Carolyn Routh – Bass Musician Magazine Interview

Photograph of NS Design Artist Carolyn Routh with her CR4 RADIUS Bass Guitar in Nu-Blu.

NS Design Artist Carolyn Routh with her CR4 RADIUS Bass Guitar.

Check out the new interview with Bass Musician Magazine with NS Design Artist Carolyn Routh of Nu-Blu. She talks about her role in Nu-Blu, her recent podcast and VJing with The Bluegrass Ridge TV, among many other projects. Continue reading…


Ned Steinberger Visits the Worchester Poly Technical Institute Guitar Innovation Lab

NS Design Founder Ned Steinberger meets with scientists at Worchester Poly Tech Innovation Lab Ned Steinberger (center) meeting with Tommy Maloney (left) and V.J. Manzo (right) in the Electric Guitar Innovation Lab at WPI.

NS Design Founder and award-winning instrument designer, Ned Steinberger recently spent some time in collaboration on confidential research regarding electric guitar technology, with Tommy Maloney and V.J. Manzo of the Electric Guitar Innovation Lab at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worchester, MA. Continue reading…


NS Artist Benny Rietveld – For Bass Players Only Interview

NS Artist Benny Rietveld with the CRM Upright BassBenny Rietveld bassist for Santana, playing the NS CRM Upright. Photo by Alan Poulin

NS Design Artist Benny Rietveld, longtime bassist and music director for Santana, sat down for an exclusive interview with Jon Liebman of For Bass Players Only. Benny shares his history and the power of the bass. Continue reading…


How Ned Steinberger redesigned the bass world. In-depth with bass’s headless horseman -By Jim Reilly

A generation of musicians has come of age since NS Design founder Ned Steinberger revolutionized the electric bass in the early 1980s. In this in-depth article, MusicRadar.com’s Jim Reilly explores the history of the original “headless” Steinberger basses and guitars, and traces Ned’s journey from those early instruments to NS Design’s innovative product line of today.

Read the full article here.

How Ned Steinberger redesigned the bass world

In-depth with bass’s headless horseman

By Jim Reilly (Bass Guitar)

In the world of bass guitar design, the name Ned Steinberger conjures up many different images. Some people envision Sting or Jamaaladeen Tacuma jumping around, playing an odd-looking bass with a huge sound and incongruously tiny body.

Others see Tony Levin strutting across Peter Gabriel’s stage with an electric upright. Still others picture Grace Chatto bowing an electric cello with pop sensation Clean Bandit.

For those really in the know, the name Ned Steinberger brings to mind not only those images but also pictures of a bass with a curved, ergonomic body – and a huge number of players and fellow instrument builders inspired by that design. Ned’s designs are all those things and much more.

His story, at its heart, is one of a true designer – someone inspired by problems, who when he or she gets hold of a good one, won’t let go until a solution has been found. In Ned’s words, “I get obsessed with a problem. I say to myself, over and over, ‘There has got to be a way to do this!’ Finding a new and better solution to something – something that hasn’t been done before – is what excites me.”

To really make sense of Ned’s achievements in electric bass design and understand what makes his new electric bass – the NS Design Radius – special, we will need to go back to the mid 1970s, and a small, communal, woodworker’s co-operative in Brooklyn, New York.

Read the rest of the article on MusicRadar.com


The Lyonn’s Roar by Julie Lyonn Lieberman – Edition Five – “Rhythmize Your Bow with Chop”

Welcome to the fifth edition of The Lyonn’s Roar, “Rhythmize Your Bow with Chop” by NS Violinist and Educator Julie Lyonn Lieberman.

For those of you returning to school this September, put fiery bounce in your bow by developing your “chop” percussion techniques on your violin, viola, cello or upright bass.

Starting as what was called the “chunk” technique and made popular by the father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe, “chopping” has quickly become a fun and funky way for players to keep the groove moving. Bill Monroe’s fiddler Richard Greene (pictured below) further developed the “chop” technique into his own artful musical language.

Be sure to check out an excerpt from his guest appearance at the Strings Without Boundaries Summer 2016 Session in Seattle, Washington:

For lessons in how to develop this technique in your own playing, check out the Lyonn’s Roar – Fifth Edition “Rhythmize Your Bow with Chop”.

