These new basses from NS Design are revolutionary. I've got one of the five-string fretless basses, and it just plays "like buttah." And it sounds amazing, too - with lots of control over the tone, a built-in piezo pickup for real flexibility, and solid straightforward bass tone with the EMG pickups. It's truly a player's bass, the sort of bass that's worth saving your duckets for.
The body truly is "ergonomic" - careful attention was clearly spent crafting every contour to make the bass comfortable to wear (and play.) The "Diradial Body" is their way of describing the concave back, which creates a more pronounced curvature than just the belly cut you find on most slab basses. This is particularly good for those of us (I'm speaking very personally, here) with a bit more belly -- but the benefit is even realized by those who don't enjoy pasta as much as I do.
The neck has a continuous carbon fiber core; they claim that it enhances sustain and definition. I say that they're probably right, because the bass has plenty of both. But yet the neck has a natural, familiar feel of maple. Upright players may also appreciate the radiused fingerboard (at 15°) which will likely feel a bit more familiar when you're doubling. The CR4 has a 34" scale, but the fiver actually makes it 35" to provide a better low B feel and tone.
I've long been a fan of "headless" design -- my most used electric is a six-string headless bass -- because not having those tuners on the end of the neck really improves balance. It also makes it less likely that you'll bop the singer in the head with the extra length of the headstock (although, that may not be a selling point, depending on how much you like your singer.) One thing that some folks don't like about headless basses though: feeling like you'll slide right off the end of the neck when you go down to play an F (or other first fret note). As usual, Ned's thought of everything; a subtle "heel" has been carved into the end of the neck to create a "landmark" for easy reference for the low positions. My guitarist, who tried the guitar version of this instrument at the NAMM show, remarked how much that little detail made the instrument that much more confidence-inspiring.
The tuning system is clever and simple; the NS Patented Tuning System (US Patent 6,528,710) has a self-clamping, precision tuning machine, built into the body. This fast, simple system accepts any standard single-ball end, full-scale bass guitar string. No tools or special double-ball end strings are needed: simply rotate the same knurled knob to change a string or tune the instrument.
As for the pickups, NS Design and EMG collaborated to create a specialized blendable piezo and magnetic pickup system. It features an 18V onboard preamp, for extraordinary dynamic headroom. The active electronics are combined with the NS bridge-mounted PolarTM pickup system, so you have incredible control over the tone of the instrument.
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 (contour) switch.
The shape, balance and light weight of the RADIUS make this instrument exceptionally comfortable to play. If you need to tweak the setup (the bass arrives to you with the aforementioned "buttah" action), 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 bass is simply brilliant. This was written by Mark, and you can quote me on that.
Fretted or fretless, four string (CR4) or five string (CR5), the CR Radius Bass Guitar is available in Amber Satin, Natural Satin, or Charcoal Satin finishes. The CR model is meticulously crafted in the Czech Republic (Europe).
The WAV Radius Bass
The WAV4 RADIUS Bass is made in Asia for a lower cost point, but doesn't really skimp on features. It still has the killer tuning system, diradial body, and the NS Polar/EMG High Impedance Dual Pickup System (though it has a single EMG pickup in the "sweet spot" rather than the two of the CR model). Its neck doesn't have the carbon fiber core, but you'll consider this a small detail when you put it into your hands. The WAV offers master volume and balance controls, along with separate tone controls for each pickup. Currently available as a four- or five-string fretted model, in Crimson Metallic, Cobalt Metallic, and Matte Black color options.
|Body Length||20.8" (all models)|
|Neck radius||15" (all models)|
|12th Fret Width||2.19"||2.54"||2.19"|
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.