The NS Blog

  • NAMM 2015

    The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) annual conference in Anaheim, California, January 22nd – 25th is a major gathering for manufacturers, distributors and dealers in all things music. At the NS Design this year, we were honored to have performances twice daily by the Levin Brothers, featuring renowned bassist/cellist and NS Artist Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, etc.) joined by his brother Pete Levin on keyboards. Crowds gathered repeatedly to enjoy their performance, which harkened back to 50’s and 60’s-era cool jazz.

    Making headlines at the show, NS Design was excited to introduce the new WAV4 RADIUS Bass Guitar in slick metallic red, blue and matte black finishes. Crafted in Indonesia, these basses feature the same ergonomic comfort and styling as their popular CR series relative. Players had fun experimenting with the different sounds the RADIUS can create by blending the output of the magnetic and piezo pickup. Also garnering attention were the reintroduced WAV violins with an eyecatching new transparent black finish.

    Two US Custom RADIUS electric guitars also debuted at the show, thrilling headless enthusiasts and traditionalists alike. Featuring dual humbucker magnetic pickups and piezo pickups, these guitars won respect for their musical potential, and for their styling, ergonomic comfort and innovative tuning systems.

    As in many NAMM shows past, we were delighted to reconnect with our many friends in the industry and on the stage. It was a special pleasure to visit with our endorsing artists at the show, including such noteworthy players as Hutch Hutchinson, Rob Wasserman, Simon Huber, Lisa Liu, Gary Kuo, Chance Wilder Onody, Hal Henkel, Yorgis Giorecelaya, Yvette Devereaux, David Strother, and Noor Cheree.

  • The Levin Brothers to perform at the NS Design booth! (Hall B, #5860)

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    NS Design is proud to announce the appearance of The Levin Brothers at our booth at NAMM 2015 – January 21 – 25 in Anaheim, CA. The Levin Brothers are, of course, bassist Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, Stickmen, etc.)—who is this year adding the NS Cello to his repertoire—and his brother Pete Levin on keyboard. The Levin Brothers will certainly be bringing the “cool” swinging grooves to the NS Booth this year and we can hardly wait!

    Be sure to check out their self-titled debut album and upcoming tour at thelevinbrothers.com/

  • From the Maine Sunday Telegram: In Ned Steinberger’s studio, the violin gets an electric makeover

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    Rock stars have played his electric guitars. Now the Maine instrument maker creates electric violins, cellos and violas.

    BY BOB KEYES STAFF WRITER – Maine Sunday Telegram

    NOBLEBORO – Ned Steinberger designed electric guitars for Sting, Peter Gabriel and Eddie Van Halen.

    More recently, he has designed electric violins, a viola and cello for clients closer to home.

    In a risky move that might rankle traditionalists, the midcoast-based DaPonte String Quartet began incorporating the odd-looking electric instruments into its performances this year. For its holiday concerts this week in Winter Harbor, Boothbay Harbor and Newcastle, the classical music ensemble performs on the Steinberger originals exclusively.

    For Steinberger, the son of a Nobel Prize-winner in physics, the bowed instruments represent his latest effort to advance stringed-instrument technology. Read the full article…

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    Read more about NS Design instruments with the DaPonte String Quartet’s Holiday Concert Series.

  • Chance Wilder Onody likes to make his own rules – FBPO interview

    Hot, young up-and-comer says bass is “not a background instrument”

    By Mindy Rochwerg

    December 3, 2014

    2014 BPL Chance 1a

    Twenty-four year old Chance Wilder Onody is starting to get noticed, and deservedly so.  Primarily self-taught, Onody, has been described as a “virtuoso bassist” and “classical crossover instrumentalist.”  Chance recently sat down with FBPO’s Jon Liebman to talk about his musical upbringing, unique style and what lies ahead.

    Onody, whose mother, Tara Wilder, was a country pop artist, first took up the bass when he moved with his family from British Columbia, Canada, to California. Upon transferring to his new school, Chance had the choice of two electives – Orchestra and Introduction to Marine Biology. Not wanting to have more homework than necessary, Onody (pronounced “ON-ID-DEE”) chose orchestra, though was quickly surprised to find out that the “stringed instruments” in the course description did not include guitar. When advised so by the musical director, Chance took a look at the instruments, saw the bass and said to himself, “It’s big, I’m big, it only has four strings – how hard can it be?

    With no prior experience other than some piano lessons and having played ukulele for a short time, Chance, who says he has a “keen sense of pitch,” told the musical director he could play the upright bass and proceeded to intently watch the other bass player in the orchestra. From that limited exposure, Onody was able to pick up enough to play the new instrument with the rest of the orchestra, even though he had never before held a bow. He says he “fell in love with the instrument.”

    read more here at For Bass Players Only. . .

    Download Chance’s first single feeling good here. . .

     

  • David Strother’s latest (and bluer than blue) jazz release: AZUL

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    Reviewing avante garde jazz violinist David Strother’s latest release, “Azul”, Florence Wetzel of allaboutjazz.com, writes “Strother has carved out a very special field for himself, a depiction of nuanced sensations too often overlooked in our noisy world. Through the vehicle and vision of his violin, he creates sonic haiku that allow us to experience the finer emotional colorings that, although sometimes challenging, infuse life with richness.“… Read more reviews…

    Download and preview here

  • Guitar and Bass Magazine honors the RADIUS

    NS Design’s CR5 Radius Bass Guitar receives Guitar and Bass magazine UK: December 2014 Cover Story Gear of the Year – Winner Guitar Awards 2014 Bass Guitar Over £1000.

