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Fender SCN vs. Nordstrand NJ5FS

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by rojo412, May 23, 2011.


  1. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Pulled the trigger on a set of NJ5FS pickups to replace the stock Fender SCN pickups in my 2003 Fender American Deluxe Jazz V. And since I know there are people who may also be interested in the change it made, I figured I should write this up.

    I recorded into a terrible camera, GK MB2500 and Aguilar GS212. Same volume, same camera, same distance, same bass. The video clips may not help immensely, so I'll have my review at the bottom.

    FENDER SCN PICKUPS:
    Stacked Humbuckers, 13.4 and 13.8k resistance. Noiseless.

    th_100_1836.


    NORDSTRAND NJ5FS:
    Side-by-side Humbuckers. 12.2k and 13.2k resistance. Noiseless.

    th_100_1837.


    TONAL DIFFERENCES:
    The SCNs are fat and warm, with a "vintage-y" midrange.
    The NJ5FS are crisper, with more of a scoop in the midrange. Modern and hi-fi.

    OUTPUT:
    The SCNs are louder output pickups, I believe. If anything, they are both very close in output, but I believe that fatness of the tone increases the audible output for the SCNs.
    (And both are lower than the Sadowsky pickups I've had, but the Nords have a tonality more similar to those)

    THE BOTTOM LINE:

    I really like them both. I think the Fender pickups have made me happy for years now and honestly, I really enjoy them still.
    That said, the Nordstrands INSTANTLY made me very happy. I've been looking for a more "modern" tone lately and despite the SCNs being fine for what I was using them for, the Nords added a whole new aspect for me.

    In my opinion, I'd rate them equally good pickups. That's kind of a win for the SCNs because they are cheaper pickups, but really, both pickups are great in their own way.

    Maybe it's best put like this...
    If you were building a bass and were torn between these 2 sets, you'd probably have to leave it up to playing style to determine what you wanted.

    GET THE SCNs... if you like a classic, mellow tone with the ability to dial in some modern abilities easily.
    It's a mellower tone, softer edged and still sounds fantastic.

    GET THE NJ5FS... if you like the "Super Jazz" tone, crispiness, slapping and popping, with the ability to soften it up with a tone knob or preamp.
    If you are in a Smooth Jazz group, you'd really like these. But if you want a sharper output for metal, you'd also like these!

    Both are great, you can't go wrong. You just have to pick the right one for your needs.
    (and forgive my terrible riff from "Innagaddadavida". It was the first song I thought of this morning.)
     
  2. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Philadelphia
    Good review. I have the NJ5FS in my 2008 Jazz V, and I've played a few basses with the SCN pickups. I agree with your assessment. At first, I was surprised by the slightly modern edge of the Nordstrands, and a little disappointed, but I've grown to like them a lot. They really take care of business in a band mix, punching through with lots of clarity, and providing classic J-bass growl. And, as you said, rolling off the treble takes off some of that edge. They're extremely versatile IMO.
     
  3. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    No doubt, I can definitely hear the potential for a nice band-fit with their tonality.
     
  4. vince a

    vince a

    Jun 13, 2006
    Modesto, CA
    Thanks for the review . . . I was just getting ready to pop for a set of Nordy's for my Lakland 55-60 because I didn't like the more modern, aggressive sound. I wanted a sound closer to my Fender MIA Jazz 4 . . . the Lakland stock pups are already modern enough, and though I can get a nice growl out of them, I still prefer the more vintage sound of the Fender Jazz' pups!
     
  5. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I know a guy with a set of them he's not using... :bag:
     
  6. bassbenj

    bassbenj

    Aug 11, 2009
    Actually I see in rooting around that we wont be getting the SCNs! Fender has done it again. I really don't understand their policy that if something they sell is too cool, it must be discontinued! I see that 5 string SCN pickups have been discontinued. A google shows nobody having any left in stock.

    Oh well, in pickup tone shoot-outs I always seem to end up preferring Nordys over all other pickups anyway, but they do cost more.
     
  7. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Philadelphia
    This might mean the new N3 pickups will be available on the aftermarket, which isn't such a bad thing. But none of this would matter (to me, at least) if DiMarzio would make a version of its Area J to fit Fender fives. I just can't fathom why they don't. I have a set in my G&L JB four, and they're awesome, at half the price of the boutiques.
     
  8. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    The SCN's are one of the many Bill Lawerence brain childs.
     

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