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Nordstrand VS Bartolini

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by C-5KO, Jun 18, 2005.


  1. C-5KO

    C-5KO

    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    I've read alot about Nordstrand pickups on TB. Before I joined TB a few weeks ago, I've never really heard of them.

    It seems that many, many, many people are swearing by them.

    First question: I've checked his website out, and I couldn't find a replacement 6 string J Humbucker? I'm assuming he must make this pickup, as it's not that uncommon. But, I just wanted to make sure.
    Does a 6 string J Nordstrand exist?

    Second question: I couldn't find a thread where somebody has A - B'ed a Nordstrand vs a Bartolini? Maybe I didn't search for the correct phrase. Has anybody A - B'ed these two pickups? What are your thoughts on Nordstrand vs Bartolini J's?

    Thanks, C5
     
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    It would help if you could say what you're looking for tonally. Also, I'm not clear if you're ONLY interested in 6 string J's or 4/5 string J's.

    First question: Carey does not currently make a 6 string J. If you need a 6 string J pickup, it's not going to be Nord currently. Who knows, drop him a line and he might be able to make a set for you. Give him a call, he's always very helpful.

    Second question: I've tried multiple models by both, can't really give you an overall A vs B comparison. Nord have a couple of different J's. Bart also make a number of different J windings - classic bass, standard, bright. Both make great pickups, just a question of what you're looking for.
    Barts are generally a lower output, one thing to consider. There are no current 5 string J Nordstrand humbuckers. The Bart standard J's have a slightly muted high end, the Nordstrands are more of a vintage+ sound.
     
  3. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Like he said...

    Nordies are fine pickups (but then so are Barts) and I'm really enjoying my NJ4SEs. But it does all depend what you're after. The only thing I would say is my Nordstrands (which I confess are the only ones I've heard) have a more "immediate" sound then any bass I've encountered with Barts - more presence is another way of putting it.
     
  4. C-5KO

    C-5KO

    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada

    Silly me... ;) . The Barts I have in now, take a dip in the mid/lo-mid range. These are my favourite frequencies, so I'm looking for something with a bit more bite, and lo-mids. I'm not sure what model Barts are in it now, but I do know they're humbuckers. They have to be 6 strings. From looking at the website and their descriptions, the ones I would be interested would be a six string version of the NJ4SE.

    I shot him a message through his website. Funny that he doesn't have a 6 string J. I didn't realize that they were not that popular.

    Another question I should probably shoot his way is that I wanted not to do any extra routing, so if the six string pups were available in a bartolini-style covers. Not the regular Jazz covers with the screwholes on the side.

    What's your opinion on the NJ4SE vs the NJ4SV vs any Bartolini's you've tried?
     
  5. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    I've been switching Barts and Nords...David's right, there are different Barts and different Nords, so a brand to brand comparison is kind of pointless. I switched some Bart X4 jazz pickups with a set of NJ4SE's...the Nords have alot more going on in the upper mids and highs, they sound more open and toneful, and "hit higher" than Barts. On the other hand, the Barts have a tighter and bigger low end with a nice low-mid burp for fingerstyle...the Nord "burp" is voice higher, but still present. I also just switched some Bart 9W4J jazz PU's for the NJ4SE's (I'm now using the Barts in one bass) and again found that the Bart highs and high mids are muted compared to the more open Nords, but that the Bart lows and low-mids were bigger and tighter.

    Alot of gear is like this...if someone could figure out how to mix a Walter Woods and an IAmp, you might get the perfect amp. Barts and Nords are the same way.
     
  6. Rodent

    Rodent Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
    Having done some A/B between a Bart 9J#1 and Nordstrand NJ4SE, I would also like to note that the specific pre-amp made as much a difference as swapping p/u's. Both pre-amps run at 18v active with the EQ set flat.

    Bart NTMB run flat with Bart 9J = solid foundational tone that didn't get lost and didn't step on anybody in the mix. Comments from others who hear it live stated that it was the most solid sounding bass they've ever heard, and that it complimented everything quite well.

    John East U Retro with Nordstrand NJ4SE = definite modern tone to a J bass. It is stoopid easy to jump out in the mix when needed by a slight adjustment of right hand technique/location. This combo will never, ever, ever get lost in the mix, and is voiced so that the bass will not disappear even in muddy rooms. It probably wouldn't be a good choice for a Beattle's tribute band, but it could easily cover the range of gigs from nuJazz -> Rush -> anything requiring slap.

    In short, I like both combinations. Each have their place, and each do it quite well. There is no bad choice in taking either route IMO.

    I have yet to put the Bart 9J with the U Retro, or the NJ4SE with the NTMB as time has just not alowed lately. I also have plans to include a set of Aero's and a set of Lane Poor's in the swaparoonie A/B extravaganza and write a report to TB. When ... well lately that's the big question.

    R
     
  7. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Of course, Rod's going to send me the Lane Poors after he gets finished with them. Ha ha. A boy can dream can't he?
     
  8. C-5KO

    C-5KO

    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Oh. From this description, I may not be looking for Nords - going on your experience of Barts having stronger lows/lo-mids.

