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Favorite Nordstrand Soapbar pickup?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by campbems, Dec 18, 2018.


  1. campbems

    campbems Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2013
    Jackson
    Ive only played the Big Singles and the DC pickups with the DC’s being by far my favorite. I wanted to see what TB users like the best and what you like about them in the Nordstrand Soapbar pickup line.
     
    Maiden Bass likes this.
  2. Isotonic

    Isotonic

    Oct 19, 2011
    Round Rock TX
    I have the Big Splits, paired with an Audere 2 band and I find that combination musical, smooth and powerful.
     
    campbems likes this.
  3. Toptube

    Toptube Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    I have played Big Singles, Big Splits, Big Blades, and Alnico 3 Big Rigs.

    I like the Big Splits better than the Big Singles, because they have slightly, but noticeably deeper low mid throatyness. and much like the big singles, you still have that automatic chainsaw toothyness to the growl. A very bold pickup. Also, noise canceling!

    Big Blades are very high output and 4 tons of round mid range punch. Super powerful. I really like their overall voicing/tone. However, the trade off is they aren't as articulate/detailed as some other pickups.

    Big Rigs are really detailed and articulate. But also very balanced. Articulate does not mean too much highs! and Still plenty of juicy mid-range. I really enjoy how articulate my B string sounds, with my Big Rigs. Especially compared to Big Blades.
     
  4. campbems

    campbems Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2013
    Jackson
    @Toptube

    That is the feedback I was hoping to hear. Really excited about your description of the Big Rigs as I’m having a Devon built with those right now.
     
    Toptube likes this.
  5. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I have an old Heartfield 5 that I find fun to play, but never really liked the sound. Not bad, just not "it".
    We (Mo) put some BigRigs and a 2 band pre in the bass a while back. The bass sounds great. For me its the best my Heartfield has ever sounded.
     
    campbems likes this.
  6. Maiden Bass

    Maiden Bass Banned

    Feb 11, 2007

    Hey, I have a question for you please, since I have not tried all of these.

    Which of all these pickups do you think would work best for two pickups in the "Sadowsky Modern" position on a 4-string?

    I am thinking the Big Blades, but not totally sure. Would really appreciate it if you could share your opinion on this please!

    Thanks a ton!

    :bassist:
     
  7. Toptube

    Toptube Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    What sort of tone are you looking for? What don't you like about the standard Sadowsky Modern tone?
     
    Maiden Bass likes this.
  8. Maiden Bass

    Maiden Bass Banned

    Feb 11, 2007
    Strong finger-style rock (do not play slap or pick), need to cut through a large band with multiple guitars and keys, and super loud/miked drums, also the bass will have traditional tone woods.

    It is not for a Sadowsky bass, just the pickups are in the "Sadowsky Modern" position.

    Also, I like the Nordstrand tone in general so looking to have a preamp and pickups installed by them.

    Thanks again!
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
  9. Maiden Bass

    Maiden Bass Banned

    Feb 11, 2007

    I am leaning towards the Big Blades right now, but then I also need to decide about the Clean and Clear or Warm and Wooly windings.

    Do you think it's a better idea to get the same ones in a set, or different ones in different positions, for the "Sadowsky Modern" position?
     
  10. Maiden Bass

    Maiden Bass Banned

    Feb 11, 2007
    Found a some good videos





     
  11. Maiden Bass

    Maiden Bass Banned

    Feb 11, 2007
    And another video

     
  12. 5StringPocket

    5StringPocket Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    Texas
    I’ve had basses with dual coils, big singles, and big splits. Big splits were my favorite of the three for the reasons Toptube listed. I also like a strong finger style rock tone and have an Ibanez SRSC805 I’d like to swap out a pair of Bartolini dual coils and the MK1 preamp. Trying to decide between a Big Rig/Big Split combination or a Zen Blade pair. From what I’ve read the Zen blades are supposed to be a little more refined and open than the Big Blades. I’m thinking of running them with a Darkglass Tone Capsule I’ve had for a while.
     
    Maiden Bass likes this.
  13. BassBuzzRS

    BassBuzzRS

    Oct 18, 2005
    Norway
    I compiled this overview with some comments from their web and some videos.
    Nordstrand soaps.JPG
     
  14. Toptube

    Toptube Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    I have mixed and matched a lot of pickups. Its a total gamble whether or not you will like the result. I would find a set you like first. Matched sets usually sound pretty good.
    and then play around with mixing pickups. Like sometimes you can get an open box, single pickup from bestbassgear, for a nice discount. and then you can play around with it and flip it for probably zero loss or very little loss, if you don't like it.

    There is someone on TB who uses a big split in the neck and a big blade in the bridge.

