Full Scale • 4 String • One-of-a-Kind Paint Jobs!
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.
These very special instruments each feature a one-off custom paint finish, professionally applied by an instrument finishing shop contracted by NS Design. They all have a highly metallic finish, so they glimmer beautifully in the sunlight or under stage lights - these basses make an impression! Each bass is one-of-a-kind, and proudly wears the "NS Custom" logo printed on the back of the headstock to identify it as such.
A couple of these came about specifically as part of my request to have some custom colors made - two of them are based on colors/finishes I suggested. The other two are the result of the folks at NS Design letting their imaginations go wild!
As always, each first-quality WAV4 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. It is supplied with a padded gig bag and a lightweight tripod playing stand; but every grade of these basses is cross-compatible with the various accessories (stands, strap systems, strings, cases, etc.) Not that 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).
Royal Purple Metallic
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. Certainly makes an impression, and is among the most unique finishes ever put on one of these basses.
Root Beer Metallic
This is one color I very specifically requested, when we first discussed a short run of custom-finished WAV basses. I like that it has an understated, darker look - until the stage lights hit it. Then the base layers shine through with glistening depth of color, and the metallics come to life. This is probably my favorite of the bunch.
Another one based on my color suggestions, this one is a little brighter in color, and really glistens like a polished penny in sunlight. Golden tones come through the copper-y top coat and provide a lot of color depth.
Harlequin Rainbow Metallic
This one is very special; it looks somewhat silvery-gray in normal light, but when sunlight or stage lights hit it, you get prismatic rainbows throughout, and the highly metallic provide a glittery effect. A real show-stopper, this bass is one-of-a-kind, and really quite special!
If you like having a unique instrument, These basses fit that bill! Each one is as well-crafted and set up as any other WAV4 bass, but its eye-catching looks will certainly bring some extra attention.
The stock strings are a light gauge steel, and provide a hybrid sort of sound, but the instrument responds well and can handle most standard 3/4 size upright bass strings. We also stock the NS Electric "Contemporary" and "Traditional" set, as well as the GHS "Crossover" set - all of which are specifically designed to fit these instruments. 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. NS Design smartly thought ahead - the rear control cover allows you route the excess "afterlength" portion of the string around the bottom of the bass and anchor them in keyholes to take up the additional length.
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.
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
- FINISH: Gloss polymer
- COLOR: These custom-shop instruments feature one-of-a-kind gloss/metallic painted finishes.
- BODY/NECK: Maple
- 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.