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:
“It’s not very often I play instruments that make me not want to stop playing… the WAV Radius Bass is one of those instruments. The NS Design bass guitars are all very beautifully designed, with a lot of tone options. The thing that stuck out most to me was the piezo pickup system that Ned Steinberger designed himself. It is not only dynamic, but also very warm; a unique blend of shimmering brights and deep lows. Don’t take my word for it, listen to the sound for yourself. Enjoy the video!” – Donald Waugh
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.
If you could take all the energy you use to hold your violin and apply it to your playing, would you play differently? Optimal chin rest position is crucial for player comfort. Full adjustment allows each player to customize the chin rest to fit vastly different body shapes and playing styles. Using your hand to overcome the friction of the clamp allows you to experiment to find a desirable chin rest angle. The chin rest can tilt forward and back, as well as left and right.
The clamping screws in the center of each hub can be adjusted to provide the desired amount of friction to insure that the chin rest does not move in use.
Using the 5/32″ hex wrench (provided) to adjust the level of friction, the chin rest position can also be moved closer or further from the instrument. It can also be rotated more to the center or more to the side.
The electrifying trio of Glen McDaniel, Zack Clark, and Nick Villalobos, 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/
The electrifying trio of Zack Clark, Glen McDaniel, and Nick Villalobos, 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/
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/
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/.
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.
From his Maine workshop, instrument designer Ned Steinberger is reinventing the tools of music’s superstars
WRITTEN BY JIM REILLY • PHOTOGRAPHED BY ERIC ROTH
Ned Steinberger’s workshop in Nobleboro, Maine, stands beside the family home he shares with wife, Denise, and their two teenage sons. Originally a barn, the structure dates to the mid-1800s. After years of neglect, it was torn down in the early 1980s but rebuilt on the same foundation to the original specifications. In 1997, when the Steinbergers moved in, Ned, a musical instrument designer, modernized. He added a second floor that serves as a listening room and sound laboratory. On the main floor, which received only a few necessary modifications, violin necks, electric-guitar pickups, and projects both in progress and set aside fight for space with clamps, jigs, and soldering irons. “My work spaces have always been practical in nature,” he says. “They’re certainly not neat.”
From the outside, the shop blends into the rural Maine landscape. On the inside, it looks like countless other woodshops — but looks can be deceiving. This is a laboratory where, with the analytical mind of a scientist and the creative heart of an artist, Steinberger pushes the boundaries of musical instrument design.
More simply, Steinberger makes tools, some of the best of their kind. His tools have found their way into the hands of some of the world’s best-known musicians, who in turn have created every kind of music imaginable and some that defies belief.
When discussing Steinberger’s instruments, renowned bassist Tony Levin, who has shared the stage with artists ranging from Peter Gabriel to King Crimson to John Lennon, says, “If you’re a bass player and you go into a studio and you play just one note, one big, low note, and the engineer goes ‘Wow — I love this,’ and the artist goes ‘Wow — I love this,’ and the producer says, ‘I’m so glad I got you, Tony,’ it’s the sound of the instrument, not me.” That’s the Steinberger sound.
Much like his workshop, which is built on its centuries-old foundation, Steinberger took the fundamental aspects of acoustic bowed instruments and evolved their design so that they are every bit as powerful onstage as electric guitars and basses. His stable of instruments has grown to include a violin, viola, cello, double bass, the unique “Omni Bass” (which combines the features of an upright bass with the size and feel of a bass guitar), and the headless Radius electric bass guitar. Awards and industry recognition have been constant since the first electric upright in 1990. The Radius bass guitar recently won “Best in Show” at this year’s National Association of Music Merchants winter trade show.
