Now I remember why Nordstrand is king..

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by LowEndWooly, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. LowEndWooly


    Sep 3, 2013
    Went to GC today to see what they had in. I had a chance to play a lot of different basses, which is always nice. Something even nicer is that I had the chance to play them through an Ampeg V4B all tube head.

    To preface this: I'm usually a MM Stingray Classic guy, through and through.. and I would argue that I still am. However, I picked up a Stingray H (3 band, not classic) and plugged it in.. took a minute to sound right, but it did the job. To be fair, it wasn't the best sounding Ray I've played. But I compared it to an Ibanez soundgear premium (comes stock with a 3 band Nordstrand preamp with two Nordstrand Big Singles). The Ibanez blew out every single bass there. I don't think it had anything to do with being an Ibanez, I actually didn't like the playability of it.. it was just so sweet sounding.

    This epiphany actually makes me want to replace my warmoth ray copy with Aguilar pup with a Nordstrand BigMan! Has anyone done a comparison?

    On a side note, I had the chance to play a couple of SUBs by Sterling. Probably a good begininer bass, but I would never want to play one live or record. It could probably do the job, but I thought it sounded incredibly hot, the EQ was barely usable, the pickup left a lot to be wanted, the wood felt cheap, and the hardware was cheaper feeling than I had expected.

    I have a Warmoth P/J project I'm almost done with.. bought the Nordstrand 3 band pre on a whim because it was super cheap used on here. Glad I did, after today. I have it going to be paired with Delano pups with the big magnets, thinking it'll sound amazing with Chromes.

    So, summary: Nordstrand has always been the better sounding electronics that I've been able to compare.. never lets me down.
    maurilio, Carey and Geri O like this.
  2. Sounds like a great experience you had:)
    Just to clarify the Ibanez Premiums @ GC do not come stock with Nordstrand Pre amp Eqs, they come with an Ibanez EQB IIISC 3 band EQ
    KramerDon and LowEndWooly like this.
  3. Toptube


    Feb 9, 2009
    Carey has a video demo of the Big Man on youtube.
    LowEndWooly likes this.
  4. Vintage1


    Feb 12, 2012
    This is a scream! It was Larry at Aero ( Aero Instruments )
    that taught Nordstrand how to build pick-ups. And he just thought Carey was
    a nice guy that liked to come over to his shop in Oceanside, Ca. all the time-
    just to hang out- because Larry thought they were pals.

    Of course Nordstrand makes nice pick-ups- he was taught by one of the very best.
  5. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    I thought Carey learned the basics of making pickups when he worked for Suhr. I've never heard of him working with Aero/Larry.
  6. LowEndWooly


    Sep 3, 2013
    ^ that's what I thought. Either way, I don't care. They're near perfect electronics.
  7. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    You seem to be implying something negative here... Or am I mistaken?
    blindrabbit and Geri O like this.
  8. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    Thanks for the compliment.

    BUT, this is utter nonsense. And, Larry deserves zero credit for anything I've done or been taught.

    I purchased one set of pickups from Larry at his shop in Oceanside. I was at his shop for maybe 10 minutes for a very quick tour. I was modifying and rebuilding an old Aria bass in my spare time while I worked for Steve Azola. I have never been friends with Larry. We did not "hang out". As a matter of fact, I eventually replaced the pickups I got from him with a set of DiMarzio Model J's which I liked WAY more. The set I got from him was too clean and clinical with no mids. Not my taste at all.

    This was in roughly 1997 mind you. In 1998 I went to work for John Suhr. That lasted 4 years. I started my own business in January 2003. I learned a TON while I worked for John. I learned the basics of pickup making. I also learned all aspects of guitar building except spraying finish. On top of the woodworking I learned from Steve, my time at Suhr was invaluable. But of course I was very capable and was able to do what they wanted quickly and very well. I believe my career since then has shown that I had a lot of potential.

    When I started building basses in my garage I had not decided to build pickups, I had planned to buy them. I reached out to Duncan, Bartolini, and Aero. Of course, I was doing a 6 string bass and needed to have custom pickups made. I was nobody at the time so I had a real hard time getting ahold of anyone at each of those companies except Larry. He was easy to get on the phone. The problem with Larry though was the price. I can't remember for sure, but I think he wanted $400 for a set of dual coil pickups and that did not include wood covers.

    That was more than enough money to buy a basic winder from StewMac. A bit more for some wire, magnets, fiber, and eyelets and I was in business.

    So no, Larry did not "teach" me anything. I'm flattered that he'd like to take credit for that, but it's just not true at all.

