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Help me spec a Nordstrand!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by embellisher, Jul 28, 2003.

  1. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I've got GAS, and I've got it bad!:D

    I checked out Jeff Rader's new Nordstrand single cut today, and was mighty impressed, to say the least! Most flawless fit and finish of any bass I have ever played, great neck, and awesome sound! And very easy on the eyes, too.

    I decided a few months back that I need a great five string, and that would probably be the last bass that I ever buy. I was thinking a Zon Sonus Studio, or a Modulus Q 5.

    When I compared Jeff's Nordstrand to a big name single cut that was also at the get together, I like the Nordstrand more than the big name bass, and for less than half the price!

    So, I can spec out a custom built, for me, single cut five for just a few hundred more than a Zon or Modulus. Tell me what you think of my specs, which are in the next post. This one is already too long!:D
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Here are the specs I am looking at.

    NSC5 35" scale
    Chestnut spalt/burl top, or spalted maple top, full faced top.
    Birdseye maple fingerboard, the wildest I can get for a reasonable price.
    Black hardware, and Hipshot style A bridge.
    Alder body with matching control cavity cover.
    Nordstrand pickups, with exposed pole and birdseye maple covers.
    High gloss clear finish.
    Side Jack Electrosocket.
    Active/passive on push/pull switch with passive tone.

    I don't know what preamp I want yet, I am still researching that
  3. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Something like Adrian's, but with a birdseye maple fingerboard and birdseye maple pickup covers. And the exposed polepiece humbuckers, like on Jeff Rader's bass.


    Jeff's pickups(and gorgeous bass!)

  4. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Sounds great Jeff!!

    What about neck wood? A Maple/creamy theme would look cool. I'd go for a splated male or a nice Burl maple top, a maple neck (3 pc) and a bird's eye board.

    BTW, Larry from Galleryhardwoods is also able to offer a stabilized spalted maple fingerboard if you want to lean toward Brad's bubaker looks ;)

    The OPB3 is a nice preamp if you want mids. I'd go for the E-Pro BTB-01, bets 2 bands preamp IMO.

  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    What is 'stabilized' wood? Is it resin impregnated, like phenowood or rockwood?

    JP, would the bass be too 'white' looking if I go with spalt maple/birdseye maple and maple neck?

    I've never had a bass built before, this is totally new to me.
  6. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    All "white" could be kinda cool. You could also ask Carey to introduce some black accent veeners in each glue joint ;)

    Go here and you'll find more about stabilized woods! There's even a picture of Brad's spalted maple fretboard.

    Stabilized woods is not really the same thing as rockwood or phenowood. This is solid wood, resin impregnated under heat and pressure. Great stuff. Jeff Rader's fingerbaord is stabilized snakewood.

    Peace, JP
  7. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Bitten by the Nordstrand bug I see. Welcome to the club. Sounds like a great idea for a bass to me.
  8. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Stabilized wood isn't exactly the same as Phenowood, but the idea is the same, and I expect the feel is similar. The idea is to prevent figured woods or woods that tend to respond to humidity changes a lot (like ebony) from moving.

    Anyway, the specs you picked out sound great--it reminds me a little bit of a beautiful 10th Anniversary Fodera that was in BP many years ago. I'm not sure I'd go with birdseye pickup covers with all the rest of that light wood, but if the chestnut is one of the pieces with more rust/brown and black streaks to it, that could provide plenty of color.


  9. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Agreed with mike about the pickup covers. Black pickups would do nicely with the black hardware. Not to mention that Carey could have a hard time to mill exposed polepieces pickup covers into bird's eye. Ths figured wood could crack 10 times before he drills the last hole :D...Did I hear someone say stabilized bird's eye??? ;)

    I've build some wooden pickup covers in the past but They sure can look great but I'm not a big fan of them. Strings and fingers have a bad effect on them and they'll proably last less than "plastic" covers. For example, I've seen many old F-Bass with worn off covers. I've now switched to "ebony grain" epoxy casted pickups.

    Peace, JP
  10. Jeff in TX

    Jeff in TX Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2000
    Lone Star State

    I would definitely use Carey to help you decide. He was extreemly helpful and offered excellent guidance during the build of mine.

    Regarding the pickup covers, I really like the ebony covers on my bass, especially with the exposed poles. I think they are only buffed out, certainly not finished with gloss.

    JP - would ebony wear less than other wood options? Is it the finish you've seen problems with?

  11. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    I'll second that! We all have our ideas, but Carey will end up building the thing, and he has a pretty good idea of what he think will and won't work.

  12. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    The harder the wood, the longer lasting time.

    I think it's more significant with veenered wooden pickup covers ala F Bass. George uses a thin veener, matching the top wood and the basses I saw had that veener worn off leaving dark strikes under the strings.

    Carey uses a hard polyurethane finish (right Carey?) and this of course helps to protect the wood in a strong way. However, We don't have enough time experience to tell how the covers will look after 10 or 15 years of use.

    Peace, JP
  13. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    word!! Carey is in the fact the best man to talk with if you want to spec a Nordstrand bass :D

    Peace, JP
  14. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    On the pickup covers, I'd guess that they would wear very much the same as fretless board. So, if you think about what woods wear well and look good on fretless boards for the long term, that's probably what would work best on a pickup cover. I don't know if Carey's ever tried stabilized woods for pickup covers, but I suspect they'd work pretty well, too.

  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Wouldn't have to be white looking at all... there are various shades of Spalted Maple plus Carey could shade the wood with finish. One of my Brubakers is relatively dark, the other fairly light.

    Pickup covers is all about personal preference... talk to Carey, go over what "you" like and I'm sure he'll lend his expertise on either how to get there or alternatives. For me black hardware and black pickups pick up the strong black figuring in some spalt very well.

    Sounds like a nice bass so far.
  16. Ari


    Dec 6, 2001
    Both basses look terrific!! Nice score Jeff!

  17. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    not quite all white, but close:

    I'll second JP's E-Pro BTB-01 suggestion.
    That thing is a monster!

    How's about wooden knobs to go with the p'up covers, etc?
  18. Basho

    Basho Guest

    Hey Mark, you probably mentioned this somewhere, but who made your bass? It's quite possibly the coolest looking thing I've ever seen.
  19. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    well, that one's not mine; it belongs to a friend in Pensacola. It will be at my Bass Summit next month though. We'll get a good report on it then.

    Here's Jon's thread about it:
    Marchlewski custom bass thread
  20. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    xush, the Chinese character on your(?) bass means "true", doesn't it? But according to my dictionary, it can also be the sign of a Buddhist sect, so you might have to be careful. :D

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