Go to Julie’s Strings Without Boundaries website page to learn more about contemporary and alternative string techniques or check out her book How to Play Contemporary Strings: A Step-by-Step Approach for Violin, Viola & Cello. Complete with video tutorials, backing tracks and a step-by-step approach including explicit notation, it will get you on your way to building new skills and techniques.

For more information about all of NS Design’s instruments including the NXTa Electric Violin that Julie plays and its eco-friendly, active yet battery-free features, and the affordable and road-worthy WAV Electric Series of instruments visit ThinkNS.com.


The Lyonn’s Roar by Julie Lyonn Lieberman – Edition Four – “Electric Technique: The Same . . .or?”

Photo Courtesy of NS Artist Avery Merritt

Welcome to the fourth edition of THE LYONN’S ROAR, “Electric Technique:  The Same . . .or?” by NS Violinist and Educator Julie Lyonn Lieberman.

Whether you’ve just unboxed your new NS Violin, plugged in your acoustic for the first time, or are just ready to unleash into new territory on the instrument you already love to play, these exciting iNSights will take your playing to another level and help you stand out in any performance setting.

Chord connection fills, textural ghost notes, chopping techniques, and incorporating guitar and horn like riffs to electrify your string sound, Lieberman highlights a range of suggestions for expanding your violin’s voice using several alternative techniques.

Electric Technique

This fourth edition includes a bonus interview with violinist Papa John Creach of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna.  Papa John is an exciting and unique violinist and performer that understands how to truly stand out on a stage. In the interview, he talks about how to “Get Down, Get Dirty and Give it some Guts” on your electric.

How else do you achieve these techniques? Attend a summer program that will help you build new skills, there are quite a few to choose from.  Check out Julie’s book, How to Play Contemporary Strings: A Step-by-Step Approach for Violin, Viola & Cello, with its video tutorials and backing tracks, it’s a sure way to gain skills and have some fun.  Visit her website for more information on all her books, DVDs and courses. http://julielyonn.com/

For more information about all of NS Design’s electric violins and electric violas and the new eco-friendly, active yet battery-free NXTa Electric Violin, or the affordable and road-worthy WAV Electric Violin visit ThinkNS.com.


The Lyonn’s Roar by Julie Lyonn Lieberman – Edition Three -“Get The Best Tone On Your Electric”

By Julie Lyonn Lieberman

Photo courtesy of Blackerby Violin Shop, Austin, Texas

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:

Get the Best Tone on Your Electric

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 iNSight – Chats With Champions – Ned Steinberger

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.

For more interviews and discussions with Ned, please visit the Interviews link on our website or go to the NS Design YouTube channel linked here.


The Lyonn’s Roar by Julie Lyonn Lieberman – Edition Two – “String Drumming”

Welcome to the second edition of THE LYONN’S ROAR – “String Drumming” filled with iNSights into how to inject fire into your bow by Julie Lyonn Lieberman.

While many bowed string players focus on traditional techniques, Julie will show you how to be iNSpired to take flight, how to move and groove.  There’s a world of exiting possibilities you can add to your technical grab bag.  Check it out at: http://www.stringswithoutboundaries.com/string-resources/string-blog/rhythmizing-bow.html

Don’t forget to practice these tips using our great collection of CR, NXTa and WAV series violins at  www.thinkns.com.


The Lyonn’s Roar by Julie Lyonn Lieberman – Edition One – “Special Effects”

 

Welcome to the first edition of THE LYONN’S ROAR – “Special Effects” by Julie Lyonn Lieberman.  Julie focuses on using effects with electric bowed instruments, including multi-effects processors, and how they can add “spice” to your playing and sound.  To see a video demonstration of some of the sounds you can achieve, visit Strings Without Boundaries http://www.stringswithoutboundaries.com/string-resources/string-blog/special-effects.html.

Fiddler Markus Fahrenberger’s effects and tools on the road.

For more information on the full line of NS stringed and bowed instruments, visit www.thinkns.com.


