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.
NS Design Artist Trevor Dick and his friends partnered together to help ease our quarantine blues with “The Quaran-tune” with Trevor Dick – CR5 Electric Violin (electric violin); Johnny Nixon (electric guitar & keys); Rob Brown (drums); Jake Payne (piano) and Tim Ball (bass & keys).
Enjoy the music and read the cool story connected with how these musicians made this tune and video happen…
Check out the video Quaran-tune
Trevor plays a CR5 Electric Violin
On behalf of our worldwide community of NS Artists, Ned and the NS Design team take this moment to recognize all musicians for their power to sustain, transport and heal in tumultuous times. Your music is vital to our well-being, and we are profoundly grateful.
Please enjoy, share, and find inspiration in these videos. We’ll endeavor to share more with you in the weeks to come.Continue reading…
The latest For Bass Players Only interview is with jazz bassist and NS Artist Marcos Varela, who sat down with Jon Leibman at the NS Design booth during the Winter NAMM Show 2020. Among the topics, they talk bass technique, Mingus Big Band in NYC, a new debut record release planned with the Illumination Quartet on Spanish label Fresh Sound New Talent, and Varela’s rock jazz projects in the works with the NS CR Radius bass guitar.
NS Artist Noah Sierota, bassist/singer/songwriter for Echosmith, started out with 2013’s Top-40 charting debut Talking Dreams with the single “Cool Kids” followed by 2017’s Inside a Dream and their latest 2020’s Lonely Generation. Echosmith exemplifies the generational voice of contemporary youth through catchy songs of isolation and coming of age, in the midst of the ever-evolving world of technology and social media. 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…
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…
Benny 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…
From the NS Design Booth at Winter NAMM 2019, here is NS Artist Donald Waugh’s Review of the NS RADIUS Bass Guitar with NS Design’s founder and award winning designer, Ned Steinberger: Continue reading…
Those who have been following his career know that Bakithi Kumalo joined Paul Simon’s band in 1985 and has performed with him ever since. His playing on Simon’s album Graceland became one of the iconic bass performances of all time. In February, Simon announced Homeward Bound – The Farewell Tour, the final phase of his fifty-year performance career. Kumalo will accompany him on this tour, as he has for the last thirty years. He plays an array of NS instruments, including the CR5 RADIUS bass guitar and the NXT4 electric upright bass.
Last October we had the pleasure of capturing highlights of time spent between Bakithi and Ned Steinberger at Ned’s studio and workshop in Maine. In the course of their conversation, Ned shared his thoughts on instrument design and the relationship between designer and musician. Bakithi played and shared his own thoughts on Ned’s instruments, including some of his experimental creations.
This is a must-watch video for any fan of Bakithi or Ned, and fascinating for anyone who thinks deeply about music.
For additional footage of their day together at Ned’s workshop and studio, please visit the NS Design YouTube Channel.
NS Violinist Jason Yang follows his creative instincts into innovative musical territory. As a young classical violinist growing up in New Jersey, Yang enjoyed performing with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. He broadened his interests beyond classical music while at the University of Southern California, where he met musicians who sparked his interest in composing and improvisation.
Yang began composing, arranging, and teaching, and developed his own unique style. In 2007, he began playing the NS Design CR Series Electric Violin, which expanded his sonic palette and offered a new array of technical possibilities. Jason’s performances came to encompass a variety of genres, bound together by technological innovation and his deft, playful musicianship.
Yang is pictured here at NAMM 2017 with his composing mentor Mick Baumeister (left), and Ned Steinberger (right), founder and designer, NS Design.
In 2008, while still at USC, he started posting YouTube videos of himself from his dorm room jamming on the CR4 with various pedals and layering effects. Layering and mixing using the NS electric violin, his acoustic violin, and other instruments, Yang constructed an orchestral base for his music. The success of his YouTube videos raised his profile among a new generation of experimental violinists. Today, his YouTube channel has 198,000 subscribers.