As a teenager in his father’s basement woodshop in their Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, home, Steinberger eschewed plans in favor of creativity. If he wanted to make a chair, he’d take one apart, study it from all angles, and use that as the jumping-off point for his own model. He learned by doing and questioning, always asking why and how things worked. He came across that mind-set honestly. His father, physicist Jack Steinberger, is a Nobel Prize recipient. His mother, Joan Beauregard, was a celebrated artist. As with any true inventor, it’s impossible to separate the science of his work from its art. Both drive his passion for exploring questions of sound, form, and function
Next, he made electric guitars and basses under his own name. Some of rock’s best musicians, including Sting, Eddie Van Halen, The Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman, Mike Rutherford, The Who’s John Entwistle, Rush’s Geddy Lee, and David Bowie, played Steinberger guitars. In 1987, Ned sold the rights to those instruments, along with the brand name Steinberger, to the Gibson guitar company.
That sale allowed Ned to create a new company, NS Design, and to go back to his first love: designing innovative instruments. NS Design’s work grace the stages of an equally impressive and growing list of musicians. Some, like virtuosos Charles Yang, the DaPonte String Quartet, and David Darling, value the instruments’ ability to sound like their traditional acoustic counterparts. A Paul Simon bassist, Bakithi Kumalo, values their unique voice. “I want people to be able to recognize that it’s me playing right away,” he says. Others, like Laurie Anderson, Margot Lane, chart-topping pop band Clean Bandit’s Grace Chatto, Les Claypool, and Living Colour’s Doug Wimbish, love the way the instruments can take on effects like distortion and reverb and sound every bit as massive as Jimi Hendrix’s electric guitar.
Originally a furniture designer and custom cabinetmaker, Steinberger made his very first instrument, a bass guitar, for luthier Stuart Spector in 1976. It is still Spector’s most popular model.
NS Design’s 51 models, ranging in price from $849 for an entry-level violin to $7,200 for a top-of-the-line upright bass, are made in the Czech Republic and Asia. This leaves Steinberger free to keep asking questions and pushing boundaries in his Nobleboro shop. As Steinberger says, “It’s a continuing quest!”
NS Design is proud to co-sponsor the Outsiders Improvised & Creative Music Festival in Philadelphia, PA, with events taking place throughout the month of April and a Grand Finale concert April 29th at the Ibrahim Theater. The festival is curated by renowned bassist and NS endorser Jamaaladeen Tacuma and produced by Jam-All productions. Taking place during Philadelphia’s Jazz Appreciation Month, the festival showcases diverse styles of risk-taking, progressive music and provides a platform for both renowned artists and up-and-coming performers.
Grammy-nominated bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma is celebrated internationally for his creatively free, avant-garde and funky approach to the electric bass. One of the most distinctive bassists of his generation, he is credited for redefining the potential of the instrument. He began playing a Steinberger bass in the 1980s and has maintained a relationship with Ned Steinberger ever since. Jamaaladeen now plays the NS Design WAV RADIUS Bass Guitar and WAV Electric Upright.
Tacuma’s Albums, Grammy-nominated Jukebox and Dreamscape, with original Steinberger bass.
At the age of 19, Tacuma caught the attention of Ornette Coleman and rose to prominence as the first bassist in Coleman’s electric band, Prime Time. He toured and recorded with the group throughout the 1970s and 80s. In 1989, Tacuma’s Jukebox was nominated for a Grammy for best jazz album of the year. In 2011 he was awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.
Tacuma has collaborated with a diverse roster of musicians, including Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck, Marc Ribot, Pharoah Sanders, Grover Washington Jr., David Murray, and Odean Pope, among many others. He has worked with orchestras led by Anthony Davis at Carnegie Hall, and he has appeared with Hip-Hop group The Roots and artists DJ King Britt and DJ Logic. He made an appearance as band director for the David Letterman Show and has performed on Saturday Night Live.
Since 2015, Tacuma has been producing the annual Outsiders Improvised & Creative Music Festival in his hometown of Philadelphia. He is a recipient of the 2018 Benny Golson Award from the City of Philadelphia.
The Outsiders Improvised & Creative Music Festival will host its Grand Finale April 29 at the Ibrahim Theater, International House, 3701 Chestnut St. in Philadelphia. Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time Band will headline the show. Music starts at 2pm. Visit www.jamaaladeenmusic.com for more information.
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.
