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Upright Basses & EUB'sElectric Upright Basses

NS Design Electric Upright Basses - 4/5 String, Full Size Bass (WAV, NXT, CR)

         Manufactured by: NS Design


Continental US - larger items may carry a partial shipping charge to AK, HI and PR
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Color, Four or Five String::
-- Select Left Handed NXT Electric Upright Basses - IN STOCK

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NS Design Electric Upright Basses - All on ONE PAGE!

Full Scale • 4 and 5 String • CR, NXT, and WAV Models

As you may already know, the NS Design Electric String Instruments have a long history. Their electric upright basses have been made and refined for decades, and are in the hands of famous (and not-so-famous) players all over the globe. Beautifully crafted, with a distinctive shape that is instantly recognizable, the basses are sure to impress.

NS Design makes several distinct "grades" of their instruments.

We've put the descriptions and photos of all three models on the same page for ease of comparison. As a means to quickly zero in on the model that you are most interested in, here is a quick description of the functional differences between the three grades of bass.

  • CR Bass: The CR series are their top-line version made in the Czech Republic, at a dedicated facility. It is available in standard transparent amber finish over solid top. Other custom finishes are available by special order. Includes heavy-duty, more adjustable tripod stand. German-made Schaller tuning machines. Adds active EMG-made magnetic pickups to the Polar Pickup. Active electronics (Volume, Bass, Treble, Pickup Blend, Polar Mode Blend). Outstanding fit and finish.
  • NXTa Bass: The NXT series are made in the same facility as the CR, but with more common woods and components, and simpler electronics. It is available in Amber Burst and Trans Black semi-gloss finish. Features a veneer figured top. Includes the same lightweight tripod stand as the WAV model. Asian-made tuning machines. Active electronics circuit includes a flash-rechargeable buffer circuit for optimal use with a wider range of amplifiers; can be bypassed for passive mode. Passive treble roll-off, and volume controls, and Polar Pickup switch (to change between arco and pizz mode). Notably better fit and finish than the WAV series.
  • WAV Bass: The WAV series provides another option at a remarkably low price, high quality instruments made - to Ned Steinberger's strict quality standards - in Asia. It is available in four colors (Transparent Red, Amber Burst, Piano Black, Gloss White). Features a veneer flame (or opaque) top and gloss finish. Includes lightweight tripod stand. Asian-made tuning machines. Passive electronics (treble roll-off, volume) and Polar Pickup switch (to change between arco and pizz mode). Its high impedance output requires an amp or preamp with 1-10 megohm input impedance for the best sound (will work with any bass amp). Very nice fit and finish.


  • All models are available in 4 and 5 string options. Each of the models features easy adjustability, excellent playability, and Ned's timeless design - and all are inspected and set up by the NS Design crew in Maine before they're sent to us. All include a padded gig bag and a tripod stand which securely holds the instrument in playing position. All have the "Polar Pickup" - a piezo-based pickup mated with the bridge with both arco (bowing) and pizzicato (plucking) modes. Every grade of these basses is cross-compatible with the various accessories (stands, strap systems, strings, cases, etc.) However, the CR/EU Stand Conversion Kit, which enables the docking of the Endpin Stand to the CR/EU Tripod Stand, will not work with the NXT/WAV tripod stand (ask us for more info, it can get a little confusing).

    The stock strings (Original Equipment on all three models) are a light gauge steel, made by D'Addario (the NS Electric "Contemporary" set) that serve as a reasonably decent hybrid sort of sound, but the instrument responds well and can handle most standard 3/4 size upright bass strings. They also make the NS Electric "Traditional" set, and I and others report good success with strings such as the Pirastro Obligatos, which are a popular, string that delivers a more traditional sound, with less sustain and more body than the stock strings. Keep in mind, however, that the tuning machines are similar to bass guitar tuners, so very heavy gauge strings (like the Eurosonics) typically cannot be accommodated. However, since the pickups are piezo-based, which sense vibration, most any 3/4 size upright bass string can be a candidate. They designed the rear control cover that allows you route the excess string around the bottom of the bass and anchor them in keyholes to take up the additional length. Click here for an image that shows how that works!

