NS EUB megathread

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by FretNoMore, Jan 27, 2002.

  1. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Hi there

    I'm waiting for delivery (hopefully next week) of an NS Design CR-5M, and wonder if there are any other NS owners out there who could give me some hints? Tricks for a good UB-like pizz sound? Best EQ for arco? Any problems? Better strings than factory? etc...

  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    The stock strings are designed to work with the mag pickups. If you switch to something else (like an arco string with lots of damping material), the mags won't work as well. I hear Spirocores are the way to go with mag-equipped EUBs.

    That's all I got.
  3. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I've had a NS-CR4M for about a year now.
    Heres what I learned by trial and error:

    1. If in piezo only mode (either pizz or arco but not both) the strings get noticably louder from one side to the other, one of your piezo crystals may have been damaged during shipping. Ned will send you a free replacement and will instruct you on how to switch it out.

    2. Mine showed up with a lot of relief in the neck. The strings were way too high around the 12th fret area yet way too low near the end of the fingerboard. The truss rod was so stiff I thought it was at it's limit already. It wasn't. You may really have to torque on it to get the neck to straighten out enough.

    3. I try to get a acoustic sound as close as possible. As a result I NEVER use the magnetic pickups. They make it sound like a Precision with flat wounds. I usually, depending on the stage, run the tone controls flat. If I'm playing a gig where I double (Bass Guitar & EUB) with one amp, I set the amp basically back to flat for the NS (with a slight dip at 3k) and NEVER use compression.

    4. I put on a set of Spirocore "Weichs" and am very happy with them. They will be longer than the set that comes on the bass so you will have to anchor the balls midway up the back in the slots on the back panel (This was not explained in the manual and I was puzzled at first.). I've heard these strings are great for pizz but too screechy for bow so be warned if you bow. I don't bow yet so I can't attest either way.

    Good Luck.
  4. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Thanks to both of you for the great tips.

    I've run into unexpected trouble though, the bass was delivered yesterday but had been damaged in shipping. Sob. I believe the store is to blame since they simply shipped the bass in its gig bag in a cardboard box, no extra padding whatsoever. Several deep indentations in the top of the headstock and bottom of the body, as well as a couple of smaller scratches in the finish was the result. It was also not correctly set up, the mics had incorrect and varying heights, and the nut was cut too deeply under the G string which basically lay flat on the fingerboard. I'm not a happy customer. So the bass is now on its way back with returning mail. With no prompting I was told I will get my money back (no new bass available until a couple of weeks...) as well as reimbursed for the return shipping. So that's very decently handled by the store at least.

    I'm really losing time fast since ordering and shipping delays and now this problem has taken quite some time. I'm losing the opportunity to play with an upright in three or four gigs that was what prompted me to buy the bass at this time in the first place. So I'm now considering buying some other bass, whatever nice one that is available. But that's a different story.

    It seems like I will not own an NS upright any time soon after all...
  5. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    I'm curious what store? Mine showed up (from Gguitars) in its gig bag in a cardboard box but had extra styrofoam padding. Other than the piezo crystal (which could have been bad before shipping) mine didn't have a scratch.

    As far as the G string slot, that had to come from the manufacturer like that. Thats not something they would normally deal with at a dealer.

    Don't give up on the NS. I'm no expert on EUBs, but I've had several other players from around town (Las Vegas) sit in with my group. These guy have several other brands of EUBs (Clevenger, BSX, etc. Some much more expensive than my NS.) and they all rave how much they like my NS better than what they own. To the point that a couple of them have tried to trade or buy mine from me.

    Not gonna' happen.
  6. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I don't really want to name names, at least not until the money is back on my credit card. ;)

    Everyone can have a bad day. The real test is how they handle the mistake once it has been made, whether its their fault or the shipping companies'. The store seem to be very honourable about the whole thing, so I don't think they deserve to have their name published.