NS Design Bassist Noor Che’ree is embarking on the “I Believe You 2018 Tour” with Rock-Pop musician Emiko. The National Tour begins on March 21, 2018. Along with drummer Lee Piatelli, the trio will play a series of shows throughout the US. In May 2018, Emiko Asia Tour will play in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Bantam Border Stage Festival, The World Youth Jazz Festival (Kuala Lumpur), and Jakarta, Indonesia.
While on their US tour this spring, Che’ree and Emiko will hold the ‘Emiko LIVE! Songwriting & Instrument Demo Clinic Series’ at select Sam Ash Music Store locations around the country. Che’ree is representing NS Design, along with Emiko and her brand partner Hammond Organ USA. They will share their experiences and process in the music creation process, from concept to writing to performance and recording.
Along with sharing his insights and tips, Noor will demonstrate the versatility of the NS Basses and various types of available bass sounds from the RADIUS Bass Guitar. Attendees are welcomed to play the instruments and take part in the process during the clinic.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn and work with Che’ree and Emiko. Visit the Sam Ash Events Calendar at for a current list of locations, dates and times.
For tour dates and locations for the “I Believe You 2018 Tour” with Emiko visit her website: www.emikomusic.com
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!
For more information contact:
Gary Byers, NS Design
NOBLEBORO, MAINE (January 23, 2018) – Ned Steinberger’s approach to the RADIUS series, as with every new instrument, has been to re-explore each facet of a bass guitar, leading to innovations that provide the player with amazing physical comfort, exceptional performance and unparalleled versatility. The new NXTa brings together the brilliant ergonomics of the headless neck and body configuration, the NS self-clamping tuning system, custom NS/EMG™ pickups, volume-volume-tone controls, and the battery-free Dual Mode Output electronics made for NS by Mi-Si™. Fretted or fretless, 4 string (NXT4a) or 5 string (NXT5a), the NXTa Radius Bass Guitar is beautifully crafted in the Czech Republic and is made from solid, straight grain maple, with maple face (Satin Black model) or flame maple face (Sunburst model).
Here is a top-down look at four key elements which set the NXTa Radius apart from other basses: NXTa Radius Neck
The headless, bolt-on maple neck has 24 frets, a 34” scale for the NXT4a and 35″ scale for the NXT5a, and a familiar 15” radius. A volute provides thumb reference at the nut. String slots in the aluminum headplate eliminate the need for a headstock with heavy tuning machines. Conveniently accessed from the top of the neck, the steel double-action reinforcing truss rod, gives both rigidity and precise relief control.
NS Diradial™ Body
The concave back profile provides a sense of comfort and stability against the torso. The front of the instrument is more tightly radiused, which, in with the general wedge shape of the body, creates a more comfortable orientation to the right hand. The configuration of the body cutaway provides easy access to the highest frets.
Perfectly balanced, the NXTa has no downward dip of the neck, for effortless left-hand freedom. Combined, the shape, balance and light weight (the NXT4a is just 7.8 lbs) make this instrument incredibly comfortable to play.
Dual Mode (Active/Passive) Output Electronics
The NS/EMG Radius features custom magnetic pickups with a radiused top and magnetic structure designed to optimally capture the full richness of tone from every string. The controls are a familiar Volume-Volume-Tone configuration. The Tone control is also a push-pull knob, used to select between the NXTa’s active or passive output modes. The active mode is battery-free; the special supercapacitor-based circuitry charges in 60 seconds to deliver active output for 16 hours from the time of the charge. The instrument is supplied with an AC charger which plugs into the guitar’s output jack.
Patented Self-Clamping Tuning System
Fast and simple, this self-clamping precision tuning system is integrated into the body of the RADIUS. Any standard single-ball end, full-scale bass guitar string can be used – simply rotate the knurled knob for a quick string change and to bring it to precise pitch.
Photos of the NXTa are available for press download at this link.
Founded in 1990 by noted instrument designer Ned Steinberger, NS Design also offers a wide range of electric bowed string instruments and accessories, including EU, CR, NXT and WAV series. NS Design is headquartered in Nobleboro, Maine. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit http://thinkNS.com, or call +1 (207) 563-7705.
