NS Artist Bakithi Kumalo sat down with For Bass Players Only at the NS Design Booth during the NAMM Show 2020 for another fun and insightful interview. Kumalo shares his simple, sage advice about what it takes to be a good bass player, his passion for mentorship, and working with students in The Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University Mentorship Program and the various logistics involved in teaching remotely.
The Solo Bass Competition was held on Thursday in Anaheim during the NAMM Show 2020 — NS Design are proud to be co-sponsors of this special event, along with Phil Jones Bass, Warwick, LaBella, Marleux, and others; as well as Bass Magazine and Gizmotron. Continue reading…
Winter NAMM 2020 at the NS Design Booth has been lively with NS Artists and friends. Stop in to say hello if you’re in the neighborhood. Hall D #4729.
We have a number of great players at the Winter NAMM 2020 booth performing and demonstrating NS, including: legendary bassist Bakithi Kumalo (Paul Simon), violinist Daneille Turano, Marcos Varela – Grammy nominated Jazz artist and composer, Los Angeles’s favorite electric ensemble Quartet 405 with a special demonstration including Symphonic Planet, solo bassists Noor Che’ree, Chance Wilder Onody, Donald Waugh and much more!Continue reading…
Here’s For Bass Players Only Interview with NS Artist Donald Waugh at the NS Design booth during Winter NAMM 2020.
Donald chats with FBPO’s Jon Liebman about a new album in the works for 2020, and advice about learning to play bass, among other topics. Continue reading…
The Omni Bass can be played in one of two ways, with the boomerang strap or with the optional tripod stand. The boomerang strap allows you to play in a traditional position, just like an electric bass. The tripod stand holds the bass in the upright position, the same way as an upright bass and is fully adjustable so that you can play either sitting or standing.
Bakithi Kumalo – “I play the NS Design Omni bass. I love the sound of the Omni bass, it feels so good to play, my favorite!!”
The WAV5c comes with D’Addario chromes installed, which really help to bring out the acoustic tone, however, with the Coform fretboard, round wounds can also used for a more electric sound. Coform has been created and designed by NS Design for fingerboards due to the demand of rosewood and ebony and the declining availability of these woods, not only for guitars and basses, but for other products as well. The fingerboard constructed of Coform is not only more durable and harder than both rosewood and ebony, it is uniformly even in thickness and more durable and harder, and it is also more resistant to changes in temperature and humidity. The Coform fingerboard is made of pairing maple and acrylic and allows for better articulation, feel, and lower maintenance.
The WAV5c is smooth, plays well and sounds great. I’ve used it both in pizzicato and with a bow. There is a 2-way toggle switch for arco and pizzicato playing, up for arco and down for pizzicato. I have to admit that I personally prefer the pizzicato position, even for the bow, but that is really up to personal taste and it sounds great in either position. The arco position allows for more attack and faster decay, while the pizzicato position is a shorter and smoother attack with longer decay. The rest of the electronics consist of volume, tone, and Polar piezo pickup. All of the electronics are passive and truly project the sound and tone of the solid maple body and neck with a flame maple top. The Coform fingerboard has the TransRadius profile, which makes the neck feel more familiar for a traditional bassist and allows for great string to string bowing, and the string spacing is the same as an electric bass.
The NS WAV5c Omni Bass can use regular bass strings and can be tuned as B-E-A-D-G, or E-A-D-G-C, and even used for cello tunings of C-G-D-A-E or F-C-G-D-A. With the WAV5c, an input impedance of at least 5 Meg Ohm with preferably 10 Meg Ohm recommended and a pre-amp is always a great tool to have.
This bass is available in three colors, which include amber burst, transparent red, and transparent black, and is also available as a 4-string, the NS WAV4c Omni Bass. It comes with a bag and has ample room not only for the bass, but the boomerang strap, optional tripod stand, and accessories.
Check out the NS WAV5c Omni Bass at a music retailer near you!
