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Nordstrand: DC5 vs Fat Stack vs Big Split?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Jim Nazium, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. Can anyone comment on how these pickups compare to each other? I read the descriptions on the web site, but they weren't very helpful. All three sets have "deep lows, full mids, and clean highs" :rollno:
  2. bongostealth

    bongostealth Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    First of all, they are all passive. The DCs are dual-coils. These have more of a modern tone and presumably more output than the other two. You can coil-tap on them to get series, parallel, and single-coil operation.

    The Fatstacks are single-coil pickups with another single-coil magnet stacked on top for purposes of eliminating single-coil hum. The end result is that they sound like jazz pickups.

    The Big-Splits are another jazz pickup but with one bar magnet split in two. Again, the purpose is to eliminate single-coil hum. All three are fantastic pickups.
  3. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    I haven't heard them in the same bass so others may certainly have a better perspective but from owning basses with each here are my thoughts.

    The Fat Stacks are lower output and a bit darker when in humcancelling mode.

    I felt the Big Splits were louder, brighter and more modern sounding.

    When I chose the Fat Stacks I was under the impression that in single coil mode they are essentially Big Singles. As it turns out they aren't quite as powerful tonally but single coil mode was how I ran my Fat Stacks 90% of the time only really using them as stacked humbuckers in noisy environments where noise was an issue. In humcancelling mode they are definitely in the same tone universe as the other Nordstrand "Big" pickups but not as bright as the Big Splits and not as alive or vibrant as the Big Singles but with a fat, relatively darker tone.

    FWIW the Fat Stacks, Big Singles and Big Splits are more alike than different IMO. The Dual Coils on the other hand have their own vibe. Much more modern, especially in parallel mode. More versatility with the ability to switch between series/parallel/single coil but I also thought the DCs had the weakest single coil tone of the Nordstrand line. Not bad per se, just not on the level of the Fat Stacks switched to single or especially of the Big Singles. If I were trying to cop a Fodera vibe I'd go with a pair of Dual Coils wound to be used in series mode. If you wanted a modern, somewhat glassy tone and the ability to switch to single coils I'd go with the Dual Coils wound for parallel.

    The Nordstrand site says that the Fat Stacks benefit from a preamp with a bit of added gain (3 dB is what I think they recommend) and I wish I'd done that. I had a stock Audere pre with mine which was a good combo but the output was lower than I would have liked.

    Hope that helps.
  4. Having had fat stacks and Dual Coils in the same bass, I agree with the comments above.
    Dual Coils were a modern, brighter tone but I also thought the DCs had the weakest single coil tone of the two.
    The Fat Stacks were low output but (as the name says) 'fatter' in tone. I experimented a little bit with the Fat Stacks in single coil-mode and the tone was OK but since I am more a humbucker-guy, I put them back in humbucker mode.
    Since then, I have added a ACG EQ01 pre-amp and really loving the (pallet of) tones I get out of the bass now. It has become my main axe.
    The Dual Coils are waiting patiently in my cupboard until I have the money to order a new custom-bass with the DCs in them.