    As far as recommendations for you and your "modern" pickup placement: HMMMMmmmm. Here are a bunch of run on sentences and poorly layed out thoughts:

    I think the big splits are an easy recommendation for you. They are bold, push a lot of tone without needing to dig in, have that big toothy growl without needing to dig in. An overall darker tonality which I think is nice for finger style. But still nets clear and articulate notes. and noise canceling for gigs. Two wiring options. Its a formidable pickup, for sure. I love Big Rigs, but man I do want a bass with Big Splits. I loved the ease of the toothy growl. I think if there is any "problem" with Big Singles/Splits/Fat stacks: its that they all still sound like themselves when juiced with a pre-amp. for me, I want a pre-amp to be able to take a pickup to much different territory.

    Big Blades are an interesting pickups. They remind me of my Lollar Thunderbird pickups in the general tone signature (huge lows and huge roundness in the mids) and like the Lollar TB, they push out a ton of sound without a lot of string movement. and they take a pre-amp very well. They are by far, the heaviest single coils I have ever held in my hand. they weigh as much as many dual coils. I think the Nordstrand product page says "battleaxe" as a metaphor and I agree. Buuuut, as I mentioned earlier, I feel like they aren't as precise in note definition as some pickups, pickups also mentioned in this thread. But that might not matter in a rock band. Also, as huge and round as they are, they have an icey top end which is kinda unwelcome sometimes. I actually feel like the power blade spit p kinda fixed that issue. Also, it may not be an issue in other basses. My Carvin Icon has an inherent issue with fret/string smack coming through the amp. Its why I went with Alnico 3 Big Rigs.

    As far as clean/clear or warm and wooly: Carey says that makes a bigger difference with the J blades (which you can get in a P2 shape). With the full size Big Blade P2 shape, it apparently isn't as noticeable. I've only used and heard demos of the warm/wooly Big Blade. For demos of the J blades, I do notice a difference. I think warm/wooly probably suits rock better.

    I haven't used the Zen Blade. But I have listened to it a lot and also talked with the guys at Nordstrand about it a lot, before it was an official product. To me, it still seems round and punchy like the Big Blade. But a little tighter and the frequency response seems more linear, more even. I wouldn't say they are delicate, they still have that amazing punch. Also, noise canceling and two wiring options. I'm a fan of wiring options because you get more than one base tone. and that's value and also a better chance you'll like a tone from the pickup.

    I'm curious about Big Rigs in the modern position. I feel like they would shine there, especially in series mode. But I just love big rigs. They aren't as bold and toothy. But they have an amazing texture and detail to them. and they will make a B string sing. Its pretty interesting how much clearer and more detailed they are, compared to Big Blades.


    its a tough choice! Nordstrand's products are all pretty darn good, if not great.

    what's in your bass right now? And what do you desire from it, which it is not easily giving you?
     
    5StringPocket and Maiden Bass like this.
  15. Toptube

    Toptube Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    What do I mean? Have a listen to this song (skip to about 15:30, if it doesn't auto start there):


    Those are not big splits. But, that's the sort of tooth and dark growl which you will automatically get from them, without any effort. Its like you took a highly EQ'd and produced, bold J tone, and bottled it into a pickup. It just leaps off the frets. Before I had Big Splits in my house ( they were in a bass I had for a few days and then returned), I struggled to have the tone right on that song, without a bunch of effort. Like exaggerated EQ and too much effort on the strings. With Big Splits, I could easily play with that tone. Probably bolder, really. It was addicting.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
    Maiden Bass likes this.
  16. Maiden Bass

    Maiden Bass Banned

    Feb 11, 2007

    I have Aguilar Super Doubles with OBP-3 and I'm just looking for a different tone.

    I believe the Nordstrand pickups and preamp will give me more of what I'm looking for in the Sadowsky Modern position.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
  17. Maiden Bass

    Maiden Bass Banned

    Feb 11, 2007


    Based on these number I am now leaning towards the Zen Blades wired in Series.

    I think the Big Blades may be a bit too much in the Sadowsky Modern position, as to my ears the Sadowsky Modern position is a bit more aggressive than the normal dual soapbar position.

    The Zen Blades in series might be just what the doctor ordered! Plus no hum! :D:thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
    Goatee220 likes this.
  18. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    Only experience with the Big Splits. Hated them. Way too hot and mids heavy.
     
  19. Toptube

    Toptube Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    I think virtually any of the pickups here, will give you a very different tone from Super Doubles. Those seem to have a very modern and sort of sterile tone. Throaty, but sterile. I think the closest Nordstrand ever got to that, were their dual blade Neos. Which they don't even offer anymore.
     
    Maiden Bass likes this.
  20. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    Here's Tony Puleo's Mike Lull bass. Nordstrand Big Singles in the Modern position... hard wired in series (no ability to pan between pickups) Sounds fantastic.

     
    SoniaMara and Maiden Bass like this.

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