Limited Edition "Seasons" NXTa Full Size Electric Upright Basses
- FREE SHIPPING:
- To Continental US (Lower 48)
Full Scale • 4 String
These special edition NXTa basses are one-offs, and are exclusively available here at Gollihur Music! The three different models each feature a one-of-a-kind finish, themed to one of the four seasons (sorry, the "Winter" model was sold some time ago).
Important Availability Note: We only have one of each, and when it sells, it will no longer be selectable to add to your cart. So if you can't add it, unfortunately, someone else beat you to it!
The spring bass evokes the flowers in bloom of early spring. A lovely rose color fades into daisy white, with a gorgeous figured flame beneath the translucent finish.
Summer provides opportunities for vacations at the shore or the lake, and this bass summons visions of the water lapping onto the sand. With an ocean blue fading to an off white, the flamed woodgrain serves as the ripples in the water.
Bringing to mind a gorgeous sunset in late autumn, this tri-color burst goes from brown at the edges, through orange and pale yellows. The color is the real focus here, with the grain being more subtle on this model.
Each of these beautiful limited edition, one-of-a-kind basses features easy adjustability, excellent playability, and Ned's timeless design - and all were inspected and set up by the NS Design crew in Maine before they were sent to us. All include a padded gig bag and a tripod stand which securely holds the instrument in playing position. All have the "Polar Pickup" - a piezo-based pickup mated with the bridge with both arco (bowing) and pizzicato (plucking) modes. They are cross-compatible with the various accessories (stands, strap systems, strings, cases, etc.)
The stock strings (Original Equipment on all three models) are a light gauge steel, made by D'Addario (the NS Electric "Contemporary" set) that serve as a reasonably decent hybrid sort of sound, but the instrument responds well and can handle most standard 3/4 size upright bass strings. They also make the NS Electric "Traditional" set, and I and others report good success with strings such as the Pirastro Obligatos, which are a popular, string that delivers a more traditional sound, with less sustain and more body than the stock strings. Keep in mind, however, that the tuning machines are similar to bass guitar tuners, so very heavy gauge strings (like the Eurosonics) typically cannot be accommodated. However, since the pickups are piezo-based, which sense vibration, most any 3/4 size upright bass string can be a candidate. They designed the rear control cover that allows you route the excess string around the bottom of the bass and anchor them in keyholes to take up the additional length.
The NXT series are made in the same facility as the more expensive CR models, but with more common woods and components, and simpler electronics. It features a veneer figured top. Includes the same lightweight tripod stand as the WAV model. Asian-made tuning machines. Active electronics circuit includes a flash-rechargeable buffer circuit for optimal use with a wider range of amplifiers; can be bypassed for passive mode. Passive treble roll-off, and volume controls, and Polar Pickup switch (to change between arco and pizz mode). Notably better fit and finish than the WAV series.
NXTa Model Bass Specifics
The NXT Bass is very much the same as the WAV4, but with some notable differences — and beyond the specification differences, it is a far more refined instrument than the WAV4...
Like the WAV4, the NXTa is a full (3/4 size) scale four string instrument featuring NS Design's proprietary PolarTM piezo pickup system. Each bass includes a collapsible tripod stand and a padded gig bag; it holds the bass, the stand, and also has a pocket for a bow.
The instruments have two differently-mounted transducers beneath the adjustable bridge for sound. There is a switch to toggle between them for bowing (arco) and plucking (pizzicato), because the strings vibrate differently under the bow than when plucked; each pickup in the "Polar Pickup" system is specialized for each task. To keep the price down, the preamp controls are passive, with just a single volume and tone control (Unlike the CR and EU basses, which have an active EQ preamp built-in). The NXTa does feature an active buffer, however, and this new feature takes about a minute to charge (with the included charger) and provides a much better interface to bass amps that are designed for lower impedance magnetic bass pickups. This improves the balance and tone of your instrument, and it's a welcome upgrade! The buffer can also be bypassed with a push-pull knob, if you don't need it (or forgot to charge it.)
This is a true electric upright bass, not a fretless bass guitar that you play vertically. The fingerboard is curved, so it can be bowed. While there is a truss rod, there is relief in the fingerboard for typical upright bass style play; if you want very close action for fretless bass guitar style "mwah" up and down the board, additional fingerboard work may be desired.
A page with NXT comments from Mark, such as what to expect and how to get the best results from it, is included with each bass.
