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NBD- NS Design NXT electric upright bass

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by steve_rolfeca, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    This is an early-issue NXT. It has the upgraded stand, but a regular volume control- no Jackpot.

    I had to drive a total of 700 miles under threat of snow flurries to pick it up from Sudbury on Saturday, but the low asking price made it too good to pass up!

    Busy weekend, so I haven't had a lot of time with it. Still, from my experience so far, this ranks as one of the best used instruments I've ever bought.

    Here are my notes:

    Input impedance:
    The passive piezo system tolerates mismatches surprisingly well. It doesn't sound all that bad plugged into the 25K line inputs on my mixer. With the arco/pizz switch down, the tone control backed off and bass boost on the mixer, it sounds at least as good (and far more authentically Upright), compared to a Kala U-bass.

    Still, it likes higher impedance. Through my G-K heads (1Meg input), the low end has a LOT more volume and harmonic content. The treble is smoother as well.

    I tried turning the Comp knob all the way down on my Diamond Bass Compressor to use as a buffer (10Meg), and it sounds great good through that, too.

    Through my AudioKinesis Thunderchild cab (basically a PA monitor with tighter, better low end), pizz pretty much sounds like an upright, but with more sustain. Standing almost on top of the cab, I can crank it pretty hard before feedback.

    Gotta dig out the cheap fiberglass bow I bought for my homemade EUB years ago!

    Stock NS, 6 years old but with relatively little play time on them.

    As a total noob coming over from electric bass, I like the relatively low tension.

    Perhaps they've just aged well as they stretched out, but I'm not hearing the treble emphasis that others have complained about.

    I'm still wondering how my Spirocores would sound on it, but at the moment, I'm inclined to leave it as-is. The sustain is roughly half-way between my electric basses and an upright. I will experiment with putting foam at the bridge before deciding if a need a thumpier string.

    The former owner says that the bass has never been touched- stock strings and no action adjustments. If so, this one was set up a little on the high side. Mwah is mostly limited to a spot around the octave position on the G string.

    Overall, the sunburst matte finish was nicely applied, and the instrument seems like a quality piece. However, the back of the neck felt a little gritty, with a couple of inclusions. Also, northern winters had done their work over the years- the board was dry, and had shrunk just enough that the position markers protruded.

    I lightly dressed and polished the fingerboard and the finish on the back of the neck, using 800 through 2000 grit polishing paper.

    It turns out that under the stain, the fingerboard was made of nice, even ebony with a slight brownish tint to it. After a light oiling, it looks great. I like the look, and won't bother to re-ink it.

    While the neck and FB feel wonderful after a bit of TLC, the buzz is still there on the G string. I tried raising the treble side of the bridge a bit, but it needs more work.

    Before I decide on next steps, I'll experiment with the truss rod, and check the fingerboard for flatness in that area.

    Takes and holds a tune nicely with the stock tuning machines. Not a lot of play, and the nut is nicely cut.

    However, while loosening the strings to clean the fingerboard, I noticed that the E string tuner has a grind in it, as though the gears are nearing end of life. I've put a set of 2 by 2 import Hipshots on my wish list.

    The retaining bolt is a little sticky when attaching the bass to the stand. Some copper-based anti seize and a washer under the C-clip should take care of that.

    There's no noticeable flex in the legs or column. However, the roll pin that normally attaches the tilt head to the top of the column is missing. I replaced it with a cotter pin, but there's still enough play that the bass rocks back and forth.

    It's kind of annoying, so I will shim the joint and add another pin (or maybe steel pop rivets) to get it nice and firm.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
    YosemiteSam likes this.
  2. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    The stand is fixed. Shimming the joint and adding a second hole just above and at 90 degrees to the original one, firmed up the connection between the column of the stand and the title head. Also, lubricating the holding bolt with anti-seize smoothed it right out.

    The stand still flexes if I push on the instrument aggressively, but that movement feels much more natural than the annoying flip-flop of the loose connection.

    I flattened out the relief a little, and raised the bridge accordingly. The action is lower and a little more comfortable than before, yet the buzz is gone from the G string. If I work on it, I can still coax out a bit of mwah, but now it's more evenly distributed across the fingerboard.

    I think I'm done with prepping the instrument for now. Time to get busy finding a teacher, and really digging into learning how to play it.
    tfer likes this.
  3. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    Coming up on a week of ownership, and I think this has already joined my "keepers" list.

    Sometimes, it takes me a while to warm to the tone or the feel of a new instrument, but I experienced a rush of pleasure from the very first time I plugged this one in.

    Still refining the setup for pizz- had a little too much mwah on the top two strings as the neck acclimatized (and as I develop my touch on this very different instrument). I've raised the treble side and lowered the bass side of the bridge another smidge to address this.

