[an error occurred while processing this directive] Nordstrand NJ5 Deluxe 5 string bass
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Builder: Carey Nordstrand
Model: NJ5 Deluxe
Serial Number: none (Carey does not use serial numbers to identify his instruments)
Case/Gigbag: very nice Mooradian gigbag (forest green).
Scale Length: 34 1/2 inches.
Neck Shape: flattened oval.
Width at Nut: 1 3/4 inches.
String Width at Bridge: 3 inches.
Overall Length: 44 1/2 inches.
Widest: 13 1/4 inches.
Neck: 5-piece quartersawn maple/flatsawn bubinga/quartersawn wenge, bolt-on, satin finish on back.
Fingerboard: beautifully figured quartersawn cocobolo, with 22 of the most beautifully dressed frets we've ever seen! edges perfectly rounded over too.
Body: a stunning one-piece burl redwood top, 2-piece alder back.
Bridge: Hipshot, chrome, 3-way adjustable for intonation, height, and spacing.
Tuners: Hipshot ultralight (satin chrome).
Strap buttons: chrome.
Outputs: 1/4" mono, electrosocket perfectly inset on side.
Pickups: handmade Nordstrand Custom humcancelling.
Controls: volume (pull-up for passive mode), pan, passive roll-off, bass/mid/treble cut/boost.
Preamp: Aguilar 3-band (OBP-3).
Fret wear: none.
Superficial wear: none.
Deep wear: none.
Hardware wear: none.
Pickups wear: none.
Overall Condition: mint (this is a brand new instrument).
To say that we are impressed with this bass is a real understatement. Even with so many nice instruments that come to visit with us here at BunnyBass, it is actually pretty rare for us to receive an instrument that is just so unique and special that it brings with it a real sense of excitement. This NJ5 Deluxe bass clearly shows, in every aspect of its execution, the amount of care and love that Carey Nordstrand is pouring into his instruments. And it seems strange to say (being that it is not an inexpensive instrument), but for what it is, this bass really seems to be priced a thousand or two thousand dollars too low. In terms of craftsmanship, playability, and sound, it compares nicely with (or to be blunt, is superior to) many other instruments in the $3000 or $4000+ price range. It would be silly not to state this up front.
This is a deeply personal instrument. Carey runs a true one-person shop so that he can take responsibility for every part of the building process. This bass comes as close to being perfectly made as any we've ever seen. Without naming names, we'll just say that there are many other instruments much more expensive than this one that do not show anywhere near the same level of attention to detail that this instrument does. Most of the details that make this bass such a joy to hold in your hands and examine inch-by-inch cannot be communicated through photographs (for example, the shape of the neck, the nicely rolled edges of the fingerboard, the perfectly shaped and polished frets... even the output socket is so perfectly done it's really a thing of beauty!), but the end result is unmistakable - this bass just feels SO good - smooth, refined, supremely playable - definitely one of the easiest playing 5 string basses we've played so far. The bass is also incredibly beautiful to look at, and will become even prettier over time as the cocobolo fingerboard and pickup covers oxidizes and darkens to a deep reddish brown.
Of course the most important part of any instrument is the sound, and in this the bass doesn't disappoint. The fingerstyle sound is strong and wiry, and with the rear pickup favored a bit the voice becomes an angry snarl, with tons of low-mids. With the neck pickup soloed and playing gently towards the neck the sound becomes round and fat, with a sweet, blossoming sound. But most importantly, this bass never loses it's voice. It is musically versatile without being generic, it always sounds like itself - a real instrument with a real identity.
This bass is a wonderful instrument, and in a sense it is also a throwback, a reminder. We have seen so many talented builders produce stunning instruments with real individual personalities early in their careers, only to somehow lose their way. Craftsmanship and art-making become replaced by commodities production, and what begins as building often ends in manufacturing - empty, mechanically-reproduced copies eventually displace the originals. Carey Nordstrand is one of a very small group of real craftspeople, and we are hopeful that he will continue along on his path. What these luthiers are doing is nothing less than keeping alive a tradition of human values that is literally becoming endangered in our modern world.
Please click on the thumbnails below for more views of this bass.[an error occurred while processing this directive]
...a close-up view of the incredible one-piece burl redwood top. it's mesmerizing, a piece of wood you can just lose yourself in...
...the back is a lovely piece of alder, very clean, and has an iridescent quality that doesn't come through in the photographs. the neck feels incredible.
...the cocobolo fingerboard is a deep reddish brown and is just so beautiful to look at...
...what you can't see in the photographs is how beautiful the fretwork is - Carey Nordstrand's work is meticulous. the edges are not just filed smooth, they are rounded and polished and almost have the look of miniature sculpture...
...the matching burl redwood overlay on the tulip headstock. the inlaid "N" is also flawlessly executed.
...absolutely perfect woodworking throughout.
...and finally, a view of the entire instrument.
...one last look before we say good-bye!