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NS BassCello (now OmniBass) megathread

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by tappingtrance, Feb 14, 2006.


  1. Peredur

    Peredur

    Jul 7, 2002
    Wales
    I have been playing DB for (gulp) over 30 years so it took about 5 seconds. Sorry, prob not the answer you wanted :(
     
  2. Thanks for replying. I guess the answer is that it if I'm willing to commit to the instrument, the adjustment can be made. How long that takes probably will vary from player to player anyway.
     
  3. Peredur

    Peredur

    Jul 7, 2002
    Wales
    I really like the DB technique/not DB sound aspect. DB technique makes me play differently. I like the way my hands fall. I would imagine that an experienced bass guitarist could get up to speed fairly quickly with some direction from a DB teacher. It is not as if there will be intonation issues for you left hand! Try playing a bass guitar vertically for a bit to see.
     
  4. bodollar

    bodollar Supporting Member

    May 3, 2004
    Memphis
    I’ve got the 5 string fretted Omni (E-C) and starting to make friends with the boomerang strap using a German bow. Took some time getting the strap adjusted so the different points were comfortable and the notes accessible with the bow. Still a work in progress. Also, I noticed if I pull the neck back gently with the left hand it helps keep the bass more stable and moves the bass away from my body. Starting my bow strokes little closer to the middle of the bow seemed to help especially as I move to the higher strings along with less pressure. For me it was a lot of trail and error.
     
  5. Hello folks,

    Apologies if this has come up previously- i've perused the vast majority of this thread but my perusal has been far from comprehensive.

    I've just swapped out the stock strings on my NXT5 for some GHS Precisions. I wanted something with more tension and these strings have certainly fulfilled that criterium. I have one problem though, and i was hoping to solicit an opinion or two. The winds on the B and E strings are not as tight as they could be (i've attached a bad picture which sort of shows what i mean), and this means that the hairs of my bow have a tendency to get lodged in the gaps between windings. It sounds magnificently horrible, and will probably wreck my bow very quickly. Has anyone else had this sort of problem?

    As i see it, there are three possibilities. Firstly, the strings take a while to "settle". I've never come across this particular problem with a set of flats before, but i've read that GHS Precisions can take a while to settle in and show their true character. I don't know if this would make a difference to the gaps between windings though.
    Secondly, i might just have a duff set of strings. I'm new to GHS so i have no idea how they usually are.
    Or thirdly, i've taken a chance on some new strings and learned a valuable lesson. If this is the case, can anyone recommend something with higher tension than the stock strings, but with a similar acoustic character?

    Much obliged
    F&D
     

    Attached Files:

  6. h3dg3h0g

    h3dg3h0g

    May 2, 2013
    Hey everyone!

    Occasional reader, first time poster here!

    I thought I'd present some comments on my first three weeks with my NS Design CR5 Electric Fretless 5-String Omni Bass.

    First some background. I had played bass guitar off and on for many years before I amped it up about two and a half years ago. I started playing 45 - 60 minutes every day - sometimes 90 minutes on weekends. I quickly gave myself a good bout of carpal tunnel due to bad left-hand technique. I resolved that with some solid instruction. But over the course of the next 9 months or so, I messed up my left elbow with a RSI due to the supine guitar-playing position of the left hand. I realized I need to play bass guitar vertically. I investigated some options, but at the time did not discover NS. I moved on to other music but recently felt how much I missed playing bass guitar! And specifically fretless. I broke out my basses, fiddled around with them and started feeling it in my elbow. I did some more research and this time I found NS. So I raided my retirement savings and ordered the Omni Bass.

    In many ways, this instrument is just what the doctor ordered - especially with the Boomerang strap system. I can play it as vertical as I like and my elbow feels great. The instrument feels awesome. And the Boomerang strap is terrific - a really great invention.

    It is definitely NOT a bass guitar and does not feel like one. I never played double bass but I imagine it feels like a mini-double bass (one-and-a-third bass?). The action is much higher than a bass guitar and that and the fretboard curvature take getting used to. I could not lower the bridge as far as I would have liked - and maybe I would not have liked it when I got it as low as I wanted. I also found the bridge could drop the G string to the point that it would touch the pickup but I couldn't lower the pickup any further.