At Yang’s workstation, pictured in foreground: NS Design CR4 Transparent Black Cherry High Gloss Custom Electric Violin displayed on the NS Violin Caddy; background: NS Design CR4 Amber Satin Electric Violin.
After college, Jason found increasing success as a professional musician. In 2012 he joined Madonna’s MDNA World Tour as her violinist. He continues to collaborate with dancer and performance artist Lil Buck, who also tours with Madonna. Lil Buck and Yang have also performed together on The Colbert Report, and recently at TED2017, in the premier of a performance as MAI: Movement Art Is, co-led by dancer/choreographer John Boogz. That work, “A Dance to Honor Mother Earth”, combined dance, spoken word, and Native American song and music performed by Yang on the CR Violin.
Watch the full performance here:
Jason has played the CR Violin for almost a decade. In his own words, the instrument is “hands down the best electric violin available … sound, response, design, build quality, dependability.” Jason goes wireless in his live performances, with a wireless pack in to his CR, and wireless in-ears for monitoring. He uses Boss pedals and loop stations for his effects.
Here’s another example of what Jason does so well, in what he describes as: “Spontaneous 100% freestyle jam of Moonlight Sonata. With a lil’ bit of distortion…” in a video post with fellow Movement Art Is collaborator, John Boogz:
Recently Amazon.com approached Yang to host his own live streaming channel on their online streaming service TwitchCreative. Growing out of TwitchTV, which originally focused on live-stream gaming, TwitchCreative has channels for music, cooking, painting, and crafts.
Jason’s live shows feature jamming, requests from among his 14,000 followers and guest appearances by other artists he hosts from his living room studio. Some of the most popular streams include work with ChewieMelodies, The Luck, Cellist Mariko, and several collaborations with his sister, pianist Pauline Yang.
For more information about Jason Yang and links to various projects and performances, goto his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/JasonYangViolin or at TwitchCreative: http://www.twitch.tv/jasonyangviolin.
For more information about the CR Series Electric Violins that Jason plays and the entire selection of NS Bowed Electric Instruments, including the new Eco-friendly and battery free NXTa or the affordable and road-worthy WAV Series or to see a selection of our Custom CR Series Finishes, and available accessories for the NS Electric Violin, please visit our website: ThinkNS.com.
With much anticipation from fans and followers, NS Cellist Katie Larson and her Indie Folk-Rock band The Accidentals are celebrating their recent signing as Sony Materworks Artists and the release of a new album, Odyssey.
Here we go! The ODYSSEY Album Release Tour…Huge props to Ryan Slone New Frontier Touring for making it happen. See all the tour dates at www.theaccidentalsmusic.com #odysseyboldly
Posted by The Accidentals on Tuesday, August 8, 2017
The Odyssey Album Release Tour kicked off in New York City and continues with several dates throughout the US, continuing into Canada, back to their beloved Michigan and beyond. With many musical stories to tell along the way, be sure to check out a show and share their journey.
“The Accidentals draw inspiration from just about every kind of music you can think of, but it really doesn’t matter what you label them as long as your label contains the word ‘great’.” -“45 of the Best Up & Coming Rock Bands to Check Out in 2017,” GoodDeedSeats
Katie Larson along with bandmate Savannah Buist, violinist/vocalist, are both multi-instrumentalists, and combined with the talents of singer/songwriter/drummer/percussionist Michael Dause, The Accidentals provide an edgy and energetic soundscape that renowned musicians have noticed and that audiences around the country respond to.
Photo credit: Max Sharp
“The musicianship and delicate preciseness to their music is unparalleled to anything else we’ve heard from talents of this age.” Raves from the Ann Arbor Indie Music Examiner
This hardworking young trio have toured extensively as supporting acts and have also joined the stage with some of the greats. The list is both diverse and impressive: Martin Sexton, Brandi Carlile, Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie, Keller Williams, Andrew Bird, Dar Williams, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Rusted Root, The Wailers, and so on.
