Ned Steinberger is one of those names who really doesn’t need introduction when it comes to musical instrument design. He’s been actively leading the way in terms of new concepts in this business since the mid 70’s in the last century.
Through the last 5 decades he has developed a lot of new concepts that we consider standard today. For instance he was responsible for the developing of the first ever Spector bass back in 1977, the Spector NS bass, made along with Stuart Spector. He created his own company Steinberger Instruments and developed some radical ideas such as the use of carbon fiber for musical instruments and headless designs to reduce neck diving and improving tuning stability. He has teamed with Emmet Chapman to develop the NS Stick and created the successful “The Realist” upright bass. Ned sold his Steinberger Instruments company back in 1986 and in 1990 he created NS Design with a very specific goal: create 21st century bowed electric instruments with a unique approach,
In Ned’s own words, “Bowed electric instruments have been made since the mid-thirties. Unfortunately, most of these instruments are the victims of the misplaced idea that an electric instrument should sound exactly like its acoustic predecessor. I want to take it a step further, I want to see what these instruments can do when they are set free.” This radical new approach has made that many musicians looking for their own voice on the instrument have chosen NS Design instruments as part of their tools. Of course they can also be used as standard electric bowed instruments for silent practice and ease of amplification, but that’s only part of the story.
NS Design are based in Nobleboro, Maine (USA). Most instruments are actually made at the NBE factory in the Czech Republic. This small factory combines old school lutherie with state of the art methods for building musical instruments and have a long experience doing so. We really thing that some of the finest instruments made in Europe are currently coming out of this factory. It’s there that CR and NXT series of instruments are made. The cost effective WAV instruments are now made in India and this is a big improvement over previous models made in China. What’s more, all the instruments bearing the NS Design brand are carefully inspected and set up at the NBE facilities in the Czech Republic. This means that all the instruments that leave the factory are absolutely perfect regardless of where they have been made.
This instrument is the NS Design CR5 Radius Electric Bass. It is crafted in the Czezh Republic and it represents the top of the line above the NXT and WAV series.
The RADIUS Bass Guitar embodies a breadth of experience, insight, and design brilliance which only Ned Steinberger can bring to the creation of a new classic. His approach to the RADIUS, as with every new instrument, was to re-explore each facet of a bass guitar, leading to innovations such as the Fusion neck, the Diradial™ body design, the NS tuning system, and the NS/EMG™ pickup system. However, what makes this instrument most remarkable is its seamless integration of feature, form and function.
The sensuous lines of the RADIUS are balanced and refreshing, which is exactly how it feels to hold and to play it. Most of all, the RADIUS is, by design, the most sonically dynamic, versatile and exciting bass available today.
While the NS Radius Bass Guitar carries forward the heritage of the headless design which was pioneered by Ned Steinberger, it also takes the bass guitar to an entirely new level of performance, playability and aesthetic appeal. Integrated magnetic and piezo pickup systems expand the tonal palette, delivering incredibly powerful lows, exceptional high end clarity, and expressive dynamics, making the Radius one of the most musically versatile basses ever built. Outwardly, everything about this instrument is sculpted, curved and comfortable. The concave Diradial™ body design provides enhanced contact and stability against the torso. The reduction and redistribution of weight made possible with headless construction reduces the constant burden on your left shoulder, arm, and hand for greatly enhanced ease and comfort. The patented “self-clamping” tuning system provides phenomenal tuning precision and stability with conventional strings (no need for double ball strings here), and it makes the process of changing strings remarkably fast and simple. We invite you to explore the Radius lineup, including the sophisticated CR Series, the new NXTa Series with a familiar Volume-Volume-Tone configuration and featuring the new battery-free active output electronics, and the amazingly versatile and high performance WAV Series.
NS FUSION NECK: The RADIUS features a bolt-on one-piece maple neck with an embedded continuous carbon fiber core and steel double-action reinforcing truss rod. This combination has the natural feel of wood, but the core provides enhanced sustain and definition to each note. The fingerboard, which has a 15″ radius, is 34″ scale for the CR4 and CR6, and 35″ scale for the CR5. Heavy conventional tuning machines are replaced by an aluminum headplate with ball-end string mounting slots. The tuning system is integrated into the body.
NS DIRADIAL BODY: The RADIUS’s maple body, with flamed maple top, has a concave back radius, which provides enhanced contact and stability against the torso. The front of the instrument is more tightly radiused, which, in combination with the general wedge shape of the body, shifts it into more comfortable orientation with the right hand. The distinctive horn provides a natural grip, and the configuration of the body cutaway provides easy access to the highest frets.
NS/EMG INTEGRAL PICKUP SYSTEM: NS Design and EMG have collaborated to create this integrated piezo and magnetic pickup system. It features an 18-volt onboard preamp, which provides extraordinary dynamic headroom. The active electronics are combined with the NS bridge-mounted Polar™ Pickup System, the marriage of which puts an exceptionally broad, musically rich spectrum of tone at the player’s fingertips.
CONTROLS: The controls on the RADIUS bass give the player full ability to shape and mix the magnetic and piezo output: Master Volume, active Treble cut/boost, active Bass cut/boost, rotary magnetic/piezo pickup blend, 3-position magnetic pickup selector switch, and 3-position piezo EQ switch.
BRIDGE & SADDLE: The aluminum one-piece bridge and saddle assembly provide full height and angle adjustment, allowing the player to precisely tailor the action and tweak the intonation with the adjustment of hex head set screws (hex key included).
The instrument as a whole is perfectly balanced, no downward dip of the neck, giving the left hand unprecedented freedom. Combined, the shape, balance and light weight of the RADIUS make this instrument exceptionally comfortable to play
As you can see, this is the 5 string fretless version and it is an amazing bass. You get a great fretless singing tone easily as well as a pseudo acoustic tone from the piezo plus lots more when you blend both systems and experiment a little bit with the onboard controls. We love the ebony fingerboard with side dots and cascading front dots.
The slim neck plays like a dream and the volute at the nut works as a thumb reference so you don’t feel any difference from playing a headed bass.
The Low B on this bass is particularly clear and strong. Actually there’s a great string to string and note to note consistency that we love.
GIG BAG: The RADIUS bass guitar includes a deluxe padded gig bag with a handle, adjustable backpack straps and a large front zipper pocket with room for cables and gear. The loaded gig bag will fit in the overhead compartment of most commercial aircraft.