    WAV Model Bass

    see CR model • see NXT model

    The WAV is the entry-level NS Bass, and I don't think that any other bass at this price point really compares. They've taken the popular design of the CR/NXT basses and had them constructed in Asia using strict quality controls implemented by NS Design, and the basses are then reinspected and adjusted for perfect playability by NS Design staff when they are received in the states.

    The well-known and respected Ned Steinberger, designer of the WAV Series (and countless other instruments over the years), commented: "This is the part I love, where we can put a fine instrument in a players' hands at a price that makes them smile."

    The basses in the WAV series are full (3/4 size) scale four- and five-string instruments featuring NS Design's proprietary PolarTM piezo pickup system. The WAV4 and WAV5 Bass is available in a choice of FOUR finishes, a transparent Black, Amberburst or Dark Cherry (Trans Red), and a new "Brilliant White" finish -- which is perfect for those playing in praise bands, with its clean, bright finish -- it looks really sharp in white! Each bass includes a foldable tripod stand and a padded gig bag that will hold the bass, the stand, and also has a pocket for a bow.

    The instruments have two transducers beneath the adjustable bridge, and a switch to toggle between them for bowing (arco) and plucking (pizzicato), because the strings vibrate differently under the bow than when plucked. Unlike the CR and EU basses, to keep the price down the system is passive, with just a single volume and tone control. I recommend that you consider a suitable outboard preamp or be conscious of the fact that, like any instrument with a passive piezo-based pickup, some EQ work will be a good idea to shape the tone to your preference.

    This is a true electric upright bass, not a fretless bass guitar that you play vertically. The fingerboard is curved, so it can be bowed. While there is a truss rod, there is relief in the fingerboard for typical upright bass style play; if you want very close action for fretless bass guitar style mwah up and down the board, additional fingerboard work may be needed.



    A page with comments from Mark, such as what to expect and how to get the best results from it, is included with each bass.

    SPECIFICATIONS:
    • LENGTH: 132 cm (52")
    • WEIGHT: 4.8 kg (10.5 lbs.)
    • SCALE LENGTH: 106 cm (41.73")
    • STRINGS: 4 or 5
    • FINISH: Gloss polymer
    • COLORS: beautiful shaded Amberburst, Dark Cherry Transparent, Trans Black, or Brilliant White. The Black, Amberburst and Trans Cherry show off the figured maple veneer tops, and the Brilliant White finish presents a very clean and professional look.
    • BODY/NECK: Maple
    • FINGERBOARD: Coform (a durable, wood-like composite); 43.1mm (1.7") wide at nut; 89.0mm (3.5") max. width. Assymetric relief for easy playability. Inlayed cascading dot markers on face.
    • BRIDGE: Rock maple (dyed black); radius 7.9cm (3.1") string spacing 80 mm (3.14") - adjustable for height
    • NUT: radius 7.9cm (3.1"); string spacing 31mm (1.22")
    • POLAR™ PICKUP SYSTEM: Switch between Arco and Pizz modes; the directional piezo pick-up 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), with the flick of a switch
    • CONTROLS: passive volume and tone control (treble roll-off), Polar Pickup Switch
    • TRUSS ROD: Powerful rod design provides positive relief adjustment, accessible at nut.
    • TUNING MACHINES: Fully encased worm gear tuners; black finish
    • STRINGS: Light tension flatwound steel strings are standard. Accommodates all NS length strings and most 3/4 scale double bass strings.
    • TRIPOD STAND: (standard) Black, adjustable, standing tripod design. Weight 3.2 kg (7 lbs.)
    • END PIN STAND: (optional) Offers full freedom of movement. Height, tilt and "right bout" angle are fully adjustable providing a more conventional feel. Weight 2.3 kg (5 lbs)
    • SHOULDER STRAP SYSTEM: (optional) guitar style shoulder strap for full mobility
    • GIG BAG: (standard) Padded gig bag with integrated bow pocket, handle and backpack style strap. External pockets for stands and accessories




    NXTa Model Bass

    see CR model • see WAV model

    NXT Bass NXT Bass

    The NXT Bass is very much the same as the WAV4, but with some notable differences — and beyond the specification differences, it is a far more refined instrument than the WAV4...

    Like the WAV4, the NXTa is a full (3/4 size) scale four string instrument featuring NS Design's proprietary PolarTM piezo pickup system. The NXTa Bass is available in either a transparent Amberburst or Black Satin finish. Each bass includes a collapsible tripod stand and a padded gig bag; it holds the bass, the stand, and also has a pocket for a bow.

