY/NJ Metro Area
    Interesting. What Delano pickups/pre did you install?

    I expect to hear two differences.

    Alnico vs. Ceramic - warmer, wider response out of the MM4.4
    Nordy Pre vs. MEC Pre - I have experience with both and the Nordy is much more transparent, letting "The sound of wood", as purist would say, come through more.

    All of my other non Warwick instruments are your typical Fender style, typical tonewoods basses. My Warwicks stand out as VERY different, and I have no doubt its all about that Ovangkol neck and Wenge board. My Active Corvette Std and Jazzman sound very similar even though the electronics are completely different... I hear what your saying and all, but I find Wick's stand out due to their necks.
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Location:
    Upstate, South Carolina
    Actually I misspoke. I didn't have a Delano preamp, it was an Audere Z-Mode. Pickups were these Delano's:
    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f129/delano-jazz-musicman-pickup-set-4-5-string-907127/

    Not even sure if that humbucker is ceramic or alnico. Compared to the MEC stuff, this setup was smoother and the frequency spectrum was wider. Definitely more on the ultra bottom end and very top. In the end I just missed that midrange growl and snap that the MEC electronics give. The MEC preamp is not the most useful in the world though. I really don't adjust much on it. I just keep it flat. Engaging the preamp gives it a nice punch vs. bypassed.

    I also found that my favorite sound was the pickup blend dead center with the humbucker in single coil mode. Jazz bass meets Warwick I guess :)
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  6. JonKim

    JonKim Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2011
    My pnut3 had Duncan pickups and pre and it still sounded like a Warwick!
  7. Modern Growl

    Modern Growl Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Location:
    NY/NJ Metro Area
    Ah! Yeah, those Delano pickups would deff alter the basses voice a lot. I'm still "keeping it in the family" by going with the large, exposed pole MM style pickup. Those closed case designs can be vastly different.

    The Nord Pre doesnt color either... but I love its flexibility when in use.

    No experience w/ the Audere, but from everything Ive read, it has its own character.

    Ill report back with my findings. Im hoping for the same tones, just a bit less nasal midrangey. Having single/parallel/single should be pretty cool too. All and all though, I still think it will sound very much "Warwick".
  8. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Upstate, South Carolina
    Yeah I think you'll definitely get much less nasaly in the midrange for sure.
  9. GYang

    GYang

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Location:
    Touring around Europe
    I love Jazzman.
    Replaced stock PUs and electronics (Basslines) with Bartolini with aim to really get different character of this bass, rounder, smoother, but bigger. Never looked back, it sounds better in all respects, although it's basic, non-amplified sound is really different from Streamer and Thumb. I have Delano combo is Streamer Stage II and don't miss stock electronics at all. Nothing of Warwick magic is lost and new electronic didn't convert family sound to some general high-end sound of bass.
  10. Modern Growl

    Modern Growl Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Location:
    NY/NJ Metro Area
    Alright, so here are my impressions:

    The Jazzman has the same basic tone… no crazy changes, except the midrange is more relaxed and refined sounding. The Alnico MM4.4 has a warmer, thicker bottom. The ceramic magnets from the MEC MM pickup really “gank” up the midrange, on what is an already very midrangey wood tone combination. The Alnico MM4.4 really warmed things up and gave the bass a more warm, vintage sound. Same with the Nordstrand NJ4SV neck pickup. Great pickup combo. Everything set flat – the bass still sounds all “Warwick” but without the nasal midrange “gank”, and has a warmer, fatter tone.

    The Nordstrand 3B-4a Preamp is now confirmed my favorite pre of all time… Set flat, going from active to passive – the tone is pretty transparent. There is a slight “raw” character to the passive tone that the active circuitry buffers out (but this is true for all preamps). The beauty of the Nordstrand 3B-4a preamp are the chosen frequency center points – especially the boost / cut midrange at 400hz/1K… just genius. When you engage using the preamp, its just a thing of beauty... everything works as you want it to. It's like Carey choose not only all the perfect center freq points, but also the curve & amount of db boost/cut. None of the EQ options ever get “out of control” – i.e. the bass boost is very linear (no jumping from 1 to 10 with a small turn). Very usable – everywhere.

    Pickups: overall warmer and fatter sounding.
    Preamp: one word – genius

    In conclusion – I can honestly say that I have way too many tones to play with on this bass… which could be a good or bad thing depending on the player. Right now I can get lost in just doing slight pickup panning, using the 3-way coil cutting & using the 400hz / 1k midrange control. This has become by far the most versatile bass I own. I can get some fat P-Bass type tone… to ultra burpy Jaco tones… to middle of the road Jazzy tones, all the while having a vintage vibe blanketed over the Warwick growl. With notes just jumping off that Wenge board, and all the onboard controls I have – I can honestly say this may be too much :)

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