NS Artist and esteemed bassist Tony Levin and his long-time bandmates in King Crimson are embarking on their 2019 50th Anniversary Celebration American Tour. With his CR5M Upright Bass, Tony and the rest of the KC camp will be ploughing through their extensive history of fan favorites. After a Summer of European shows, this series of concerts are sure to please the most diehard fans.
Tony will also be doing a run of December dates with The Levin Brothers. Featuring tinges of mid-century Afro-Cuban Jazz, Tony on his CR5 Cello and CR5M Upright Bass along with keyboardist brother Pete Levin, carve out fiery improvisations and groovy compositions rooted in classic Jazz of their childhood.
Classical crossover trio Simply Three plays music that is anything but simple.
They have performed covers of artists from Adele to Michael Jackson to Queen, winning the hearts of thousands of concert-goers and millions of YouTube followers. Blending top-notch musicianship with high production value and a dose of good humor, their recent music video—a cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”—sums them up pretty well:
(Please note: NS Design does not endorse playing your bass on top of a moving car. Even if you can.)
NS Design’s electric bowed instruments are integral to Simply Three’s music, both live and in studio. They perform with a matching set of CR Series instruments (CR Violin,CR Cello, CRM Upright Bass) with custom slate gray finish, in addition to their acoustic instruments.
The group takes full advantage of their NS instruments’ broad tonal palette and strong, clean signal. They also rely on NS Design’s ergonomics and patented support systems for their choreographed performances.
After all, not just any cello sounds good inside an AMC Pacer!
Here’s what Glen McDaniel, Zack Clark, and Nick Villalobos say about their NS instruments:
“NS makes a fantastic violin. It stands out against all the major brands in its ability to produce a warmth and resonance that sound natural despite being an electric instrument. To me, it has the most interesting and visual appeal as well.”
“The NS CR Cello is the best sounding electric cello on the market today. I absolutely love its unique look as well as the versatility I have with its dual pick-up system. It’s the only electric cello I use both on the road and in the studio.”
“I continue to discover the versatility of this instrument and it continues to impress me every day.”
Acclaimed by everyone from the Boston Philharmonic to the Huffington Post, Simply Three has over 1.1 million followers on YouTube. (Check out their channel here.) Their upcoming East Coast tour begins in Delaware on June 19. A new album is due out later this year.
Recently awarded this year’s Benny Golson Award by Mayor Jim Kenney of Philaldelphia, PA, renowned jazz bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma, presents the fourth annual Outsiders Improvised & Creative Music Festival. This year’s 3-event festival continues its mission of showcasing diverse styles of risk-taking, progressive music and groundbreaking artists on April 6th, 15th and 29th for Philadelphia’s Jazz Appreciation Month. Featuring Tacuma along with headliner Ornette Coleman’s PRIME TIME led by Denardo Coleman and FREE FORM FUNKY FREQS trio with G. Calvin Weston and Guitarist Vernon Reid.
The NS WAV5c Omni Bass is a 34” scale 5 String electric fretless bass. It is a great fit for bassists wanting to get into the world of electric upright bass but aren’t quite ready for the longer scale of the upright basses. This design is also great for bassists that play upright, but may want something a little more compact for gigs and something that is much easier to travel with.
The Omni Bass can be played in one of two ways, with the boomerang strap or with the optional tripod stand. The boomerang strap allows you to play in a traditional position, just like an electric bass. The tripod stand holds the bass in the upright position, the same way as an upright bass and is fully adjustable so that you can play either sitting or standing.
Bakithi Kumalo – “I play the NS Design Omni bass. I love the sound of the Omni bass, it feels so good to play, my favorite!!”
The WAV5c comes with D’Addario chromes installed, which really help to bring out the acoustic tone, however, with the Coform fretboard, round wounds can also used for a more electric sound. Coform has been created and designed by NS Design for fingerboards due to the demand of rosewood and ebony and the declining availability of these woods, not only for guitars and basses, but for other products as well. The fingerboard constructed of Coform is not only more durable and harder than both rosewood and ebony, it is uniformly even in thickness and more durable and harder, and it is also more resistant to changes in temperature and humidity. The Coform fingerboard is made of pairing maple and acrylic and allows for better articulation, feel, and lower maintenance.
