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Nordstrand Big Blades?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by sevdog, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    5 likes in a day. Sounds like some folks are interested in hearing about these!

    They're in my MTD Kingston Z5 now. I'll do a recording sometime in the next few days and post my impressions after hearing them a bit more. I want to let the strings settle back onto the bass and adjust the gain trim pot on the 3b preamp. These are a fair bit hotter in output than the Aguilar DCBs I had in there. The ear often hears 'loudness = good' and 'new = good' so I want a little bit before I render any judgement.

    I made a recording with the DCBs. I still have the Audacity project and drum track, so I'll record the same line and level match to give a A-B comparison recording this weekend. Same bass, preamp, strings, player, recording setup. ;)

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
    WesW, Geoff_tcf, MarkoYYZ and 5 others like this.
  2. BeorhtDana


    Sep 7, 2014
    I ended up cancelling my order for the Blades because I got a good deal on a pair of Splits with 17mm spacing in the classifieds. Still very curious to hear some more samples though.
  3. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    Was it an order with BestBasGear? I might have gotten yours. They were listed as 8-10 weeks to wait, then suddenly BBG had a pair, which I nabbed.
  4. BeorhtDana


    Sep 7, 2014
    Yup, those were probably the ones.
    4StringTheorist likes this.
  5. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    Here's the same bass with Aguilar DCB pickups and Nordstrand Big Blades. First take, warts and all, and my dog started asking to go out right as I started. Listening back, worrying about my dog going out really futzed with my time! The point of this isn't the playing though, so just keeping it. Playing is boring and unexciting. Just trying to voice some clear notes for people to hear the tone.

    Clip sections:
    1. both pickups - no EQ
    2. neck pickup solo - no EQ
    3. bridge pickup solo - no EQ
    4. both pickups - slap EQ - bass and treble boosted, mids cut at 1 kHz
    5. neck pickup solo - P style - treble cut, mids boosted at 400 Hz, slight bass boost
    6. bridge pickup solo - J bridge - slight treble cut, slight mid boost at 1 kHz, bass flat
    I made the first clip with the DCBs 6 months ago or so, but I replicated the setup with the Big Blades as best I could.

    Bass details:
    • MTD Kingston Z5
    • Nordstrand 3b preamp
    • pickups mentioned above
    • D'addario Prosteels strings
    detoxxx, pcake, dralionux and 2 others like this.
  6. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Very cool, thanks for taking the time to do that! Both sound great, but the Nordstrands have a bit more top-end sizzle, which isn't surprising, given their very different architectures.
  7. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    Yep! The brighter treble and upper midrange of the Big Blades is a lot more apparent through my amp than in that recording. I haven't done any serious recording work with this interface yet, so I could have the gain structure messed up (it took a sizeable boost in Audacity to bring both clips up to -1.0 dB)
  8. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    The Nordstrands sound like a big improvement to me- the back pickup is fuller and sounds more useable, and the slap tone is less harsh.
    Carey likes this.
  9. 5StringPocket

    5StringPocket Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    I'm a fan of the DCB pickups but also have to give the nod to the Big Blades. They sound a bit more detailed and harmonically rich. Thanks for posting.
  10. Guinness20


    Jan 24, 2013
    Liverpool, UK
    So these are more aggressive than the big singles? First time I played through a bass with big singles I loved them, now though if I was to buy a second bass I'd probably go for something a little less detailed. I quite like the DCB's, saw a youtube clip of a roscoe skb with bartolini cb's which sounded really dark.
  11. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    I've never played any Big Singles, so I'm not sure. Might be something to email or TB message Carey or Mo about. The Blades have ceramic pickups rather than Alnico and the blade 'polepiece' is always under the string. Those two factors might argue for a more aggressive tone rather than less? It's hard to speculate since the coils are certainly not wound identically.

    I can say that those clips are both me playing with a consistently light touch. The Big Blades get a LOT ruder/aggressive when you dig in.. in a way the DCBs didn't.

    Not saying that both of them don't feature a good dynamic range: they're both excellent in that respect. But the Nordstands can definitely speak aggressively in a way that my clips doesn't show off, but that the 3 Big Blade clips from Nordstrand on YouTube demonstrate fairly accurately.
  12. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    If you're in the market for a set of DCBs in the 5 string Bart P2 size, I've got a set to sell ya. :bassist: I think the DCBs and the Bart CBs hit a similar space - Smooth and similar to the "deep tone" Barts in the lows and low mids, but with more brightness than those deep Barts.
  13. svtb15


    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig
    NICE.. Would love to see them in a J and a P config too
  14. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    Actively working on the J version. Got some magnets in yesterday for prototyping but the mag direction was wrong so we have to wait for the correct ones. Can't wait to see what these sound like!
  15. svtb15


    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig
    My Nord N4Js are fantastic... they made my fender Roadworn jazz bass sound like the real deal...
    Looking forward to seeing these new pups come out...

    I had a bar style in an old yamaha bb3000s bass..... I love this new idea that you have .. NICE

    Carey likes this.
  16. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'm looking forward to the dual blade version. :)
  17. Carey, Will the jazz blade be offered in a soapbar shape like your normal jazz configurations? Oh, and what about a split blade?
  18. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    We currently offer the Big Blade, which is a single coil blade pickup in a soap bar shape. We are actively working on finalizing the HC Big Blade, which is a sidewinder hum canceling version of the Big Blade and has only one blade (sorry Andy). We are in the very early stages of development for the Big J Blade, which will also be a single coil. I would like to do a hum canceling version of this pickup as well, but space limitations will make that challenging.

    Beyond those, I will definitely look at doing a shallow version of the blade design, which will make it adaptable to P and MM shapes. But that is probably quite a while down the road, easily into next year.
  19. Ooooooooo,t he sidewinder sounds cool. Are these also available with the different magnet materials like your other pickups?
  20. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    FWIW, I already have an order in for beta version of the HC Big Blades in a 6 string format to be used in a Nashville Tobias Classic 6. Once I get the pickups, bass, preamp, and pickups will go to Pat Wilkins for a refin and electronics refit. New Bartolini NTMB. I expect timeline is probably 12 weeks out or more; but, I will post up once the refit is complete.

    Bass has a nice quilt top on walnut, and is probably one of the lightest and most resonant 6 strings I've ever played. Since it is a Nashville product, I'm not too concerned about maintaining vintage condition. Great player otherwise. Will probably just go for vintage tint. Should be interesting.
    emjazz and 4StringTheorist like this.

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