    Setup up is faster and easier than on my dual-pickup 5-string fretted EB's.
  4. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    Swapped the stock tuners out for a set of Hipshot Licensed (import) Utralites. Dropped straight in, no reaming or filing required.

    Not worth the bother- the stock E tuner was only binding because the string was wound too tight against the headstock, not because the gears were bad...

    Found that for amp-only tones with a full-range cab, my Fusion is better than the MB200. The NXT likes a bit of mid scoop, and the all-or nothing switch on the MB200 is too much of a good thing.

    Amazing, pillowy low end with the bass control pushed on either G-K head, should I ever need to rearrange the furniture...
    Randy Ward likes this.
  5. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    Played a drummerless trio gig with the NXT on Sunday. Coffee house, underpowered PA. Used my amp to carry the house.

    The huge, wide tone filled out the the soundscape beautifully, and I had no desire whatsoever to pick up my fretted Dingwall EB.

    OTOH, I just came back from a rehearsal with a 7-piece band, big PA with two large subs. Subsonics from the NXT were rattling ceiling tiles and conduit at moderate levels. It still sounded really interesting, but the sound guy was pulling his hair out.

    Switched to the Dingwall, and everything was copacetic.

    Just placed an order for an FDeck HPF Pre series 3...
    yodedude2 likes this.
  6. I'm enjoying your posts on this. How did the FDeck HPF Pre series 3 work out in taming the subsonic in the 7 piece?
  7. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    I'll let you know when it arrives.

    No shipping notice yet. FDeck's website hasn't been updated since sometime in 2016, so I don't know what his productions schedule is like...

    Another thing I noticed in the trio setting last week: Turning down the volume past about half-way results in a clanky, annoying treble peak.

    I'm guessing this is because the passive volume starts to load down the output impedance? Either way, I'm glad I ordered the series 3 HPF Pre, since that will give me a buffered volume control before the amp.
  8. The buffered preamp should definitely help even out the tone. My WAV sounded OK through a 1M pre, but upgrading to a 10M made a definite improvement - took it from audibly an amplified EUB, to the clichéd "my bass, but louder."

    A high-pass filter would help with the subsonics; I just don't know whether the FDeck models have that.
  9. jthisdell

    jthisdell Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    The piezo will pick up vibrations from the floor if on a wobbly stage, etc. I've had a couple issues there, once on a temp stage right above huge subs. Uncontrollable with my hpf. If I took my hands off the strings it would go insane. I've developed some foam "slippers" for the stand that help isolate it.
    equill likes this.
  10. What do you think an FDeck HPFpre has on board?
    Francois Blais likes this.
  11. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    Literally, or did you mean uncontrollable without the HPF?
  12. YosemiteSam


    Jun 8, 2005
    Chatham, MA
    Interesting. I ordered an Fdeck the day before you did. I never received a shipping notice either, but I'm assuming it's been sent.
    He could have meant "with". There are lots of sources of feedback, and a HPF isn't going to help with "mechanical" sources, vibrations that get your top or strings going. I've had to elevate my amp off the floor, turn it into a corner, use string dampeners, or any variety of trick to eliminate feedback. For me, every room is different.
    jthisdell likes this.
  13. jthisdell

    jthisdell Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    No, the one time it was uncontrollable WITH my hpf set to its highest frequency (most amount of roll off). It was one of these temp stages with a lot of bounce.
  14. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    Makes sense, now that I think about it.

    Resonant frequency of a bouncy, boomy platform could be well up into the midbass. The phase switch isn't going to help much either, if you're in a situation where the feedback is taking off the minute you take a hand off the strings...

    I had no feedback the other day, but I put my cab up on a 20-inch high stand with the NXT, so I can hear my intonation better. And although that stage is hollow and I'm only about 6 feet away from the closest sub, it is quite well braced.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
  15. A buffered preamp, which is all that some preamps have. I don't know that range, so I have no idea what else it has.
  16. jthisdell

    jthisdell Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    It made me want to by a Bergantino B-Amp with a built in notch filter. My pre doesn't have one and yes, I know I could buy a different pre but I would still be gassing for a B-Amp. But like I said, so far only the one time.
  17. If HPF is part of the name of the preamp ("HPFpre"), one might expect to have a hpf available with it.
    Francois Blais likes this.
  18. One might, if one assumes that's what the HPF refers to; apparently I just make fewer assumptions than you.
    Why make such a deal of this, anyway?
  19. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    FDeck is a popular TB'er, who happens to make a range of preamps with HPF's. Started out as a simple fixed-gain adjustable filter, later developed (by the series 3 version) into a preamp with two filter stages (one fixed at 35HZ, the other adjustable up to 140Hz), adjustable output volume, and a phase switch.
    Randy Ward, equill and Francois Blais like this.