The WAV5c is smooth, plays well and sounds great. I’ve used it both in pizzicato and with a bow. There is a 2-way toggle switch for arco and pizzicato playing, up for arco and down for pizzicato. I have to admit that I personally prefer the pizzicato position, even for the bow, but that is really up to personal taste and it sounds great in either position. The arco position allows for more attack and faster decay, while the pizzicato position is a shorter and smoother attack with longer decay. The rest of the electronics consist of volume, tone, and Polar piezo pickup. All of the electronics are passive and truly project the sound and tone of the solid maple body and neck with a flame maple top. The Coform fingerboard has the TransRadius profile, which makes the neck feel more familiar for a traditional bassist and allows for great string to string bowing, and the string spacing is the same as an electric bass.
The NS WAV5c Omni Bass can use regular bass strings and can be tuned as B-E-A-D-G, or E-A-D-G-C, and even used for cello tunings of C-G-D-A-E or F-C-G-D-A. With the WAV5c, an input impedance of at least 5 Meg Ohm with preferably 10 Meg Ohm recommended and a pre-amp is always a great tool to have.
This bass is available in three colors, which include amber burst, transparent red, and transparent black, and is also available as a 4-string, the NS WAV4c Omni Bass. It comes with a bag and has ample room not only for the bass, but the boomerang strap, optional tripod stand, and accessories.
Check out the NS WAV5c Omni Bass at a music retailer near you!
Performance by Jon Boogz and Lil Buck at TED2017 – The Future You, April 24-28, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED
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.
Performance by Jon Boogz and Lil Buck at TED2017 – The Future You, April 24-28, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED
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 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.
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:
The NS WAV Omni Bass combines the feel and tonal character of an electric upright bass with the ease and familiarity of the 34” scale, bridging the divide between an EUB and a bass guitar. This innovative and exhilarating instrument is one of the clearest examples of the raw conceptual energy which Ned Steinberger brings to his work. The WAV offers the combination of design, performance and affordability exceeding any other instrument in its class and true to the NS tradition, the WAV captures the essence of an acoustic, yet opens up an exciting range of new possibilities. It’s a pleasure to play!
WAV4 – 4 STRING (EADG) WAV5 – 5 STRING (BEADG)
Tuned in fourths, the fingering positions and spacing are identical to the bass guitar, and therefore immediately familiar to any bass player. The Omni Bass can also be tuned in fifths, CGDA (low to high) for 4 string, CGDAE for 5 string.
Maple Neck and Body
For rich tone, strength and visual grace.
Asymmetrical relief for easy playability, even in the highest positions. The fingerboard radius at the nut is 9-1/4 inches for more familiar feel for the bass guitarist. For ease of bowing, the radius at the bridge end of the fingerboard is tighter, 2 inches.
NS Polar™ Pickup System
The great natural sound of our Polar directional piezo passive pickup system responds selectively to either vertical vibration (for the sustained plucked sound, like an electric bass guitar), or lateral vibration (for dynamic bowing, and a percussive plucked sound). Battery-free operation. Volume and Tone controls; Pizzicato / Arco select switch.
Adjustable Bridge and Two-Way Truss Rod
Tweak the neck curvature and string heights to suit your music and playing style.
Boomerang™ Strap System
This standard support system has a pivoting friction hub that holds the instrument firmly in place close to the body. Attached with a guitar style strap to its two support arms, the system allows the instrument to be moved into virtually any position in relation to the hands and body as it is played. Weight is .45 kg (1 lbs.).
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.
For the cellist venturing into the world of the electric, this instrument offers the combination of design, performance and affordability exceeding any other instrument in its class. Compact and light, the WAV cello is a pleasure to travel with, but in terms of features and performance, this instrument is no lightweight. True to the NS tradition, the WAV captures the essence of an acoustic, yet opens up an exciting range of new possibilities. It’s a pleasure to play!
WAV4 – 4 string (CGDA) WAV5 – 5 string (FCGDA)
Compact and Light Weight The WAV cello is incredibly easy to travel with. WAV4 – 4.5 lbs; WAV5 – 4.7 lbs. 37″ long. Length: 37″. Width: 5.5″.
Maple Neck and Body
For rich tone, strength and visual grace.
Expertly Graduated Fingerboard
Rosewood, asymmetrical relief for easy playability, even in the highest positions. Intonation referenced with cascading dot markers.
Battery-FreeNS Polar™ Pickup System
The great natural sound of our piezo-based passive pickup system. Volume and Tone controls; Pizzicato / Arco select switch. The WAV delivers beautiful, full-bodied tone, no batteries required.
Adjustable Truss Rod and Bridge
Tweak the string heights and neck relief to suit your music and playing style.
Padded Gig Bag For the instrument, stand and accessories. Goes anywhere, anytime.
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:
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!
