Nordstrand NJ5FS lack of growl in MIA Deluxe

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Shiveringbass, May 6, 2020.

  1. Shiveringbass

    Shiveringbass

    Aug 21, 2005
    France
    Hello,

    I've installed some Nordy NJ5FS pickups in my Fender AM jazzbass Deluxe V 2011. The N3 were OK but issy and a bit lifeless to my ears.

    Nordies are far lively and absolutly quiet.

    But...

    I feel that the Nordies realy lack the classic JB growl. For instance, I can't get the classic Jaco tone when soloing bridge pickup. Not enough midrenge growl.
    Turning the bass into passive mode with tone knob turn all the way down is a bit better but still not enough growl and bit to get that snapy bridge tone everybody likes.

    On the other hand, I find the Nordy very bright which is great for slap and pop. In fact, those pickups realy seem to have a big scoop with massive lows and cutting highs that makes them perfect for slap or taping.

    But very difficult to tame with the original Fender preamp. With the active treb all the way down, it is still not enough to get a round tone.

    I've even thought that my set could have a problem but it seems that everything is OK and those pickups are made like this.

    I realy like the absolute quietness of those pickups but they turned my bass onto a far less versatile instrument, excellent in percussive technics (slap an taping) but unable to have the Jaco tone.

    If you experimented NJ5FS, could it be a bad association with the Fender 18v preamp or is it the nature of those pickups that are simply not for me ?

    Thanks for your opinions.
    :)
     
  2. Snaxster

    Snaxster

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bonjour. A few things come to mind:

    Did you ever, with any pickups installed in it, hear this bass make "the classic JB growl"? If not, then maybe the bass is not a growly one, regardless of which pickups are installed in it.

    Nordstrand NJ5FS pickups are hum cancelling. The classic Jazz Bass sound is founded on a set of RWRP single coil pickups. No hum cancelling Jazz Bass type pickups will ever sound like single coils. Ever. Forever. Period. (Etc. ;))

    There was no onboard preamp in the original Jazz Bass models. And (that I am aware) Jaco's own Jazz Basses did not have onboard preamps. Thus it should not be expected that either "the classic JB growl" or "the classic Jaco tone" will be well represented by an onboard preamp in a Jazz Bass.

    In summary: Hum cancelling pickups plus an onboard preamp is not a good formula for making classic Jazz Bass sounds. That the hum cancelling pickups in question are Nordstrand NJ5FS is irrelevant to that fact.

    If you want the real single coil Jazz Bass pickups sound, and you will stay with Nordstrand, get the NJ5F instead. For something even more raw-sounding, try the Klein 1962 Epic.
     
  3. Shiveringbass

    Shiveringbass

    Aug 21, 2005
    France
    Bonjour @Snaxster,
    :)

    Thanks for the reply. I'm aware that HC pickups will never have the bite of single coils but the N3 (stacked coils humcancelling) those Nordies replaced were pretty close but too noisy.

    I also tested some true single coils in that bass, Hepcat 70's, a 70's pickup repro that was great but having the opportunity to get a Nordy set, I thought that it was worth trying them.

    In both case (N3 or Hepcat), the bass had more growl than with the NJ5FS and that was with the same on board preamp.

    In a few words to sum up, those NJ5FS are the less growly pickups I tryied in that particular instrument and the first to be unable to reproduce something close to the honky tone of bridge pickup soloed AKA Jaco tone.
    ;)

    Thanks
     
  4. Snaxster

    Snaxster

    Nov 29, 2008
    Je vous en prie. It seems that your test cycle is complete alors: revert to the Hepcat pickups and you should be set with a known good single coil solution.
     
  5. Shiveringbass

    Shiveringbass

    Aug 21, 2005
    France
    Hello,

    After a bit of additional testing, it seems that the stock Fender preamp could amplify the already scooped tone of NJ5FS. In active mode, the tone is overly bright and fat.

    The result is evidently less mids, so less midrenge growl. With a bit of eq, essentialy cut in bass and treb and a very little boost in mids, it seems more balanced but not very natural.

    Question of a completly ignorant in electronics : could it be that a bad installation of the pickups could make a so scooped and bright tone ?

    Thanks
     
  6. Toptube

    Toptube

    Feb 9, 2009
    I've never heard anyone accuse Nordstrands of lacking mids

    Sounds like the electronics are the culprit. And maybe tweak your pickup heights, if you haven't already.
     
  7. Shiveringbass

    Shiveringbass

    Aug 21, 2005
    France
    Hello @Toptube,

    Sorry if it was not clear but no accusation here, just observation. My goal is not to start a flame war on Nordstrand pickups but to understand if something is wrong or if those pickups are simply not for me or for this bass.

    The height of the pickups seems OK (very close to the strings).

    No doubt that the stock Fender pre has a very important boost in bass and treb built in. But, I can only confirm that in passive mode (preamp completly of) those pickups are less bright but still lacks those growly mids typical of a jazz bass.

    Maybe just the sound of hum cancelling JB pickups. I remember hearing a soundclip of Aguilar 5J HC that I realy didn't like because of that same scooped/polite tone.

    Anyway, I'll wait till I can test them in real gig volume before changing anything. Hhope we'll soon be able to play live music again.

    Thanks
     
  8. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I tried those Nordies on one of my jazzes a few years ago. I agree, they were too tame. Nice and smooth sounding no doubt, but tame and hard to get a growl - too polite. I pulled them out in pretty short order, and I love Nordy pickups on my other basses. Just not on the jazz.
     
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