    When it comes to what bass to buy, I'm still looking for an NS, but now that I have a chance I might rethink this purchase and go for an Eminence instead. Two very different beasts. Having tried the NS a bit I did notice it is a tad too much "fretless electric"-like. I still like very much the size and design, but have become a bit sceptical when it comes to the sound. As I'm coming from electric bass I don't appreciate the "electricness", I already have that sound available. I think maybe a DB player enjoys the new sound palette of the NS more. I would have more use for a more DB-like sound, so I'm leaning towards going with a floating top Azola or more likely the Eminence.

    Decisions, decisions... :confused:

  7. For what its worth, I've tried both the NS and the Eminence very briefly.

    I thought that the Eminence gave me something a lot closer to a "real bass" experience in just about every respect: sound, feel, playability, arco...

    If pressed, I might use the NS in something like a rock band, but for jazz, the Eminence had it hands down.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I do like the sound of the Eminence, but I have never seen one in the UK,whereas I have tried several well set-up NS basses and have had the opportunity to try, buy and walk out the door, with the thing under my arm!!

    Anders' experience has made me even more determined never to buy a bass without trying it and having it in my hands before comitting! If Eminence had an outlet in the UK, I would be there like a shot! But I can see that I may well end up with an NS as, it is the only thing generally available!

    I looked at gelbass website, but there doesn't seenm to be any European outlet at all? :(
  9. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    The Eminence is a worthy purchase *if* you're somewhat familiar with upright bass to begin with. Feel-wise, the weight distribution will seem a little strange at first (the instrument has a higher center of gravity than a double bass), but after a few minutes, you can almost forget that you're playing a downsized instrument. I recently bought one sight unseen and don't regret the decision.

    My review is here:


    If you're an electric player, the Eminence presents a larger learning curve than the NS4. The Eminence has a full (well, 3/4) sized DB neck with an Eb stop, shoulders and no markers of any sort. In this case, I'd definitely recommend trying one before you buy.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    The trouble is that regardless of how good the Eminence is, it's really just not an available option for anyone in Europe.

    I emailed gelbass and got the following reply from Gary :

    "I am so sorry I do not have a retailer in England. If you know of a bass shop that would carry my bass I would be happy to speak with them!

    I can ship you a bass. I will pay the air freight, but you would have to retrieve it at your local major airport. You would also be responsible for
    the VAT tax. I know it's a bit of a gamble on your part but people really love my bass and I'm sure you would too!"

    So firstly you have the problem of how it survives air freight and the fact that you can't try one. Secondly, retrieving it would be problematic, plus VAT and customs duty would add a huge amount to the price.

    Whereas, I can walk into the Bass Centre in London, have a coffee, try an NS bass, they will set it up for free and I can walk out with it under my arm for a very reasonable price!

    If only we weren't so obsessed with how these things sound! ;)
  11. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    When I originally set up my NSDB4 I made the string action very low (as is possible with this bass). I was having trouble getting enough meat on the strings with my plucking hand down near the end of the fingerboard (i.e traditional upright pizz position). After building up my courage I raised the string action. This not only solved my plucking problem but to my surprise it actually made the tone of the instrument more "acoustic upright" like. Maybe this is one of the reasons most EUB have a problem sounding like an acoustic, because a lot of EUB owners are traditionally Bass Guitarists and tend to want to set the action on their EUB similar.
  12. I, too, wanted the "acoustic upright" sound. So I bought six double basses.
    I'll never own an EUB unless I get hired by Eddie Palmeri or Poncho Sanchez. That's not likely.
    And I'll never say "acoustic" or "upright".
    It's fun being old and cranky.
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Before I came to this board I never said those things either - and I'm not that old!

    But when you start talking about instruments that only work with electric amplification, but are designed to be played in the same way as a Double Bass, you start to run out of ways to differentiate the variety of instruments we are talking about!

