Need help wiring Nordstrand MM4.2 to stock Stingray preamp (sound clips/pics inside)

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Kristopher, Mar 18, 2007.

  1. Kristopher


    Mar 13, 2005
    Tempe, AZ
    Hey guys, I just bought a new Nordstrand MM4.2 pickup to put in my '98 EBMM Stingray but I'm not sure what wire needs to be soldiered where. I've searched all over TB and the net (including the Nordstrand site, which says "this area coming soon" under wiring diagrams) but haven't found info on how to connect this pickup to the stock preamp. I admit I'm a newb when it comes to making any sort of mod on a bass.

    Here's my stock pickup and where it connects to the preamp:


    Here's my Nordstrand MM4.2:


    The included instructions say:

    Parallel Humbucker (standard)
    Red + black + hot
    White + green + shield = ground

    I would like to wire it this way (parallel). Some questions:

    Is it supposed to say "red + black = hot" instead of "red + black + hot"?

    Is my original EBMM pickup currently wired in series or parallel?

    I promise to post picks when I'm done to help out anyone else looking to make this same simple pickup change. I'll also post before and after sound clips.
  2. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    Yes, it is supposed to say " red + black = hot". This will connect where the white wire is currently.
    Sorry about that.
    The original is wired in parallel and our instructions are also for parallel. We use a four conductor wire so you have the option for series and other switching options.
  3. Kristopher


    Mar 13, 2005
    Tempe, AZ
    Thanks Carey, that helped a lot!

    I combined the red and black wire and soldiered it where the black wire went on the EBMM preamp, then I combined the white, green, and bare wire and soldiered it where the white wire went on the EBMM preamp. Relatively easy, even for a noob.

    I used my Zoom H4 and recorded both the original pickup and the new MM4.2 pickup. I'm not sure what height I had the original pickup set at, but I set the Nord at what was recommended on the EB site. I edited and normalized the files in Audacity, so don't try to make judgements on the output levels. No EQ or modeling was used. Please ignore the poor technique.

    Orginal EBMM pickup (wired in parallel):

    New Nordstrand MM4.2 pickup (wired in parallel):

    Now, personally, I didn't hear a huge difference. I think the EBMM has a bit more low end, while the Nord has some pleasant mids and clearer highs. The files really speak for themselves.

    I decided to see what the pickup sounded like in series. Man, what a difference. I'm one of the few who own a Stingray but doesn't slap, and I think the pickup wired in series suits my fingerstyle playing a lot better. I've heard the phrase "Precision on steroids" before, but this is the only bass tone where I thought that description actually fit. I'm going to be keeping the pickup wired this way, I think it sounds awesome. I'd also like to say that the Nord wired in series had a definite higher output.

    Norstrand MM4.2 (wired in series):

    Comments are welcome and encouraged. :hyper:
    PawleeP likes this.
  4. 1kinal

    1kinal Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2006
    Montreal, Qc. Canada
    Endorsing Artist: SIT strings
    Thanks for the soundclips!

    I'm still debating if I should or not wire my MM5.2 in series in my MTD Heir. I'm pretty sure I'd prefer the sound in series but the output thing is holding me back as it's used with a J-pickup in the bass.

    thanks again!
  5. AmpliFuzz


    Jan 7, 2007
    Don't know if it would work right with a passive pickup, but I think you could wire a resistor or trimmer to the pickup's output cable to match its output with the J.

    Kristopher, awesome clips! The Nordie rocks ... and they illustrate pretty well the difference between series and parallel. I like'em both, a lot!
  6. first off, I think your assessment of the EBMM vs. the nordie in parallel was spot on...very subtle differences, but you described them perfectly.

    I believe Carey had faithful replication of the EBMM in mind when he built the MM4.2

    next...the series is a very very nice tone for fingerstyle IMO.

    it's easy enough to mod the instrument and put a switch to switch between series and parallel modes. even a push/pull pot if you're looking for a completely reversible mod.

    FYI, if you look at the EBMM pickup, it's not to hard to make that into a 4-wire pickup (capable of series or parallel) also.
    PawleeP likes this.
  7. Kristopher


    Mar 13, 2005
    Tempe, AZ
    Thanks for the compliments guys, it means a lot.

    I'm seriously thinking of making this mod. As much as the parallel sound isn't my thing when playing solo in my bedroom, it does sound great in a band setting. It'd also be nice to be able to have that classic 'Ray sound available if needed.

    Here's a pic of the wave files before normalization:


    STE-002 (the top one) is the Nord in Series, STE-001 (the bottom one) is the Nord in Parallel. The pickup was set at the same height for both clips, and I'm almost positive the H4 recorder was set at the same volume for both. The clips were made on different days, so I could have been playing harder on one day than the other, although the picture shows the clips at about a minute in, so I should have settled to something normal.

    In my experience, pickup height makes a big difference on how loud the signal is, so I wouldn't personally make a huge deal over how loud a pickup is when deciding what to buy, but of course YMMV! :p