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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by smperry, Jul 20, 2013.
Alnico 3 version of Nordstrand BigRigs!
The ZB5 with the SCP pickup is really tempting me - despite generally despising both headless and single cut basses. This thing's really got something special going on with its design and the super light weight would be a nice bonus.
What do you guys think - would going around town with a headless bass turn me into some sort of wierdo outcast?
They sure look nice! What do the BigRigs sound like, and did you have to do anything to get them to fit? I had trouble getting a set of Big Splits in a BB75 I used to own with the 1st generation of those Icon pickups in them.
I had a 4 string Vader for a bit. I sent it back due to quality issues. But, I came to greatly appreciate how much less tension I had to hold in my fretting hand and arm, because I didn't have to counter the weight of. Headstock and tuners swinging around.
I hope someday they make a headless 5 string with narrow string spacing.
Kiesel's pickups are about 1mm smaller in length and width, than nordstrand's P2 shape. And their routes are tight.
I had to take the clear coat off the inner edges of the routes and smooth the bottom edges of the pickup covers. They had some excess plastic around the bottom edges, left over from when they were molded.
An all tung oil Kiesel would probably need no extra work to fit nordstrands.
As for the BigRig tone, here are some samples of the standard Alnico 5 version:
They have an interesting character to their growl. And they are very detailed, making notes defined and articulate, while still having cool character. My B String has a lot more definition with Big Rigs, compared to Big Blades (I tried them).
The Alnico 5 version is darker and more midrange focused. With some of that toothy high mid you might know from Big Splits and Big Singles.
Alnico 3 seems to open things up. They are softer and more reedy up top, which is what I wanted. My Icon can be a little pingy off the stainless frets. These have alleviated that a lot. But it does lose the toothey upper mid, which some might want from Nordstrands.
These still have the interesting big rig character through the mids, but they aren't as dark and focused. Makes them feel wider ranged and deeper, through the mids and lows. An absolute joy for finger style. And being softer up top, I can take a little more liberty with how much I dig in and be more percussive.
I have an Icon 5 I have been unsuccessfully trying to sell for over a year, so I decided recently to keep it and have it changed to a lined fretless.
I too am a fan of Nordies. I have a Dingwall with Big Splits and another with Big Singles. I was thinking of combining the best of both worlds and getting an Alnico 3 Big Split for the neck and an Alnico 5 Big Single for the bridge.
The Kiesel factory Radium Alnico 5 singles are in the Icon 5 right now and they do growl very nicely, so I may keep the bridge and get the Radium humbucker for the neck. Or maybe just leave well enough alone since it does sound good as-is.
I like Kiesel's newer radiused singles a lot. Generally speaking, the tone I was getting was very good.
However, I was annoyed with how easily my bass would "ping" on the stainless frets. And I would get that with 4 different sets of Carvin/Kiesel pickups (1st and second gen radiused singles and radiuses humbuckers). I think the BigRigs have a cool and interesting sound. And the Alnico 3 option seemed like it could give me relief. And they do!
I just scooped 3rd hand 6 string Zeus, weight is nice, action is wonderful. Fella sold it because he didn't really enjoy a 6er. My only complaint is that I'm having a hard time finding a set of strings that will fit the headless end slots. I haven't had it a full week yet, but I can get a similar sound to my Warwick streamer. So far it sounds great active and passive. The mid sweep on it is a nice touch. Trying to get an F#-G tuning on it with a .135 max string guage has been a challenge. Anyone know if there is a company out there that will do custom tapered strings?
Does this bass have a nut that can be modified? I eventually want to get a short scale Vader and plan to use fatter strings than usual.
Yeah so.....I want a crackle Icon...
The nut isn't the problem, it's the design of the lockdown end.
They still do the '89 era "pointy" headstock on some guitar models, but I dont think they do on basses, but yeah, that would rock on a bass with a pointy HS. It would be so 1986!
You can get the Xccelerator headstock on the icon. There is one in-stock now. And I have seen a few others.
When I think "pointy", I think of this:
This headstock would look sweet on that crackle paint job. I really think the Icon really lends itself to that scheme.
Ah. You might be able to request that as a non-returnable option.
Discovery, Kalium LONG SCALE GUITAR strings have the appropriate taper to fit nicely into the headless design of my bass. I fit successfully fit a .182 string into the headless side. Only problem is that the ball ends of the bridge side are too small. Kalium sent me a a few brass bushings to try something with, to no avail, the outer diameter was too big, I cannibalized a brass ball end from an old set of strings, drilled out the center hole and used a needle file to creat a groove 50% of the way up on one side. This let me slip the appropriate size ball end into the tuner without the string slipping out.
So you’re saying their guitar strings, not their bass strings? How quick is the taper that it happened after the nut but before the locking part? Or is the taper before the nut?
If you go on the 'tension calculator' they have dimensions provided in a graphic form. I find that I can move the taper around due to the way the tuning system is set up. I have it set right now so that the middle section of the three stage taper sits in the nut. It doesn't seem to effect playability, but I could also reasonably put the full thickness portion of the string in the nut by scooting the string down the neck and having the string come under tension sooner in the travel of the tuner. At The bridge end of the string, the full thickness portion of the string doesn't run the full length of the scale, it steps down in the saddle. Again, this doesn't cause any problems for me personally or my ear. Doesn't seem like there is a "perfect" solution, but so far this is the best solution I have come across.
I use Kaliums so I’m used to the taper being on the bridge saddle. I guess you would just have to watch out for the string being too low to the frets by having the taper in the nut side. I end up raising the saddles a little on the bridge if I’m using a tapered string.
But at the end of the day, if it works, it works!
I am having a Kiesel bass made next month so I guess I'll be a member then. I have enjoyed Carvin equipment for many years now. I will miss the Carvin co. and hope the Kiesel co. will be good to work with.