Watching for Foxes – Spring Tour 2017

NS Cellist Geoffrey Kartes leads Michigan’s indie-rock outfit Watching for Foxes on the 2017 Spring Tour supporting their debut album Undone Bird.”

“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.

Catch Watching for Foxes Spring Tour from late March through May 2017.

 


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.


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

Rock Hill Group

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.

Cellos

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


Students and NS Design at Interlochen

20140731_145817

“Mr Laird!! It arrived! It arrived today!”

These are the words I was greeted with on a Tuesday morning during my last week of the summer at Interlochen Summer Arts Camp.  Cello student, Luis Enriquez, from Belgium, has been a student at Interlochen for the past 3 summers and has been part of numerous performances where I would solo on my CR4 or 5 violin with my Intermediate Concert Orchestra on the famous Kresge Hall stage.  I must admit, when he told me he was getting a new NXT 5 string cello, it didn’t come as a big surprise.   It was, however a great thrill.  Luis brought the instrument to the next rehearsal and showed it to me and the rest of the orchestra with great enthusiasm.

 

Earlier in the summer, we had spoken about the possibility of him getting the NS Design instrument.  We had discussed amps, effect processing, and possible choices of  retailers as well.  In the end, I know the NXT 5 cello will be a great choice for Luis as he begins his electric journey on the cello.  He also picked up a small effects processor which led to  a great discussion about reverb, delay, and “mix.”

 

This is how NS Design and music education fit together so neatly.  Kids want to be creative.   Kids get inspired.    Kids spend more time with their instrument and build their skill set as musicians.    Everybody wins!!

 

Congrats, Luis.  I can’t wait to hear what you come up with as you begin to develop your technique on your new instrument,  new ideas as a result of the technology, and your new style of playing with your 5 string electric cello!

 

Peace.

Scott


Great week at ASTA in Kansas City

This week, I have been at the American String Teacher’s National Conference in Kansas City.  It has been a fabulous week of instructional seminars, exhibits, and networking for string educators and students around the from around the United States and even some from around the world.  Electric bowed strings are always a big part of this conference and this year was no different.  The conference included a huge “Eclectic Strings Festival” that focused on jazz, rock, and other “Alt” Styles.  Several NS Design dealers were featured in the exhibit hall with booths.  It was a great week and NS Design was certainly a big part of it!  There was certainly a fantastic “buzz” around the NS Design products and educational possibilities.

Scott with the guys from Electric Violin Shop at the ASTA Exhibits

 

Scott and Dalton Potter from Potter's Violins

A student tries out the new NXT Cello

 


Southeastern Strings Conference

String teachers in the NC area:
January 21 is a state-wide in-service day for teachers. Please consider attending the Southeastern Strings Conference at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I will be giving a session on electric bowed strings and there will be many fine sessions throughout the day.  During my session, we will have an ensemble of NS Design instruments set up for attendees to try.  We will provide charts for the ensemble and we will simply all experience playing in an electric string ensemble.  I will explain panning and the use of a PA system, monitors, and basic EFX processing.  We will have an NXT Bass and Cello, a CR violin and viola, the new 5 string Wav, and many other NS Instruments for you to try out as an ensemble.  It will be a blast!

It is not too late to register.

Pre-Register by phone: call 1-800-999-2869 and have your Visa or MasterCard ready.
Conference Fee & NC Renewal Credit Verification of Attendance

There is a $40.00 fee for all instructors attending the String Teachers Conference. This fee will cover all instruction, handouts, clinician expenses, and refreshments. You may be able to obtain one unit of North Carolina Certificate Renewal Credit by attending this event. Please Pre-Register by mail or by telephone. To Pre-Register by phone, simply call us toll-free at 1-800-999-2869 and have your Visa or MasterCard ready. (Please Pre-Register!!) The on-site registration fee on Thursday evening, January 20, will be $50.00.

Here is a list of events.
Southeast String Festival Teachers Conference

Master Class, Dimitry Sitkovetski
New Music Reading Session, Lynne Latham, Latham Music, a Lorenz Company
Electric Strings, Scott Laird
Jazz Clinic for String Educators, Steve Haines
Upper String Pedagogy, Marjorie Bagley, Fabian Lopez, Scott Rawls
Old Time Ensemble Music, Revell Carr and Gavin Douglas
Lower String Pedagogy, Craig Brown and Alex Ezerman
Achieving an Artistic Vibrato in the String Class, Rebecca B. MacLeod
Incorporating Students With Disabilities In Your Orchestra Classroom, Jennifer Stewart Walter
String Instrument Repair, Melody Choplin

Thursday
Time Session Location
7:45 Introductions School of Music Recital Hall
8:15-9:30 Reading Session sponsored by School of Music Recital Hall
Latham Music, a Lorenz Company
9:30 Refreshments, student rehearsal ends Recital Hall Atrium

Friday
9:00-9:50 Electric Strings, Scott Laird EUC Auditorium
10:00-10:50 Jazz Strings, Steve Haines EUC Auditorium
11:10-12:10 Violin Pedagogy EUC Auditorium
Marjory Bagley and Fabian Lopez
12:10-1:15 Lunch
1:15-2:15 Viola and Cello Pedagogy EUC Auditorium
Scott Rawls and Alex Ezerman
2:15 Walk to Aycock Auditorium
2:30-3:20 Old Time Music Aycock Auditorium
Gavin Douglas and Revell Carr
3:30-4:20 Artistic Vibrato, Rebecca MacLeod Aycock Lower Level
4:30-5:00 McIver Quartet Performance Aycock Auditorium
5:00-6:00 Dinner
6:00-7:00 Observe Rehearsal Aycock Auditorium
7:30 GSO Chamber Concert School of Music Recital Hall

Saturday
9:00-9:50 Students with Disabilities, Jennifer Walter Aycock Lower Level
10:00-10:50 String Repair Lab, Melody Choplin Aycock Lower Level
11:00-12:00 Dimitry Sitkovetski Aycock Auditorium
12:00 Lunch
1:30 Dress Rehearsal Aycock Auditorium
2:30 Concert Aycock Auditorium