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Mixing and matching Nordstrand J pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by mikejungle, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. mikejungle


    May 5, 2008
    I read Smash's review of the nj4 and nj4se and i wasn't quite able to grasp the difference between the two.

    Based on carey's description of them on his website, i think it'd be cool to have an nj4se in the bridge and maybe mixing it with an nj4 in the neck. Does that sound like it could be interesting? I don't really know what the nj4 would sound like...does anybody have sound samples? Or some terms that could compare it to the se?

    And how do you think these would go with aguilar's obp-3?
    Do these pickups sound better passive or active?

    Thanks a lot.

    Oh, by the way, I'm going to drop them into an old carvin neck through body with alder sides that i'm completely rebuilding.
  2. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    The NJ4 is single coil and the NJ4SE is hum cancelling. They wouldn't be ideal used together (kind of like using a P pickup with a single coil J in the bridge). Mixing an NJ4SE with an NJ4SV could work.
  3. mikejungle


    May 5, 2008
    ah...is the nj4sv a hum canceling version of the nj4? still no idea what it sounds like...would it be good for slap? fingerstyle?

    and i JUST saw that nordstrand now has preamps. any thoughts?
  4. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    If you're gonna mix and match, do that with the nj4sv and the nj4se. No hum troubles there.
  5. Britbonic

    Britbonic Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    Might want to check output levels though. I have nj4se and they have much higher output than my stock pickups. Assuming if the SV are true to vintage they will have lower output too.
  6. mikejungle


    May 5, 2008
    Ah. Nice.
    Thanks 4String.

    Do you know if anyone actually ended up going with that combo? Any feedback on it?
  7. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    I was poised and ready to place my order via www.bestbassgear.com when I spotted a set of the NJ4SVs being sold here on Talkbass for ~$40 less. I jumped on the deal here, and so never did get the NJ4SE neck p'up with the NJ4SV bridge p'up.

    I'm deliriously happy with the tones I get out of the SVs. There's still a tantalizing little "what if" factor though. ;)
  8. mikejungle


    May 5, 2008
    I'm talking to brian from bestbassgear and he just informed me that the string spacing on my carvin won't suit the 58 mm spacing of the nordstrand jazz bridge pickups.

    However, I'm putting a hipshot a style bridge on it which has adjustable string spacing and I was wondering if you or anyone else knows if it's possible now to get the nordstrands without any custom work.
  9. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    I think the primary issue with the Carvins will be that they don't use two different sized Jazz pickups, but rather use the same size body rout for poth pickups.

    Measure the length of the pickups in your Carvin. The routs might not have space for a traditional bridge-sized Fender J. For this reason, you might need a pair of neck-sized Js for your Carvin.

    A bridge will let you adjust the string spacing, but from my memory, it's the fact that the Carvins only have oine size rout made in the body that might stop you.

    You can, of course, rout the bridge slot out that extra few fractions of an inch if you're good with a router, or get someone to do it professionally. This has the added bonus of letting you drop a standard J set from any manufacturer into the bass.
  10. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    I just noticed that your idea is the inverse of mine:

    You want NJ4SV-neck, NJ4SE-bridge

    and I want NJ4SE-neck, NJ4SV-bridge.

    If you find yourself in the same boat as me and get yourself a good deal on an SE set, I'd be happy to discuss trading neck p'ups with you. :)
  11. mikejungle


    May 5, 2008
    you know i went to basstasters and listened to clips and i like the nj4's more than the nj4se. brian said that i can get a set custom built for 50 bucks more so the poles will line up and hopefully i can get one of them reverse wound to reduce hum. hopefully it won't be too loud?
    How do you like your nj4sv's? They're supposed to be pretty similar to the nj4's, right?
  12. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    What Nordstrand was aiming for with the NJ4SVs was a tone as close to the NJ4s as possible with humbucking.

    I haven't dropped a set of NJ4s into my bass to do a side-by-side, but from everything I've read written by people who've tried both, the NJ4SVs do a very respectable job of emulating the NJ4s.

    I am awestruck by the tone each time I pick up the bass again. I haven't had occasion to play a lot in the months since I've installed them, so my brain hasn't absorbed the new tone of my bass. I've had my J for 8 years now, so I'm very familiar with the sound of the instrument. It's fun to be so blown away each time I pluck that first note.

    Compared to the EMG-JVs I took out, the NJ4SVs have more detail in the upper midrange and much more noticeable treble response. The clarity in the upper range translates to the instrument feeling more "responsive" to me.

    A great upgrade, and well worth it to me. :)
  13. mikejungle


    May 5, 2008
    Thanks a lot for your input. I think I'll go with the sv's because I do want the tone control a preamp offers.
  14. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    There's nothing keeping you from using a preamp with the NJ4s. Just so you know. :)

    The NJ4s are single coil. The NJ4SVs are split-coil humbuckers.

    That's the difference. Both of them will work great with a preamp. :)
  15. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    That's what I'll be doing as well - Aguilar OBP-3 with a pair of good aftermarket jazz-style pickups. Except that my fretted LB70 has a maple neck-through with walnut body sides - not the standard alder. And I'm now thinking of going with a pair of Sadowsky hum-canceling jazz-style pickups, rather than the Nordstrands. Either way, it should be a great combination for an upgrade.

    Actually it's the other way around: The pickup rout sizes on the Carvin LB70 are identical in both the neck and bridge positions. But Carvin uses the dimensions of the Fender Jazz bridge pickup - not the neck pickup:

    Carvin J99s

  16. mikejungle


    May 5, 2008
    well, right, i know i can use a preamp with the nj4's, but won't the hum be amplified by the preamp? Something that might be less than favorable when playing in active mode.

    man...i thought I was set on getting sv's for both neck and bridge, but i'm back to considering the se in the bridge again...tough choice.
  17. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    The hum won't get amplified any more or less than the signal. In other words, the hum won't get proportionally louder than the musical signal. This being the case, if you're okay with the hum and you want a single coil pickup, having a preamp or not is just down to your personal preference.

    Cranking an EQ boost in the vicinity of the hum signal will make it louder though, so that's something to consider! The SVs are blessedly hum-free.

    It's a tough one, isn't it? :) Take consolation in the fact that you'll likely be amazed with the tone either way.

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