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Nordstrand MM vs. stock MM pickup...what are the differences?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Philthy, Feb 28, 2005.


  1. Philthy

    Philthy Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2001
    Wallington, NJ
    Hey out there in TB land,

    I hear alot of good things about Nordstrands MM style pickup. However, I'm very curious as to how much of a difference and/or improvement, if any, it is over the stock Musicman stingray pickup. I have a '93 Stingray and if I was to just change the pickup and put in a Nordstrand with the stock 3 band preamp, what will it do to my tone? Will it enhance it? Is this pu'p swap worth it?

    Has anyone out there done this? Any reviews and comparisons?

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. JPJ

    JPJ

    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    The biggest difference between the two is that the Nordstrand pickup uses Alnico V magnets for the pole pieces, whereas the stock pickup uses ceramic magnets. The "original" Stringray basses (Leo-designed) came with alnico-equipped pickups and Carey's intention in deisigning the MM series was to try to get back to that "origianl" tone...warmer, fatter, etc. The bottom line is that the Nordstrand pickup is different from the stock EBMM pickup, so you can count on it changing your tone. As for whether it is an "improvement" or not is really an individualistic, subjective thing. It just depends on whether you'd like more fatness and warmth out of your bass or more high-end bite (to simplify things...possibly too much :smug: ). However, there are many TBers who have made the switch....try doing a search on Nordstrand pickups and you'll find many threads and comments that might help you out. ;)
     
  3. mgmadian

    mgmadian

    Feb 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Stock Stringray 5 pups are ceramic, while stock Stingray 4 pups are alnico.

    Can't comment on the tonal differences as I've never tried the Nordstrands, but I'd like to put one in an ash/maple Stingray 4 myself and see how close if can come to the the pre-EB sound...which in my experience is similar to the EB sound except fuller/deeper and has a certain, identifiable type of compression going on so that it naturally sounds more percussive when thumping.
     
  4. Chrisrm

    Chrisrm Bass Virtuoso Wannabe

    Feb 10, 2002
    Colchester, CT
    I have a Nordstrand in my Stingray (4 string). I love it. Does a very good job of getting the pre-EB sound (think Bernard Edwards, Paul Denman). Not as harsh in the top end, a little warmer, smoother overall, but still has that signature Stingray sound. I don't think you'll be disappointed if you are looking for the pre-EB sound.
     
  5. mgmadian

    mgmadian

    Feb 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Paul Denman, Bernard Edwards + Louis Johnson are the sounds (umm...actually the players) I think of for 'pre-EB'. Sounds great. What preamp are you using? And what woods does your Stingray have (ash/maple, alder/rosewood, etc)... and any thoughts on how it does the Louis Johnson tone (tho' the stock Stingrays I've played can do that OK, albeit a bit too shrill in the high-end and without as much percussive 'thump', and a little too much 'twang'...come to think of it, there's a lot of room for improvement here :D)
     
  6. Chrisrm

    Chrisrm Bass Virtuoso Wannabe

    Feb 10, 2002
    Colchester, CT
    I have a 2000 Stingray, vintage sunburst, so I am assuming alder, with a maple f/b and the stock 3 band pre. It's definitely a lot less shrill on the top end, i.e. when popping. It definitely smoothed things out quite a bit, without losing the Stingray character.
     
  7. mgmadian

    mgmadian

    Feb 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Great to hear... FYI, I believe EB sunbursts (along with natural + translucent finishes) are generally ash ... my understanding is: if you can see the grain beneath the finish, EB makes the body out of ash, but if the wood is completely covered by the finish, it's generally alder or poplar.
     
  8. JPJ

    JPJ

    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    That seems to be the case, more often than not.
     
  9. Chrisrm

    Chrisrm Bass Virtuoso Wannabe

    Feb 10, 2002
    Colchester, CT
    Ok.
     
  10. rayzak

    rayzak

    Jan 13, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    Yes, all of the translucent finishes are ash but, about 90% of solid colors are ash as well. Poplar fill out the other 10%. No alder.
    Can't help at the topic at hand but I'm loving my Nordrand P-bass pickup.
     
  11. JPJ

    JPJ

    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    It kinda' depends on when your bass was made. If I'm not mistaken, EBMM did use alder sparingly at one point, then really trickled things off, and have now gone exclusively with swamp ash and poplar, with the vast majority of basses having swamp ash as the body wood. Who knew it could be so complex! :D
     
  12. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I've put a Nordstrand MM4.2 in my Modulus Flea bass (replaced the existing Lane Poor MM). It is definitely an amazing pickup, I couldn't be happier with mine. To my ears, this pickup's strength is in its lower mid-range definition. Where my previous Lane Poor had to be "harsh" or "biting" on the top end to cut through a mix, the Nordstrand simply flexes its muscles and busts through it with some serious authority. Very cool pickup, but it definitely will not be as bright (IMO) as your stock EB pickup.,