Nordstrand NP5 pickup tone?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by topcat2069, Nov 7, 2011.


  1. topcat2069

    topcat2069

    Dec 2, 2007
    Palm Springs
    I'm gonna build a new fiver and I want to have a P style pickup in the neck position... I'm looking at the Nordstrand NP5. Anybody use this pickup, and if so how does it compare tone-wise to the '62 P (or the 2+3 Deluxe P5, P5 standard) from Fender?
     
  2. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oregon
    I currently own one NP5 and I've tried it in a fretless bass. It sounds good, and has a good "hollow" and "grindy" feeling to the midrange that you'd expect from a nice vintage P-bass pickup. The lower mids are strong but not overpowering. The two weaknesses of this pickup are as follows: the low B string isn't tracked quite as well as the other strings, and the pickup really needs to be shielded properly. I got a modest amount of buzz when I wasn't touching any of the strings, pots or the bridge.

    My experience with Fender's 5-string P-bass pickups is limited. I did try one American Standard 5-string P-bass in a store about a year ago, and it sounded a bit thinner and clankier. It also picked up way too much of the 60Hz buzz from fluorescent light bulbs. I seem to remember that it also didn't do an outstanding job with the low B string.

    I'd like to try the Nordstrand with a fretted bass, in order to have a better comparison with Fender's pickup. But based on what I've heard so far, I like the Nordstrand better. My Nordstrand is the model with the equal-sized (standard 4-string) shells and angled polepieces, so it can't be a drop-in replacement for the Fender.
     
  3. topcat2069

    topcat2069

    Dec 2, 2007
    Palm Springs
    Ahh .... so it's similar sounding to a regular (4 string) Fender '62 pickup... That's what I'm looking for... a low mid hump or "strength" would be great. I play finger only (no quackity quack box of ducks for me) and a good or strong low mid presence, for finger picking attack sounds good. Do you believe that the B string would be "seen" better with a 17.5mm bridge spacing??
     
  4. jimc

    jimc

    Sep 17, 2002
    New Carsmell, CA
    I have a Nordy VPJ5 with that pickup. If you want to meet up somewhen and give it a try you're more than welcome.

    Jim
     
  5. maurilio

    maurilio Musician - Owner Mo's Shop & MBD - Tech Nordstrand Commercial User

    May 25, 2003
    Redlands, CA
    First, thanks for liking our pups, appreciated.
    My experience, go figure, it's quite the opposite. The strongest point of this pup is the B string (at least applied to our basses) and the fact that the coils are symmetrical, giving a 100% humcancelling effect (the coils have a set of six magnets per side. One of the side has two of the pole pieces 'hidden' under the cover)
    If the instrument is getting some hum, I would wonder about other ground issues…. possibly :)

    M
     
  6. tubby.twins

    tubby.twins Amateur Pickup Reviewer Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2009
    Oregon
    I'm not sure it would make much difference. The strings are very closely lined up over the polepieces. My string spacing is 19mm, by the way, and the pickup looks like it was designed for this spacing (or very close to it). Regardless, this pickup sounds really good with fingerstyle.

    Hi, thanks for the reply. I will double-check the grounding. The body and neck woods may have been a factor as well. I think it would also be worth trying the same pickup with roundwound strings - last time I used groundwounds (D'Addario) and that might have an impact on the B-string. I did notice the symmetrical coil design and the hidden polepieces when I took the covers off to have a peek inside. :)
     
  7. To my ears it is the most "vintage" sounding of the 5 string P pickups I've heard. The B, which IME often sounds out of place relative to the other strings on 5 string P pickups, fits in beautifully.

    IMG_20110810_124530.jpg
     
  8. ricknote

    ricknote

    Aug 3, 2006
    Nashville
    I put this pickup in a Lull P5 and It's perfect.
    I prefer it to the original Duncan.
    The low B is focused and round.
    Overall it has a nice thick bottom and sweet top.

    I can easily say this is as fine a bass as I have ever
    owned.

    Rick
     
  9. flyingfinbar

    flyingfinbar Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2010
    Long Island, New York
    My Lakland P5 has the NP5 in it, and it has nearly ruined all other basses for me. Besides the Lakland playability and build quality, the pickup absolutely kills. It is very responsive to touch and tone control manipulation. With a little foam under the bridge and the tone rolled back, it's a motown thump machine. Jack up the tone and hit it hard, and it gets heavy and grindy. It's a great pickup for my uses.
     
  10. topcat2069

    topcat2069

    Dec 2, 2007
    Palm Springs
    Great.... I guess this makes it my "Pickup of choice" for the P....
     
  11. Session1969

    Session1969 Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2010
    Great news ! I just bought a Fender p5 with a Nordy pup. Now, I'm really excited !
     
  12. Session1969

    Session1969 Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2010
    I just backed out of buying an expensive fiver because I took my Fender P5 to rehearsal last night to get use to the fiver I was going to buy. It has a Nordy in it and let me tell you it has such a great sound through my T.E. V4 / Heratige 810 that I just couldn't pull the trigger on the other bass. I have a good thing going with this setup.
     
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