Classical crossover trio Simply Three plays music that is anything but simple.

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:

Glen McDaniel (CR Violin)

“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.”

 

Zack Clark (CR Cello)

“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.”

 

Nick Villalobos (CRM Upright Bass)

“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.

Learn more about Simply Three by visiting https://simplythreemusic.com/.


Ned Steinberger, NS Design Founder, Keynote Speaker at 2nd Annual Maine Luthiers Exhibition & Music Showcase

October 12 – 14, 2018, Hallowell, Maine welcomes you to celebrate the craft of lutherie at the 2nd Annual Maine Luthiers Exhibition and Music Showcase at central Maine’s “New Orleans on the Kennebec”, with a gallery exhibition of Maine made instruments, craft demonstrations, and great live performances at auditoriums, restaurants, and pubs in the most charming, and rocking, downtown north of Portland.

Friday night’s reception at City Hall includes a meet and greet with Ned Steinberger, our keynote speaker and an internationally recognized innovator in musical instrument design and construction.  He is an incredible example of innovative intellectual property producer who lives and works in Maine, and is part of an international manufacturing network.

The 2nd Annual Maine Luthiers Exhibition and Music Showcase is brought to you by the City of Hallowell, in partnership with The Harlow Gallery and Maine Craft Weekend, and funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Friday Night Welcoming at Hallowell City Hall

  • Keynote Speaker: Ned Steinberger, internationally recognized stringed instrument design innovator, City Hall Auditorium, 6:30 PM, with VIP reception at 5:30.  General seating starts at 6 PM.
  • Featured Performers: Adam Frederick, bassist, NS Design Featured Endorser, City Hall Auditorium, 7:30 PM; The Katie Matzell Band, City Hall Auditorium, 8:00 PM

NS Artist Adam Frederick with the Fretless Sunburst NXT5a RADIUS

Music and woodworking vendors and demonstrations including:

  • Bourgeois Guitars, Hallowell City Hall
  • Kennebec Instrument and Amplifier, Hallowell City Hall
  • Carter Ruff, Luthier, Hallowell City Hall
  • Shelter Tool, Hallowell Bandstand (next to The Harlow)

All days Featuring:

  • Maine-Made Stringed Instrument Exhibition at The Harlow
  • Raffle drawings for great stringed instruments including a NS Design WAV4 Radius electric bass guitar and a Yamaha Revstar RS502 electric guitar
  • Music Performances in Downtown Venues throughout the weekend

Visit http://hallowell.org/luthiers/ for more details and to reserve your tickets!


NS Design Basses Loaded! Get your FREE NS Tee-Shirt today!

NS Design Basses Loaded! #NSbassesloaded

Hey there Bass Players, stop into one of the select retailers participating in our Bass Loaded promotion, take an NS Radius, Upright or Omni bass for a test drive, and get a FREE NS T-SHIRT!

Here are some places to go (more to come):
Johnson String Instruments – Newton Upper Falls, MA
Quinn Violin – Minneapolis, MN
Morgan Music – Lebanon, MO
Performance Music Center – Woburn, MA
Triple Creek RV Music Park – Woodville, TX

Details: Come in and ask to try out an NS bass. While you’re there, get a photo trying out the qualifying instrument. Discover why NS is the emerging Heavy Hitter for bass pros worldwide, plus we’ll send you the free NS T-shirt!

By the way, NS Design may want to post the photos we’ve received on our social media, and if you or the retailer post photos and includes the #NSbassesloaded hashtag, NS Design will be proud to share them. (This promotion is good until October 15, 2018.)

#ThinkNS #NSDesign #nedsteinberger


Featured Artist: Nick Villalobos

The electrifying trio of Nick Villalobos, Glen McDaniel, and Zack Clark, together known as Simply Three, have been captivating audiences worldwide with high-octane performances since 2010. Be sure to catch Simply Three at upcoming appearances. Link to their website for more information on the new album Undefined: https://simplythreemusic.com/

Nick plays the NS CR5M Upright Bass in Custom Slate Gray Finish.

Check out Simply Three’s latest original song “S.O.A.”

More about Nick  . . .


Featured Artist: Donald Waugh

Donald Waugh, multi-instrumentalist and one-man-band wonder, is embarking on his first world tour in June.  Starting in Nashville, Tennessee, he will continue on to many European cities throughout the summer. Be sure to check out Donald’s amazingly charming and thoughtful songs live.  His newest release “Feel Brand New” and all tour dates available at his website https://donaldwaugh.com/.

Donald plays the NS WAVc Omni Bass.

Check out his review of the Omni Bass and hear his looping genius covering Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon” in this YouTube Video.

more about Donald . . .

 


A Conversation with Bakithi Kumalo and Ned Steinberger

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.


Featured Artist: Jamaaladeen Tacuma

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.

For tickets and venues visit:  https://www.jamaaladeenmusic.com/

Jamaaladeen plays a WAV RADIUS Bass Guitar and WAV Electric Upright Bass.

