NBD! NS-Design WAV4 Radius

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Wanker_Joe, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. Wanker_Joe


    Sep 26, 2017
    So continues my obsession with Ned Steinberger-designed instruments!

    Story time!

    Many years ago I wanted to celebrate my 20th year playing bass, and I had the good fortune to run into some extra money. I found an incredible deal on a new Warwick SSII that had been sitting untouched in a shop for years(it actually makes no sense how cheap it was). By the time I got to it the owner just wanted to get rid of it and took a loss on it. The bass is magical. Not only does it sound like liquid sex but it has ergonomics to match! So comfortable and playable beyond anything I had ever played. As soon as I picked it up in the shop I was hooked. I looked it up out of curiosity and found out about the great Warwick-Spector NS debacle.

    I really wanted to gig with it, but there's no way I was taking a rare bass like that to some seedy bar, especially given that I probably couldn't replace it if anything happened. After some searching, I got lucky again and I stumbled upon a discounted Spector Rebop. Brand new, but had been in the back of a small shop for 7 or 8 years mostly forgotten about (always go to the small out-of-the-way guitar shops people - they have a lot of hidden gems). Finally! I had a NS-style bass that I felt comfortable gigging with. It helped of course that this bass sounds amazing and also has that perfection of comfort that the NS basses are known for. I became fascinated with Ned's work.

    Eventually I found a nearly mint-condition 86 Steinberger XP2A for sale a few hours away from where I lived. I found the idea of a headless bass fascinating. I joked with my wife "I'll offer X and if he takes it I guess we're going for a road trip". He accepted my offer and off we went! This bass blew my mind. Sounded like nothing I've ever played. Played effortlessly, looked completely amazing. That left me in the same spot as my SSII dilemma. I'd love to gig with it, but there's no chance I'm going to risk damaging this thing. I'll never find one in this shape for the price I paid ever again.

    That brings us to today.

    I was fortunate enough to get a part-time second job that I didn't need finance-wise (doing something I've always wanted to do, and it's great career-wise so I couldn't pass it up), so my wife said "are there any cool basses you want to buy?" (yes, she is that awesome). I thought a headless that I could bring out would be cool. After some time searching I found a near-mint NS-Design WAV4 Radius bass at a price I thought was fair. Ordered it in and haven't been able to put it down since I got it. Finally I have a Steinberger-designed headless that I'll be comfortable gigging with!

    The bass is light, has the NS-curved body, with a rounded neck that is a little chunky, which has always been my favorite neck profile. Powerful and aggressive sounding pickups that are easy to dial in and very sensitive to my playstyle and finger positioning (I'm a tone in the fingers kind of guy so I like that I can set and forget this bass). It needed a setup when it came in. I'm impressed at how low I can get the action on this thing. It also looks amazing to boot. One aspect that surprised me was the satin finish on the neck. I'm totally not a fan of finished necks. Not at all. Hate em. But this one is smooth and comfortable and feels as natural as the unfinished neck on my SSII. Additionally, I'm not typically a fan of finishes on basses (I like the natural wood look), but the satin flat black finish on this is much more attractive in person that I would have guessed.

    Can't wait to gig with it. How about you all? Anybody else just love Ned's designs?

    20190911_141403.jpg 20190911_141340.jpg
  2. SgtHulka

    SgtHulka Inactive

    Mar 29, 2019
    Simply put, Ned is a genius. I recently pickup up a WAV4 with the carbon fiber neck found on the CR4's. I have also been fascinated with his designs and always wondered what they might be like to play. I'm not the type to kowtow to the idea that you must have a head stock. As I've gotten a bit older, I've been leaning towards lighter basses and ones that are easier to play. Comfort has become a big deal and I've been looking for a bass that gives me that in spades and suits my style. Ned puts thought into every part of the bass he can.

    The way the this bass hangs from the 15th fret instead of the 12th on your average Fender puts both hands in a more comfortable position. That and no heavy headstock and tuners and left arm fatigue is gone. And the idea to extend the neck just enough to add a volute is great which makes it feel like any other bass with a headstock. It's not a straight chop job (and uglier) like other headless basses.

    Heck, the bridge is even angled into the body. The tuners and bridge weigh less than a single high mass Fender bridge. Radiused pickup for even output. Concave back helps the bass melt into the belly and the curved arm rest along with the body allows your plucking hand to be around 45 degrees instead of bent a full 90, causing discomfort and perhaps chronic injury.

    I could go on and on... changing strings takes 5 minutes, bass never goes out of tune, not overly large frets, flat radius, incredibly stable neck, no dead spots, and the width is perfect for me...at 1.6 it is a quarter inch thinner than a standard P bass, so still substantial for me with big hands, but a step up in comfort.

    Even the entry level model could be considered a pro level instrument. I'm loving mine. I have a feeling it is going to be my main player for a long time.
    Wanker_Joe likes this.
  3. Wanker_Joe


    Sep 26, 2017
    It's such an incredible instrument eh? One year on and it's my go to for nearly all my bass playing needs. Records really well too. I just can't put it down.
    BeefPie84 likes this.
  4. SgtHulka

    SgtHulka Inactive

    Mar 29, 2019
    Haha, and you thought no one was going to reply.

    And yeah I forgot to ask if you were still mainlining it, and I'm glad to hear that you are!
  5. Wanker_Joe


    Sep 26, 2017
    Haha yeah. Thanks for reviving my thread. It's my most used bass for the past year for sure. I hope you get a lot of use out of yours!
    BeefPie84 likes this.
  6. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    Congrats! I got to play one of these in a local store when they first came out, and was impressed by the quality. Not my sound, but a solid bass with excellent playability.
    Wanker_Joe and BeefPie84 like this.
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