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 WAV5c Omnibass. It is made in India and it represents the more affordable range below the top of the line CR and NXT Series.
The Omnibass is a new instrument that has been designed and developed exclusively by NS Design. It basically combines 3 instruments in one: upright bass, cello and electric bass. It takes the whole vertical design and deep tone from the upright bass. Then it uses a familiar 34” scale so if you are coming from electric bass you’ll be instantly comfortable. Fctory tuning is BEADG but you can put other strings and tune it EADGC or FCGDA (fifths) and view it as a cello.
Here are some other specs:
- Unlike all other EUB’s, there’s no neck joint here. Instead, it is a continuos neck that starts at the headstock and extends right until after the bridge. This adds a lot of sustain and this is one of the biggest differences with an acoustic or most other electric uprights.
- This design allows for unrestricted access to the upper zone of the fingerboard. Of course you can also use standard thumb technique (capodastro) or just keep the thumb behind the neck like as if you were playing an electric bass.
- Patented Polar pickup system that senses the vibration of the strings both in horizontal and vertical modes. This is essential to get a good pizzicato and arco sound.
- Position dots on the ebony fingerboard make tuning and shifts much easier.
- We love the gorgeous flamed maple top in matt sunburst finish.
- Stock strings are D’Addario for Omnibass. You can simply use any regular 34” electric bass string, both roundwound and flatwound.
- The included Boomerang stand allows the Omnibass to be positioned in a lot of different ways depending on your preference. You can play it like an upright, like a cello, like an electric or any mix of those. What’s more, you can adjust it so you can play with the bow in vertical mode but then simply move it and set it for horizontal playing without the need of any tool at all and without having to remove the instrument. Pure Ned Steinberger genius here.
- Of course the electronics are very well thought. This is an all passive instrument but the signal is strong and completely noise free. Controls are Volume, Tone and Mode switch: Pizz mode is great for a solid all round sound with a nice sustain to it, and Arco for the best bowed sound in the market.
If you love double bass but the long 42” scale feels intimidating, just try this instrument. It could just be what you are looking for. These are some of the many uses you can make with it:
- Use it as a really portable electric upright bass. The deep sound and the fact that you can play it in vertical position get really close to the real thing but you don’t really have to adapt your technique because the 34” scale will feel immediately familiar if you are coming from the electric bass
- As a standard fretless electric bass but with the added acoustic sound that this instrument offers
- Experiment in the high register, maybe with EADGC tuning, playing cello stuff
- Use it as a completely new XXI century electric string instrument. The sky is the limit.
The instrument comes with a low action but we can set it up to match your playing style and needs. Not only is the bridge height adjustable but there’s a truss rod in the neck so you can set it up for your favorite neck curvature. Cool. This allows every player to set the bass up to their needs in a few minutes.
It comes with a padded gigbag that will hold the bass and the Boomerng stand.