Every 6 months I swear that I’m going to do a better job of maintaining this webs site. And I do a post and fix a broken template, then life gets in the way and I hope that social media will take care of it all… it doesnt.

So, today I cleaned up some broken templates, started fixing some typos (still a lot to correct) and then I sat down to write.

New bass day!!

Over the Covid lock-down, I took some time to reacquaint myself with my NS Design WAV bass. For those that don’t know, that’s one of those electric, stick-basses. I bought this thing over 12 years ago and I’ve had an on again, off again relationship with it. I love playing my big upright, but anyone that knows anything about playing  upright, it has a lot of challenges and shortcomings. The NS Design does fill in a lot of this issues. Currently I have it strung up with Helicore Hybrid strings and the NinoMute rarely leaves my bridge.

And of course, falling back in love with my NS Design bass caused me to look around at other NS D basses. I have always been interested in the Omni bass, NSD’s 34” (p-bass scale) bass. But, I really couldn’t find a real reason for it. Then it happened, I found a listing for one that totally confused me: NSD CR-4, FRETTED!!!  Fretted? Totally crazy idea. Why would anyone want an upright bass with frets? After getting to know the guy that was selling it his praise of this bass made him change his mind about selling it. So he took it off the market for a few months and I managed to forget all about it. But during this time, I became more focused on how to play better, and how to better serve the needs of the songs and started considering carrying an electric bass and switching off.

Ten it happened, an email saying it was for sale again… I debated for about an hour, then sent him the cash!

NSD CR-4 Fretted

Pro-tip: it came with a hard shell case, a ski case, great idea and cheaper than any other hard case.


I got it out of the case and instantly put on the boomerang strap. Wow, really cool, flexible and easy to switch positions.

The first thing that hit me was how small it is. After playing upright for so long and the NSD WAV was a super big neck, so this tiny bass neck was a little bit of an adjustment. But it played amazingly. The fingerboard is a compound radius so it’s very electric bass like on the left hand, but the bottom if the neck is nice and round and familiar for an upright player. I took it off the strap and put it on the stand, wow again, it changes the way I approach the instrument so I played much more in an upright bass style, this actually made it sound even more like an upright.

Speaking of sound!

At first it just sounded like a regular high-end bass, like a Fedora or Spector with a piezo in the bridge. But then I dug in a bit and played around, interesting. So the bass has an EMG and the NSD Polar pick-up in the bridge and 5 knobs to control it all. The knobs: Master volume, a blender between EMG and Piezo, a blender between the two piezo options (pits and arco) an active treble and bass controls.

Changing your playing style and position along with dialing in the right control combinations can really give you a wide variety of tones, and yes, a real upright bass sound! I’ve even found a way to play a basic upright slap, I’m still working on my triplets. After a few hours of playing it, I’ve become really comfortable switching sounds and positions for different songs.

I really think I may be in love with this bass. Sure that honeymoon phase is always fun, and who knows, I may hate this thing in a few months. But right now, I’m super impressed and I think this may become my main bass. Now there is all the mental stuff to get over. I love playing my big upright. I can lean on it, hide behind it, and use it as an excuse when I can’t play something or my sound it messed up. Plus, I feel like people like seeing this big orange sparkle bass. But what is more than all of that is that I have wrapped a lot of my identity and ego into being that upright bass guy. I need to get over that and concentrate on being happy when I play and concentrate on making the best possible sound for the songs.

Its also a hell of a lot easier to move it around!