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.
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:
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.
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
On Tuesday, June 28, I was in Pittsburgh, PA, at Duquesne University, representing NS Design at the Strings Without Boundaries Workshop. This is a great workshop each summer and I was really pleased to be there. As part of the day, I gave 3 presentations.
First, I had the opportunity to speak with the teacher-track students at the conference. This was essentially a Q and A session and we touched on the topics of recruitment for school programs using bowed electrics, the importance of good monitoring for dynamic performances, setting up electric ensembles, and the differences between active and passive instruments. Next, I gave an elective session for students on the nuts and bolts of amplification. Here, we covered some of the same topics for a totally different set of students. These included monitoring, speaker size, speaker placement, use of DI boxes and preamps and other amplification-related topics. Finally, I finished the day with an elective session of effects-processing. In this session, we really got into the nitty-gritty of reverbs, time-based effects (delays, chorus, and flangers), filter effects (phasers and wah-wahs), harmonizers and pitch shifters, looping, and distortion. We covered a bunch of vocabulary and parameters of all of these great effects as well as practical uses of all of them. If you would like to see some of my sessions on effects, check out thelessonroom.com and search “electric violins”.
All in all, Strings Without Boundaries is a great event and if you are interested in expanding your improvising and alt styles skills, I highly recommend this event. Special thanks to Julie Lyon Lieberman and Stephen Benham for inviting me to be part of the faculty this year!
For the past two weeks, I have been teaching at the Lamar Stringfield String Camp at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. It was another great year at Lamar Stringfield with many fantastic moments.
I am frequently asked how I incorporate electric strings into my teaching. This week, at the camp, I programmed a little blues piece as part of the repertoire for the “Haydn” Orchestra which consists of students from 4th grade through 8th grade. As part of the performance, I brought in professionals to play guitar and drums and I played my CR violin. I had the kids play through the piece 2 times and on the second pass, the guitarist (my friend and colleague, Todd Miller from Apex, NC High School) and I took turns improvising over the chart. As part of the rehearsals, I also took the opportunity to have a 20 minute Q and A session with the kids on electric violins, how they work, and how to play them. I was thrilled to tell them all about the WAV Violin and the NXT Instruments as well. It was a wonderful learning opportunity for everyone. The students really took to the style, especially when we added the drums and the performance was really successful. The linked video will give you a good idea of how things went.
I encourage string educators to give something like this a try. Regardless of whether you do classical, jazz, bluegrass, or some other style of music with your orchestra, the NS Family of Instruments are perfect for this type of performance. And, I guarantee, your students want to not only see you perform, but perform with you as well.
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
Blaise Kielar, of the Electric Violin Shop, sends us this report from the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) conference:
The winner of the NS Design – Electric Violin Shop Giveaway of an NS Design WAV violin is CiCi Lau of Shreveport, Louisiana. The drawing was held March 21 at the EVS exhibit at the American String Teachers Association annual Conference in Atlanta, and was open only to conference attendees. The glossy black WAV was autographed by Ned Steinberger, the designer of the innovative NS Design electric violin, viola, cello and upright bass.
It is a striking coincidence that the two other WAV violins sold to young players at ASTA Atlanta were also from Shreveport! Considering there were over 700 Giveaway entries, ranging from Alaska to New Hampshire, Kenya to Germany, there must be some electric violin magic happening, or about to happen, in Shreveport!
CiCi is a high school student who has studied violin with Elaine Webb since 4th grade. After receiving the WAV violin, she said, “Thanks again for the wonderful violin. I will continue to enjoy it and amaze my friends.”
On March 18-22, The American String Teachers Association (ASTA) held their annual National Conference in Atlanta. I was pleased to attend the conference and present several educational sessions to both teachers and students that were involved with the conference and the National Orchestra Festival. I am happy to report that NS Design had a strong presence at the event and folks from all over the country are now aware of the Wav Violin and the buzz around the product is very strong!
First, The Electric Violin Shop (www.electricviolinshop.com) had a booth that was prominently positioned right at the entrance to the exhibit hall for the conference. Every attendee had to walk right by their booth to enter the exhibits. They had the Wav, in all three colors, displayed front and center and everyone from students to teachers could try the instruments on fantastic amps and with cool effects processing. Additionally, all that checked out the instrument in the booth could register for a raffle at the end of the show where one person would receive a free wav. I know that generated a great deal of interest as well.
One of my sessions was entitled “Effective Effects.” In this session, I really give a mini science lesson and discuss exactly what various common effects do and how the parameters work. I broke down the function of EQ, reverb, time based effects (chorus, flanger, and delay), filter effects (phase shifting, wah wah), distortion, and pitch shifters. The session was really well attended and I received super-positive feedback from many that attended. Throughout the session, I demonstrated all of the effects with my Wav violin. The instrument sounded fantastic and many remarked about it afterwards. Folks were amazed at the fantastic look as well as the economical price. All feedback was extremely positive. You can see more information on the effects processing seminar at www.electricstringed.com.
All in all, it was a fantastic conference and the Wav received some fantastic publicity. The instrument certainly speaks for itself. I couldn’t be happier with the results and the response from the conference.
This weekend, I will be performing at the Durham (NC) Performing Arts Center as part of a pit orchestra for a school district-wide show choir gala called “Evening of Entertainment.” The pit for this show traditionally uses professional musicians from all around NC. This year, a few high school students will be joining the pit, including a violinist from my school (NC School of Science and Math) This is a huge venue and the sound guys were planning to simply mic up the acoustic violins. I suggest that they let us use NS violins for the performance. I put a Wav violin into my student’s hands yesterday and we have a rehearsal today. I’ll be playing my CR for the show. The show is tomorrow night. I am certain that the NS violins will prvide a more consistent tone and volume and be able to compete with the huge brass section, rhythm section, etc.
The student violinist couldn’t believe how comfortable the Wav was to play. She was initially concerned with the learning curve of getting used to the instrument. Once she played a bit, she was sold. I will update this after the rehearsal today and again after the performance. I can’t wait to showcase the instruments!
Post rehearsal update: Rehearsal today was great. The brass section thought the electrics sounded great. Blend was fantastic and everyone agreed that the NS instruments would be a better choice than the acoustics miked up. My student loved the Wav violina and played great today. She really liked the dots on the fingerboard and used them for some precarious sections when she had to start out of nowhere on a high G. The visual reference was a great help. All in all, the NS instruments were a big hit and will definitely be used tomorrow for the show!
Post performance update: The performance went great! We heard reallypositive reviews from so many folks. I think my favorite was from a string player friend of mine that came to the pit during intermission to congratulate us on the violin solo on the tune “Mona Lisa.” We were chatting and she looked over at the NS violin and asked when we were going to play it. I told her that I had been playing it the entire first half of the show. She couldn’t believe that we were playing electrics. She had no idea. What a testimony to the tone quality of the violin! After the show, the arrangeer for most of the music stopped me, to once again, tell me how much he liked the sound of the NS violins. After the show, my student told me that she “just has to have one of those!” Bottom line, this was a huge success.
Over the past few months, forum-goers on fiddleforum.com have been raving about NS Design’s new line of WAV violins. Here’s an excerpt:
Plugged into a Roland AC60, the thing just… sounded like a violin! Amazing. Without any reverb or ambience at all (except the natural reverb from the room) it sounded really, REALLY good… very well behaved and very responsive to bow dynamics. No hum or noise of any kind. The volume and tone controls are pretty effective, and have a good range, all the way down on tone sounded like a glass mute on an acoustic, all the way open sounds a little on the scratchy/screechy side, but quite a bit in-between is very, very good!