Visit online for more information. ThinkNS.com
The NS WAV Omni Bass combines the feel and tonal character of an electric upright bass with the ease and familiarity of the 34” scale, bridging the divide between an EUB and a bass guitar. This innovative and exhilarating instrument is one of the clearest examples of the raw conceptual energy which Ned Steinberger brings to his work. The WAV offers the combination of design, performance and affordability exceeding any other instrument in its class and true to the NS tradition, the WAV captures the essence of an acoustic, yet opens up an exciting range of new possibilities. It’s a pleasure to play!
WAV4 – 4 STRING (EADG) WAV5 – 5 STRING (BEADG)
Tuned in fourths, the fingering positions and spacing are identical to the bass guitar, and therefore immediately familiar to any bass player. The Omni Bass can also be tuned in fifths, CGDA (low to high) for 4 string, CGDAE for 5 string.
Maple Neck and Body
For rich tone, strength and visual grace.
Asymmetrical relief for easy playability, even in the highest positions. The fingerboard radius at the nut is 9-1/4 inches for more familiar feel for the bass guitarist. For ease of bowing, the radius at the bridge end of the fingerboard is tighter, 2 inches.
NS Polar™ Pickup System
The great natural sound of our Polar directional piezo passive pickup system responds selectively to either vertical vibration (for the sustained plucked sound, like an electric bass guitar), or lateral vibration (for dynamic bowing, and a percussive plucked sound). Battery-free operation. Volume and Tone controls; Pizzicato / Arco select switch.
Adjustable Bridge and Two-Way Truss Rod
Tweak the neck curvature and string heights to suit your music and playing style.
Boomerang™ Strap System
This standard support system has a pivoting friction hub that holds the instrument firmly in place close to the body. Attached with a guitar style strap to its two support arms, the system allows the instrument to be moved into virtually any position in relation to the hands and body as it is played. Weight is .45 kg (1 lbs.).
NS Support System Options
Includes Boomerang Strap System. Compatible with optional CR Tripod Stand or WAV/NXT Tripod Stand, Bass End Pin Stand, Bass End Pin Stand Conversion Kit or Frame Strap System.
Compact and Light Weight
WAV4 – 7 lbs.; WAV5 – 7.2 lbs.
Length: 44”. Width: 5.4”.
Padded Gig Bag
For the instrument and accessories.
Goes anywhere, any time.
NS Bassist Bakithi Kumalo is back on tour with Paul Simon this summer playing several dates around the country throughout the month of June. The tour kicked off June 1st in St. Augustine, FL and ends at SummerFest in Milwaukee, WI on June 30. Don’t miss it! Tour and ticket information can be found here: http://www.paulsimon.com/news/paul-simon-announces-us-summer-tour/
Joining him with an NXT Electric Cello is fellow multi-instrumentalist, composer and tour mate Mark Stewart who has been recording and touring with Paul Simon since the late 1990’s. Stewart is also one of the All-Star musicians in Bang on a Can, awarded Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year and heralded as “the country’s most important vehicle for contemporary music” by the San Francisco Chronicle. Mark is also a member of Steve Reich & Musicians and the comic duo Polygraph Lounge with Rob Schwimmer and in 2013 was in a year-long residency at MIT in the Glass Lab teaching students to design and create a glass orchestra.
Photos: Bakithi Kumalo and Mark Stewart in rehearsal for tour with Paul Simon.
Watch: Paul Simon‘s debut performance at Austin City Limits with “Wristband” from his album Stranger to Stranger. The album is described by Andy Greene of Rolling Stone as “an experimental album heavy on echo and rhythm that fuses electronic beats with African woodwind instruments, Peruvian drums, a gospel music quartet, horns and synthesizers.” A great showcase for Kumalo’s talents, who opens this funny song playing his NXT Upright.
Watch: Bass Musician Magazine Interview with Bakithi Kumalo in which he describes how he got his start on stage at just 7 years old playing a Gibson bass in his uncle’s band in South Africa; his ultimate respect for finding the tone, the most influential bassists for him and his willingness to share lessons he has learned along the way to a successful career playing his music for audiences around the world. And at 22:00 in this interview…see and hear the slap sound technique he’s having fun with these days on his CR5 RADIUS Bass Guitar, it’s a real treat and is as fun, adventurous and masterful as Kumalo himself. Enjoy!
