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Nordstrand or Fralin P Replacement

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Larzito, Dec 1, 2004.

  1. Larzito


    Aug 1, 2000
    Dallas, Texas
    I'm contemplating replacing my American Standard P pickup. I want a pickup that stays pretty true to the original P tone, and best I can tell, Lindy Fralins are highly regarded for this. I'm also hearing great things about Nordstrand's pickups and know r379 is fond of his J's. Anyone had direct experience with both the Fraylins and the Nords? If so, what differences in tonal characteristics did you notice?

    For the record, I know there are lots or replacement P's available...SD quarter pounder, DiMarzio, Bart, etc. I suspect those are variations on the P that I may want to explore after I find out what a vintagey P is supposed to sound like...kind of like starting flat and eqing as necessary.
  2. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    I'm real happy with the Antiquity II in one of my Ps.
  3. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas

    FWIW, In the thread entitled "best p-bass pickup (at a reasonable price)", davidmwilson said that the Nordstrand P was the best replacement he had heard. You might PM him and see what he knows about the Fralin as well. Or maybe he'll chime in later.
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    no experience with the Lindy's, but I've liked their J's. Yes, the Nord is the best aftermarket vintage+ P I've heard.
  5. What others have your heard to compare against?
  6. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    EMG, Dimarzio P, Dimarzio Split P, SD Quarter Pounder, Bart 8S

    And again, it's all obviously IMO.
  7. Intersting, thanks for the reply.

    Can you quantify this a bit more?

    I've been not-too-thrilled with my MIM-P tone even after a few iterations through pickups.

    The stock MIM was punchy, but I offed' it just because it was a MIM... :D

    The SD Hot P was *far* too middy for me.

    The DiMarzio Will Power Middle still seems awfully middy, but still has no punch.

    I put TI Flats on when I offed the stock MIM pickup, and actually wondering if the flats are the cause of the "middy" thing. I also have an unused Duncan Vintage P that I have yet to install.

    I'm not hearing what I think I should from the P.
  8. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    I've had a good deal of experience with both. Of course, I'm a Nordstrand dealer, but also have had a lot of experience playing Fralin-equipped Lakland basses in the Chicago area. Also, about half of the Lulls I order also come loaded with Fralins (mostly the 4-strings). In my opinion, they're both excellent pickups, and as most who have heard both will tell you, you probably can't go wrong with either brand. I don't think I've ever heard someone say "Get the Nordstrands, the Fralins are horrible", or "Fralins are the only way to go....the Nordies will make your bass sound like wet cardboard"! :D It just doesn't work that way. ;) They are similar pickups, but there are differences between the two, in my opinion.
  9. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    I have Fralins in my Lull P4. I want to try out the Nordies just for fun. What differences in tone can I expect? How do each compare to the original vintage p-pup?

    I'm not looking to see if one is better than the other. I read that both are close to the original. I don't want to buy a Nordie just to find out it sounds the same or very much like a Fralin.

  10. Larzito


    Aug 1, 2000
    Dallas, Texas
    I second what JR is asking...both Fralins and Nordies are highly redarded as being close to vintage, but what are the subtle differences you speak of JPJ? Is one deeper voiced vs more treble or mid voiced? Is one generally hotter than the other?

    And what about the Bill Lawrence P? His are pretty inexpensive, but he doesn't offer much (if any) information about it on his web site.
  11. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Sure. The Nord P gives what *I* think of as the classic P thump, but with a more open frequency range.
    I recorded a sound clip, which you can get at http://briefcase.yahoo.com/david_wilson under the np4 folder. One half of the clip is plain, the other half of the clip was using the raven labs pbr-1 preamp to boost the bass a bit.

    All the other pickups I tried had their plus/minuses, some of which you listed, and might suit a particular application better than the Nord. But I felt that the NP4 nailed the tone I was looking for.
  12. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas

    If you don't mind, tell us about the bass you recorded that with and what kind of strings you were using. Thanks.
  13. Beefbass

    Beefbass Guest

    Feb 4, 2001
    Hey there. I have the Nordstrand NP4 in my '99 MIM pBass Deluxe, strung with TI jazz flats.

    I can't compare it with a Fralin, but I can compare it to the stock "vintage style" pickup.

    The NP4 has a great bottom end. The biggest thing IMHO though, is that no matter where the tone knob is, you get great clarity from the lowest, to the highest notes.

    Also, this pickup has a lot of output to it.

    All in all, I'm very happy with it. That Pbass is my favorite one to play since putting that NP4 in. With the TI flats,wow........... :hyper:
  14. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Fender '62 RI P, DR stainless steel roundwounds
  15. Interesting recording.

    What are the details, equipment chain, etc, used to make the recording?
  16. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    bass details above. signal chain - direct from bass into a Korg PXR-4
  17. Sonorous


    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    I'm curious to know what they would sound like with flatwounds.

    If you ever string it with some, be sure to record another sample.
  18. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Don't have the bass anymore. I sold it, and probably shouldn't have.
  19. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I bought Nordstrand NP4 for my 2002 MIA Standard P-Bass from Blueberry Hill Bass. I wasn't happy with the sound of the stock pickup's low end. It sounded very muddy IMO. I wanted to have the vintage P-Bass tone and stay with passive electronics.

    Besides the Nordstrand I was interested in the Fralin, Duncan
    Antiquity, and Aero Instruments P-style pickups. I had the same "Which is best?" question, the most common answer from the retailers I talked with was that the Antiquity, Fralin, and Nordstrand's were excellent choices for a vintage-sounding P-style pickup, and their tones were somewhat similar. All three were highly regarded.

    I'm curious to hear the Aero Instruments P-style pickup, but it won't be in my Precision with the NP4; I'm very satisfied with it's tone, I'm not changing a thing.

    I opted to go with the Nordstrand after reading the good reviews Beefbass gave it. Although I haven't heard the Fralin, Aero Instruments, or Duncan Antiquity, I have owned some great 70's P-Basses. IMO the Nordstrand is very comparable to a great stock pickup.

    Over the years. I've used EMG's, Duncan's Quarter Pounder, and the DiMarzio Model P in various basses. For a 'hi-fi' tone, my personal choice is EMG. For a passive pickup with a monster rock tone, my choice would be the DiMarzio Model P. Again, for vintage tone: Nordstrand, and (I'm told), Fralin or Duncan Antiquity.

    All the best, -Art
  20. Do you have any tune examples that clearly show "rock" vs "vintage" tone.

    I'd like to grab a few MP3 that demonstrate this, as I know what I want to hear, but not how it is quantified, text-wise.