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Nordy help

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AaronHuff, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. AaronHuff


    Oct 31, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    I'm very close to ordering a Nordy vP5, but I'm stuck on a few of the details and I'm wondering if anyone with some hands-on Nordy experience can help me out.

    It's going to have a Fiesta Red ash body with a tortoise pickguard (patterned after the Fender Pino Palladino bass), but I'm not sure if I should go with the one-piece maple neck or a maple/rosewood neck. I have another P-bass that's ash with maple/rosewood, and I love the tone. Anybody with knowledge of Nordy necks have any suggestions?

    Also, I'm thinking of adding a bridge pickup. I have another bass with Big Singles, which I love, so I was thinking of going with one of those (or a Big Split). However, I prefer the look of a classic Jazz pickup. Anybody have any opinions about Nordstrand's 5-string Jazz pickups?

    Thanks for the help!
  2. I've got an alder vJ4 with passive big singles and Brazilian Rosewood neck... and it's an amazing sounding bass. However, I'm gassing for a vP4 and I think with that, I would go for a more tradition neck... a solid maple neck with a skunk stripe (covering the truss rod slot).
  3. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    Hey Aaron, you're ordering a Nordy, so you're already on the right track. Whatever the specs, you're going to end up with an amazing bass.

    I've owned two Nordys, one with a rosewood fingerboard, and the current one with the one-piece maple neck. Both sounded terrific; like Matt, the rosewood I had was Brazilian, and it was beautiful. That said, while I do believe that fingerboard wood has some effect on tone, I think it's a fairly diminished effect versus all the other variables at play (electronics, body wood, pickup position, strings, etc). So I'm not able to characterize the differences I hear/heard the two basses, because I would never be able to pinpoint the reason for the variance in tones. All that said, glue dampens resonance a bit, and I like the idea that the one-piece maple neck only has glue around the skunk stripe. Of course, I can't say that I hear any difference versus a neck that has a fingerboard glued on, but it does make me happy. I'd recommend talking to Carey about your playing style and the tones you're after. He certainly has more insight than I do, and will definitely help you make the right choice.

    Regarding pickups, if you're getting a P pickup at the bridge, I would strongly recommend you do not get any type of single coil at the bridge. If you do, you will constantly have hum from that pickup, which most of the time probably won't be too dramatic, but it will be impossible to hum-cancel it. Do yourself a favor and limit your search to split-coil pickups. I've had two P/J basses with Nordstrand pickups (one actually was a Nordy, the other another build), and the Big Split paired very nicely with the P pickup. I'd imagine that the NJ5S would too; to me, the decision between which to use would depend if you want a more traditional, almost-single coil sound at the bridge (NJ5S), or if you want a bigger, smoother humbucker-type sound (Big Split). Also, from experience, I'd recommend you avoid the FatStack in this particular configuration. The FatStack is an excellent pickup, but because it's a stacked coil design, it has lower gain, and will be drowned out by the P pickup with both coils active and both pickups on. You can get a coil tap for the FatStack, and the volume is more even in single-coil mode, but then you have the hum (although not bad) to contend with.

    Hope that's not too confusing! You're going to love your Nordy; there's no one in the business better than Carey.
  4. AaronHuff


    Oct 31, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    That's really helpful. Thanks a lot! I was concerned about the bridge pickup being drowned out by the P, so it's good to know the NJ5S will hold up. I think for this bass I'd prefer the classic look of a normal Jazz pickup, plus the single-coil sound.
  5. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    FWIW, in my Nordy VJ5, I have a bridge single coil and a neck P, and I don't experience much hum at all with the pickup soloed (and I'm picky about noise). I don't have as much experience with the hum cancelling one in the traditional casing. Although I love the FatStacks that I have in another bass, I agree with Hollow Man that it probably isn't the best for this application. I would go with one of the narrow options over the "Big" pickups...assuming you want to use the bridge to sometimes "tighten up" the neck P tone and get a jazz bridge tone. The Nordstrand P doesn't need to get any bigger IMO. :)
  6. basses55

    basses55 Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 24, 2003
    Endorsing artist: Alleva Coppolo Basses and Guitars, FBass, La Bella-Olinto Bergantino Audio Systems

    Hi Aaron,

    Carey just sent my VP5 last week ( I believe the 2nd production piece for the model) and I've spent a fair amount of time with it already.
    My VP5 is alder/Honduran rosewood, and I've also spent some time with the first VP5 at NAMM this year (which was ash/maple).

    What I can tell you is the Honduran looks and feels really good, and I believe it contributes to the bass's warm and thick tone. Personally, I like the alder/rosewood VP a little more than the ash/maple- but thats personal taste as they both sound great. An ash/rosewood would sound great too IMO..maybe thats what I would do if I had to have an ash body for a P...a nice combo of warmth and punch.

    What I wanted was a P5 with a big warm thick tone and I certainly got that in this bass..

    BTW, the VP5 has a slightly wider neck at the nut- as per P basses- but it feels great , and the playability up and down the whole neck is stellar as you would expect from Carey's shop.

    I'm sure if you asked Carey he'd give you an accurate comparison and answer to these questions too.
  7. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Hey 55, So that was your bass I played. Whoa!!
    Carey was doing some restoration on my 1960 P bass. (great
    job by the way) I've been there for some of it, so I've played
    the Maple/ skunk stripe and the Rosewood neck a fair amount.

    As much as I loved the one piece Maple neck, the Rosewood
    board P5 was just spot on. Carey was comparing the two
    P5's he made to my 60 P bass. The Alder/Rosewood not only
    sounded amazingly close to my bass, it even felt very close to
    it too. (adding a fifth string) My 60 P is a real gem in terms of
    sound and feel. I was completely blown away that I (you) can
    get a new bass that sounds and plays as good as my 1960 P.
    For me, it was the Alder/Rosewood 5. I could have walked out
    with your bass and be just as happy as if it were my original.
    Enjoy that bass for a long time, unless you get influenced by
    the dark side of Talkbass. In that case...get a hold of me. lol
  8. basses55

    basses55 Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 24, 2003
    Endorsing artist: Alleva Coppolo Basses and Guitars, FBass, La Bella-Olinto Bergantino Audio Systems
    I will! But dont hold your breath :)

    Glad you had a chance to play both basses and give a report with your P Bass experience. Your P must be a gem.

    BTW, the B is so nice..huge. In fact the whole bass sounds big- def.no need for a preamp for me ( I couldent imagine boosting any bass on this Nordy).

  9. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    Lot of good points here. I'm glad to hear that you've not experienced any hum; I guess I'd be fearful that if I walked into a room with bad lighting or EMI/EMF, it might get out of hand, but I suppose even then you could just turn off the bridge pickup and play a P Bass all night!

    Great point about the 'standard' split coil versus one of the Big pickups. Carey's P has a huge, huge sound, and I could see it getting a little thick with a Big Split at the bridge. In the Nordy P/Big Split PJ that I had, there was a lot of clarity for so much sound, but it could be a little dense. I think now that I might have appreciated having a leaner, tighter sound back there to keep the mids controllable while still adding lows and highs.

    Keep us posted with what you decide! It's always great to see another beautiful Nordy come down the line.
  10. AaronHuff


    Oct 31, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    I'm pretty sure I'm going with the standard P/J setup (with a split-coil J) instead of one of the big pickups. Still not 100% sure about the woods though. Waiting to hear back from Mr. Nordstrand for his opinion...

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