Introducing Julie Lyonn Lieberman’s “The Lyonn’s Roar!”

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NS Design is pleased to announce that NS Artist and String Educator JULIE LYONN LIEBERMAN will be featured in a new series that we affectionately call the “Lyonn’s Roar!” Every month readers can look forward to education and advice on how to improve as a player, performer and musician and get the most out of your electric stringed instruments.

Julie has been at the forefront of the string evolution/revolution for 35+ years as a performer, author, composer, and producer. Her most recent of eight string books on eclectic styles and creative musicianship is titled “How to Play Contemporary Strings” (Hal Leonard). She is the Artistic Director for the summer program, Strings Without Boundaries and is an NS Design Artist/ Educator as well as a D’Addario Premiere Clinician.

Julie is the proud recipient of the 2014 ASTA: American String Teachers Association Kudos Award, over two-dozen ASCAP Plus Awards, eight Meet the Composer awards and three ASTA National Citation for Leadership & Merit awards. She has written and produced two National Public Radio Series: The Talking Violin, hosted by Dr. Billy Taylor, and Jazz Profiles: Jazz Violin hosted by Nancy Wilson, and has composed over two dozen alternative styles string orchestra scores for Kendor and Alfred Music.

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Also, Julie is the creative genius behind Strings Without Boundaries (SWB). SWB is a Summer Program For Traditional  & Contemporary Strings, where 21st century technique meets tradition, creativity and style. The SWB upcoming session will be in Omaha, NE on July 23-27th 2017.  Each day attendees can choose from two dozen classes in American and world styles, creative musicianship, technology for strings, and more…

 

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We are excited to hear more from Julie and her expansive knowledge and iNSights into all things strings and more.

To learn more about Julie, visit JulieLyonn.com. For more about the NS instruments she uses, visit www.thinkns.com

 

 


NS iNSight – A Perfect Fit

 

RADIUS Users cover

Music instrument aesthetics are rarely, if ever, considered from a scientific point of view. Yet for industrial designers and architects, form must meet function. And there is a lot of science and technology to apply in this way.

While technique for playing bass is often the subject of passionate discussion, and there are varying theories (plectrum, fingers, slap, tap, Simandl method, one note per fret method, etc.) the design of the instrument itself has a lot to do with the overall playability of the bass and the ability of the player to successfully use those techniques. When the very first electric bass was created it was just a squared, slab of wood with no cuts or rounded/beveled edges. Ergonomics took a backseat to sound production. And while there were changes over the years, they were an answer to specific player issues and ideas rather than a look directly at design. Even today, most of the emphasis and science in the music instrument industry goes into the materials and electronics of the instruments. Guitar and bass aesthetics are merely a function of what is pleasing or challenging to the eye.

RADIUS blueprint cover

Ned Steinberger is synonymous with innovative headless instruments. Yet it is not as well known that Ned designed the body of one of the most iconic basses of all time, the Spector NS-2 bass. Yes, the NS stands for Ned Steinberger. As a furniture designer and builder specializing in chairs, Ned understood that function and form are all essential to an aesthetically pleasing, yet functional piece of furniture. And it was in that Brooklyn co-op that he shared with some up and coming guitar and bass builders where he first applied those principles to music instruments. In collaboration with Stuart Spector, he designed something radical for the time, a rounded, radiused bass body with cuts and carves that naturally fell against the body of the player, making the bass exponentially more comfortable and easier to play. His body shape has been copied numerous times over the years, by some of the world’s largest guitar manufacturers.

With the NS Design Radius Bass, Ned uses ergonomic science and technology and has taken the body contour to a whole new level. While maintaining and refining the back body curve cut so that the bass lies on the player’s body comfortably, the front of NS Diradial™ Body has a 20 inch radius, which, in combination with the general wedge shape of the body, shifts it into more comfortable orientation for the right and left hand. The slight wedge shape of the body tilts the body and neck slightly inward so the fingerboard is more visible to the player, and the concave curve on the back of the body creates a more stable platform. The radius of the bass is continued along the entire body, to include pickups and bridge, to optimize the playability and comfort of the bass.

