NS Design welcomes Pascal Roggen to the NS Artist roster

NS Design welcomes New Zealander violinist extraordinaire Pascal Roggen.

Currently performing and touring with bass virtuoso Shez Raja Collective, including inspiring musicians, percussionist Trilok Gurtu and guitarist Wayne Krantz, Pascal fits in perfectly with his super-charged and electric improvisations.

Pascal started his formal musical education in Auckland, NZ and soon became a staple by his teens in local Irish Rock bands.  His journey has taken him to Jazz festivals the world over and numerous solo and TV performances.  His folk infused vocal trio Albi and the Wolves partners Pascal with guitarist Chris Dent and upright bassist Michael Young.  Their crafty and soulful songs are tinged with Bluegrass and R & B harmonies adding a twist to their New Zealand blend of modern folk music.  Pascal also performs with New Zealand flautist Miho Wada and Miho’s Jazz Orchestra.

Be sure to check out Pascal shredding on his CR5 Electric Violin with Shez Raja Collective at London’s Ilsington Hall.

More on Pascal . . .

NS Design 5-String NXTa Radius Bass Guitar Review

Bass Musician Magazine

NS Design 5-String NXTa Radius Bass Guitar Review

Author : Ty Campbell
Date : 10-09-2018

New from NS Design is the NXTa Radius Bass Guitar.

If you aren’t familiar with NS Design instruments, you should know the NS abbreviation stands for Ned Steinberger. The way I see it, Leo Fender introduced us to the electric bass and Ned Steinberger has taken what Leo has done and added engineering and innovation not only to the electric bass, but many other instruments produced by Ned and his great team at NS Design. Ned is the designer of the famous Spector NS basses. What Ned Steinberger does for any of his instruments takes years of research and development until everything is just right and his ideas and innovation are turning up in other manufacturers’ instruments later on.

The NXTa Radius is an innovative and engineering work of art, beauty, and tone to perfection.

Read the full article on Bass Musician Magazine’s website: https://bassmusicianmagazine.com/2018/09/ns-design-5-string-nxta-radius-bass-guitar-review/

Featured Artist: Katie Larson

Katie Larson and her Indie Folk-Rock band The Accidentals are celebrating their signing as Sony Materworks Artists and the release of a new album, Odyssey.

Katie plays CR and NXTa Series cellos

Read more about Katie…

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.

NS Artist Jacob Collier recieves two Grammy Awards.

Congratulations to NS Artist Jacob Collier on his 2017 Grammy Awards.

Jacob was awarded 2017 Grammy Awards in the Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella category for “You And I” — Jacob Collier, arranger (Jacob Collier) and Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals for “Flintstones”  — Jacob Collier, arranger (Jacob Collier).

Here is what some of Jazz’s greatest legends are saying about Jacob and his amazing vision and gift!

“I’ve never heard anybody like that before, his talent is just frightening.”  – Quincy Jones

“Herbie Hancock says he’s an incredible pianist, Nathan East says he’s a fantastic bassist and Quincy says he’s an amazing singer who can it high notes like Michael Jackson but also has an incredible deep bass.”  – Billboard Magazine

“The 21-year-old’s one-man show defied both natural and long-established music laws, as he conjured any sound his imagination fancied on a variety of live-sampled percussion, keyboard and stringed instruments which were looped sonically and visually. This was topped by his multiplied vocals across a four-and-a-half octave range from bass to mezzo soprano creating a thick wall of layered rhythmic and melodic sound and images that swirled together to form an electrifying symphonic stew of breathless jazz, funk, pop, electronic, a cappella and more.” – Billboard

“The split screen YouTube videos that brought Jacob Collier to fame are feats of extraordinary talent and ambition. The byzantine arrangements, on which Collier plays every instrument and sings a choir’s worth of vocal parts, are astounding enough when delivered from his home studio in North London. So to attempt to recreate these arrangements live, seems near Icarus-like in aspiration. Yet in his solo show at the Brooklyn Bowl, Collier flies uninhibited to dizzying musical heights, delighting an audience attentive to his every note.” – London Jazz News – Review of Jacob Collier at the Brooklyn Bowl

Jacob Collier and his One-Man Live Show Creature is a truly amazing musical experience, performed live using looping and harmonizing technology.  Check out this live video from a performance of his original composition “Don’t You Know” Live @ Village Underground, London.

