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Nordy, Elrick NJS, Sadowsky Metro, or Other?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mr. Jiggy Fly, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. Hey there everyone! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

    I learned to play bass on a fretless and I've used the same Warwick fretless since I was 14. However, over the past year or so I've become increasingly tired of the tone and I've considered selling the bass to buy a fretted 4. I recently started playing with a very gifted drummer and pianist in a funk/jazz/world music combo and I believe that it is finally time to invest in a new bass that I can use as my new main player.

    I have spent a great deal of time researching potential candidates, listening to recordings, and determining what would be the best fit for my playing style and genres. I'll be playing through an Epifani UL502 and Bergantino HT112ER. I've narrowed it down to the following three:

    Nordstrand Nordy VJ4
    Elrick NJS 4
    Sadowsky Metro MS4

    Ideally, each would have an ash body and maple fingerboard. The Nordy would most likely be fitted with the Audere preamp and big singles while the other two would use their stock pres and j p/us.

    In terms of neck shape/comfort, I am completely unfamiliar with the differences between the three. If anyone could provide some insight in that aspect I would be extremely grateful.

    Regarding tone, based on the recordings that I have heard the Sadowsky seems to have a brighter, edgier and mid-rangey tone compared to the Nordy and especially the Elrick. To my ears (based solely upon recordings) the Elrick seems to be the warmest of the three and the Nordy mimics the hallowed vintage J-Bass tone. Would these be accurate descriptions or would someone be able to fill me in on a more accurate idea of the individual tonal characteristics? If it helps, I never slap so I'm interested in the fingerstyle tone of each.

    I'm still unsure as to which bass I am most interested in. It's probably between the Nordy and Elrick, but I am not shutting out the Sadowsky or any other bass for that matter. I look forward to hearing what you all have to say. Thanks so much!
  2. crispygoat

    crispygoat Guest

    Aug 22, 2006
    London, Ontario
    You should consider having Valenti build you a bass for you seem to know exactly what you want but cannot pin the precise bass.
  3. I had actually looked into his work. His basses seem to be very well made but I have yet to hear one. I definitely have a very specific tone and feel in mind but I barely ever play other basses so I feel completely out of the loop in terms of what's available. Thanks for your suggestion!
  4. crispygoat

    crispygoat Guest

    Aug 22, 2006
    London, Ontario
    You should send him a PM, I'm sure he knows how to get that tone you are looking for.
  5. Bennet Pullen

    Bennet Pullen

    Aug 31, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Now I am a Nordy player so you'll have to take this with a grain of objectivity salt but it looks to me like the Nordstrands are in a different league when it comes to attention to detail and uniqueness vs the Elrick. It's just the little things like being built in house for the nordies vs by a supplier for the Elrick, using Carey's own electronics in the Nordies vs off-the-shelf stuff in the Elrick, etc. Not that Elrick doesn't make some incredible instruments, but the NJS doesn't really seam to be bringing a lot to the table.

    As far as feel and playability are concerned I can't really compare because I haven't played an NJS but my Nordstrand is pretty much my favorite playing bass I've ever touched. Carey also offers the modern and classic options for two different neck feels on the 5 string, but I'm not sure if both are available on the 4.
  6. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    Why do you want to go to fretted? I'd be looking for a good 4 (or 5) string fretless rather than wasting your time with speedbumps.

    As for the basses mentioned, the Sadowsky M24 is a different beast than the Nordy. A more direct comparison would be Sadowsky JJ or PJ.

    But I'd look for a fretless. Maybe a used Zon, or maybe a Roscoe if you want something more aggressive. There are other great fretlesses out there as well. Or if you want to go upright vibe, a Rob Allen. Depends on your tone goals. But imho, screw the frets.
  7. R Baer

    R Baer Commercial User

    Jun 5, 2008
    President, Baer Amplification
    Haven't played an Elrick, but between the Nordy and the Metro I think you will find that the Nordy will have a more accurate vintage tone, while the Metro will have a touch more of a "modern J bass" sound. The Metro is going to have a slight bit more deep lows and a brighter top end. The Nordy will be a bit more even across the spectrum. Both instruments are going to play amazing. Feel is very subjective, but I slightly favor the feel of a Nordy neck. IF you go with the Nordy, seriously consider using the Nordstrand electronics as well. This s a wonderful preamp that really gets out of the way and lets the natural sound of the instrument come through.
  8. Thanks for the replies everyone!

    As I expected, the general consensus seems to be that the Nordy would suit me best. I had expected that. After finding some really helpful clips of the Metro, I definitely agree that the tone is more modern and bright than I would like. In terms of Nordy electronics, what are the primary differences between the Nordstrand preamp and the Audere preamp? While I am sure that I would be happy with either the Elrick or Nordy, it's definitely encouraging to hear such glowing reviews from Nordy owners versus the often positive but still mixed comments on the Elrick.

    Thanks again everyone! I'm always amazed at how helpful everyone here at TB is :D
  9. R Baer

    R Baer Commercial User

    Jun 5, 2008
    President, Baer Amplification
    What I like about the Nordstrand pre amp is that it sounds very natural. I also like that the pots give you a very precise control over your sound. I hate when i just barely turn a knob and get a huge change in the tone. Think of the Nordstrand pre as a subtle extension of the natural sound of your bass.
  10. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    The Audere can be the same way. In the "middle" mode, it is VERY transparent. It can get extreme with the other Z modes, but if you want transparent, it can be that.

    I used the Audere in a Lakland JO5 and really like it. In fact, it works best with pickups like Nordstrands.

    That said, I would probably go with Nordstrand preamp. Everything they do is top notch.

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