    Can I ask, why "This is a scream!"? What does that mean?
  9. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    Vintage1, you just got pwned.
    Laklandfan, TMARK, Down_Low and 3 others like this.
  10. sprag


    Sep 15, 2011
    Melb Australia
    Thanks Larry:D
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  12. Snaxster


    Nov 29, 2008
    Though I resisted posting in this thread, I can't do it. :)

    In my opinion, based on my own experience, there is one factor that should be understood about independent music-making equipment makers. Whether speaking of one-person shops, or of small businesses still run by the founder, or even of a medium size firm like JS Technologies (Suhr), it is the key to why they exist and all they produce:

    Their work is an expression of them.

    However you discover this, once you see it, you will find that it is practically universal. Each design, product, package, sales pitch, historical account, commercial success or failure, etc. is an expression of the individual who is the maker.

    After decades in and out of music making and business, in hindsight I found that this was true all along, and even before my time.

    • As a punk NYC teenager, I hung out in the Brooklyn shops of Spector and Steinberger. (Stuart made me a custom NS-2 back then. Ned loaned me a prototype instrument without time limit.)
    • As a young adult, I met Michael Tobias as I was acquiring several of his basses in succession, some custom, including a 6-string lacewood/wenge Signature.
    • In the Pensa-Suhr days, I was a fixture at Rudy's Music. I spoke with Mas Hino and whoever would talk to me about the craft and business.
    • Many years later, returning to music after boycotting it for years, I met and hung out with Carey Nordstrand and his crew. (We spoke in depth, they restored or customized basses for me, I had Nordstrand pickups in several basses, and I bought a very special vJ4.)
    • As I learned about much I had missed, I spoke with independent makers of tube amps, speaker cabinets, and pedals.
    • Now several years later, I sometimes speak with other makers of pedals, pickups, basses, preamps, etc.
    • In our first talk, I was on the phone with Larry of Aero for over two hours.
    • This week I spoke at length with John Scott of Bluesman Vintage twice.
    Would you like to know why Bluesman Vintage basses play and sound like bottle rockets? Talk with John for five minutes and you will understand.

    Likewise Nordstrand. Would you like to know why all Nordstrand products have a common elegance, vitality, depth, precision, and honesty in their sound and feel (pickups, preamps, and basses)? Or why their industrial and package design, even their logo, are as they are? Talk with Carey. Watch him in action in his shop, at a bench or on a sander, on the phone, guiding his workers... for even 30 minutes, and you will understand.

    Each of these makers is a unique person. Each person has a history bound to other people. Everyone learns from someone else. The result of these makers' life experience and personal world view and creative vision is the products they make. There is no rule book or template. They chose their paths and gave something worthwhile to the world. Don't sell them short. Appreciate them.

    And as with all things, get your facts straight before you publish. ;)
  13. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    "And as with all things, get your facts straight before you publish. ;)"

    Well said as the start of this thread suffered from the same.
    To the OP; did you buy the bass?
    I cannot make bold audio judgements from noodling in a store and require more than 15 minutes to feel I really know an instrument.
    I think many need to hear the bass in a band mix and/or studio with other instruments to really understand the sonic qualities and how it sits with other instruments.
    Of course if you don't play in bands, disregard the above.
    Laurent likes this.
  14. LowEndWooly


    Sep 3, 2013
    I totally miss the point of this.. No, I didn't buy the bass. I didn't like the bass, it was an Ibanez and I don't like their necks or bodies. I loved the sound of it, though. I've owned many Nordstrand products from preamps to pickups. I've played them in band settings. I've played MANY products in band settings. I've admired the craftsmanship and beauty of their basses. I've observed almost all of their videos and demos on youtube. I was just simply reminded why I tend to love them over others. If you don't agree with it, that's one things, but if you want to jump to a conclusion that I just picked it up and made my decision in 15 minutes, you probably need to "get your facts straight".
    tonemachine likes this.
  15. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    Tastes and opinions differ. I tried two Nordstrand pickups and disliked them.

    I always take blanket statement of excellence with a grain of salt.
  16. LowEndWooly


    Sep 3, 2013
    As you should. My post was out of joy and excitement. I don't understand what the issue of the post was for some. Just let a guy enjoy another person's fine craft.
    tonemachine and shorty4life like this.
  17. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    No offense but this is a post that started with mis-information which continued with more mis-information and mean comments.
    Thanks to Carey and Snaxster for setting the record straight as well as some interesting industry history.
  18. LowEndWooly


    Sep 3, 2013
    The only misinformation that I had was thinking it had a nordy pre. The big singles are really what blew me away, as I never had a chance to play and hear those. The intent of the post was just to praise Carey's hard work with appreciation, not to guide someone's thoughts on what electronics to use. There was zero need for vintage1's response nor for yours about my "bold statements" or laurent's "blanket statement of excellence".

    I don't get why some of you guys think it's necessary to post in such manner and it's tiring. It's great if you have a different opinion, and I love to read about them, but let us praise what we find to like without worrying about being berated for it.
  19. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    It's an old saying meaning "This is really hilarious".
  20. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    Odd that Vintage1 has no retort to getting schooled.