    The instruments have two differently-mounted transducers beneath the adjustable bridge for sound. There is a switch to toggle between them for bowing (arco) and plucking (pizzicato), because the strings vibrate differently under the bow than when plucked; each pickup in the "Polar Pickup" system is specialized for each task. To keep the price down, the preamp controls are passive, with just a single volume and tone control (Unlike the CR and EU basses, which have an active EQ preamp built-in). The NXTa does feature an active buffer, however, and this new feature takes about a minute to charge (with the included charger) and provides a much better interface to bass amps that are designed for lower impedance magnetic bass pickups. This improves the balance and tone of your instrument, and it's a welcome upgrade! The buffer can also be bypassed with a push-pull knob, if you don't need it (or forgot to charge it.)

    NXT BassThis is a true electric upright bass, not a fretless bass guitar that you play vertically. The fingerboard is curved, so it can be bowed. While there is a truss rod, there is relief in the fingerboard for typical upright bass style play; if you want very close action for fretless bass guitar style "mwah" up and down the board, additional fingerboard work may be desired.

    LEFT HANDED VERSIONS of the NXTa bass are available at the prices shown. We try to keep stock on left-handed basses, but they may be subject to extended timeframes for acquisition.

    A page with NXT comments from Mark, such as what to expect and how to get the best results from it, is included with each bass.

    SPECIFICATIONS:
    • LENGTH: 132 cm (52")
    • WEIGHT: exact weight not specified yet
    • SCALE LENGTH: 106 cm (41.73")
    • STRINGS: 4
    • CONSTRUCTION: Solid maple
    • COLORS: Transparent Amberburst Satin or Black Satin.
    • FINGERBOARD: Ebony or Richlite*;
      • 4 string: 43.1mm (1.7") wide at nut; 89.0mm (3.5") max. width
      • 5 string: 47.6mm (1.875") wide at nut; 101.6mm (4.0") max. width
    • BRIDGE: Rock maple (dyed black); radius 7.9cm (3.1") string spacing 80 mm (3.14")
    • NUT: Ebony; radius 7.9cm (3.1"); string spacing 31mm (1.22")
    • POLAR™ PICKUP SYSTEM: The directional piezo pick-up 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)
    • BUILT-IN BUFFER CIRCUIT: Creates a better electronic "match" to low-impedance bass amps, providing a better overall tone and balance. Flash-recharge in 1 minute, for up to 18 hours of use. Bypassable by switch.
    • ELECTRONICS: passive volume and tone control
    • TRUSS ROD: Powerful rod design provides positive relief adjustment, accessible at nut. See text above outlining range, it cannot completely flatten the board.
    • TUNING MACHINES: Fully encased worm gear tuners; black finish
    • STRINGS: Light tension flatwound steel strings are standard. Accommodates all NS length strings and most long scale acoustic double bass strings.
    • TRIPOD STAND: (standard) Black steel, fully adjustable, standing tripod design. Weight 3.2 kg (7 lbs.) Note: All basses come with the newest version stand with the redesigned head.
    • END PIN STAND: (optional) Offers full freedom of movement. Height, tilt and "right bout" angle are fully adjustable providing a more conventional feel. Weight 2.3 kg (5 lbs)
    • SHOULDER STRAP SYSTEM: (optional) guitar style shoulder strap for full mobility
    • GIG BAG: (standard) Padded gig bag with integrated bow pocket, handle and backpack style strap. External pockets for stands and accessories


    Comments from Mark, reproduced from our November 2009 newsletter:

    The brand new NXT Electric Upright Bass from NS Design is really something! While on the surface it may seem that it's just a WAV4 bass with a higher price tag, a closer look reveals some key differences.

    For one, the finishes are gorgeous; they're not glossy like the WAV, they're a matte finish, which is more like the high-end CR models. The black has a matte - rather than glossy - finish, it's super sharp. And the AmberBurst is nothing like the WAV's faux-flame; it's real wood with grain showing, and a traditional burst application (also with a very classy matte finish.)

    What also strikes me is the acoustic resonance of the instrument - the construction is "tight" and the physical vibration throughout the entire instrument is quite apparent. This may also be wood choice; for the body and fingerboard, the NXT features maple and ebony/Richlite*, rather than the WAV4's poplar and black rosewood, respectively.

