Nordstrand NJ4's vs Lindy Fralin J's???

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Emprov, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. Emprov


    Mar 19, 2003
    Did a search and couldn't find any shootouts between these two. I've got a '97 J w/Nordstrands and an '03 w/Fralins and I'm only gonna keep one bass. The '03 has a J-Retro that I'm pulling out but I can't really get a bead on what the Fralins really sounds like as passive mode on the J-Retro is pretty limited. So, I'm taking both basses to my tech guy soon and I'd really dig some comparative opinions if anyone has them. I'd love to get this thing done in one shot. Anyone?
  2. jacochops


    Jul 2, 2000
    Suzhou, China
    I think most people on these forums know that I'm a huge fan of Carey's work. His basses AND his pickups sound fantastic. The Fralins are also great pickups....either way, you'll end up with a good choice. For my money, though, the Nordstrands go in all of my basses. To my ears, the Fralins sound great, but the Nords are IT. Last week, I played Carey's pre-lawsuit Tokai jazz with his pickups in it...I thought I was going to drop my mud!! I was so floored, I founf a duplicate bass on the Bay, and when it's mine (evil laugh...Muuhh-Waaa-Haaa-Haa :ninja: ), it's getting a set of his SE pickups.
  3. Emprov


    Mar 19, 2003
    The way I see it I can miss too badly so it's a pretty dang good problem to have. What is it exactly about the NJ4's that you find superior to the Fralins? I'll probably wind up ripping out the J-Retro and A/B'ing the pups.
  4. I suspect that whether Nordstrands are better than Fralins is entirely subjective....:D

    I just put Fralins in my Jazz bass and WAHOO!!! They sound awesome. Much more of a vintage J vibe than the Basslines I replaced. If the Nordstrands are better than Fralins they must indeed be the holy grail of Jazz pickups...:D Maybe I'll have to order a set in the new year. :help: GAS :D
  5. It would be nice if some of these main stream pickups made their way to BassTasters.
  6. Emprov


    Mar 19, 2003
    I've been using the NJ4's in my '97 J and they've been incredible. I don't think that I've ever heard such an awesome mix of definition, balance and vintage vibe. I'd love a touch more low end out of them but at that point I'm being hyper picky. It'll be cool to A/B them and see what sticks. One thing that's uber cool about the Fralins though is the rounded edges on the pup covers, totally comfy as a thumb rest! Then again, I'm guessing that the NJ4's should drop straight into those.
  7. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    I got Fralins in a MIA natural/maple neck jazz. Fralins really cleaned up the low end by making it more defined and userable, It also flat out gets the vintage vibe now. The bass booms without being boomy, the mids "cluck" nicely and the highs sing without being over exagerated(sp). Crystal clear! I wonder what they sound like in an alder bodied bass- woo hoo!
  8. Emprov


    Mar 19, 2003
    Got the bass back today and man, I was afraid of this...both basses sound incredible. Warm, well rounded tone. Tonight's gonna be a serious A/B night.
  9. Emprov


    Mar 19, 2003
    Didn't get as much of chance last night to A/B but, from what little I did, I'm thinking that the Nordstrands are a bit more versitile than the Fralins. Surprised the heck out of me! I'm going to continue to work with them and see which one sticks but so far, it's the NJ4's!
  10. This thread really has my interest: I have a swamp ash / maple Warmoth J bass and I am thinking of replacing the Bartolini CBJS puppies with either Nordstrands NJs or Fralin pups. I have played several basses with Fralins in it and they are impressive sounding; don't know anything about the Nordstrands though. Either way, the pups will be connected to an Aguilar OBP-3 (18V) which will be FAT. So keep those comments comin' please!
  11. I'm considering new pickups for my J, and I had Duncan Classic Stacks in mind, since they eliminate the hum with the bridge pickup soloed. Would the Nordtstrands get rid of the hum too? Or would it still be there.
  12. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
  13. Type-55

    Type-55 Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2000
    Both of these pick ups were recommended to me as a possible replacement pair. One reliable source said the Fralins were more vintage while the Nordies had a little more color to them. You really have to hear them both.
  14. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    The NJ4s are a true singlecoil, and thus, potentially prone to the 60 cycle hum issues that plague all singlecoils (unless you use both pickups "full on"). However, the NJ4SEs and NJ4SVs are both slit-coil, hun-canceling jazz pickups. The SEs adn SVs will give you the tone of a jazz pickup but without the noise and hum if you like to use your pickups in a configuration that is something other than both "full on". ;)
  15. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Fralin also makes a hum-canceling Jazz pickup called the Split Jazz. It's a linear humbucker, which supposedly sounds more like a traditional single coil than a stacked humbucker, because each string is sensed by one coil. At least that's my understanding.

    I can't wait until Thursday, when I find out how my new set will sound in my 2003 MIA Jazz. :D
  16. to bring this informative thread back to life...

    How much different are the tones of the hum cancelling nordstrands to the NJ4's? I am looking to get a set of nordstrands, and as a recording bass i need to cut out as much hum as possible, but without sacrificing any tone. I play an MIA Jazz and have started to feel 'complacent' with it... it 'does' but it doesnt excite me anymore! Will these pickups give it a new lease of life?
  17. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL

    Seriously, the NJ4SVs are very close to the NJ4 set, but with the added benefit of eliminating hum and key factors that can cause problems if you're gigging or recording in a studio. It's important to keep in mind that the SVs are not EXACTLY like the NJ4s with respect to tone, but they're virtually the same. Most people find the slight differences to be acceptible (if not preferable), especially when you consider the upside of eliminating noise and 60 cycle hum. ;)
  18. So which of these pickups would people go for in an MIA Jazz Alder/Maple, with an Audere J-plate. I'm torn.
  19. Here's my 2 cents. I have experience with both, and just swapped out my Fralins for Nordstrands - both true single coil's
    The Fralin's have a more "raw" tone to them. The bottom end is more "raw" then the NJ4's, but also looser, or not as "tight" sounding. They do seem to "growl" perhaps a tad bit more due to the "raw" tone IMO. The high end response from the Fralin's also seems to be a bit more harsh IMO. Fralins are great pickups and have alot of charachter in the low mids, and perhaps a bit more character then the NJ4's specificially in the low mids.

    Now, on to the Nordstrand NJ4's and why I switched to them. I was getting sick of the loose bottom end of the Fralins. I wanted a tighter low end and the Nord's deffinetly, without a doubt have a tighter bottom end. I would also say the NJ4's have more "grind" in the upper mids. If you like a natural "grindy" tone at say around 2K, go for these!!! Thats where alot of character is w/ the Nords, in the upper mids. This is one reason why I fell in love w/ the NJ4's. I'm grinding away! While grindy, they are supprisingly warm as well. Both the Fralins & Nords are warm on that note. One also observation I've made is the high end response from the NJ4's is a bit sweeter compared to the Fralins. Not as harsh in the extreme high/treble response. I would describe the "growl" of the NJ4's to be pleasent as well, but not as much "grow" or character in the low mids as the Fralins. Again, IMO and my observations.
    All and all, I wen't w/ the Nords! I love em'.
    newbasscat likes this.
  20. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    hmm... dont you mean the other way around? :p