 

CR RADIUS butt

The pictures show how the radius has been built into the bass. Built in based on technology.

Simple, yet intuitive. Form, science, and engineering meeting function.


NS iNSight – Perfecting the tuner.

 

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Pulleys and levers. Remember them? Yes, those concepts you learned in high school physics are the heart of the NS Design patented tuning system found on all the NS Design headless instruments. In particular, US Patent 6,528,710.

Ned has been perfecting tuning systems for guitars and stringed instruments going all the way back to the beginning, US Patent 4,192,213 for his legendary headless bass. The screw based tuning mechanism was key to the overall function of the instrument. In this tuner, the ball end of the string is held in a jaw, which is threaded to accept a screw that pulls the string taut. In this kind of system, the free end of the string is held in a clamp which requires a tool to operate or the use of strings with a ball at both ends.

The common tuning systems in use today create tension in the strings by wrapping the free ends around tuning posts fixed at the head end of the instrument neck, which posts are turned through a worm gear arrangement to create the required tension. This system, has stability problems because the worm gear drives needed to operate the tuning posts have backlash making precise tuning difficult, and also the strings can slacken around the posts after once being tightened, detuning the instrument. In looking for ways to improve the conventional system, Ned came up with the Gearless Guitar Tuner, US Patent 5,057,736, considered by many guitar players to be the ultimate headstock tuner.

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Which brings us to today’s tech talk, the NS Design Patented “self clamping” tuning system. Simple in its design, using the time tested physics of levers, this headless tuning system provides extremely accurate tuning and quick, easy string changes without the need for wrenches or double ball strings.

The tuner uses its own string tension, through lever action, to provide the clamping force necessary to hold the string securely. A tuning screw drives a second lever to increase or decrease the tension in the string.

The amount of pinch pressure applied to the string is determined by the ratio of the lever arms, in accordance with the elementary principles of mechanics. By appropriately setting the lever arm ratio, the amount of pinch pressure may be made sufficient to prevent string slippage, while at the same time not severing the string due to excess pressure. The relevant lever arms are 1) the distance from the contact between the string and the lever to the pivot pin and 2) the distance between the pinch pin and the pivot pin. The actual pinch force is influenced both by the lever arm ratio and the angle at which the pinch pin presses against the lever.

While a single lever can be used to properly multiply the string tension and provide the needed force to hold the string, in order to more easily, and more accurately tune the string, additional mechanical advantage to pinch the string is obtained by including a second lever.

If you look at the drawings, it becomes clear just how simple, yet effective this design is. First, the tension of the string itself pushes the lever arm toward the “headstock” to pinch the string against a pin, which holds the string in position. The more tension, or force toward the “head” of the instrument, the greater the force to hold the string against the pin. Now adding the second lever arm, and using a screw mechanism to move that lever arm, not only adds force to hold the string, but also causes the lever arm position to move, enabling one to tune the string. Also, the increased tension on the string increases the holding force proportionately, assuring a high degree of stability even at very high string tension.

Simple. Effective. Efficient. Innovative.

For more iNSight and information on a weekly basis, look for our Tech Tuesday and TBT – Throwback Thursday posts on the NS Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/ThinkNS/


NS Insight: Highs & Lows

NS Insight: Highs & Lows

There’s a reason why professional bass players love the big, punchy low end and the glistening highs & harmonics of an NS Bass. Here’s what’s going on:

Human hearing is naturally strong in the mids (roughly between 1 and 5 kHz, the vocal frequency range), but drops off at higher and lower frequencies. Most instruments, including basses, have a matching problem producing sound: strong in the mids but tapering off at both ends of the sound spectrum where a great deal of important tone content resides. This is usually compensated for with equalization, boosting the highs and lows, suppressing the mids. However, that signal processing comes at a price: loss of quality and clarity.

Highs and Lows graphic

How are we different? One of the features of every NS bass is the Polar™ pickup system. Unlike an ordinary pickup, the Polar pickup doesn’t lose sensitivity above or below the midrange. The piezo technology embedded at the base of bridge harnesses the entire range of frequencies your strings produce – with full fidelity, and full force. And your ears can definitely hear the difference.