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once again: Nordstrand J vs. Fralin J?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by denchiq, May 5, 2009.

  1. I have seen several threads discussing passive J pickups, quite a few of them praised Nordstrand and Lindy Fralin for great representation of classic vibe. I couldn't find one comparing them side-by-side though and, as I understand it, "vibe" is something very subjective, like an appeal of some sort.
    Could you guys please explain the acoustic difference between 'em?
  2. I would also like to know about this.
  3. Ryan Mohr

    Ryan Mohr

    Oct 23, 2007
  4. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Been contemplating this myself.

    I had a G&L JB2 that, while I loved the bass, hated the harsh pickups. Not much bottom, and really ganky top end. I put Nord NJ4's in there. Fatter, smoother, mellower. Very even across the spectrum.

    I have Fralins in my Lakland JO5, and they aren't ganky like the G&L JB2 pups were, but they are definately much more aggressive on top.
  5. EZ9R


    Oct 28, 2008
    Been playing for 26 years. Owned around 35 basses....4, 5, 6 string. Went back to 5 string in 2000. Admire that Jaco sound, wanted to go back to 4 string passive Jazz bass last year. Order a set of Norstrands NJ4SE from Blueberry Hill bass for my Geddy Jazz and was blown away. Bought a 2008 Fender Jazz. Before I plugged it in, I swapped out the pickups to the Nordstrand NJ4SE and have the sound that I was always looking for. That bridge pickup, ala Jaco (Heavy Weather) Sound.
    My '08 Fender Jazz is my #1 bass. I'm keeping it passive. I have 3 stompbox preamps because I didn't want to ad an onboard preamp. Have a Demeter, MXR M80 and the Aguilar Tone Hammer. I mostly favor the MXR. Tweeking the lows and highs depending on room.
    And the one very important thing to me is it's noiseless, but sounds like a single coil.
    Nordstrands are in the top 3 most important piece of gear I've ever bought. I don't know Carey or anyone at Blueberry Hill bass. It's just IMO.
    Of course each player has his style. I like to be in front of the mix, soloing the bridge pu, playing 95% of the time finger style. Again....Ala Jaco, Jeff Berlin, Gary Willis. I play in a Fusion band and a straight ahead band with electric instruments.
    When I do slap, I use both pickups and has that Marcus sound. For me, the NJ4SE was the perfect choice.
  6. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    A-Designs Audio Mike Lull Custom Guitars Gallien Krueger amplification Tsunami Cables GHS Strings RMI Basswitch Nordstrand Pickups
    Thanks EZ9R, Chef and of course Blueberryhill

    My situation mirriors EZ9R quite a bit actually.

    I have been playing Nordstrand pickups (Big Singles and MM4.2) and I really like them both and after reading about the NJ4 I'm motivated to build a new bass just to be able to put a set of them in there.:bag::p:bassist:
  7. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    My number one bass is a 2003 Jazz with Lindy Fralin's noiseless Split-Jazz pickups. I've never tried Nordstrands, but FWIW I agree with the description of Fralins on the Blueberry Hill site. They have a slightly "loose" low end, and a gritty texture. (This applies to the P-bass pickup too, which I have in my 2004 P.)

    I think they're fantastic pickups, which sound very close to pure single coils. In fact, they sound almost identical to the singles in my 2008 Jazz V, except they lose some "sparkle" and "air" in the highs. But I usually roll off the treble some anyway, so for me going noiseless was worth it, no question. Like EZ9R, good noiseless pickups are among the more worthwhile gear purchases I've made, both for my J and my 2004 Strat, which has near-noiseless Lace Sensor Hot Golds.

    I do want to try Nordstrands. I'm thinking about another J in which to install NJ4SE's, because I'd like an even thicker version of classic J tone.
  8. LowBSix

    LowBSix Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 25, 2008
    818 ~ 805 ~ L.A.
    Endorsing Artist: GHS Strings
    I've done a some searches and wanted to chime in on this old subject...

    I picked up a 2008 American Standard Jazz Bass with Frailins. I loved the classic vintage tone, but I agree with what I've read in various threads... "the bottom is a little mushy and soft like a pillow"

    I put in the NJ5S and got what I'm looking for. The bottom is tight and full. I can play just the bridge pickup and get plenty of bottom end. Add the neck pickup and it's fat city without mushy/pillow....

    I prefer the Nordstrands to the Fralins in my J5 and use a Fralin in my P...