See more of Jacob’s amazing arrangements and videos and catch him on tour at http://www.jacobcollier.co.uk

Jacob plays the NXT Electric Upright Bass. NS Design’s new NXTa EUB is part of the eco-friendly NXTa active series instrument line. With many models and versions to choose from, the NXTa series is an extraordinary option for a variety of players in any performance setting.   thinkNS.com


Marcos Varela debut “San Ygnacio”


(Photo by Laura Meraz)

Houston born native and New York City based composer and bassist Marcos Varela releases his debut “San Ygnacio” on Origin Records.

Check out Jon Liebman of For Bass Players Only  and his interview with this burgeoning young artist.  Melding genres from be-bop to latin and african infused original compositions and jazz standards, Marcos has created a cross-generation debut with contemporary shining players of the NYC jazz scene.

Read more at:  http://forbassplayersonly.com/marcos-varela/

Photography by Laura Meraz

Read more reviews about Marcos Varela’s latest release “San Ygnacio” on Origin Records.











On the set of NBC’s Hollywood Game Night with Claire Courchene and Ric Markmann.



As a two-year-old growing up in the UK and listening to her older sister practicing, Claire Courchene was determined and inspired to pick up the cello. That determination continued unabated, and eventually attending The University of Miami as a double major on both cello and trombone, she crafted her performance and technique, ultimately leading her to Hollywood.  Her dedication and hard work has paid off. Claire has performed on some of the biggest stages and highest profile programs, including American Idol, Rhye and Josh Groban.



Currently on set with NBC’s Hollywood Game Night serving double-duty on both the NS Cello and trombone, she and music director Ric Markmann make exciting, fun and energetic music for a fast and furious game show with some of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities.


Claire’s practical advice to anyone aspiring to making it in the LA scene is to “be on time, play exceptional and be reliable… take the extra time to go above and beyond.” About her instrument: after seeing her friend pick one up for a cruise ship gig, Claire chose an NS Cello for its portability and superior sound, a choice that has become “a fantastic investment.”


2013 Emmy Award winner Ric Markmann serves as music director and bassist for HGN.  From cover bands as a youngster to roots in 90’s rock, including tours with Eleven, Chris Cornell and Heart, this Cambria, Australian bassist dreamed of being a composer. A self-studied composer with stints at conservatories and with private teachers, he honed his orchestration and music theory techniques, a perfect match for the demands of the Hollywood scene.


Wearing the dual hats as music director and bassist, the HGN show keeps Ric challenged in both composition and performance. He describes the gig as ” a lounge band with lots of energy.”


While touring with Heart he saw Tony Levin performing with opener Todd Rundgren and was hooked on the NS Bass. “The NS Bass is ready for anything I throw at it, built strong, it’s the perfect instrument for me.  It’s great for touring, television and everywhere I go.” For HGN Ric runs his NS Bass direct through a Kempler Profiler amp, and live prefers an Ampeg SVT with a single 15 inch speaker cabinet.


Check out the current schedule of NBC’s Hollywood Game Night:  http://www.nbc.com/hollywood-game-night


Benny Rietveld Shares Tales Of Musical Adventure

Santana bassist talks to FBPO about working with Carlos, Miles, Sheila E. and his expanding roll as music director.

By David Sands
Top photo: Alan Poulin Photography
June 3, 2015

2015 Benny Rietveld 1a alan Poulin

Listening to Benny Rietveld, it’s hard not to be a little amazed at the places his bass has taken him.

To start with, he plays with Carlos Santana and acts as musical director for the famous guitarist’s band. As if that’s not enough, he’s opened up for Prince as part of Sheila E’s ensemble and toured and recorded with the late jazz giant Miles Davis.

In 2001, he released The Mystery of Faith, an adventurous genre-jumping solo album. Over the years, he’s also lent his talents to artists as varied as Herbie Hancock, Eagle Eye Cherry and John Lee Hooker.

FBPO’s Jon Liebman recently had the opportunity to interview Santana’s fascinating bassist, who spoke with us about his musical origins, choice gear and work with Santana, Davis and other artists.

Read the full interview at:


Meet Wytold

1-NS Banner with Wytold and Instruments

If you’ve never seen him, this video is a great example of what NS Design Artist Wytold Lebing is all about.

