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.
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    Fred312b and FingerDub like this.
  2. FingerDub

    FingerDub

    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.