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Opinions on the NS Design's Double Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Phil Smith, Apr 19, 2001.


  1. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I liked to get an electric upright that I can use with a pop band that I'm working with, which I think would give me more sonic options i.e. use of the bow during some ballads, etc. I like the specs on the NS Design's Double Bass, any body have any experience with one of these?

    Phil
     
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I was very struck by the NS Design bass on the web site -- so much that when I decided to build my own, I took some visual cues from it: http://www.gollihur.com/eurb.html

    [​IMG]

    However, when I met Ned at NAMM and played his Czech version, I did not like it very much, neither the sound, which did not have an URB vibe to me, nor its feel. It performed more like an electric fretless IMHO-- and it's just my opinion, many others like it. Keep in mind that I am coming from the direction of a double bassist who likes to play both URB and electric bass; those who are electric bassists firstly may like its slim neck.

    I also was not as impressed when seeing it in real life; I like my own better <g> (but then I should, shouldn't I?). It has no stop or indicator for a D or Eb neck. Also, you need to change the pickup selection for arco and pizz play.

    I will tell you that I have a ball using my EUB with my classic rock/pop band, and use it on far more tunes than I thought I would. Usually a fretted and fretless bass come with me, but I'll take the EUB instead of a fretless, and it is definitely a blast, and arco blows the crowd, not used to seeing this tall contraption on stage, completely away. It's cookies; mine is presently apart as I revamp the pickup system, but you can be sure it will be together and out frequently during the Summer tourist season here.

    I encourage you to seek one out that works for you -- it is a kick.
     
  3. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Nice piece of work you got there!
     
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    So here we go from the "other side" - that is a long-time electric BG player who wants to get into the double bass (as soon as I have the money).

    I have tried the Czech instruments a few times in the Bass Centre in London and I was very impressed. Firstly, I did like the way they looked -nice woods etc. but the main impression was of how easy they are to play. I do like the sound but it is not an "exact copy" in any way. My feeling was that, close to the nut in lower positions, it sounded like a fairly close approximation on Double Bass, but the higher up the neck you go the more it sounds like a fretless bass guitar.

    One other thing I should mention, is that I tried basses with just piezos and with piezo plus magnetic pickups. The latter combination really "worked" for me, while the piezo-only version sounded thin and lacking in warmth to my ears. Both are excellent value for money though, taking into consideration what you would pay for an "acoustic" double bass plus pickups.

    I am still torn about whether to buy one or not - it has big advantages for me - especially in the short term - in playability. I also like the fact that it doesn't take up much space - I have a small flat and a small car both of which would be very cramped by a "proper" DB!! I am also worried that all the DB players I have met who are students - on courses, workshops etc. have had great problems with their DBs in terms of feedback, amplification problems - and the NSCR4 would get round these problems. You just plug into an amp and it sounds great.

    However, every teacher, tutor or Double Bass player I have met who is involved with Jazz has advised against this and to get the "Real Thing". The argument being that if you're interested in this type of instrument, you might as well jump in at the deep end, as nothing else will prepare you for the challenge and nothing else sounds "exactly" like a Double Bass - so why not go for "exactly" what you want? There are also arguments about the 3-dimensional nature of the sound on DB that you don't get otherwise and the more "controversial" issues - such as you will only really be respected as a Jazz player if you play DB and that real DB players get all the work in Jazz.

    If you're only interested in "pop" music and aren't worried about things like "Jazz snobbery" or a "traditional" sound then I would say "go for it" - Tony Levin gets great sounds out of it and I do like its sound myself. But it isn't going to get the sound I hear on my favourite Jazz CDs and so I'm still undecided - although the question is academic at the moment, as I am well overdrawn and my finances aren't looking as if I will get back in the black this year! :(
     
  5. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Thanks, Phil, and firm agreement with Bruce...

    I have played a lot of EUBs and their characters vary, but they all have one thing in common, even the close approximations are not dead-on URB impressions. At best, they sound like URBs with transducers.

    I mentioned my prejudice as an URB player with that subjective bent -- I don't think it a sin that some EUBs stray from the UB and lean towards BG. Personally, I think the EUB is another animal, with variations all its own, a different instrument that just has some things in common with URB.

    Hell, I'm building a 34" scale EUB for my son, and it will be bowable w/piezo transducers -- and I don't expect it to sound like an URB -- just offer a bowable bass voice that will be different than others he currently has at his disposal.

    EUBs sure do offer a more portable way to bring some variety and different complementary bass sounds to the mix. And they're fun, too.
     
  6. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I already own a Kay M1B but I can't effectivly use it with the pop band because of the volume requirements and I would like more portability. I feel having the EUB would give me more opportunity to play using the same technique and would improve my chops and advance my upright playing at a faster rate. I do currently play my Kay with a Jazz ensemble that I get together with once a week, but I would like to play "Upright" in more situations than I currently do. I'm involved in two other bands, one of which is the pop band.

    Phil
     
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think a lot of Salsa or Latin bassists use electric uprights, becuase of the volume requirements - if you have a big noisy band - lots of percussion and horns, then you will probably be able to get heard more easily with something like this.
     
  8. Francois Blais

    Francois Blais Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    Québec, Canada
    Their ultimate tool is probably the Ampeg Baby Bass, with its thud-like percussive tone.
    (or the Azola baby bass reissue)
     
  9. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Funny, I played one of the reissues 2-3 yrs ago at a Sam Goody for about 15 minutes. I owned one of the originals in the late 70's, and didn't find the reissue to be the "thump machine" that the old ones were - the prime reason I sold it back then. The reissue had decent sustain and a far better sound character.
     
  10. Jon Stefaniak

    Jon Stefaniak Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2000
    Tokyo, Japan
    at the isb convention, the was this guy selling a bas he designed the was shaped and sized like an EUB but was actually acoustic. he used a David gage realist pickup. In my opinion, it is the most realistic sounding "fake" bass available. this is because it IS an acoustic bass. the acoustic tone was a little thin and quiet, but the realist seemed to balance the tone. I was impressed.
     
  11. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA
    Matter of fact, there's one of those guys hanging around here, and he owns an NS bass....<yelling> GARD!....GARD!......STEP IN HERE PLEASE!

    'Nuther matter of fact...he can sell you one, too...