- LENGTH: 132 cm (52")
- WEIGHT: exact weight not specified yet
- SCALE LENGTH: 106 cm (41.73")
- STRINGS: 4
- CONSTRUCTION: Solid maple
- COLORS: Transparent Amberburst Satin or Black Satin.
- FINGERBOARD: Richlite*;
- 4 string: 43.1mm (1.7") wide at nut; 89.0mm (3.5") max. width
- BRIDGE: Rock maple (dyed black); radius 7.9cm (3.1") string spacing 80 mm (3.14")
- NUT: Ebony; radius 7.9cm (3.1"); string spacing 31mm (1.22")
- POLAR™ PICKUP SYSTEM: The directional piezo pick-up system responds selectively to either vertical vibration (for the sustained plucked sound, like an electric bass guitar), or lateral vibration (for dynamic bowing, and a percussive plucked sound)
- BUILT-IN BUFFER CIRCUIT: Creates a better electronic "match" to low-impedance bass amps, providing a better overall tone and balance. Flash-recharge in 1 minute, for up to 18 hours of use. Bypassable by switch.
- ELECTRONICS: passive volume and tone control
- TRUSS ROD: Powerful rod design provides positive relief adjustment, accessible at nut. See text above outlining range, it cannot completely flatten the board.
- TUNING MACHINES: Fully encased worm gear tuners; black finish
- STRINGS: Light tension flatwound steel strings are standard. Accommodates all NS length strings and most long scale acoustic double bass strings.
- TRIPOD STAND: (standard) Black steel, fully adjustable, standing tripod design. Weight 3.2 kg (7 lbs.) Note: All basses come with the newest version stand with the redesigned head.
- Alternate Stands (Partial List):
- END PIN STAND: (optional) Offers full freedom of movement. Height, tilt and "right bout" angle are fully adjustable providing a more conventional feel. Weight 2.3 kg (5 lbs)
- SHOULDER STRAP SYSTEM: (optional) guitar style shoulder strap for full mobility
- GIG BAG: (standard) Padded gig bag with integrated bow pocket, handle and backpack style strap. External pockets for stands and accessories
Comments from Mark, reproduced from our November 2009 newsletter:
The brand new NXT Electric Upright Bass from NS Design is really something! While on the surface it may seem that it's just a WAV4 bass with a higher price tag, a closer look reveals some key differences.
For one, the finishes are gorgeous; they're not glossy like the WAV, they're a matte finish, which is more like the high-end CR models. The black has a matte - rather than glossy - finish, it's super sharp. And the AmberBurst is nothing like the WAV's faux-flame; it's real wood with grain showing, and a traditional burst application (also with a very classy matte finish.)
What also strikes me is the acoustic resonance of the instrument - the construction is "tight" and the physical vibration throughout the entire instrument is quite apparent. This may also be wood choice; for the body and fingerboard, the NXT features maple and ebony/Richlite*, rather than the WAV4's poplar and black rosewood, respectively.
Plugged into the shop amp, an Acoustic Image Contra, it sounds quite good; it still needs some tone-shaping to get a more "real" URB sound, but it speaks well, even with the stock strings. Electronically, it looks like they're using better pots and switches on the NXT, too. I haven't opened up the cavity yet, but the switch is obviously different (bigger paddle, feels more substantial) and the knobs are different. The design, accessories, and stand are all essentially the same, so it's still compatible with the various stand and strap options, as well as the cool molded plastic case I found for the WAV4.
I still love my WAV4, but this new NXT bass is really slick, and I think the extra refinement is worth the difference in price. NS Design continues to impress. -- Mark
*What is Richlite?
NS Design is committed to the need and responsibility to do what we can to protect our environment. Certain materials which have for centuries been part of the tradition of instrument making, are under increasing environmental and regulatory pressure. Among these is ebony. NS Design has been on a quest to find an alternative to ebony, one which meets high standards for performance, appearance and durability.
Beginning in November, 2014, NS Design began equipping NXT series instruments with fingerboards made from Richlite™, a natural fiber composite that was originally developed for aerospace and industrial applications. They have found that Richlite's structural, visual, tactile and sonic characteristics rival those of ebony, and that this material is very "friendly" to traditional tools and techniques used by luthiers in the maintenance and care of ebony fingerboards.
NXTa Model Manual
Need to figure out some of the more in-depth features of this product? Here's a copy of the manual, in PDF format, here.
You may wish to visit the manufacturer's website to see if a more recent version is available.