NS Design - upright NXTa or CRT

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by LemmyBarrier, Jan 11, 2021.

  1. LemmyBarrier


    Aug 4, 2008
    I am about to order one of those with a french bow. Never touch an upright. Playing bass only as a hobby, for many years. I think I have very good ears. Any suggestion, advice or please tell me your experience with one of those. Sorry for my poor english. Thank you very much. « Music is the best » FZ.
    TNCreature likes this.
  2. If you plan to play on an acoustic DB later, then I suggest to get the real thing instead.
    Luigir and DoubleMIDI like this.
  3. LemmyBarrier


    Aug 4, 2008
    Merci François.
  4. De rien!
    I understand my post may seem negative, but I think arco bass playing should not be learned on anything else than a real DB.
    But of course, if you don't plan to get an acoustic in the future, then I'll let people with experience on these instruments comment on them!
  5. jharms80439


    Nov 23, 2004
    Evergreen, CO
    Starting on an acoustic (IMHO) is a better choice than an EUB unless there are some mitigating circumstances that prohibit one from doing so.

    In my own upright journey, I started a friendship with a store owner that supplied band instruments to middle and high schools. I first rented a bass then he sold me the bass. Good setup in the beginning, but later after I learned a bit, I changed strings and took it in for a great setup from Bob Ross (an outstanding bass luthier in Denver, Colorado).

    Over my lesson history and getting busy at work, transporting an acoustic became problematic- well that and “disturbing” my family with vomit exercises every evening - became problematic at home. That’s when I bought my own NS CR.

    Lessons with my NS on an endpin became the norm. MOST of what I learned with an instructor didn’t negatively impact performing with my upright. But it was those initial lessons on the acoustic that built solid foundations for playing either instrument arco & pizz.

    Frankly, Francois is correct in saying that if you ever really want to play on an acoustic DB - start with an acoustic.

    I’ll parrot Francois, IMHO, find a new/used middle/high school plywood upright on the cheap and start there...

    Luigir and Francois Blais like this.
  6. Dabop


    Feb 4, 2014
    Why ? It's sonic frequencies that is the attraction first and if that individual gets their voice on an EUB why not.. Low End is Low End.. It could be a Washtub with a stick and a gut string that satisfies the palette..
    blliB likes this.
  7. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    First, IMHO it's not just the frequencies that matter. It the balance of the frequencies and the way they peak and decay.

    You're absolutely right that one person could prefer an EUB to an actual upright bass, or perhaps they might even prefer a washtub bass. Taste is 100% subjective.

    I think the point others are trying to make, is most EUBs don't do a very good job of mimicing an authentic upright bass experience. So it's important for the OP to have clear goals and know how to achieve those goals.

    For the record I used to play a NS Design 6-string EUB and I really miss that instrument's fabulous and unique voice. Absolutely the wrong choice if you want an authentic upright bass experience though. On some concerts I switched between a traditional upright bass, the NS Design EUB, and a fretted bass guitar. Each instrument provided a unique sound and feel and I chose whichever I felt best suited the arrangement.

    In my experience the top of the line Yamaha Silent Bass is probably the best EUB available for the upright bass experience. They are not inexpensive. By the time you buy one of these, you could actually buy a quality hybrid upright that may actually sound and play better. Of course the Yamaha Silent Bass does have some unique benefits.
    Luigir likes this.
  8. Luigir


    Mar 15, 2018
    As a beginner I second the "get or rent an acoustic one first together with some lessons".
    They feel pretty different physically and on acoustic you really need to understand how to produce the sound. To me, the EUB feels closer to a fretless bass.
  9. PaulCannon


    Jan 24, 2002
    Frankfurt, Germany
    NS Design Endorsing Artist
    Sorry if I'm two months too late, but I can answer the original question here as I own both an NXT and a CR 5-string. However, I have not tried the NXTa.

    They are both quite nice, but there is a very clear difference in tone quality. The CR is fully active and has a very solid sound, while the NXT is passive. The NXTa, I believe, is switchable between passive and active. That might close some of the gap, but the pickups on the CR are quite powerful.

    The difference is especially noticeable with a bow. I generally don't like the clean sound of bowed EUB, but the CR comes very close to a satisfying arco tone. The passive arco tone on the NXT is a bit anemic, but it's also a bit easier to use effect pedals with that. It really depends what you want to do.

    If you plan to do a lot of bowing work, you will need to immediately discard the stock strings and put on something more "standard" -- there are notches in the back of the bass which allow full length bass strings to be installed. The stock strings are decent pizzicato / electric bass type strings, but they're basically impossible to bow.

    As for EUB vs. acoustic upright -- they are completely different instruments and should be treated that way. NS Design in particular is not trying to replicate an acoustic instrument, which is why I like them so much.
    blliB, Wasnex and Luigir like this.
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    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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