More about Jamaaladeen . . .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


James “Hutch” Hutchinson – Groove Royalty

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


NS iNSight – Chats With Champions – Ned Steinberger

NS Design’s founder and legendary instrument designer Ned Steinberger was invited as a featured speaker at the Skidompha Library “Chats With Champions” series this past month in co-sponsorship with Sherman’s Bookstore in Damariscotta, Maine.

In the talk titled “Trial, Error and Invention” Ned discusses the evolution of his life’s work from his childhood passion for woodworking, early career as a furniture designer interested in ergonomic design challenges and the path that ultimately unfolded for the state-of-the-art innovations he brings to the musical instrument world.

Ned describes his forays into business, his early collaborations with Stuart Spector, meeting Les Paul for the first time, and the trials and tribulations of his process for finding the optimal sound potential of an instrument as it relates to its design and construction.

Guest guitarist, David Martin provides examples of the sonic variations and technological advances that make Ned’s instruments so exciting and versatile for players and listeners alike.

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


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

 


Confessions of an NS Design-Loving Traditionalist

Reed Jones 1a

 

Convenience is an idol, and I have no desire to worship at its altar.  I don’t own an iPod, I prefer my 78 RPM records played on my vintage tube phonograph.  I don’t own a coffee maker, I would rather use my french press, or better yet, I would rather make a cup of pour over that would change your life, not just your morning beverage preferences.  But I know what you’re thinking:  “Good for you.  You and the rest of your little hipster buddies may not worship at the altar of convenience, but you love to sacrifice to the gods of high-horse traditionalism.”  Maybe, but not so fast.

I may be an old soul and I may love doing things the old fashioned way (I am a bluegrass player, after all), but to be more accurate, I do what I do because I want the best results.  That often means suffering for art’s sake, but other times it means bucking tradition, and when it comes to playing bass in a bluegrass band, it means you have to Think NS.

Bluegrass has always had its growing pains, and I am an ardent supporter of traditional bluegrass done with the spirit and hunger of the pioneers.  I like my bluegrass raw, in your face, powerful, edgy, and imperfect.  I don’t like pickups on guitars, mandolins, banjos, or fiddles.  It is less convenient to mic them, but if you’re playing grass, it’s the only way.  It is what works.  And not only am I a traditionalist in that regard, I play in Audie Blaylock and Redline, and I defy you to call us anything other than a modern bluegrass band in the traditional mold.  Audie spent nine years honing his craft alongside first generation legend and King of Bluegrass, Jimmy Martin; and while studying at the University of Old School Bluegrass (how wish that institution actually existed), Audie graduated with honors.  In fact, he now teaches the classes.  So why then are we (Professor Blaylock included) unwavering supporters and users of the NS Design upright basses?  Well I’ll tell you one thing:  it ain’t for the convenience.

It went like this.  I was hired at the end of 2010 to play in Audie’s band, and I started our travels together with my lifetime bass:  my 1938 King.  That bass rocks.  I recorded I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky with it and it can be heard on #1 singles.  But I needed something more conducive to travel for some upcoming shows out west, so I started working with NS.  It was way more convenient.  Then our record label at the time was recording a project at Bean Blossom, and if we were recording, I needed my King.  I played our first set with my traditional upright and was faced with obvious realization that my King (or any double bass, for that matter) was not what worked.  I put the King in its bag where it rested comfortably while the NS and I took care of business on the second set.  That felt better.

Shortly thereafter we were headed into the studio to record a song I wrote for a Travel Channel series, so I loaded up the King and the NS (for the shows we had to play following the session, not for the session itself) and headed to Nashville.  The King never left its case.  In fact, we just recorded a new record called The Road That Winds that will officially drop on July 10, and the NS is all over it.  I would love for you to hear how good the NS sounds in that environment.  I had the option of recording with a traditional upright, in fact doing so wouldn’t have been inconvenient, but the NS sounds like what a bass in a bluegrass setting should sound like and rarely does.  It is fat, punchy, consistent, and clean. It is immediate and unambiguous.  As Audie says, “It is a bag full of hammers,”  and that’s a great thing.  All you have to do is roll off the tone and put a little foam under the strings at the bridge (foam, by the way, is regularly used by grassers on upright basses in recording situations, so nothing shocking or innovative about that) and you have what uprights wished they sounded like.

 

Reed Jones 6a

To sum it all up, I want to sell you on two things.  First, check out Audie Blaylock and Redline’s upcoming record The Road That Winds on Patuxent Records.  We are crazy-proud of it and I know you’ll love it…the NS, too.  Secondly, NS Design basses are not just for convenience in the bluegrass world.  I want to hold them up to you as all around, first-in-line instruments that are not just designed for the road.  They do that better than any other option, but they are much more.  Consider stepping out of your comfort zone just for a second, and you’ll realize they should be used in the studio, as well.  Especially in traditional bluegrass.  Who is the strident traditionalist now?

Proof:

Audie Blaylock and Redline doing a Bill Monroe tune with twin fiddles.  Does it get more traditional?  Nope.  NS included.

Reed Jones is the bassist for Audie Blaylock and Redline and composer for film and television.