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    There are very few people who deserve a place at the top table of bass design – the game-changers, the designers and the inspired individuals whose innovations became globally accepted as standard – but Ned Steinberger is definitely one of them.  The man who gave us that iconic, headless and wood-free wonder the L-2 is once again exploring the solidbody bass guitar.  While the L-2’s minimal form gave traditionalists an easy target, the Radius is a different kettle of fish.  It’s still headless, sure, but the sleek, curvaceous, double-cutaway maple body has a sumptuous flamed maple top that gives it a new high-end classiness.  The three pickup setting and polar piezo combinations are going to give a lot of variation, and it’s especially interesting to combine each magnetic setting with its piezo blend version.

     

    In twin pickup mode the Radius is big and brash with a solid bottom end, a slightly snarly midrange and highs that are bright and zingy, if a little high-mid biased.  Blending in the Polar pickup sanitises the sound;  the definition is still excellent but now the tone has lost the zingy high-mid sheen – a nicely even, controlled setting for pop exploits.  NS took plenty of time putting the CR5 together and not a single millisecond has been wasted.  It’s a wonderful instrument that manages to look cooler than a headless bass has any right to and piezo/ magnetic mixture produces effectively three basses:  a bit of an animal with the magnetics, more polite and refined with the blended, or earthy and thudding in piezo mode.  The isn’t super-slim but it’s very comfortable and contributes  to the feeling of a bass that demands to be played, while the self-clamping tuning system is fantastic.  Of course, the £2000-plus price tag is up in the professional echelon, but we think it’s worth every penny.

  • Electric Strings Seminar at Northwestern High School, Rock Hill, SC

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    On October 25, 2014, I headed down to Rock Hill, SC, to work with the orchestra students at Northwestern High School.  Their teacher is Marsha Gross and she had recently invested in a quintet of electric stringed instruments to use as part of her recruiting and retention efforts for the orchestra program at the school.  This is especially cool because she really didn’t have a background in electric strings and simply wanted to branch out and do something different and cool for her students.  She also picked up a bunch of Digitech effects processors to use with the groups as well.   I took a couple of NXT and CR violins, violas, basses, and cellos to the session, along with a ton of sound equipment so that everyone would have an opportunity to get hands on instruments during the day.

    The day ended up to be really an amazing day of playing and learning.  I headed out of Durham, NC around 6:00 AM in order to get started at 9:00 in SC.  I started with a quick performance for the kids, so they could see how I perform on my CR violin, using loops and efx processing.    I wanted them to understand that the key to being an electric violinist is to be a solid violinist and musician.

    Next, we talked about optimum set up for hearing yourself and getting comfortable with the sound coming from an amp rather than the instrument.  We also discussed tone controls and listening for the best tone possible.  Once everyone was set up with a great tone quality and a comfortable playing environment, we played for a while as an ensemble and discussed the experience as well as ways to optimize intonation, dynamics, and monitoring.

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    After lunch, I gave them an extensive tour of effects processing, covering EQ, reverbs, time based effects, filter effects, distortion, and pitch shifters.  Then, we ended the day by getting everyone set up with an in-line effects processor and turning them loose to get creative.  I was also able to give the kids pens, lanyards, stickers, and other cool stuff from NS Design,, the Electric Violin Shop, and D’Addario Orchestral.  (There is nothing like free stuff to get everyone interested real fast!)

    In then end, it was a fun day, full of learning and playing.  I think that everyone left with a new set of tools for real creativity with bowed electric strings.   Congratulations to Marsha Gross for her innovation and forward thinking approach.   Congratulations to the students for great attitudes and preparation, as well as a real openness to my ideas.  The students could not have been any nicer and attentive. And, big thanks to all at NS Design for supporting this type of work in so many ways.

     

    Scott Marsha

  • New NS Artist: Adrian Stout of the Tiger Lillies

    adrianstroutBrechtian punk cabaret group The Tiger Lillies’s bassist Adrian Stout’s new CR5 Omni Bass should have an exciting home amidst the lingering scent of grease paint and french perfume, not to mention Adrian’s other instruments including musical saw and theremin. With founder/accordionist Martyn Jacques’s “Criminal Castrati” story telling, don’t miss the highly entertaining, clever, dark music of The Tiger Lillies.

    See The Tiger Lillies this fall at select European and US venues: http://tigerlillies.com/

  • New NS Artist: Rick Marcel

    marcel_revisedLA-based artist and hit-maker Rick Marcel (of Lil Wayne, Stephanie Mills, and many other bands) has his hands in wide variety of music projects. He just finished recording a jingle for Harley Davidson, promoting their cool new electric motorcycle. He’s doing some Jazz cruises right now, and this September he will be working with Stephanie Mills again. In the last year or so, Rick caught the NS bug! He was so impressed by the performance of the RADIUS Bass Guitar, he has now added the NXT5 Double Bass to his arsenal. Check out this video showcasing Rick’s incredible artistry and versatility with the RADIUS bass.   http://youtu.be/I7xV8gT6EMk