2-Wytold Watch Video

Wytold has excited audiences with his unique artistry at the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Strathmore Performing Arts Center, and a host of other venues. His recent performance with the National Symphony Orchestra was highly acclaimed by the Washington Post, and he’s now featured in an excellent new TEDx talk.

As an educator, Wytold teaches both classical and exploratory cello. Along with hip-hop artist Chrystylez Bacon (who partnered with him on the Prelude video), he frequently travels throughout DC, VA, and MD offering ‘Classical Hip-Hop’ educational programs to elementary, middle, and high school students.

5-Wytold and dancers

About the NS Cello

This instrument is designed for ease of performance in every sense. It’s light. It’s compact. The entire fingerboard is accessible and comfortable. The best part is when you start playing… at the heart of every NS cello is the Polar pickup system, which delivers an incredibly acoustic, feedback-free signal to whatever gear you use. Its full-bodied tone is also perfect for effects like looping, distortion or any other kind of signal processing.
The NS Cello includes a Tripod Stand, with the option of an Endpin Stand for more conventional style playing, or the Frame Strap System which Wytold uses. Along with the CR6 which he plays, 4 and 5 string models are available in both the CR and NXT series.

Violin, Viola, Cello or Bass: NS Design has an instrument for you. Explore here.

Students and NS Design at Interlochen


“Mr Laird!! It arrived! It arrived today!”

These are the words I was greeted with on a Tuesday morning during my last week of the summer at Interlochen Summer Arts Camp.  Cello student, Luis Enriquez, from Belgium, has been a student at Interlochen for the past 3 summers and has been part of numerous performances where I would solo on my CR4 or 5 violin with my Intermediate Concert Orchestra on the famous Kresge Hall stage.  I must admit, when he told me he was getting a new NXT 5 string cello, it didn’t come as a big surprise.   It was, however a great thrill.  Luis brought the instrument to the next rehearsal and showed it to me and the rest of the orchestra with great enthusiasm.


Earlier in the summer, we had spoken about the possibility of him getting the NS Design instrument.  We had discussed amps, effect processing, and possible choices of  retailers as well.  In the end, I know the NXT 5 cello will be a great choice for Luis as he begins his electric journey on the cello.  He also picked up a small effects processor which led to  a great discussion about reverb, delay, and “mix.”


This is how NS Design and music education fit together so neatly.  Kids want to be creative.   Kids get inspired.    Kids spend more time with their instrument and build their skill set as musicians.    Everybody wins!!


Congrats, Luis.  I can’t wait to hear what you come up with as you begin to develop your technique on your new instrument,  new ideas as a result of the technology, and your new style of playing with your 5 string electric cello!




Interlochen 2014

IMG_0303IMG_0572IMG_0567Hey all –

I had a blast on Tuesday, July 8, performing with the Intermediate Jazz Ensemble up here at Interlochen in Northern Michigan.  We did the old David Sanborn/Bob James tune, Maputo from the mid 1980’s.  I have my CR4 violin up here and have been giving it a work-out, performing with various groups and doing some of my solo stuff as well.  Here are some pics from the Intermediate Jazz performance and an art exhibit opening that I played for last week.  (Drastically different weather!!)  For the solo stuff, I loop my guitar on a Boss RC 300 Loop Station, then play the head and solos on my CR4 or CR 5, depending on how I feel that day!

I will be performing again with the jazz students tonight at 6:30 and will certainly be soloing with an orchestra or two as the summer progresses.



Les Claypool and Primus select East Coast USA dates:


2014 Les Claypool - Josh Keppel photo 1a

Enigmatic and possibly the “world’s most interesting bass player” Les Claypool will be joining his band Primus, playing select East Coast US dates in June with dates following in September. You can also catch his storytelling Americana narrative group Duo De Twang on tour throughout the Summer. Always a showman with his unfettered and imaginative bowing on the NS CR5M Double Bass!
Tour dates and news at: http://www.primusville.com/tour.html and http://lesclaypool.com/news/

Brittany Frompovich’s “Rock for Strings”

2014 BF 1a supersized

In case you haven’t heard of it, the “Rock For Strings” course by solo

artist Brittany Frompovich is perfect for any classically trained bassist

planning to “get electrified.” We’re proud to say that, teaching or

performing, the NS upright bass and the new NS Radius bass guitar have

become Brittany’s go-to instruments. This summer, her popular class will be

offered at Summer Session at Forte Music Studios, in Fredericksburg, VA, for

students 8 to 18 years old. Check it out!