A generation of musicians has come of age since NS Design founder Ned Steinberger revolutionized the electric bass in the early 1980s. In this in-depth article, MusicRadar.com’s Jim Reilly explores the history of the original “headless” Steinberger basses and guitars, and traces Ned’s journey from those early instruments to NS Design’s innovative product line of today.
In the world of bass guitar design, the name Ned Steinberger conjures up many different images. Some people envision Sting or Jamaaladeen Tacuma jumping around, playing an odd-looking bass with a huge sound and incongruously tiny body.
Others see Tony Levin strutting across Peter Gabriel’s stage with an electric upright. Still others picture Grace Chatto bowing an electric cello with pop sensation Clean Bandit.
For those really in the know, the name Ned Steinberger brings to mind not only those images but also pictures of a bass with a curved, ergonomic body – and a huge number of players and fellow instrument builders inspired by that design. Ned’s designs are all those things and much more.
His story, at its heart, is one of a true designer – someone inspired by problems, who when he or she gets hold of a good one, won’t let go until a solution has been found. In Ned’s words, “I get obsessed with a problem. I say to myself, over and over, ‘There has got to be a way to do this!’ Finding a new and better solution to something – something that hasn’t been done before – is what excites me.”
To really make sense of Ned’s achievements in electric bass design and understand what makes his new electric bass – the NS Design Radius – special, we will need to go back to the mid 1970s, and a small, communal, woodworker’s co-operative in Brooklyn, New York.
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:
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.
The Odyssey Album Release Tourkicked 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 theAnn 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”, BillboardMagazine
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.”
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.
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.).
NS Artist and multi-instrumentalist Margot Lane is an accomplished writer, pianist and is currently violinist, keyboardist and music director for former child actor and musician Corey Feldman’s new outfit Corey Feldman and the Angels. Corey and the Angels includes Lane and three other musicians. They made an impact last summer with a unique performance on the Today Show, and by doing so created a social media storm filled with criticism and accolades.
Feldman explains in an article by Brett Callwood of LA Weekly: “There’s a strong buzz, and the reviews from the first show have been fairly tremendous,” Feldman says. “It’s not rocket science. We’re not The Beatles. But there’s an importance to what we’re doing. It’s tongue-in-cheek and we’re all having fun with it, but it’s also an important and positive message: Don’t ever think that your day is done. As long as you have the fight and fire in you, you can achieve anything.”
The momentum of that particular performance last year inspired Feldman to find testing ground for an exciting and theatrical production collaborative with the ‘Angels’ in a mini-tour. He continued to garner more attention and a full spectrum of press coverage from this new performance concept as Corey Feldman and the Angels, and a full U.S. summer tour was recently announced with several dates slated for venues all around the country.
Tour poster photographed by Maggie St. Thomas & with artwork by Chris Canote.
“Corey’s Heavenly Tour: Angelic 2 The U.S.” kicks off June 9th in Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino with Margot Lane featured on the NS NXT4a Electric Violin. She plays on hits from Feldman’s notable movies such as “Stand By Me,” “The Lost Boys” and even “The Goonies.”
Lane is no stranger to the theatrical realm and since moving to Los Angeles has written, performed and recorded soundtracks for film, worked in Asia with the Saigon Broadcasting Television Network and is also currently violinist in the Las Vegas based rock string group Bella Electric Strings. She also has time to lead a heartland rock band called The Grey Birds and Margot Lane.
To kickoff Winter NAMM each year Michael Angelo Batio and Neil Turbin host a metal concert, an artist collective of bands and players that play in benefit to a particular charity. Lane played her NS violin in the 9th Annual N.A.M.M. All-Star Metal Jam in benefit for the Rock Against MS Foundation. Here’s a great shot of her from that show playing her NXTa.
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.
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 inBang 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 Interviewwith 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!
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.
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 GratefulDead drummer MickeyHart which lead to an opportunity to join the QuicksilverMessengerService 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 NevilleBrothersBand. 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 “MillionMiles” 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 JamesTaylor 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: