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Introducing the NXT Viola
March 19th, 2014
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NXT4-VA-BK-Front-Angled-bNOBLEBORO, MAINE (February 21, 2014) – NS Design is proud to announce the arrival of the NXT4 Electric Viola, designed by Ned Steinberger. Made to meet the demands of studio, stage, and other challenging performance environments, the NXT4 frees the violist from the limitations of an amplified acoustic viola. Based around a comfortable 16″ viola string scale, key features of this instrument include the self-powered Polar™ pickup system, patented precision tuning system, sleek, ergonomic design, and comparatively light weight. Available with either a flame maple Sunburst or Satin Black finish, the NXT also features a maple body, ebony fingerboard and chinrest, Custom Shoulder Rest, and adjustable-height bridge. Most important, the NXT4 Viola offers artists exceptional amplified and recorded performance quality, and unparalleled freedom of expression.

NXT4-VA-BK-Front-Vertical-bWhile an acoustic viola’s amplified performance is heavily dependent upon the resonant capabilities of the body of the instrument, the NXT’s Polar pickup system is driven directly by the vibration of the strings, enabling it to produce a full spectrum of sound with power and clarity. The NXT set up with F-C-G-D, Octave, or even G-D-A-E strings, delivers the entire range with full richness of tone. A convenient switch beside the volume and tone controls allows selection between heightened arco and pizzicato pickup sensitivity, expanding the tonal palette even further, virtually free of wolf tones.

The tuning system, mounted in the body behind the bridge, removes the weight of pegs and scroll hanging out from the body of the player, reducing the fatigue of longer performances. The ingenious self-clamping tuner provides fast, accurate, and ultra-stable tuning of each string.

The NXT4 viola completes the popular family of NS NXT models, which includes violins, cellos, upright basses, and a bass guitar / upright bass crossover model, the Omni Bass. Founded in 1990 by noted instrument designer Ned Steinberger, NS Design manufactures a wide range of electric bowed string instruments and accessories, including EU, CR, and NXT series instruments crafted in the Czech Republic. NS Design also produces the new RADIUS electric bass guitars. NS Design is headquartered in Nobleboro, Maine. For more information, call +1 (207) 563-7700, email or visit

Introducing the CR4 RADIUS bass guitar
January 17th, 2014
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NS Design announces the arrival of the CR4 RADIUS bass guitar, joining the ground-breaking CR5 recently introduced by Ned Steinberger. Crafted in the Czech Republic, the RADIUS embodies Steinberger’s breadth of experience, insight and design brilliance.

CR4-BG-NAS_1bSteinberger approached the RADIUS by re-exploring each facet of a bass guitar, leading to numerous innovations, such as the Fusion™ neck, Diradial™ body shape, the patented NS tuning system, and the NS/EMG pickup system. Most significant is the manner in which the RADIUS integrates these innovations with a sensuous and highly ergonomic form. The result is an instrument which is beautiful, balanced, and sonically dynamic.

The Fusion™ bolt-on neck is one-piece maple, with an embedded continuous carbon fiber core and adjustable truss rod. This combination provides the natural feel of wood, but the core yields enhanced sustain and definition for each note. The fingerboard is ebony, with a comfortable 15″ radius; the CR4 has a 34″ scale, whereas the CR5 has a 35″ scale.

Replacing heavy conventional tuning machines, the headstock features an aluminum headplate with ball-end string mounting slots, and the self-clamping, precision tuning system is built into the body. Based on the system originally created for the NS violin, this fast, simple system accepts any standard single-ball end, full-scale bass guitar string. Special tools are unnecessary: simply rotate the knurled knob to change a string or tune the instrument.

Created in collaboration with EMG, the integrated piezo/magnetic pickup system and 18V on-board preamp provide extraordinary dynamic headroom, and put a rich tonal spectrum at the player’s fingertips. The controls include: 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 switch.

CR4-BG-AMS-Head-bThe Diradial™ body is rounded, front and back. The rear contour provides enhanced contact and stability against the torso. The front of the instrument is more tightly radiused; in combination with the general wedge shape of the body, this provides a more comfortable orientation to the right hand. The distinctive horn provides a natural grip, and the deep cutaway provides easy access to the highest frets.

For the musician, the RADIUS is perfectly balanced, no downward dipping of the neck, giving the left hand unprecedented freedom. This, along with the light weight—8.4 lbs for the CR4, 8.6 lbs for the CR5—helps to make the RADIUS extraordinarily comfortable to hold and pleasurable to play.

CDZA performs at first annual YouTube Music Awards
December 11th, 2013
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With a large collection of viral music videos to their credit, Collective Cadenza (CDZA) was invited to help kick off the first annual YouTube Music Awards, which streamed live on November 3rd and have amassed 3.8 million views since. CDZA features violinist and NS artist Charles Yang on the CR-4 violin.

Also don’t miss CDZA’s video “Story of the Bass”. Featuring Michael Thurber, this eight-minute whirlwind tour through the history of the instrument includes a shout out to Ned Steinberger and his innovative electric upright.