2014 RFS kid cello 2a 2014 RFS kid violin 2a 2014 RFS kids CO VN 2a






Play Nice With Others – Jonathan Moody

NS Design Booth at NAMM 2014.

NS Design Booth at NAMM 2014.

Whether on big stages, orchestral settings, theater pits, jazz clubs, composing or writing product reviews, bassist Jonathan Moody’s unique perspective and observation on the professional setting is always a joy to hear about. He reflects on his jamming experience at NAMM 2014 in this uplifting article for Seymour Duncan online “Play Nice with Others”


Summer at Interlochen with NS Design

Hi all.

I am in my last day of my summer of conducting orchestras again this year at Interlochen Summer Arts Academy. It has been a great summer with lots of performing on my NS Design CR Series violin.

I played for a fantastic art exhibit opening on July 24, using my looping technology, acoustic guitar and NS Design Violin.  It was a great art show with a fantastic turn-out.

P1080012 I also gave a little performance for a group of young string players on August 2.  We discussed all kinds of things from how an electric violin works, to how they are made, what kinds of strings they work with, and all kinds of other topics.  The kids, predictably, were interested in whether it could play with distortion.  It was a fun day.

Finally, on August 3, I soloed with my own orchestra on a Thom Sharp original called, I Can Hear You Knockin’.  My friend, David Kay, from Cleveland also soloed on the tune.  It was a showstopper and I really recommend the arrangment for any of you orchestra directors out there.

It has  been a great summer and I was thrilled to be out there with the best electric violin in the business.



Dress Rehearsal for final concert


Final Concert










Grunow clinic for Students 2


The NS WAV Violin at Marshall Music Co. in Traverse City, MI

Hi all –

I am conducting again this summer in Michigan at Interlochen Summer Arts Camp in Interlochen, Michigan.  It has been a great start to the summer and we are looking forward to lots of good times and music this summer.  I had a chance to play my CR Violin for an art exhibit opening here at the Interlochen Campus last Thursday and am sure there will be plenty of other opportunities to break out the electrics.  This afternoon, my son and I stumbled into Marshall Music Company in Traverse City Michigan (www.marshallmusic.com) and had a cool encounter with Dave Weber and all of the folks at Marshall Music.  It turns out that they have an NS Design Wave violin out on the floor and are super excited about the NS Design line of products.  I took the opportunity to touch base with Dave about a bunch of ideas about amps that work great with the wave, as well as some tone quality and efx processing ideas. I also shared some ideas about the videos on D’Addario Bowed’s Youtube site.   Thanks to Dave and everyone at Marshall Music for making me, my son Matt, and my whole family feel so welcome!

Dave Weber at Marshall Music, Traverse city, MI


Scott Laird performing at Interlochen Arts Camp, 2012

NS Bass Guitar Debuts at NAMM, Wins Awards

The 2012 NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) trade show in Anaheim, California, is one of the largest international events in the industry, and it’s a great preview of what each company in the music business is doing for the coming year. This year’s show was a particularly successful and exciting one for NS Design.  We brought several prototype instruments to the show and were heartened by the enthusiastic response they received from players and the press.

Making its debut at the show was a prototype of the new NS Bass Guitar—designed by Ned Steinberger and built by luthier Jonathan Kelsey. We brought two 5-string versions to the show for player feedback—one fretted, the other fretless. Enthusiasm for the instrument soon spread to the public and the press. Premier Guitar Magazine honored the bass as an “Editor’s Pick” of the show, and Bass Gear Magazine designated it “Best of Show”.

Several excellent video interviews were generated at the show. NoTreble.com published this overview of the instrument and a video interview with Ned Steinberger. Here are a couple other great videos showcasing the instrument.

Custom editions of the NS Bass Guitar, hand-built in Maine by luthier Jon Kelsey, will be available late Spring of 2012. Standard production models, which will be made in the Czech Republic, are expected in Fall of 2012. Details will be announced as these come closer to actual production.

The 2012 NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) trade show in Anaheim, California, is one of the largest international events in the industry, and it’s a great preview of what each company in the music business is doing for the coming year. This year’s show was a particularly successful and exciting one for NS Design.

