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NS Design Radius CR-4 bass guitar review

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Steinbergerer, Aug 31, 2017.

  1. This is the third 4-string electric bass I have of Ned Steinberger's designs. Since 1990 I've played a Steinberger XL2. It's a sweetheart. The only adjustments I've ever done to it are to change strings and tune it when I switch from E to Eb tuning. It stays in tune after months of playing. It has a sound that blends with other instruments. Since all notes are even without louder or softer levels it cuts through. Every note played is heard clearly. However; there isn't a characteristic old-school voice when played alone. A wooden bass has a character that is recognized the way each person singing has their own sound.

    I had borrowed a Spector NS2A and found that it played much more easily than my 1975 Fender Jazz bass. The Fender continuously needed adjustments. Even though the sound was great, I sold it. The NS2A has a characteristic voice that I play when I want that vintage sound. I finally bought it in 2016 and installed active pickups, adjusted heights, reversed the phase back and forth a few times & played a few gigs with it. Finally I found that it's mostly a "one trick pony", but sounds great doing it. It kicks hard! But, I wanted more versatility than that.

    I was looking for a new bass that played as easily as my Steinberger XL2, but had the characteristic sound of a wooden bass when I wanted it. I want to play fast with dynamics at times (the XL2) and solid, deep and smoothly (Fender & NS2A) at other times. I know of the mechanical engineering design of Ned Steinberger and his level of quality in his products. His name is on it.

    I watched many web videos describing and playing the NS Design Radius CR4, often with Ned demonstrating. After really thinking about it I thought that I won't buy anything until I try this bass. I went to thinkns.com, found a local dealer & called. They didn't have one on hand. I called NS Design's phone, 866.673.3744. The national sales manager answered, we talked awhile and he asked me which color I would like. He ordered the Amber Satin CR4 where it was sent to my local store. I tried it and bought it.

    It has the sounds I hoped for and plenty more. The spectrum of frequencies it plays is amazing. It is the brightest and deepest bass I've ever heard without even turning a tone control. Just a different selection of pickups changes it into another instrument. Of course the range of the tone controls is more than enough. I enjoy having a bass with a bass tone control. It's that one thing that really sets the sound where you want it. I now miss this feature on my old favorite XL2 bass.

    The neck is so light. I'm still getting used to it. I lowered the string action a little, since I can afford to by playing mostly with a pick. Directions on how to do this were easy to understand and perform. The neck is as comfortable and as fast as I had hoped for. I removed the strings. It was easy. I'm thinking that I could carry flat-wounds with me and swap sets at recording sessions. The strings installed are my favorite D'Addario EXL170s. I like the body style, balance, shape & switch/knob layout. The strap I put on it was a light nylon one with leather at the ends. This felt fine. Being used to having a wide strap to carry the heavier weight of other basses, I think I'll continue with the lighter strap. I like the reinforced gig bag with the pocket. Why not, the bass is light. Why carry a heavy case around. I've found a nice folding stand that's very stable and fits in the pocket. It's a Hercules GS302B Travlite Compact Electric Guitar Stand.
    PaulPriest76, Fred312b and FingerDub like this.
  2. FingerDub

    FingerDub SUSPENDED

    Jan 8, 2016
    Thanks for your review, these have caught my interest before so nice to see a well thought out review.
    Steinbergerer likes this.

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