Electric Violin + Talk Box: Jason Yang covers Daft Punk
December 11th, 2013
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After a year of touring with Madonna, Jason Yang has gotten back to making viral music videos. Check out this fantastic medley of DAFT PUNK covers—awesome combination of CR-4 violin and Talk-Box effects!

Layered looping with the CR-5 electric violin
November 20th, 2013
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Performing with loops is a new and difficult art. Emmy Award-winning composer and violinist Gary Kuo demystifies the process with this beautiful video demonstration of “Nearer, My God, To Thee”. You can watch as Gary lays down the different harmonies with his CR-5 violin, creating a magnificent, symphonic effect and showing how powerful and moving this technology can be.

Bass Player Live 2013
November 14th, 2013
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bpl_logoWe were delighted to exhibit our electric upright basses and bass guitars at Bass Player Live back in November. We love spending time with many of the world’s finest bassists who gather for this event at SIR Studios in Los Angeles.

At the NS Booth, we hosted performances by Chance Wilder Onody, Hal Henckel, Jonathan Moody, Nathan Gehri, and Bahithi Kumalo among other great players. It was thrilling to hear Chance’s deft arco and pizzicato techniques bring to life the vast possibilities of the CR upright. And it was a treat to hear Bakithi’s distinctive sound shine through on the Omni Bass, which he will be playing on tour with Paul Simon and Sting in 2014.

Best of all, a couple CR5 RADIUS Bass Guitars found their way into the hands of some young—and very talented—bassists. The future of the bass guitar, and bass guitar playing, seems bright indeed!

Special thanks to Bass Player Magazine for hosting this exciting event, and to Aguilar Amplification for helping us deliver our sound.

Premier Guitar Loves the CR5 RADIUS!
October 29th, 2013
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Premier Guitar writer Steve Cook gave high marks to the NS CR5 RADIUS Bass Guitar in an online review this month. Marveling at the instrument’s sophistication and detail, Cook writes:

Steinberger has once again pushed the boundaries of interesting features while at the same time enhancing a bassist’s overall comfort and interaction with an instrument. The CR5 Radius bass is an engineering feat: It’s a blend of elegant form and practical purpose, with an array of dizzyingly meticulous details.

Cook writes glowingly both of the RADIUS’s aesthetics and its playability—particularly the high quality of the pickups. You can read his full review online at Premier Guitar, and listen to his sound samples below.



NS Design exhibits at IBMA 2013
October 3rd, 2013
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The International Bluegrass Music Association‘s annual World of Bluegrass conference is the epicenter of all things related to the music. NS Design returned to this event to share our instruments with our Bluegrass friends. Our electric double basses—and increasingly electric violins too—have enjoyed a rapid rise to popularity among Bluegrassers due to their good looks, great tone, and easy playability.

This year, the new CR5 RADIUS Bass Guitar made a big splash too. Lucas Bellotti, of Italian Bluegrass group Red Wine, took to the instrument immediately and performed with it both on International Night and on the main stage of the Street Fair.

The NXT double bass also got plenty of stage time, in the hands of players like Reed Jones of Audie Blaylock and Redline and Daniel Perry of the Moore Brothers Band. IBMA featured the Moore Brothers in the “Future of Bluegrass” showcase of young artists, where they played this rousing cover of “Weight” for the late night crowd.

As always, we had a great time meeting and jamming with friends new and old. Special thanks to Samantha Snyder, of the Snyder Family Band, Daniel Perry and Jacob Moore of the Moore Brothers, and Jedi Willis of the Willis Clan for stopping by to play our basses and fiddles, and thanks to Tim Weed, Marty Warburton, and Mike Kropp for the banjo and guitar jams too. See you all next year!

Summer at Interlochen with NS Design
August 4th, 2013
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Hi all.

I am in my last day of my summer of conducting orchestras again this year at Interlochen Summer Arts Academy. It has been a great summer with lots of performing on my NS Design CR Series violin.

I played for a fantastic art exhibit opening on July 24, using my looping technology, acoustic guitar and NS Design Violin.  It was a great art show with a fantastic turn-out.

P1080012 I also gave a little performance for a group of young string players on August 2.  We discussed all kinds of things from how an electric violin works, to how they are made, what kinds of strings they work with, and all kinds of other topics.  The kids, predictably, were interested in whether it could play with distortion.  It was a fun day.

Finally, on August 3, I soloed with my own orchestra on a Thom Sharp original called, I Can Hear You Knockin’.  My friend, David Kay, from Cleveland also soloed on the tune.  It was a showstopper and I really recommend the arrangment for any of you orchestra directors out there.

It has  been a great summer and I was thrilled to be out there with the best electric violin in the business.



Dress Rehearsal for final concert


Final Concert










Grunow clinic for Students 2


The CR5 Radius Bass Guitar in Action!
February 28th, 2013
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Big thanks to Premier Guitar for shooting this great video about the CR5 Radius Bass Guitar.  A great introduction to the instrument from Ned himself, followed by a demo by Chance Wilder Onody.  The sound in this video is great!  Thanks for a great profile of this exciting new instrument!

(You can download a brochure on the CR5 Radius Bass Guitar here.  Webpage coming soon.)

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