About a year ago I pickup up a Fender Mustang Bass and for the most part have been very happy with it. It has a great vintage sound, but can be a bit limiting. I recently saw that Nordstrand has made a replacement pickup for the Mustang so I decided to get a set and give it a try in hopes of making my Mustang a bit more versatile. Installation is fairly easy, if you know how to use a soldering iron. You do need to use the stock pickup covers and screws as Nordstrand does not provide these. Before I installed the pickups I made a couple of recordings of the stock pickups with my new iPhone iRig that my wife got me for Christmas. I recorded a “Clean” version with the iRig set to bypass mode and an “Amped” version with the iRig set to Bass Amp with all of the controls set flat, gain set at 4, and a 1×15 cab simulator mic’d with a simulated SM57. It was super simple to record the tracks with the iRig’s built in recorder and then transfer them to my computer. Once I had installed the Nordstrand pickups I recorded again, creating both “Clean” and “Amped” versions. Here’s how they sound:
Unfortunately, from these recordings the pickups sound only slightly different. Overall I feel the Nordstrand pickups have a fatter more articulate tone, while the stock pickups can sound a bit muddy at times. When plugged the into my GK MB200/Avatar 210 rig it has a nice clean tone with plenty of punch, much more than I feel it did with the stock pickups. The tone knob seems to have a wider range of usable setting now as well, which certainly adds to the versatility. Some folks have said that the Mustang bass almost sounds like a P-Bass, which I agree with, and these Nordstrand pickups get you a little closer to that sound.
For more info on the Nordstrand MN 4 Pickups visit www.nordstrandpickups.com