More details and features for all the NS Basses that Bakithi plays along with our new eco-friendly NXTa active series EUB’s, Omni’s, Cello’s, Violin’s and Viola’s featuring battery-free electronics are found at our website ThinkNS.com.
James “Hutch” Hutchinson is respected far and wide for his musical versatility and long experience playing with top-tier acts. After taking some classes at the Berklee College of Music while gigging in bands around Boston, the 17 year old decided to head out west to the San Francisco Bay Area. He jumped at opportunities to play on sessions with Link Wray’s band and with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart which lead to an opportunity to join the Quicksilver Messenger Service spin-off Copperhead, all this before he turned 20 years old.
When their album failed to find an audience the band broke up and Hutch left for Guatemala for what he expected to be just a three week visit. Three weeks turned into a year which allowed Hutch to immerse himself in Latin American culture and rhythms. Returning to the US with his Latin Jazz Fusion band The Point, Hutch got an offer to play in The Neville Brothers Band. While playing with the Neville Brothers he was introduced to Bonnie Raitt and in 1983 moved to Los Angeles to join her band after her original bassist dropped out right before she was scheduled to go on tour.
In the intervening 30 plus years, Hutch has made significant contributions to Bonnie’s sound and has co-written some of her tunes along the way. In an interview with Bass Player Magazine Hutch recalls, “Bonnie calls me her ‘musical ranger’ because I bring in all of these different influences. It’s not just that I’ve listened well and learned to play different styles, it’s that I’ve spent time living and working with the players in those communities. There are musicians in various parts of the world—blues players, country guys, even African musicians—who think of me as their style of musician. They may not even be aware of other styles I play.”
Fellow NS artist Tony Levin sums up Hutch’s musical versatility and impact on Bonnie’s records for Bass Player Magazine: “Hutch Hutchinson has never played a wrong note for Bonnie Raitt. He’s perfect for her songs.”
Hutchinson uses a variety of basses to bring the best tone and feel to his music. For songs requiring versatility in upright sound, Hutch loves NS Design’s CR Omni Bass. Ned Steinberger created the Omni Bass to connect the sound and feel of the electric bass guitar with its familiar 34″ scale and TransRadius™ fingerboard with the tonal purity, voice and bowed or plucked response of the classic upright bass. The Omni bridges both worlds. It’s a portable and adaptable innovation that has opened up new worlds of sonic versatility and physical freedom for so many musicians like Hutch.
Hutch’s favorite go-to upright on the current Dig In Deep tour is NS Design’s high performance CR4M Upright Bass. It’s as versatile as the CR Omni, including an active EQ and mixer, EMG™ magnetic pickups and Steinberger’s patented Polar™ Piezo Pickup System, and provides all the depth of sound that a full scale double bass commands. Hutch uses the CR4M with vintage Ampeg B-12, B-15’s; and when in the studio, the B-18 combos or the classic Ampeg SVT808’s and 8X8 matching cabinets.
NS Design founder and creator Ned Steinberger with Hutch Hutchinson
Here’s Bonnie Raitt and Co. covering a Bob Dylan classic “Million Miles” from her 2012 album Slipstream.
With headlining tour dates in May and June around the US, Bonnie, Hutch and Co. will also be joining fellow Massachusetts-native James Taylor in select US dates in August, with a very special performance on August 11th at historic Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Check out all tour dates and related info at: http://www.bonnieraitt.com/tour
Learn more about James “Hutch” Hutchinson, NS Design Artists and NS Basses at thinkNS.com
Welcome to the third edition of THE LYONN’S ROAR, “Get The Best Tone On Your Electric,” with highlighting iNSights into Choosing an Electric Instrument, Amplification and Effects, and Strings and things by Julie Lyonn Lieberman. Check out this informative article that covers all the bases of Electric String Instruments:
This edition features a special interview with Fan Tao, Director of Research and Development for D’Addario Orchestral Strings.
Check out this informative article and the many videos of Julie demonstrating the use of multiple effects units and changing strings on the NS Violin.
