Sunday, August 06, 2006

Nordy VJ4 Review (Pt.1)

The first Nordy VJ4 recently arrived at Blueberry Hill, and I was so impressed I thought that the bass warranted a review. While a more comprehensive review should be appearing in an issue of Bass Player magazine around the end of the year, I was so thrilled with how the Nordy project turned out that I had to share the news.

The idea of the Nordy line was first discussed about two years ago when Carey mentioned an interest in building a line of jazz basses. I not only thought that it was a great idea, but was interested in all of the various possibilities that such a project presented. Carey was largely involved in building custom basses based on specs submitted by customers...their choice of woods, pickups, preamps, etc. While this was satisfying work in itself, Carey also had very clear ideas as to what he felt made a good bass and was looking for a way to establish more tonal consistency from instrument to instrument. His goad was to define the "Nordstrand sound". I thought it was a great idea because I wanted to offer a world-class Nordstrand bass to my customers who were not able to wait for a custom to be build and/or who were looking for a more affordable option without sacrificing quality and performance. By standardizing many elements of the Nordy line, we are able to offer a bass, build by Carey in his California shop, that is more affordable and more accessible than a "built to order" custom instrument. Based on what I have seen so far, the goal has been achieved in spades!

First, the materials used in the construction of this bass are outstanding. The swamp ash body is very light and resonant, the maple used for the neck and fingerboard are blemish-free, and the entire bass just feels solid. The nutwork and fretwork are perfect, and the bass came set-up with super-low action. The neck profile is outstanding as well. I have played and owned many jazz basses, and I instantly fell in love with the shape of the neck. It feels silky-smooth on the back and is ultra-fast. The first time I plugged the Nordy in, I experienced one of those magical moments where everything about the instrument just felt RIGHT. The Nordstrand NJ4SV pickups deliver a classic, vintage single-coil jazz tone, but without any noise or hum, and the Audere preamp offers up a versatile array of useful tones. I was able to quickly and easily dial in everything from deep, fat, warm vintage tones to ultra-crisp and clean modern slap tones.
Overall, I am extremely impressed with this bass and am proud of the success of the new line. We are expecting to have other Nordy basses in soon, including an alder/rosewood VJ4 and a modern VJ5 with Fat Stacks and the new Nordstrand 3-band preamp. Keep an eye on the Basses page at for photos when they arrive, and when they do, I will follow up this review with Pt.2.



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