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New Nordstrand Review

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bass Atlanta, Mar 10, 2004.

  1. Bass Atlanta

    Bass Atlanta Supporting Member

    After reading the reviews, drooling at the photos, and talking to Carey himself (what a nice guy), I took the plunge for a new Nordstrand 4-string. Not being a patient man, I wanted my bass NOW. So I checked out what was in stock, and I found my thrill at Blueberry Hill. (Sorry, but it seemed to fit; apologies to Fats).

    Anyway, the 4-string NJ Deluxe on Jay's site was beautiful and had all the features that I wanted. So I pulled the trigger rather than placing a special order. Jay was a pleasure to work with and he shipped it rapidly and well-packaged. My bass arrived last week and, as expected, is much more beautiful in person than in the photos.

    My first impression was that it was small. Although the neck is 1.5" at the nut, it seemed thinner than my Roscoe LG3000, which is my main axe. It's most likely the neck radius, but I haven't really measured it. The body seems a bit smaller also, but once again, I haven't taken any measurements. The scale is 34" with 24 frets, just like my Roscoe, but it somehow feels smaller. That said, it fits perfectly in my hands and the string spacing feels perfect. (I rarely play any slap, so I'm not concerned about wider spacing.) Having started on acoustic g----r about 30 years ago, I have always preferred thinner necks. Another significant feature is the weight. This bass is the lightest bass I have ever played. It's almost like a toy bass.....until you plug it in, and then WHOAH. (It sounds great unplugged, too.)

    The wood finish is awesome. Previous reviews and comments about Carey's finish work are all true. This bass is an aesthetic beauty, which is one reason that many of us buy high-end basses. This bass has perfect fit and finish, as well as the tone to back it up. The quilt has a "crushed velvet" appearance, as well as a traditional quilt and some flame. I love the bullet-style brushed finished knobs and the tuners. The knobs are not textured and feel a little slippery because of my usually-dry hands. I called Carey, who offered to replace them with a different knob free of charge, but I think I'll keep them because they look so cool......and I'm getting used to the feel of them.

    The neck is smooth and fast. The fretboard is beautiful Brazilian Rosewood with 24 banjo frets. Cool.

    The bass sounds great. The preamp is an Aguilar OBP-3, which has boost and cut. My Roscoe has Bartolini electronics, and therefore sounds different, but the Aggie seems to fit this bass perfectly. (If I wanted a bass that sounded like a Roscoe, I would have bought another Roscoe. ;) I have different basses because I appreciate the unique features of them all. I like the high-end sound and craftsmanship that makes each luthier an individual master. And I play whichever one I'm in the mood to play at the time. I don't record much anymore, so I don't really have to worry about getting this or that sound to please a producer. And, sad to say, most audiences don't have a clue. As Ricky N said, "ya got to please yourself". )

    Back to the review: As Adrian says on his website regarding one of his Nordstrands, and I happen to agree, "the most versatile layout in preamps is a Master Volume ( push/pull - active/passive), Blend, Passive Tone ( engaged when active as well) and a Three Band EQ. This bass has all that, with the Agular OBP-3 preamp." (Thanks to Adrian for the quote....I couldn't have said it better myself....so I let HIM say it. ;) ) This is not to detract from other luthier's electronics, eg. George and Sheldon. They have unique preamps and controls that are great as well, but the bottom line is that they are flexible enough to produce an endless array of tones, but not too complicated as to require a schematic to operate. The Nordstrand's controls are simple and intuitive. I can easily acheive any tone that I desire....even a slap tone, though I rarely use it.

    I had the opportunity to play my new Nordie through a variety of amps and cabinets in our store, including Aguilar, EA, and Acoustic Image. (not a plug....just a report). It sounded great with all the gear, and I was able to dial in "my sound" fairly easily with the amps set flat. I had a chance to gig with it last Sunday. My drummer, who has an unusually critical and musical ear, commented on it's clarity. So any worries about the sound were quickly dispelled.

    The bass came with a nice gig bag, well-padded and plenty of pockets. I normally prefer a lightweight hard-shell case, such as those offered by Sadowsky, Lull and Roscoe. But this is fine, and I'm sure it will fit in one of my other cases if I have to travel somewhere with it.

    Bottom line: This bass is a keeper. It is beautiful and sounds awesome. It is versatile enough to play any style that I am capable of playing. It is super light-weight. It has a LIFETIME WARRANTY to the original owner. What else could you want?

    Ok......now it's time for the photos. I've compiled the photos from the Blueberry Hill and the Nordstrand websites, and placed them here: PHOTOS

    Keep it low,

  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Congrats, Randy!:cool: She is a beauty.

    I am loving the look and sound of my new SC5, although I am having a little problem with the neck profile. Hopefully I will adapt to it in a few days. The bass sounds and looks phenomenal.
  3. just when a guy thinks he's gas free....:bawl:

    beautiful instruments... both of you!!
  4. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN

    After the moving dust settles (probably after the ATL Bass GTG), I need to head over for a 'try-out'. That Nord looks great! Are you still thinking about the Lull (L.Placid Blue)?

    Are you going to bring that along with your Dinger and F-bass to the GTG?

