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Nordstrand MM5.2 - first impressions

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by msquared, Oct 24, 2004.

  1. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    After a week or so of waiting, I just got my Modulus Flea 5 back from He Who Wields The Router where it was getting the pickup cavity enlarged. The new pickup is a Nordstrand MM5.2 courtesy of Blueberry Hill. The old pickup was a four string Bartolini MMC. The preamp is an NTMB-918F which was previously wired for 9v and recent threads have made me wonder about the effects of voltage difference so while I was getting ready to solder everything up I took the extra step of upgrading it to 18v.

    The MM5.2 is a simulated-handwound humbucker designed to mimic the pre-EB Music Man pickups, according to available info. It's got two coils for a total of ten pole pieces. It is definitely wider than the Bart MM series pickups and the ten exposed pole pieces look pretty snazzy on a bass where I'm used to seeing a black square.

    Setup was a breeze. Carey includes a wiring diagram which made it easy to wire in series, parallel, or using either coil alone. I picked series since I don't really slap much and find that I prefer to have my preamp (and not physics) modulate the midrange frequencies. I also wanted to be able to compare it to my series-wired MMC.

    This evening's listening hardware chain is my bass plugged into a FMR RNP, and into a Mackie board after that. I am doing this on headphones (Beyerdynamic DT831) since it's late and since I'm interested in nuances.

    I wrote in another thread that I vaguely preferred the sound of the Bart MMC without a preamp to the sound of it with the NTMB at 9v, but that the two are very similar. This is not the case with the active/passive now that the two mods have been made.

    The MM5.2 in passive mode played fingerstyle sounds nice and smooth with lots of mids. Once you lay into the strings though it's growl time. It is assuming you have said certain impolite things about its mother and it is not happy about it. It is a wonderful rock tone which would be right at home on early '90s Faith No More albums.

    The active tone is obviously the same pickup but responds a lot differently. The MM5.2 seems to be hotter than the MMC was so I figured that the preamp would be somewhat pointless but I'm pleasantly surprised. Less growl and lot more "civilized" is the best way to describe it. In active mode there is also a noticable low end presence which wasn't so pronounced in passive mode. I'm guessing a lot of this is due to the extra voltage, but it's hard to say. It's nice though, whatever the cause. I'm finding that at least right now I don't need to EQ much at all, and when I do it's just a nudge here or there. Mostly I'm either dipping the mids a bit or just leaving the pots flat and it sounds great.

    I had planned on getting a jazz pickup to do a MM/J at some point, but after hearing what a big sonic change these two mods caused, I'm not sure I'm going to bother. We'll see how I feel a month from now, but I'm very happy for the moment with these two simple upgrades to an already sweet instrument.

    I'd like to thank Jay from Blueberry Hill and Carey Nordstrand for going the extra mile for me on this. It was just a pickup but they actually called Modulus for me to do some research on whether it would work with my bass. That's pretty cool and earns a thumbs up from me.
  2. NOISE!


    Jun 20, 2004
    In your mind
    Thank you for writing this:bassist:

    question though
    How loud is the pickup in passive compared to say a normal P pickup? I ask this because of my experiences with some barts that "say" they as passive but are not very loud passive.
  3. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Ehm.. This thread is from 2004 :p
  4. NOISE!


    Jun 20, 2004
    In your mind
    I did a search which is the right thing to to.
  5. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    I have a bass with the Nordstrand MM 5.2 and the Nordstrand P (VP5 or whatever the model number is) and the MM is slightly louder. It's not a quiet pickup.
    kkaarrll likes this.
  6. NOISE!


    Jun 20, 2004
    In your mind
    Thank you so much! that is what I wanted to hear! hug.