For several years, the Omni Bass (formerly called the "Bass Cello") has been a professional-grade gigging instrument for performances where it is impractical (or impossible) to bring a larger-scale or "real" upright bass. With a comfortable 34" scale, incredible build quality, and excellent pickup/preamp setup, it's a great performer.
Like their popular electric upright bass models, it is now available in three main "trim levels":
- CR Series - Top-shelf, with added magnetic pickups and a fully active blending preamp, made in the Czech Republic
- NXTa Series - Passive piezo pickup with rechargeable buffer circuit, made in the Czech Republic
- NEW WAV Series - Fully Passive electronics, made in Indonesia
The successful formula of the WAV4 and WAV5 Bass has been applied to the new WAV Omni Bass: take the design and styling from the NXT Model bass, scale back some of its features, and create a more affordable, entry-level bass that is still "pro" enough to be used by real professionals. This is no toy!
The OMNI Bass from NS Designs has a few distinct features which make it uniquely attractive to certain players - particularly those who play mostly electric bass and want a "crossover" instrument which bridges the gap between electric and upright bass. Based on a 34 inch scale, which is familiar to electric bassists, the instrument features an arched fingerboard for bowing, and dot markers on the fingerboard for ease of intonation. And its light weight and slim body make it a joy to play!
The bass features the great Polar™ Pickup System, just like the NXT OmniBass (and similar to the CR models) - the unique Polar mode switch allows you to optimize for pizz or bowed response at the flick of a switch. It does have a treble roll-off "tone" knob; for further tone-shaping, you can simply use the controls on your amp, much like you'd do with a passive electric bass guitar.
You can play the NS Design OMNI Bass using the very cool Boomerang™ Strap System to "wear" the instrument just like a regular electric bass. It features two articulated arms and a pivoting hub (kind of looks like a "lazy S"); you simply attach a standard guitar strap to the ends of each arm, adjust the arms, and you can place the instrument in virtually any position in relation to your hands and body. You can even rotate the instrument on its hub into a horizontal playing position for playing it like an electric bass. It's a neat arrangement, you can adjust the pivot's tension so that you can quickly and easily rotate it to a vertical or horizontal position -- or anything in between!
I find the Omni Basses to to be perfect for a player who primarily plays electric bass but wishes to have a second instrument to capture that "upright vibe" with a modern twist. Obviously, it's a shorter scale instrument with a solid body, so it's not going to fool a purist... but it's a very well-made instrument with lots of tonal flexibility, incredible playability, and distinctive looks. It was especially rewarding to be able to dial in very URB-like sounds as well as a more solid rock flavor.
The WAV Omni Bass is available in 4 or 5 strings, in three high-gloss color options: a transparent Amberburst, transparent Cherry Red, or Transparent Black finish. All three finishes are over a lovely flame maple top. Each bass includes a Boomerang Strap System and a padded gig bag; it holds the bass and has a separate pocket for an optional stand; it also has a pocket for a bow. The Omni Bass is compatible with all of the same stands and straps that the other instruments from NS Design all share; tripod stand, endpin, etc.
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 system is passive, with just a single volume and tone control (Unlike the CR and EU basses, which have an active preamp built-in). I recommend 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. The action is very low, as the basses are set up at NS Design's headquarters in the USA before being shipped to us. If you want even closer action - so you can get even more fretless bass guitar style "mwah" up and down the board - you might need tp reduce the amount of scoop in the fingerboard to make it a little "flatter." Though the chances are that you're gonna love it right out of the box.
The Tripod Stands, Endpin Stand, and Strap System for the NXT/CR/EU models (see below) are compatible with the WAV models as well. They make an ATA Rated flight case for the Omni bass, and we also have a lighter-weight hard case available which works well with this bass.
Wav OMNI BASS SPECIFICATIONS:
- STRINGS: 4-string E,A,D,G; 5-string B,E,A,D,G or E,A,D,G,C
- BODY/NECK: Solid, straight grain maple, with flame maple face on body.
- FINGERBOARD: Hand-graduated, asymmetric. Intonation referenced with cascading dot markers & side dots.
- FINISH: Amberburst, Trans Red, and Trans Black.
- BRIDGE PICKUP: The Polar™ directional piezo pickup system responds selectively to lateral string vibration, for bowing and for the percussive plucked response of a traditional acoustic instrument, or to vertical string vibration, for remarkable even and sustained plucked sound more like a guitar. A switch allows the player to choose the desired response.
- ELECTRONICS: Battery-free, passive piezo-electric pickups circuit with high impedance output - High-impedance amplifier or outboard preamp recommended for best tone and gain structure. Volume control and Tone control (treble roll off).
- GIG BAG: NXT Padded gig bag with integrated bow pocket, handle and backpack style strap. External pockets for stands and accessories.
- TRIPOD STAND: (optional) Black steel, fully adjustable, standing tripod design. Weight 3.2 kg (7 lbs.) Note: NXT/WAV full-size basses ship with the newest version stand with the redesigned head joint.
- 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
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.