Nordstrand NJ5FS (Split-Coil Singles) & 3B-4A Preamp

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by lburton2, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. lburton2

    lburton2 Les Is More

    May 15, 2008
    Detroit, MI
    I had recently swapped out the pickups on my 2006 MIM Fender Jazz Bass Deluxe 5-String from the stock noiseless pickups to the Nordstrand NJ5FS pickups w/3B-4A Preamp. This is the rundown on the new preamp and pups.

    Keeping the EQ flat..

    String-to-String Response: Excellent. Very balanced volume/tone from string-to-string.

    Harmonic Response: Vivid. Harmonics seem to sing when playing.

    Pickup Poles: Completely noiseless when touched (given that they ground the pole pieces seperately).. Which makes these pickups COMPLETELY noiseless.

    Overall Tone:
    --Highs: Clear. Not "Glassy" like a lot of slap oriented players love, but still very well defined.

    --Mids: Balanced. Relative to the other frequencies, the mids are very balanced but still gives you the ability to growl with a flat eq when you dig into the strings.

    --Lows: Balanced. Sits well within the other frequencies, and doesn't give you a tremendous volume increase on the lower strings.

    This preamp gives you a Volume/Volume Stack - Tone w/Pull Active/Passive - Mid w/Freq. Switch - Bass/Treble Stack

    The Volume/Volume stack allows for complete flexibility in blending of the pickups. The best part about this stack, is that it can still act as though you had a blend knob.. For example: If you have both pickups at full volume and you decide to completely cut out one of the pickups, your volume does not decrease unless you sweep both pickups down in volume.

    The Tone knob acts as any other Jazz bass tone knob would.. Allowing you to get anything from a well rounded thud to a relatively "transparent" sound. When pulled into passive with the mid/treble/bass flat, the volume stays the same.. Which is great because most active basses have a huge volume difference between passive and active.. Additionally, while in passive mode the 3-band EQ is bypassed, and you have the same controls as any passive J.. Volume/Volume/Tone.

    The remaining EQ is self explanatory with exception to the Freq. Switch on the Mids. This switch changes the frequency in which the Mid pot controls.. This essentially allows you to control a different given frequency with your mid pot (you can actually change this with a combination of different capacitors during wiring of the preamp).

    Overall: I consider this combination of pickups and Preamp very well balanced, allowing for a vast array of tones, all with an even response harmonically. The sound can be extremely clear and responsive, meaning that proper technique while playing truly comes through.. as does improper technique.
  2. maurilio

    maurilio Musician - Owner Mo's Shop & MBD - Tech Nordstrand Supporting Member

    May 25, 2003
    Studio City+Redlands, CA
    Endorsing artist: Nordstrand - Genzler Amplification - Sadowsky - Dunlops Strings - DR Strings
    +1 great review.

    (Just as a note, on the pre module there's a blue pot. This allow for an 'adjustment' of the overall gain level…)

  3. lburton2

    lburton2 Les Is More

    May 15, 2008
    Detroit, MI
    You're right - forgot to mention that :p Thx for the +1
  4. slopeshoulder


    Nov 1, 2009
    um, how's it sound?

    compare it to a sadowsky pre?
  5. lburton2

    lburton2 Les Is More

    May 15, 2008
    Detroit, MI
    I don't have expereicne with a sadowsky pre.. so I wouldn't be able to tell you the differences :/
  6. BassDepot


    Apr 17, 2005
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Bass Guitars
    Is the passive tone engaged when active? Looking to have passive shelving with active EQ.
  7. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Passive tone should work in both active and passive modes.
    My experience is that the sound of this pre is more organic and less "hyped" than the Sadowsky preamp, which will give you more sizzle. And IMHO, much more versatile with the switchable mid control, and also all eq is boost/cut where Sadowsky is boost only.
  8. lburton2

    lburton2 Les Is More

    May 15, 2008
    Detroit, MI
    As smeet said, the passive tone works the same with active or passive mode. What I find extremely versatile is that the passive mode works without a battery (good in sticky situations) and that you have an internal trim pot to boost or cut the active side of things.. That way you can always match the volume between passive and active even at extreme settings.