“Displaying a genre-hopping range of influence and some smart songwriting skills to go with their abundant musical chops.”-“SXSW: 7 Breakout Acts”, Billboard Magazine
The Accidentals first single released from Odyssey is called “KW”. Check out an exciting live version of “KW” from Founders Brewery featuring Katie moving and grooving with her NS CR Cello and NS Frame Strap System. In Katie’s own words: “The NS Design cello and harness system are so versatile in design and tone that they lend themselves to any situation; jazz jams, symphony concerts, outdoor music festivals, theater shows, house concerts, punk clubs, etc. I’ve used it in every situation and I’ve never had this much fun playing cello.”
To find links to their new album, tour dates and much more about The Accidentals visit their website: http://www.moreaccidentals.com/
For more information about the NS Cellos Larson plays and the entire family of NS instruments, including our newly released affordable and road worthy WAV Cello Series and the new high-performance Eco-friendly active NXTa’s, visit ThinkNS.com.
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.
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 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 Levin Brothers Band are on tour now. With bassist Tony Levin and his brother Pete Levin on keyboard along with fellow bandmates sax player Erik Lawrence and drummer Jeff “Siege” Siegel, the band have select dates on the U.S. East Coast and in South America this Spring.
Playing the classic retro sound of the Afro-Cuban influenced jazz referenced from Tony and Pete’s childhood this combo is sure to please!
Click here for a recap of Tony and Pete’s appearance at the NS Design booth during Winter NAMM 2015.
For more information on the Levin Brothers visit their website at: http://thelevinbrothers.com
“Watching For Foxes make every song feel like it’s that half-triumphant, half-weary, all-around cathartic march up the hilly knoll towards the unknowable-yet-still-hope-splashed horizon, as if every song were the build up to the closing credits of the indie-arthouse film of the story to your life. ” – Jeff Milo (Detroit Free Press, PASTE) – DEEP CUTZ
Check out their video from Session LIV performing the single “Bad Kids”:
“Arguably the band with the most buzz…This folk-rock ensemble out of Grand Rapids has crafted a cinematic showcase of emotion packed with as many memorable hooks as it has moving, existential passages.” – REVUE MAGAZINE
“We love playing music together and we want this to be our entrance into doing music for a living; we work really hard at what we do. Our songs yearn to be heard, to tell our stories, and inspire others to do the same.”
Kartes moonlights as a teacher and shares his passion for music with his students at the Triumph Music Academy in Grand Rapids, MI. He also has time to run a multimedia design company two9two. He plays the current model of the NXT Electric Cello with an NXT Cello Tripod Stand and for added mobility during performances he uses the Frame Strap System. NS Design’s recently released version is the very popular NXTa Electric Cello and is part of the comprehensive NXTa eco-friendly active series instrument line.
Catch Watching for Foxes Spring Tour from late March through May 2017.
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
“Dream of Might” is the newest release by Winterhymn from their current album Blood & Shadow. It is a thrilling metal epic that ardent fans of progressive metal will love.
Featuring NS Design Violinist Umbriel (aka Kate Liebisch) this driving masterpiece “weaves soaring, epic, majestic progressive pagan folk metal elements with haunting violin and symphonic melodies.” – New Noise Magazine
For upcoming tour dates and more about Ubriel and Winterhym check out their website at www.winterhymn.net
Umbriel’s violin is the NS WAV, an exciting and affordable electric violin with great performance features, color finish options and a variety of available accessories. The WAV is an ideal choice for any player who wants freedom, comfort and durability while exploring the world of electric and amplified sound. thinkNS.com
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.
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.
by Raul Amador
AS WE WRAP UP THE YEAR OF THE LUTHIER CELEBRATIONS, I THINK IT IS ONLY FITTING TO HEAR FROM NED STEINBERGER!
Ned worked closely with Stuart Spector (Our January cover) in designing the first Spector bass and has been a pioneer in innovative instrument design. The entire line of stringed instruments, including basses, without a headstock are iconic and easily recognized in their unique physical characteristics and playability.
We are happy to be able to share Ned Steinberger’s story here.