    My friend who is a DB player; made his own EUB - he calls them "stick basses"! ;)

    I think there is also a sense in which "true" DBs are more or less "electric". So, last night I saw Dave Holland playing a new work written for him as the featured player with a chamber orchestra - 20 or so players.

    The chamber group had their own DB player who was playing a huge instrument with a bow that competed for volume with the brass and percussion.

    In comparison, Dave Holland's DB looked like a Cello, it was so much smaller and narrower - also he chose to amplify it with a GK 150watt combo to cut through the orchestra. Both instruments had wondeful sounds (I was sitting about 10 feet back from Holland!) but were almost different types of instrument in the way they were used!
  14. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Okay, lets forget the terms acoustic or electric upright. Does the term "Double Bass" only apply to the traditional (acoustic....sorry) bass? If so NS Design and others better change their model designations.

    Example: NSDB4= Ned*Steinberger*Double*Bass*4 string.
  15. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I believe there is too much snobbery in music, it would be nice if everyone could be a bit more open minded about a lot of things. I play with a drummer who is sensitive to what bass I select for certain music, based on looks. I have a quilted maple Modulus bass that he doesn't want me to use in our blues band, even though it sounds much better than my other basses. It's the wrong image apparently, "it's not blues"...

    I think the same goes for the EB/DB/UB/EUB discussion, if the bass does the job I think all else matters very little, including what to call it. The name will also vary from country to country, we're not all English-speaking you know. ;)

    Conservatism will stop development of music, an open mind will produce new flavours of existing styles, and perhaps completely new great music.

    But of course you need to be sensitive to some requirements, a flying-V EB wouldn't visually sit too well in a symphony orchestra... :p
  16. Yes.
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think this is the point I was making - so is Dave Holland's "amplified" bass any less of a Double Bass than the full-size orchestral bass that the player was using in the chamber orchestra at the same concert?

    The sound and use of each was so different to make them to all intents and purposes different instruments! So Holland was going for a Jazz pizz sound but with an expressive vocal quality - the detail was amplified and the tone quite different from the much larger "orchestral" bass which was exclusively bowed and un-amplified and was mostly used as the low end of the string section.

    Does something happen to a Double Bass to make it no longer a Double Bass, if you amplified it so that you could only hear that and not the acoustic sound, lowered the action etc. ?
  18. Eastside Andy:
    I wouldn't label accuracy as snobbery. From Vivaldi through Ligeti (300 years), the instrument has been named on musical scores as "doublebass", "contrabass", or simply "bass", in whatever language the composer chose. It never occurred to Mozart, Stravinski, or anyone else to say "acoustic" or "upright". The latter terms were created by, and for the convenience of, players of bass guitars. They prevailed only because of the weight of sheer numbers.
    Finally, I see some irony in how often the quality or worth of an electric upright (a perfectly acceptable term, it's not my instrument) is measured by how much its sound resembles a bass/doublebass/contrabass, or, as one poster frequently says, a "real bass."
  19. Brutal Minefield: No problem with "acoustic" when describing how the instrument is being played. Holland is playing the double bass, amplified.
  20. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Could be I'm wrong, but Vivaldi probably never called it a "double bass" :). I can live with contrabass or bass, those terms will probably work in quite a few countries. But I'm just being obnoxious by getting hung up on language. Sorry about that.

    I apologize if I stepped on toes using the term snobbery, I didn't intend it to be directed at any individual in this or any other thread. It was perhaps triggered by a comment here, and I feel I have equal rights to be old and cranky! ;)

    Of course I'm also comparing the soon-to-be-all-mine EUB (Eminence!) with the "real deal" when it comes to sound. I'd love to have the DB sound, but I'm not ready to buy one. I know I would not want to lug it around. What I mean with snobbery is that many look down on anything "less than" a fullblown carved acoustic, and I think that is a pity. There is more than one important aspect of an instrument, and one type of bass is not of less value than the other, they are just different and have different uses.