    Also, I found the stock G string (I have B-E-A-D-G) to be too live when plucked. It is .040", so I replaced it with a GHS .045" (the D string is .050") and that seems to be better for my taste and playing. The NS strings are really delicious - I don't know why - but they are much more flexible than normal bass guitar strings.
    I tried completely replacing the stock strings with normal bass guitar flatwounds and that was a debacle. Way too much tension. I don't notice much of a difference with my single odd G string.

    So, I'm developing the feel for the Omni Bass - doing lots of scales with eyes closed, etc. String crossing is very different from bass guitar of course. Still trying to get the ideal positioning to play up high as visibility is an issue - there seems to be a compromise between left wrist ergonomics and visibility of the G string at high altitude - I'm still working on it. And high action up high is a challenge as well.

    Again - this is not a bass guitar - vertical or otherwise. I feel like a rote beginner with it (not that I was ever very good with bass guitar.) But I think I can bang out eighth notes more or less in tune for my rock band in a couple of weeks.

    I'd love to hear from other Omni Bass folks about learning to play. It's a fascinating instrument. What are your thoughts on the action when play up high? Do you use the Boomerang strap and how do you like it/use it?

    I am thinking of trying to attach the Boomerang strap to a bass guitar. Has anyone tried this?

    Thanks!
     
    peterpalmieri likes this.
  7. bodollar

    bodollar Supporting Member

    May 3, 2004
    Memphis
    Was trying out some different settings on a Zoom B3 with an Omni 5 string and started messing around with various ideas. I know there are other Zoom B3 threads but wanted to see if anyone here has used the pedal with an Omni bass and how did it go? The clip is a rough recording using Audacity.

    http://rwbolton.net/wp-content/upLoads/2015/04/pizz-test.mp3
     
  8. SmokinJazz

    SmokinJazz

    Mar 17, 2013
    Denver
    I'm new to the thread, getting ready to pull the trigger on an Omni 5. I've been looking at different EUB's for a few weeks now and want one for a jazz combo I play with. Seems like the NS Design has the best quality - once you do all the mods needed on a Palatino, you could pay for an Omni NXT and still not have the best sound. Right now I have a semi hollow body Ibanez 5 string bass and it is doing a very good job, but I think an upright type of bass would be better suited for the job. However, being a long time guitar/bass player, there is no way I'd be able to get the spacing right on a traditional URB - I've tried that and it would take way too long to figure out to the point I could play it in public. Plus I would have to get a different vehicle just to haul the thing around. This 34 scale bass, looks to be the ticket for this electric bass player. The only down side that I see is that I'll need to start working out, there just isn't enough bass there to hide my gut!! Just have to wear black all the time I guess. Thanks for all the posts that have inspired me and helped in my thought process! I think I will be able to play this instrument. It's a bit of a bummer that I can't find one in Denver to test out before I take the plunge.
     
  9. SmokinJazz

    SmokinJazz

    Mar 17, 2013
    Denver
    One question I have for all the Omni CR4/5M owners who may see this post - How often do you blend in the mag pickups? I'm not sure if my budget can swing the extra $$ for that option, but I'd really regret not getting one with the mag pickups if you really improve the tone. I play in both a combo and a big band setting. My main reason for getting an Omni is for smaller combo gigs (restuarants, back ground music), but it seems that once it takes a hold of you, it may become your primary axe of choice. Obviously, the need for the magnetic pickup depends on the style of the music (the metal was a bit of a surprise - thanks for the warning! I did enjoy the bowing in there, it blended well.) I suspect the piezo pickup alone would be sufficient for straight ahead jazz standards - and maybe some polka/country tunes. I guess my main question is do you need to blend the mag and piezo pickups at all to get the most authentic upright tone - or would you just go full peizo? My guess is full peizo for straight upright, but I have no experience with this instrument - so your input would be most appreciated!!
     