    Plugged into the shop amp, an Acoustic Image Contra, it sounds quite good; it still needs some tone-shaping to get a more "real" URB sound, but it speaks well, even with the stock strings. Electronically, it looks like they're using better pots and switches on the NXT, too. I haven't opened up the cavity yet, but the switch is obviously different (bigger paddle, feels more substantial) and the knobs are different. The design, accessories, and stand are all essentially the same, so it's still compatible with the various stand and strap options, as well as the cool molded plastic case I found for the WAV4.

    I still love my WAV4, but this new NXT bass is really slick, and I think the extra refinement is worth the difference in price. NS Design continues to impress. -- Mark


    NXT Bass
    *What is Richlite?

    NS Design is committed to the need and responsibility to do what we can to protect our environment. Certain materials which have for centuries been part of the tradition of instrument making, are under increasing environmental and regulatory pressure. Among these is ebony. NS Design has been on a quest to find an alternative to ebony, one which meets high standards for performance, appearance and durability.

    Beginning in November, 2014, NS Design began equipping NXT series instruments with fingerboards made from Richlite™, a natural fiber composite that was originally developed for aerospace and industrial applications. They have found that Richlite's structural, visual, tactile and sonic characteristics rival those of ebony, and that this material is very "friendly" to traditional tools and techniques used by luthiers in the maintenance and care of ebony fingerboards.

    Please note that during the transition period, an NXT instrument you receive may have either an ebony or Richlite fingerboard. Also note that all model numbers and prices remain the same, regardless of fingerboard material.




    CR Model Bass

    see NXT model • see WAV model

    NS Design
    CR4M/CR5M Double Bass

    These beautifully designed basses are crafted in the Czech Republic, a country with a long-standing reputation for quality upright bass building. It features a full-scale fingerboard with adjustable relief to suit varying players' preferences; the bridge height is also adjustable. The select ebony and amber-stained maple combine to make a very attractive instrument - it's obvious that a great deal of care goes into its creation.

    Out of the box, the bass begs to be played, with comfortable action and great playability. Acoustically, the instrument vibrates well, and projects a surprising amount of sound for a solid-body. In fact, I found myself playing it for quite some time before I even plugged it in - it's that much fun to play!

    Once I did plug it in, I had a lot of fun tweaking the amplified sound; the piezo pickup sounds very good (more on that later) and the EMG magnetic pickups give you the option for a more "electric" sound. And of course, the two pickup systems can be blended together to suit your particular taste. Please note that these basses are also available without the EMG magnetic pickups, I can get these as well. Personally, I think the magnetic pickups are a wonderful addition even if only blended in to support the piezo system.

    The tone-shaping options on this bass are pretty impressive. Aside from a traditional two-band (bass and treble) EQ and the balance control to blend the magnetic and the piezo pickups, there is a special "PolarTM" control for the pickup. This control actually selectively changes the piezo pickup's response 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) - and is sweepable between these two settings to allow you to dial in the perfect blend to achieve your sound. I actually got a fairly convincing upright pizz sound by fiddling with an in-between setting on that control and by rolling back the treble a bit.

    Several interchangeable support systems are available for the bass: including the self supporting tripod stand, more conventional end pin stand, and shoulder strap assembly for full mobility. The bass comes with the Tripod stand, but other options can be added on - and we discount when purchased together with the bass! It also comes with a very nice gig bag with a separate compartment for the stand, as well as a bow pocket and accessory pocket.