Learn more about all the amazing electric bowed string instruments NS Design offers at ThinkNS
NS Design’s founder and instrument designer Ned Steinberger was invited as a featured speaker at the Skidompha Library “Chats With Champions” series this past month in co-sponsorship with Sherman’s Bookstore in Damariscotta, Maine.
In the talk titled “Trial, Error and Invention” Ned discusses the evolution of his life’s work from his childhood passion for woodworking, early career as a furniture designer interested in ergonomic design challenges and the path that ultimately unfolded for the state-of-the-art innovations he brings to the musical instrument world.
Ned describes his forays into business, his early collaborations with Stuart Spector, meeting Les Paul for the first time, and the trials and tribulations of his process for finding the optimal sound potential of an instrument as it relates to its design and construction.
Guest guitarist, David Martin provides examples of the sonic variations and technological advances that make Ned’s instruments so exciting and versatile for players and listeners alike.
The NXT Series Goes Active and Stays Green!
With the launch of the new NXTa series, Ned Steinberger and NS Design herald the introduction of battery-free, high performance active electronics for the full family of NXT instruments. These include the violin, viola, cello, Omni bass and double bass. The new capacitor-powered custom circuitry, designed for NS Design by Mi-Si Electronics Design, integrates with the NS Polar Pickup System to provide two distinct signal output modes, bringing the convenience, versatility and performance capability of the NXT to another level.
Operationally, for Active mode, the user plugs the supplied charger into an AC outlet for 60 seconds to power the circuit for up to 16 hours of performance time. The instrument can then plug straight into any amp, low or high impedance, no direct box necessary. Since there is no signal loss over the full frequency spectrum of the instrument, the fundamentals of every note remain clear and strong, even with extra-long cables.
In Passive mode, as with the original NXT series, the NXTa can be used with an amplifier with a high impedance input, or with any amplifier using a direct box. In either mode, an important facet of the NXTa circuitry is “eco-friendliness” and convenience. NXTa instruments are still “green” and battery-free, eliminating the hassle and cost of batteries while helping protect our environment.
Michael Ioffe, co-founder of Mi-Si (www.mi-si.com), comments “We are very honored to work with Ned Steinberger. We feel that we share the same design philosophy, it’s all about elegance and simplicity.” At the heart of all Mi-Si products is Mi-Si’s patented, battery-free technology which utilizes supercapacitors rather than conventional rechargeable batteries as energy storage elements. Mi-Si minimalistic design philosophy results in clean sound, high power efficiency, low weight, small dimensions, and elegant, environmentally friendly solution to onboard amplification.
Created by Ned Steinberger, the NXT family of NS Design instruments, along with the advanced CR series, is crafted in the Czech Republic. Ned’s instruments are distributed worldwide and have become a mainstay for countless professional artists around the globe. For more information about our instruments and the players who use them, visit thinkNS.com.
The NXTa will be available in September 2016
Iconic bassist talks to FBPO about his three decades with Bonnie Raitt, plus a whole lot more you may not have known
By David Sands
April 8, 2015
James “Hutch” Hutchinson has been cooking up music with blues-rock legend Bonnie Raitt for over three decades. It’s a relationship the bassist cherishes, but his musical hunger has led him in a lot of other directions too. All over the map, in fact.
While he’s made some amazing records with Raitt, like the triple Grammy-winning Nick of Time and 2012’s best-selling blues album Slipstream, those albums are just flavorful morsels in the stew of a life richly lived.
Read the full interview at http://forbassplayersonly.com/james-hutch-hutchinson-bridging-musical-worlds/
NS Design welcomes internationally acclaimed bassist, composer, and arranger Roland Guerin of New Orleans, LA, as an endorsing artist. Roland has recently added both the NS Double Bass and NS Omni Bass to his arsenal. Roland has a highly successful career as both leader and sideman on 100+ international albums, including appearances with John Scofield, Ellis Marsalis, Marcus Roberts and Mark Whitfield among many others.
Roland is currently the Director of Music for the indie film “The Shotgun Waltz” which features many creative soundscapes and instruments including his NS Basses. This summer, he and his Omni Bass will share the stage with Allan Toussaint, Ingrid Lucia and Shannon Powell.