Check out Tony stretching his wings on the NS Cello and NS Bass on the first single from their debut album: “Not So Square Dance”
Click here for a recap of Tony and Pete’s appearance at the NS Design booth during Winter NAMM 2015.
NS Artist Abi Loutoo is a prodigious cellist and multidisciplinary artist. Her performances combine movement and music with an energy that excites the eye, ear and heart.
At only five years old, after piano failed to spark her interest, Abi started playing the cello. Within five years she had played for Robert Cohen and appeared on television with Yo-Yo Ma in a Master Class at the World Cello Congress.
Studying both dance and cello simultaneously gave her unique insight into how each artform complements the other. “I learned how dancers and musicians feel music differently. The beat divisions in music can be perceived as the human heart while the cello is the instrument closest to the human voice.” Her combinations of the two are deeply felt, as is her belief that each discipline depends on the other. “Every dancer should take up an instrument and every musician should go to dance classes—the two need one another to survive.”
The NS Design NXTa Electric Cello is the perfect instrument for Abi to combine her two loves. The NS cello with the Frame Strap System frees the player from the stand or chair. The mobility has allowed Abi to explore the connections between her music and her dance in ways that would be impossible with a traditional cello.
Likewise, the ability to experiment with amps and effects pedals has broadened her artistic horizons. Her rig is simple, a VOX AD30VT and an amp. The versatility and portability of this system mean more opportunities for her career: “I wanted to make myself a part of any type of band in any genre, be able to travel easily without sacrificing sound quality, have a more ergonomic set up, be able to combine movement with playing and last but certainly not least, help protect the environment.”
In much of her work and life, Abi commits to improving the environment. The capacitor system in NS Design’s NXTa Cello gives her the power of an active pickup while eliminating the need for on-board batteries. “NS Design is at the forefront of string instruments. The eco-friendly charge of the NXTa, along with its clear tone and portability, make it a must have.”
As might be expected of such a diverse talent, Abi’s influences span the musical spectrum. “I love playing hip-hop fusion with many different genres—be they electronic, R& B, jazz, soul, hints of classical, or gospel. As long as I am playing music, I’m having fun!”
Now recording and performing under the name “Abi-L-ity”, Abi is currently at work on a new EP. She just finished a project with DWayne Saint Orbin Bennett. She also continues to work closely with band mate Eddy Bayes, and is in collaboration with Joni Fatora, The Gallactic Effect among other artists.
For more information, news and videos of Abi’s work and collaborative efforts, visit her website www.abi-l-ity.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
Here’s “Built Broken | Sofar Cleveland”:
“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.
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
With the launch of the new NXTa series, Ned Steinberger and NS Design herald the introduction of battery-free, high performance active electronics for the full family of NXT instruments. These include the violin, viola, cello, Omni bass and double bass. The new capacitor-powered custom circuitry, designed for NS Design by Mi-Si Electronics Design, integrates with the NS Polar Pickup System to provide two distinct signal output modes, bringing the convenience, versatility and performance capability of the NXT to another level.
Operationally, for Active mode, the user plugs the supplied charger into an AC outlet for 60 seconds to power the circuit for up to 16 hours of performance time. The instrument can then plug straight into any amp, low or high impedance, no direct box necessary. Since there is no signal loss over the full frequency spectrum of the instrument, the fundamentals of every note remain clear and strong, even with extra-long cables.
In Passive mode, as with the original NXT series, the NXTa can be used with an amplifier with a high impedance input, or with any amplifier using a direct box. In either mode, an important facet of the NXTa circuitry is “eco-friendliness” and convenience. NXTa instruments are still “green” and battery-free, eliminating the hassle and cost of batteries while helping protect our environment.
Michael Ioffe of Mi-Si with NS Design’s Ned Steinberger and the new NXTa Active instruments
Michael Ioffe, co-founder of Mi-Si (www.mi-si.com), comments “We are very honored to work with Ned Steinberger. We feel that we share the same design philosophy, it’s all about elegance and simplicity.” At the heart of all Mi-Si products is Mi-Si’s patented, battery-free technology which utilizes supercapacitors rather than conventional rechargeable batteries as energy storage elements. Mi-Si minimalistic design philosophy results in clean sound, high power efficiency, low weight, small dimensions, and elegant, environmentally friendly solution to onboard amplification.
Created by Ned Steinberger, the NXT family of NS Design instruments, along with the advanced CR series, is crafted in the Czech Republic. Ned’s instruments are distributed worldwide and have become a mainstay for countless professional artists around the globe. For more information about our instruments and the players who use them, visit thinkNS.com.
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.
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.