Kazhargan World

Sean O’Bryan Smith (NXT4 double bass) sent us this new video of his jazz group Kazhargan World.  We absolutely love the tone Sean gets with the bass in this recording.  Kazhargan World is a virtual collaboration, created by musicians recording in Russia, Europe, and across the U.S.

Through the open gestures of talented artists from around the globe Kazhargan World is born. With a love for unity and the furthering of jazz, a unique combination of musical talents took on the distinct challenge of creating world class jazz while never being able to interact in the same room. For generations this concept seemed futile but in truth it was only waiting for the right people to accept the challenge. From Russia to Germany to across the United States of America the artists laid out their hearts and their souls for music that was bigger than them and all about heart and sounds and jazz. As the residents of Kazhargan World we invite you in and we hope you enjoy.

—Sean O’Bryan Smith

We’re also looking forward to seeing Sean and another of his jazz groups, Polcat, at the NAMM trade show in Anaheim, CA, at the end of next week.

Happy New Year from NS Design!

2011 was a terrific year, and Ned Steinberger and the entire NS Design team want to say thank you, and give a shout out, to all the great artists who inspired us along the way. This includes big thanks to Tony Levin, Les Claypool, Sean O’Bryan Smith, Eric Mingus, Tony Cimorosi, Laurie Anderson, Charles Yang, Adam Baldych, John Burgess, Jenn Adams, Jason Yang, Anthony Cooperwood, Jeremy Arrowood, Morwenna Lasko, Matt Osborne, Marc Langis, FATMAGIC, Dr. Gregory Walker, Teresa Jenkins-Russ, Scott Laird, Gary Kuo, Jeff Byrd, Rob Wasserman, Reed Jones, Taylor Hope—among many other exciting and phenomenal players. Check our artist roster to learn more about the wide range of representative artists who make music on our instruments.

Special thanks to those artists who sent us or posted videos of their performances on NS instruments this year. You guys blew our socks off, and we can’t resist sharing a few of these again!

Adam Baldych

John Burgess

Charles Yang

Gustaf Fjelstrom


Jason Yang



New NXT Models

Performances like these, and feedback from you, are what inspire us to develop new instruments. This year, we introduced two new models to the NS Design NXT series, which is priced for the working pro and brings the expressive possibilities of electric strings to more musicians than ever before.


The NXT Cello

Since we introduced the NXT cello almost a year ago, cellists around the world have been discovering the potential of the electric cello. Hand crafted in the Czech Republic from maple and ebony, the NXT Cello features NS Design’s patented Polar™ pickup system and JackPot™ circuitry, and delivers a rich, full tone and an extremely comfortable and versatile stage or studio playing experience.




The NXT Violin

This great new instrument follows in the footsteps of the NXT bass and cello, offering world-class quality to the violinist who is serious about amplified or studio performance. Featuring NS Design’s Polar™ pickup system and JackPot™ circuitry, the NXT delivers exquisite tone and—as one of the lightest production electric violins in its class—exceptional comfort. It’s the ideal instrument for the working professional and committed amateur alike.


Stay connected in 2012!

This coming year, keep up with exciting news about our instruments and the musicians who play them! Use the links above to follow us on Facebook and be sure to check out our YouTube channel for great performance on some of the coolest electric instruments available today.

NS holds down the low end at the 2011 IBMA Conference

NS Design’s double basses have become popular with many bluegrass bassists for their terrific sound, comfort, and portability.  The International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee brings together some of the most talented Bluegrass players in the world, and we’re pleased that many of these folks have chosen our instruments.


Reed Jones – Audie Blaylock and Redline – NXT4 Double Bass

Holding down the low end for the band Redline, with frontman Audie Blaylock, Reed Jones and his NXT4 double bass travel to bluegrass festivals throughout the U.S. and Canada.  It’s a journey that Reed began at age sixteen, when an encounter with a Tony Rice record inspired him to turn his musical talents to bluegrass.  As a senior in college, he began travelling and recording with the Kentucky-based Billie Renee and Cumberland Gap, with whom he played for five years and won SPBGMA’s International Bluegrass Band Championship in 2006.  Before joining Audie Blaylock and Redline, Reed also played with Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers.