  10. pnchad

    pnchad

    Nov 3, 2005
    I have an original NS-CRT - T for traditional - I tried one with mags and on the gig I never used them

    If you're going for the best uprightish sound the mags are a waste - they make it sound even more like a fretless EB
     
  11. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    BTW my omni CR5 is for sale not much of a difference to a new NXT.

    As far as the magnetic pickup goes it gets a more standard fret less electric bass sound. If you want that the magnetics is nice to have.
     
  12. h3dg3hog

    h3dg3hog

    May 2, 2013
    Still loving my Omni Bass! I think it's a great choice for a bass guitarist looking to play jazz and not interested in going to a double bass.

    Regarding magnetic pickups - I wanted them because I wanted that electric bass sound. But it's true - if you are only going to play jazz/bluegrass/etc., you don't need them so don't pay for them.

    I'd be interested to hear what folks think about the theory for playing the Omni Bass. It's a very interesting instrument - not an upright and not a guitar. I'm trying to approach it like a bass guitar played upright because that's the sound I want. Is anyone approaching it like a short double bass?
     
  13. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    I don't fully agree with that -- they are certainly capable of a more "fretless bass guitar" tone, but they have a satisfying warmth, and used judiciously (blended with the piezo, probably biased around 75% piezo) they add a fullness to the timbre that I find useful. But YMMV, IMHO, et al.
     
    hensonbass likes this.
  14. SmokinJazz

    SmokinJazz

    Mar 17, 2013
    Denver
    I see different strings being tried on the Omni basses, but I don't believe I've seen any posts about tape wound strings. Has anyone tried those? I would think they would produce a good thump sound, but I'm not sure if those work with a bow at all. What are your thoughts?
     
  15. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    I tried a set of the LaBella tapewounds; bowing is near impossible, even with careful technique and lots of Pops rosin. They weren't really all that "thumpy" either, despite my expectations to the contrary.
     
  16. SmokinJazz

    SmokinJazz

    Mar 17, 2013
    Denver
    I now have an NXT Omni on the way (a new "blemished" amber 4 string - hopefully the blemish is irrelevant). Mark - I tried getting something from you guys, but only had so many coins to play with and was looking for either used or B-Stock in the Amber. We'll see how the new strings are that it come on it - I see the thickness of the NS D'Addarios Electric set are extremely thin (40, 50, 55 and 70!) My normal bass strings are 52 - 110. My favorite strings are La Bella Deep Talkin 1954's (Jamersons). These strings have a bit of upright tone when played with my thumb up on the neck of my semi-hollowbody BG.

    Should the strings on the Omni stay in that same "very light" realm? I see Mark says they tried the La Bella tapewounds, but found them less than desirable. Funny thing, I see other Omni's that had sold in the past (and there doesn't seem to be too many used ones offered for sale in the past, so either people keep them, or they haven't sold all that well) that include tapewound sets that were tried, but ultimately replaced with something else.

    I wonder if anyone has experience with the La Bella Deep Talkin extra light (39-96) or light (43-104) sets. I know the La Bella's I have on one of my BGs are pretty slick, so I would guess they won't bow at all. In the past, I've had pretty grabby flat wounds (like ground wounds) that would probably bow well. I've never bowed anything, so I don't know if that will every work it's way into my playing style or not. I certainly want the most organic woodsy tone I can muster out of this

    I'm looking forward to getting this and see where it takes me!
     
  17. SmokinJazz

    SmokinJazz

    Mar 17, 2013
    Denver
    The bass has arrived a couple days ago - I'm coming from a guitarist/bassist background (non-DB). I'll update this thread with my progress because I saw some posts earlier asking how long it might take to adapt to a proficient level.

    I asked in the last post about LaBella Deep Talking strings (these are not tape wound strings). I had an older set laying around, so I put them on. These are thicker strings, so there is more tension. I like the sound a lot! One of the tuning heads seem to have to be turned many times to get it to change the pitch - I was hoping to delay the purchase of hipshot tuners. I would go with the License Import version instead of the USA - those are both good tuners, but the Lic version is only $60 on amazon.

