Nordstrand NJ4 big problems with noise

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ETJazz, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. ETJazz


    Apr 16, 2012

    Hi. This is my first post here. I found this forum through doing research for this issue.

    I bought these NJ4s about a year ago from Truetone Music in Santa Monica. I had read good reviews so I decided to drop a buck fifty and get a set for my Jazz bass.

    After installing them, I liked the tone quality but the noise level was flat out unbearable. Just awful. I am no novice with guitars and bass and have been playing for 20 years, and have wired probably 10 guitars and basses over the years with no issues...

    but these Nordstrand NJ4s are simply awful with single coil 60 cycle hum...

    Initially I spent probably 20 hours wiring and rewiring trying to solve this issue to no I put the bass down for almost a year and just played my 68 Gibson EB0/EB3 mod which is another beast in itself. However I am now producing a rising singer songwriter and need to play bass on this track which has to be finished soon, for a variety of reasons...and the NJs just are not cutting it.

    Anyway.. I have once again dove in to this bass over this weekend, wiring and rewiring it over the past 2 days trying to get it right. Again to no avail...these are simply the noisiest pups ever. The 60 cycle hum is unbearable. Ive tried multiple wiring configs, changed pots and wires, and jacks etc....and they are still noisy as hell.

    It is quite frustrating because I can hear the good tone there, but it is buried under massive hum. This bass is not fit to record with. BTW it doesnt matter what room or studio Im in...these pickups hum like a swarm of bumble bees on steroids.

    So what do I do/try? I was in contact with Illitch about his hum cancelling system, but I dont want to pop 400 bucks for something that should not be a problem at all. Even though these are single coil... the hum is FAR beyond any that Ive ever had in any single coil guitar or bass.

    Could these just be defective pups? I have read and saw a video on youtube about how somehow magnetic fields can be reversed in pickups... but Ive tried swapping leads with grounds and that doesnt help.

    Im about to toss these freaking things in the trash. If anyone wants them please make me a reasonable offer. Otherwise if anyone has any tips specific to NJ4s or in removing hum on a jazz...please let me know. Id appreciate it. I know that when wired properly, they should "cancel out" reasonable when both volume pots are up...but that never happens, its always loud as hell. Thanks for listening to this rant, and any advice or tips would be very much appreciated. Thanks! :hyper:
  2. sprocket123


    Feb 15, 2012
    Hey ETjazz , you might have a ground problem or the wires are interchanged maybe @ PUs

    How bout the sheilding too , you might thought of it , I m not there , there are lots of knowledgable poeple here in order to help you

    Did you get in touch with Nordstrand too , they ll help you resolve your issue that you re having right now

    Hope you ll fix it soon
  3. Matthijs

    Matthijs Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2006
    Are you talking about a regular bridge and neck jazz bass setup, and is there no difference in noise with both pickups on full or only one pickup? If so there's probably something wrong with your pickups as they should cancel the hum when wired together in the right way. Maybe they are the same: two neck or two bridge pickups? Check the polarity of the magnets: they should be the opposite. The two pickups should atract each other from top to top or bottom to bottom.

    I'm assuming the shielding is in order?
  4. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    1) You need shielding in the pickup and control cavities.

    2) You need a good, low-resistance ground connection from your bridge to the controls and to the output jack.
  5. maurilio

    maurilio Guest

    May 25, 2003
    if they work as they should, when both at same volume, they are dead silent. It seems to me there is something wrong. Did you buy them new? (I wonder if you got two bridges/necks coils).

    The shielding doesn't matter (it can only reduce interferences, and at some extend the hum) single coil will always hum when not balancedÂ…

    The above suggestion to call the shop, is the best advise.

  6. ETJazz


    Apr 16, 2012
    Hey guys, thanks for your help. BTW I shielded the bass big time with copper shielding tape, all cavities and the metal plate. Also I grounded the bridge too. And as Maurillo mentioned, the single coil hum is something different entirely.

    It sounds as if the problem may be in the pickups themselves. I did contact Nordstrand and they wanted me to send the pickups back to them, which I will. In the meantime, Ive decided to go to the local Sam Ash and just pick up (no pun intended) something else to use immediately.

    Maurillo...thanks for making the contribution here, Ill send the pickups back to you guys once I get them out of there. Yes I bought them supposedly new from Trutone...they were in new packaging anyway and were supposedly a new set.
  7. maurilio

    maurilio Guest

    May 25, 2003
    You are welcome.
    If you live in LA close to the valley you could also drop them at my place (if you prefer) and I'll take them to the shopÂ…

  8. ETJazz


    Apr 16, 2012
    Hey...just wanted close this thread with this note. I finally got around to sending the NJ4s to Nordstrand under RMA and they sent me a brand new set. WOW. That is fantastic customer service. I have not put them in the bass yet but will try to do it when I get back in town. These are awesome sounding pups and im excited to try the new set. Big thanks to Nordstrand..:cool:
  9. maurilio

    maurilio Guest

    May 25, 2003
    Glad it worked out.

    let us know how you like them!

    In this regard, for you guys local to L.A. area, I'd like to mention that Nordstrand offer pick up and drop out plus other services, in Studio City (North Hollywood).

    Have a great w-e


  10. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    He's talking about repairs. Maurilio does great repairs on most basses, and his set ups are about as good as it gets. Period!
  11. maurilio

    maurilio Guest

    May 25, 2003

    Thank you Bruce, how's life?