    It sounds as if your description for the Nords is more hi-fi and the barts are more traditional. I'm questioning my pair of barts. I have 3 bass with bart jj. Two I really like, and of course, one I want to change out. It seems as if there is almost a scoop in the mids. I understand it has a lot to do with the bass/strings/wood/etc, but logically thinking, the pickups is one of the easier things to change (besides strings) to alter the tone. I really don't want to mess with preamps right now either.

    Maybe I'll take the pups out, and compare the models i like, and see if it's different from the ones i don't like. i'll keep you posted. possibly you may be familiar with the models and it will give you a better idea of where i'm at.

    Thanks!
     
  9. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    This caught my eye. If you have a screw at the bottom, and one/two screws at the top rather than the standard J side screwholes, then you have Bart narrow soapbars and not Bart J's. I can't think of another set of pickups to match those dimensions.

    As to the tonal comparisons, wilbyman and bassybill said the comparisons nicely, I can't really add anything more than that.
     
  10. r379

    r379

    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Don't know if it'll be what you're looking for, but go to www.aeroinstrument.com if you're looking for 6 string jazz pickups.
     
  11. C-5KO

    C-5KO

    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    :crying: :crying: :crying: :crying: :crying:

    Man. So it looks like if I go with Nords 6 J's (which I'm not even sure he makes) there will have to be routing. Which makes switching back very ugly.

    It looks like this experiment is over before it started.

    Thanks for saving me $400+ on custom pups + routing my bass. I'm now hoping that when I get home, the pups that i'm not too fond of are a different model from the ones i like... *Gas transfer in progress*

    Thanks everyone. You've been a great help. I'll let you know if the pups are different.
     
  12. jacochops

    jacochops

    Jul 2, 2000
    Suzhou, China
    #1..... Carey CAN make a 6 string J pickup. You have the covers, he can make pickups to match. If you have the Bart "X" shape, he can make some wooden covers to drop the pickups in to match your present bass route.

    #2.....IME, his pickups have a distinct low mid clarity that I have not heard matched by any other J pickup, and I used to use Bart 9W4J pickups exclusively, which is a very mid-heavy pickup. The Nordstrand pickups can also be overwound (which ALL of mine have been) for some extra low-mid girth..I find that this really helps in projecting through the mix.

    #3.....It's not that expensive for a couple of pickups...it's worth the $ to experiment, especially by getting some wooden covers (if you have the "X" routing), because then you can drop in other custom pickups (Aero, etc) to see what works for you.
     
  13. C-5KO

    C-5KO

    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada

    If you don't mind me asking, how much overwinding did you ask for? Can you get very specific on the amount, or is this something that Nord determines? Unfortunately I don't have X routing. I would only have the old Bart covers to put them into.

    edit: oh, do you mean he would make custom covers from his own wood from specifications on the old bart shapes?
     
  14. jacochops

    jacochops

    Jul 2, 2000
    Suzhou, China
    Carey knows the amount of rewind...
    THG can make a custom cover for whatever size j housing you need...
    JC
     
  15. JPJ

    JPJ

    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    You have a PM explaining the process. ;)
     
  16. C-5KO

    C-5KO

    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Thanks. I hope to get in touch with him on this. I'm guessing he know who you are, so when I ask for that certain configure he won't be too confused?

    Also, just wondering where you purchased from? Directly from him?
     
  17. jacochops

    jacochops

    Jul 2, 2000
    Suzhou, China
    Yup...Carey knows me....all too well! :p

    I purchased them directly from him, but I'd recommend Jay at Blueberry Hill or Brian at Best Bass Gear...they'd give you the same price you'd get from Carey...maybe even less. (I don't want to speak for them, though...that's between the two of you...)

    Really, with his laser cutter, he can make you WHATEVER you need, and he's priced less than the "other guy" for custom pickups....and you'll be happy with the results. His CS is phenominal, and he (as well as Jay and Brian) communicates well.

    Good luck!
    JC AKA MP
     
  18. C-5KO

    C-5KO

    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    So the pickup the the five string that I like is Bartolini - X45J1-B. I'm now looking for the equivalent in the 6 string model.

    I'm a bit confused by their website... I did find a diagram for an X6 shape. I'm going to assume the X# is the shape of the pickup. The next designation would be the string number X#S - X66 (six string pickup in X6 shell). J1 - their designation for "tone" from pickup, and lastly -B (bridge model).

    So going by this logic the pickup I'm looking for would be X66J1-B?

    Unfortunately this IS the pickup in the 6 string. The imprint on the back of the six string bass is 96X66J1-B. (I'll guess '96 is for the year of manufacturer? I could be wrong here, the bass was purchased in '99. Any help here would be appreciated.)

    Don't really know what direction to turn to. I am considering the Nords even more now. (Thanks for your sound clips Mr Wilson!)
     
  19. C-5KO

    C-5KO

    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Any help on the breakdown of the model numbers for Barts would be greatly appreciated! :help:

    Looks like Nords are going to be too expensive. He can't use my old pup covers since Barts are seal inside them. This means I would have to go with custom covers $100-150, plus the pups on top of that $350ish? OUCH. :crying:
     
  20. I heard that there are!