NS Design Custom Shop WAV4 Full Size Electric Upright Bass (Purple Sparkle)

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  • NS Design Custom Shop WAV4 Full Size Electric Upright Bass (Purple Sparkle)
  • NS Design Custom Shop WAV4 Full Size Electric Upright Bass (Purple Sparkle)
  • NS Design Custom Shop WAV4 Full Size Electric Upright Bass (Purple Sparkle)
  • NS Design Custom Shop WAV4 Full Size Electric Upright Bass (Purple Sparkle)
  • NS Design Custom Shop WAV4 Full Size Electric Upright Bass (Purple Sparkle)
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Full Scale • 4 String • One-of-a-Kind!

As you may already know, the NS Design Electric String Instruments have a long history. Their electric upright basses have been made and refined for decades, and are in the hands of famous (and not-so-famous) players all over the globe. Beautifully crafted, with a distinctive shape that is instantly recognizable, the basses are sure to impress.

This particular instrument features a one-off purple sparkle finish. It is a custom instrument, and features the "NS Custom" logo printed on the back of the headstock to identify it as such. To my knowledge, it's not specifically intended to have any direct relation - but it definitely reminds me of the "Plum Crazy" color that has been a special color on some of the Dodge muscle cars like the Challenger and Charger.

If you like having a unique instrument, this one is certainly that! It is as well-crafted and set up as any other WAV4 bass, but its eye-catching looks will certainly bring some extra attention!


As always, the bass features easy adjustability, excellent playability, and Ned's timeless design - and the bass was fully inspected and set up by the NS Design crew in Maine before it was sent to us. It includes a padded gig bag and a tripod stand which securely holds the instrument in playing position. It also has the "Polar Pickup" - a piezo-based pickup mated with the bridge with both arco (bowing) and pizzicato (plucking) modes. Every grade of these basses is cross-compatible with the various accessories (stands, strap systems, strings, cases, etc.) However, the CR/EU Stand Conversion Kit, which enables the docking of the Endpin Stand to the CR/EU Tripod Stand, will not work with the included NXT/WAV tripod stand (ask us for more info, it can get a little confusing).

The stock strings 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, though non-ferrous (magnet-attracting) strings won't get response from the magnetic pickups on the CR-M basses. 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.

WAV Model Bass Specifics

The WAV is the entry-level NS Bass, and I don't think that any other bass at this price point really compares. They've taken the popular design of the CR/NXT basses and had them constructed in Asia using strict quality controls implemented by NS Design, and the basses are then reinspected and adjusted for perfect playability by NS Design staff when they are received in the states.

The well-known and respected Ned Steinberger, designer of the WAV Series (and countless other instruments over the years), commented: "This is the part I love, where we can put a fine instrument in a players' hands at a price that makes them smile."

The instrument has two transducers beneath the adjustable bridge, and a switch to toggle between them for bowing (arco) and plucking (pizzicato), because the strings vibrate differently under the bow than when plucked. Unlike the CR and EU basses, to keep the price down the system is passive, with just a recessed single volume and tone control. I recommend that you consider a suitable outboard preamp or be conscious of the fact that, like any instrument with a passive piezo-based pickup, some EQ work will be a good idea to shape the tone to your preference.

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 needed.

A page with 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: 4.8 kg (10.5 lbs.)
  • SCALE LENGTH: 106 cm (41.73")
  • STRINGS: 4 or 5
  • FINISH: Gloss polymer
  • COLOR: This custom shop instrument features a purple sparkle finish. It's one-of-a-kind!
  • BODY/NECK: MapleIncludes our exclusive Gollihur Music tipsheet to get the most out of your purchase
  • FINGERBOARD: Coform (a durable, wood-like composite); 43.1mm (1.7") wide at nut; 89.0mm (3.5") max. width. Assymetric relief for easy playability. Inlayed cascading dot markers on face.
  • BRIDGE: Rock maple (dyed black); radius 7.9cm (3.1") string spacing 80 mm (3.14") - adjustable for height
  • NUT: radius 7.9cm (3.1"); string spacing 31mm (1.22")
  • POLAR™ PICKUP SYSTEM: Switch between Arco and Pizz modes; 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), with the flick of a switch
  • CONTROLS: passive volume and tone control (treble roll-off), Polar Pickup Switch
  • TRUSS ROD: Powerful rod design provides positive relief adjustment, accessible at nut.
  • TUNING MACHINES: Fully encased worm gear tuners; black finish
  • STRINGS: Light tension flatwound steel strings are standard. Accommodates all NS length strings and most 3/4 scale double bass strings.
  • TRIPOD STAND: (standard) Black, adjustable, standing tripod design. Weight 3.2 kg (7 lbs.)
  • GIG BAG: (standard) Padded gig bag with integrated bow pocket, handle and backpack style strap. External pockets for stands and accessories

WAV 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.



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Warranty Information

NS Design will cover all defects in material and workmanship for five years for the CR Series, three years for the NXT Series, and two years for the WAV series from the date of purchase. We will repair or replace, at our option, any instrument or part thereof which is found by us to be defective. This warranty includes the tuning hardware, electronics, pick-up systems, truss rod, bridge, fingerboard, neck and stand. This warranty does not include replacement of strings or batteries, or wear to potentiometers, the fingerboard, or surface finish. Problems resulting from disassembly, modification, customization, or repair by anyone without prior authorization from NS Design are not covered by this warranty. We assume no liability other than for the actual repair of the instrument to playable condition within our specifications. This is our sole warranty, and it includes all warranties, whether expressed or implied. You may have specific warranty legal rights which vary from state to state.
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