Jeff Byrd – Jett’s Creek – CRT4 Double Bass


Ohio-based Jett’s Creek is celebrating the release of their new album “Guilty”, which acousticmusic.com describes as “lick-drenched bluegrass … the kind of energy that makes caffeine pale by comparison”.  Jeff Byrd, who plays NS Design’s CRT4 double bass, has found a home with Jett’s Creek after an extensive career playing bass with The Jenni Lynn Band and Higher Ground.



Blake Bowen – Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper – CR4M Double Bass

Born into a musical family, Blake Bowen was introduced to bluegrass at a very early age by his father, bluegrass veteran Jimmy Bowen. Blake began playing bass at age seven and joined his father’s band just a few years later, touring the bluegrass festival circuit extensively. When his father took a hiatus from the road, Blake continued to play, working with successful groups such as Grand Ole Opry member Jesse McReynolds, Michelle Nixon, and, most recently, as full-time bassist for Randy Waller & the Country Gentlemen. Citing influences such as Barry Bales, Tim Dishman and Trey Nugent, Blake is drawn to both contemporary and traditional bluegrass music, making him a well-versed player in his own right.  Read more about Blake on Flamekeeper’s website.


Randy Barnes – Josh Williams Band –  CR4M Double Bass

Randy stepped onto the stage in Richmond, KY at seven years old and never looked back. With his bass, guitar or banjo in hand, he is secure with any acoustical style, whether it is bluegrass, gospel or classic country.  Unwavering devotion to the music has earned him an international audience.  From his first performance with the PeeWees of Bluegrass, his professional career now spans  over  35 years with many highlights and accolades.  He has studied and mentored with some of the most talented musicians in the field.  Now a 2010 Award-Winner for IBMA Emerging Artist with the Josh Williams Band, his career is reaching new heights.  Read more about him on the Josh Williams Band’s website.


Sav Sankaran – Dixie Bee-Liners – CR4 Double Bass


Sav Sankaran is a crackerjack vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. Originally from Altoona, PA, Sav now makes his home in Asheville, North Carolina. His soaring vocals and rock-solid downbeat on the bass are an ovation-inspiring highlight of DBL performances.  Sav released his solo album, “Back to Bass-ics” this summer.  Read more about Sav on the Dixie Beeliners’ website.



Alex Muri – Chasing Blue – NXT4 Double Bass


Alex plays his NXT4 double bass with Chasing Blue, a new group that formed in 2008 at the Berklee College of Music.  Originally from a small farm in Sudbury, MA, Alex began playing bass at the age of six.  He is now the principal bassist in the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with many notable musicians including Mark O’Connor. At Berklee, he studies jazz, celtic, and bluegrass styles and is pursuing a degree in Music Therapy.  Check out Alex on Chasing Blue’s website.



Kyle Perkins – JD Crowe and the New South – CR4M Double Bass

Currently performing with JD Crowe and the New South, Kyle has come up through the ranks with some of the biggest names in Bluegrass including:  the Larry Stephenson Band and David Parmley & Continental Divide.  We’re delighted that Kyle, an enthusiast for American-Made and Kay Acoustic uprights, has added an NS CR4M to his stable of instruments.  Read more about Kyle on JD Crowe’s website.

Thom Sharp’s Nanigo with Solo Electric Violin











Hey all –

For you string teachers out there:  How about trying the tune based on West African rhythms called Nanigo, by Thom Sharp (Latham Music)  with percussion section and electric violin?  I did this piece at Interlochen last week and it was a huge success!  This week, I will be doing his “Samba Me This” along with an improvised solo on soprano sax by my friend, David Kaye.  Thom’s charts are really well done and can be performed with or without improvised solos.  They almost all can can effectively incorporate electric violin.  I encourage you all to take a minute and check out Thom’s stuff!

All the best.


Concert Day!

It is Wednesday, July 27, 2011 and I have my first concert performance today at Interlochen Summer Music Camp with the Intermediate Concert Orchestra.  It has been a great 9 days of teaching and rehearsing and I can truly say that my ensemble is ready for their performance.  We finally had a rehearsal in the hall yesterday and it really changed the way that the musicians and I heard the ensemble.