    I'm not crazy about the boomerang strap in the upright position, feels too close to my body. I like it for the guitar position. So I have a tripod stand en route to me.
     
  18. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    I may have an unused set of NS strings for you if you need them.
     
  19. SmokinJazz

    SmokinJazz

    Mar 17, 2013
    Denver
    The tone really is amazing! (I have an NXT, so just the peizo pickup in the bridge) I have a GK MB115-II amp with bass and lo-mid pinned all the way on, treble almost off and hi-mid about noon. This really does a good job with getting that upright sound. I'm not sure what this would sound like through some smaller speakers. I would love to have the easy portablibility of some of those small Phil Jones amps - but just not sure how this would sound through them. I pulled up a video of Ray Brown and a large group playing All Blues and it was a very similar sound. My first goal is to get down the signature lines for All Blues and So What. These are classics and sound great on a DB - especially when you slur up into some of the notes!

    One of my first hurdles I'm finding is having to shift hand positions a lot more. I now know what Peterpalmieri was talking about regarding the 124 traditional 3 finger DB technique - for other guitarists or EB only players looking at this instrument, I'll explain this a bit: Using the E string for example, Start with your index finger on F, and pivot your left hand just a bit, so your palm is pointing down the neck (otherwise your middle finger, the #2 in the 124, and your pinky, the #4, will fall flat of their target notes). The pinky will be playing the G, which falls nicely on that note without moving your hand and the middle finger will then being able to fall on the F#, so this will only span a full step. I am getting used to more mini-shifts of my hand in my scales to accommodate the half-steps of the scale. I assume, once this feels more comfortable, we won't need to look at the fingerboard (can't call it a fret board anymore) and the

    And I'm also trying to use the open strings more to allow more time for finger transitions and as reference tones. I can see an issue when learning a tune with using the open strings in the progression, it may be fine for the default key you learn the song in, but you would be in trouble if the band suddenly wants to do it in a different key. So it is critical to learn the snot out of the tune in different keys (this is easier if only closed fingerings are used), learn the melody, chord changes and bass lines so the song is internalized - then a key change can be done on the fly. My only problem is there are sooo many songs I want to learn this well and only so much time in my day to do it - and (according to my wife) quitting my job isn't a realistic option at this time! Fortunately, this is a lifetime passion of mine, so hopefully I have enough time left to get some of these songs down pat.
     
    peterpalmieri likes this.
  20. SmokinJazz

    SmokinJazz

    Mar 17, 2013
    Denver
    OK - it has been about a month and tonight was my first chance to reveal the NXT Omni to the big band I play with. It was very well received. Some were concerned to begin with, but the tone really settled in nicely. My drummer had to run back out to his vehicle and he said it sounded like an upright was playing inside (he is probably the most happy with my purchase!) As far as exercises to get the intonation under control, I've been running the cycle of 5ths (C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, B, E, A, D, G, C) daily for the last many weeks, on adjacent strings, but also fully on a single string, and then fully across all strings staying in a single range of 4-6 "frets" (then move to a different area of the neck and do it again). This really helped me isolate and focus in on the tone accuracy. It feels very natural and it will only get better as time progresses (especially since I'm focusing only on playing this bass right now). I want to get to the point where I can do it with my eyes closed so the hands become more automatic.

    Hopefully others will read these comments and it will assist them in choosing to pick up one of these basses. For Electric Uprights, I think this is an excellent choice (the short 34" scale is great for BG players like me). It doesn't have the exact sound of a real high-end acoustic bass, but it also doesn't have the cost either. I seriously don't know how those acoustic players do it, I've stood behind 4 different uprights and could never get a decent tone and it was a serious chore to pull those strings, a physical workout! Props to those who can make music with one of those instruments. This bass is simple to play, tone is excellent (especially when everyone is also playing), easy to transport, looks cool, and is a reasonable price. I'm digging it for sure!
     
    brossmac and peterpalmieri like this.