    DETAILS
    • MAPLE BODY AND NECK: The body and neck of the CR Series Double Bass are crafted of solid European hard maple, with a flame maple face. The neck has a traditional upright shape, but with extended access to the upper register of the fingerboard. The solid-body body design enhances sustain and clarity, and is resistant to the effect of changes in temperature and humidity.
    • EBONY FINGERBOARD: The seasoned ebony fingerboard is hand graduated to insure that each note is even and buzz free. An adjustable truss rod allows for precise relief adjustment for different strings and playing style. Small dots across the neck provide accurate position markers.
    • POLAR BRIDGE PICKUP SYSTEM: The Polar pickups can sense either lateral or vertical string vibration - or both! Set in the lateral mode, the pickup has unparalleled sensitivity in the direction of the bow. In the vertical mode, plucked notes are remarkably even and sustained.
    • EMG MAGNETIC PICKUPS: The low-impedance EMG pickups incorporate individually-adjustable coils and neodymium magnets. Each coil is buffered separately for a full sound quality with very low noise.
    • ACTIVE EQ AND MIXER: Controls include volume, a blend control for magnetic and piezo pickups, a blend knob to alter the tone of the Polar pickup, and individual bass EQ & treble EQ controls. The 18 volt power supply insures plenty of reserve overhead for full dynamics.
    • ADJUSTABLE BRIDGE: Two screws in the back of the body are used to adjust the bridge up and down. This allows the instrument to be set up to meet the requirements of many different playing styles.
    • THREE STAND OPTIONS:
      1. Tripod Stand - Supplied as standard equipment, the Tripod Stand provides stable support, with full height and tilt adjustment. The stand folds down to fit in the gig bag.
      2. End Pin Stand - An optional End Pin Stand offers the upright bassist a more traditional position, similar to that of an acoustic instrument.
      3. Shoulder Strap System - A light frame structure is supported by a single guitar style strap extending over the left shoulder. This holds the bass in the correct position for both pizz. and arco styles. With the Strap System to you can achieve full mobility with amazing comfort.
    • PORTABILITY: The padded tubular gig bag is only 137 cm (54") long and 18 cm (7") in diameter, and weighs 8.2 kg (18 lbs) with the instrument and stand. A storage area inside the gig bag has room for accessories. The loaded gig bag will fit in the overhead compartment of most commercial aircraft. An optional flight case measures 145 x 25 x 25 cm (57" x 10" x 10").


    SPECIFICATIONS:
    • LENGTH: 132 cm (52")
    • WEIGHT: 4.8 kg (10.5 lbs.)
    • SCALE LENGTH: 106 cm (41.73")
    • STRINGS 4 or 5 (Low B or high C)
    • CONSTRUCTION: Solid rock maple neck and body, flame maple face
    • FINISH: Traditional amber stain with clear semi-gloss polymer coating.
    • FINGERBOARD: Macassar Ebony;
      • 4 string: 43.1mm (1.7") wide at nut; 89.0mm (3.5") max. width
      • 5 string: 47.6mm (1.875") wide at nut; 101.6mm (4.0") max. width
    • BRIDGE: Black phenolic; radius 7.9cm (3.1") string spacing 81mm (3.19").
    • NUT: Macassar Ebony; radius 7.9cm (3.1"); string spacing 30mm (1.19").
    • PICKUPS
    • BRIDGE: The Polar™ directional piezo pick-up 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).
    • MAGNETIC (for CR4M and CR5M only): Low impedance EMG™ magnetic pick-up system, with individually adjustable coils, and low-noise, hum-canceling pre-amp.
    • ELECTRONICS: 18 volt active circuit by EMG. Mono output.
    • TRUSS ROD: Double rod design. Accessible at nut.
    • TUNING MACHINES: Schaller 20:1 ratio, fully encased worm gear tuners; black finish.
    • STRINGS: Compatible with most standard upright bass strings. D'Addario stainless steel flatwound strings standard.
    • TRIPOD STAND (standard): Chrome-plated steel, fully adjustable, standing tripod design. Weight 3.2 kg (7 lbs.)
    • GIG BAG: (standard) Padded tube with handle and shoulder strap, 137 cm (54") long; 18 cm (7") in diameter. Loaded weight is 8.2 kg (18 Ibs.), including stand. Fits in the overhead luggage compartment of most commercial aircraft.


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    Some of our customers have told us what they think about this product.
    Check out what they had to say!
    Thank you so much for the outstanding service! My WAV4 arrived today, much quicker than I expected, and it is beautiful. Mark’s information was very helpful and I have already set the bridge to my liking to give it the feel of my ‘73 Engelhart (the measurement suggestions were right on for a Bluegrass setup)! I play in a couple different Bluegrass bands and I also play Contemporary Christian music on the worship team at Church. Between having MS and back issues this will be much easier to tote around on a regular basis. I’ve been playing for 33 years on that old Engelhart and my dad bought it new and played it when I was a kid so I’ll still break it out for special occasions but my WAV4 is going to get plenty of work. Thanks again for the outstanding service!
    Joseph V (November 2018)