    Chat Soon,

  5. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Hey Randy,
    Glad to hear that you're diggin' the Nordie as much as I did. I think that your evaluation is right-on based on the time I spent with that bass, and it was a tough one to let go! :bawl: I speced that one out based on what I would want in a 4-string Nordstrand and was extremely pleased with how things turned out...it looks, plays, and sounds amazing!!! :D I'm really glad that you're enjoying the instrument and hope that you get many more years of enjoyment out of 'er. ;)

  6. Bass Atlanta

    Bass Atlanta Supporting Member


    You are welcome to give it a go......but don't get too attached.....this one ain't for sale. ;)

    Oooops, I forgot about the GTG......when and where is it?
    You can PM me if you like. If I'm in town, I'll be there with F, Dinger, and Nordie in hand.

    Yep, I've ordered the Lull already; should be here in a few months.

  7. Bass Atlanta

    Bass Atlanta Supporting Member

    Thanks, Smash.

    OMG......I just weighed this little beauty. It only weighs 7.6 pounds. That's gotta be a record. The next closest bass that I have is my Mike Lull PJ, which weighed in at 8.6.
    I knew it was light, but not THAT light. Cool.

  8. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    That's pretty light Randy. My headless weighs more than that!

    Oh the GTG that is going to be on the 21st of this month, it's a Sunday from 1-7pm at the Five Spot in Little 5 Points:

    1123 Euclid Avenue
    Little 5 Points, Atlanta

    Hope you can make it... with F, nordie and the dinger! Any Metros on the horizon?
  9. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    gotta love that master tone control! and the weight- I hope mine is light, should be.. poplar is pretty light..congrats on the bass, Randy! -
  10. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Not to rain on your parade, AG.......my good friend Jeff Rader is head over heels over his Nordie. I love the colors of your bass and the skill shown in how they "melt" into each other.

    But my concern is - Why is there the "Home Depot" plastic cavity cover instead of nice wood that is contiguous with the grain of the backside wood???
    Admittedly, who the hell sees the back of your instrument..........practically, no one!

    But is that ugly composite cavity cover just a big price difference that makes the finsihed bass so much less expensive????

    After all, my DP Custom has a cavity cover - It's cut from walnut claro walnut burl in such a way as to keep the figure contiguous with the rest of the lower back plate. In fact, two of the screws arent even visible because I asked Dave Pushic to make the cover "wrap" on one side of the bass..

    I know, from the Nordies I've seen, that Carey is quite competent in this area...........or maybe, you could care less....and that's cool too.........tone over cosmetics anyday!

    I'm not trying to be a jerk. But Talkbass, to me, is a place to find other views and learn what we can. I'm just trying to learn because I know you and Jeff Rader have owned the finest basses.
  11. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    hi, Rickbass, am I the AG you referred to? I am not sure which bass you are talking about , but my new Nordie will indded have a wood cavity cover- and here it is- not from the same piece, but a darn good match anyway!!
  12. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Yeah, Adrian!

    You have had some of the most beautiful basses I've ever seen....(especially your MTD!).

    I just know what the price range is from Jeff Rader and what a gorgeous hunk Carey built for him.

    I'm so glad that your cavity cover isn't some kind of Fodera "thing" that doesn't complement the wood.

    I love it, visually......I can't even imagine how wonderful your Nordies sound.
  13. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    So I guess you aren't aware of the fact you can easily get a matching wood cavity cover. They've been doing it for years and years. :rolleyes:


    Unless you are adding a figured back to a bass I think it's a waste. Jeff's and Adrian's look, and WILL look great respectively.
  14. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Randy, I think Roscoe's are 1.6" at the nut, or at least all the ones I've been exposed to have been. That might be why the 1.5" Nordy felt narrower. Unless you've a custom Roscoe 4 that's specifically 1.5", then my guess is your guess.
  15. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    Is that The Beast? That has the coolest inlay.
  16. Bass Atlanta

    Bass Atlanta Supporting Member


    Thanks for the clarification. You, of course, are right. Keith's website says 1-9/16" at the nut. (Kinda embarrassing as a Roscoe dealer, eh?) :oops:

    So that would definitely explain the narrower feel of the Nordie.


  17. Bass Atlanta

    Bass Atlanta Supporting Member


    That's an interesting point. None of my personal basses, or the ones that I carry, have matching cavity covers except the F-Bass.....and we all know about George's legendary matching everything covers.

    If it cost a lot extra, I would probably leave it off of a custom order. But if I wanted a real show-bass, then it's definitely a nice touch. The problem with show-basses is that I'm always afraid to play them for fear of scratching them up. :meh:

  18. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    No, I repent I don't have the cosmetics of every make available memorized, your highness......... :rolleyes:
  19. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    Congrats Randy! What a BEAUTY yoru Nordie is! I've been chatting with JP over at blueberry as well and his customer service is stellar indeed. It's nice to be surrounded by such a great group of authentic, courteous professionals. Adrian took great care of me with my F Bass as well. Nice to be in the circle.

    Looks to me like Carey is the hottest luthier who is becoming more and more well known. Can hardly wait to see the Adrian Garcia Nordie. That model looks like it will take off liek a rocket!
  20. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks for the compliments Roscoe5! :D And if you think that the Nordstrand AG model is hot, just wait 'til you see the Nordstrand "Jay Lewis" model. Mine will have actual model rocket engines in the headstock that will light up and blow sparks out of the headstock a la Ace Frehley whenever you hit a wrong note! :D Looks like I better start stocking up on those rocket engines NOW! ;) :smug:

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