If I am honest, the rehearsal in the hall didn’t start out the way I had hoped.  I thought that we would run the program, hit some spots, and run the program again.  As it turned out, I think the ensemble was a bit overwhelmed by the room, the anxiety of the first performance, and 5 or 6 of their instructors out in the hall, watching the rehearsal, taking notes for me.  All of those factors, put together with the general fatigue that they are starting to feel led to a sup-par start.  The kids were missing entrances, phasing tempo, missing bowings, and generally freaking out.  I have to admit, I was surprised and a bit upset.  As a result, I scrapped the “run-through” and just rehearsed.  This proved to be much more productive and we were able to “right the ship” and salvage the rehearsal.


For my string educator friends that read this, I want you to know what we are playing and the things that we are focusing on.   This is a middle-school group with musicians whose experience and ability ranges from quite high (my concertmaster is working on the Lalo Concerto and many of the students are quite accomplished soloists) to students with very little experience in a serious ensemble with attention to watching, tempo changes, uniform bowing style, etc.   I tried to program varied repertoire with lots of opportunities for expression and musicianship.  We will start with the Latham Suite for String Orchestra, by Theron Kirk.  In the March movement, we focus on “breathing” into beginning of phrases, short sixteenth notes on the hooked bowing, dynamic sustained notes, and energy in general.  The Elegy 2nd movement is an opportunity to really emphasize the importance of watching the conductor and huge changes in style within a movement (ranging from very sustained and sad to “incalzando” or “with fire.”) I really stretch and tug the tempo in this one.  It takes a huge amount of maturity and patience from each player.  The final movement, Finale, is a syncopated dance that requires attention to rhythm and articulation from start to finish.  Our second piece is Vivaldi’s Concerto in G Major, arranged by my friend, Tom LaJoie.  The kids will perform this work without a conductor and the focus has been on terraced dynamics, intonation, and moving with the music, leading from any and every chair.  Next, we will do Percy Fletcher’s Folk Tune and Fiddle Dance.  This old string orchestra standard is one of my favorites.  The Folk Tune is an opportunity to teach tempo, key, and meter changes within a movement.  We have worked on phrasing, dynamics, watching, and many other ensemble techniques in this one.  The Fiddle Dance is reminiscent of Copland’s Hoe Down and is simply a blast to perform.  Dynamics and drive are paramount in this movement.  We will finish with Nanigo, by my friend Tom Sharp.  It is cool tune based on West African rhythms.  We will be adding a 7-piece authentic African drum section for this one.  I will also be joining the group on my 5-string NS Design CR violin, soloing over the last section of the piece.  This work starts out “piano” and builds throughout, ending with a huge fortissimo.  This is great for teaching a tricky 2 against 3 rhythmic pattern in the context of a really fun work.


We have a short rehearsal this afternoon and a warm-up on stage right before the performance.  I am rally psyched for the entire day.  I know that it will be great fun.  I am so proud of this ensemble.  I often say that an ensemble has to do the rigor first.  But, when that is accomplished, they then can release any stress and simply play from the heart.  This group has done the rigor.  I hope that they can play today with joy and expression without losing their attention to detail.  I believe that is the key for this group of young musicians today.  I know that I will enjoy the ride today, with the knowledge that we have prepared well.


I’ll let you know tomorrow how it went!




Adam Baldych releases new CD!

“Imaginative…otherworldly” violinist Adam Baldych has exploded onto the international jazz scene, fast becoming one of the hottest players in the genre on both acoustic and electric violin.  Born in Poland in 1986, Adam began touring internationally at age 16 and trained at the University of Music in Katowice, Poland, and at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.  He has received numerous awards for his playing and performed at festivals in Poland, Germany, Spain, Serbia, and Indonesia.

Video: Adam Baldych
Adam’s projects include U.S.-based SynthDrome, a five-piece fusion group performing New York-style jazz with classical and european folk influences, and the Polish-based five-piece Damage Control.  Both groups feature Adam’s own compositions, which draw on Solvenian folk music.  In 2010, he also composed music for a stage performance of Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft’s ‘Allo ‘Allo!, in Gorzow, Poland.

“Magical Theatre”, Adam’s most recent album, is described as “Absolutely gorgeous and totally unexpected” by allaboutjazz.com, and features several of Adam’s original compositions on acoustic and electric violin.  You can order his album online through CDBaby.com.

Get the latest news on Adam at www.adambaldych.com, and be sure to check out his YouTube channel.