NS Design WAV 4

When NS Design introduced the WAV4 I was really shocked at the price, I expected it to come in at around $1200. I don't think there is anything in its class at this price point. They've taken the popular design of the CR/EU basses and had them constructed in China using strict quality controls implemented by NS Design, and the basses are then reinspected 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 first instrument in the WAV series is a full (3/4 size) scale four string instrument featuring NS Design's proprietary PolarTM piezo pickup system. The WAV 4 Bass is available in a choice of three finishes, a transparent Amberburst or Red, and piano black. Each bass includes a foldable tripod stand and a padded gig bag that will hold the bass, the stand, and also has a pocket for a bow.

The instruments have 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 single volume and tone control. 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; if you want very close action for fretless bass guitar style mwah up and down the board, additional fingerboard work may be needed.

The stock strings are a light gauge steel that serve as a reasonably decent hybrid sort of sound, but the instrument responds well and can handle most standard 3/4 size upright bass strings. I and others report good success with strings such as the Pirastro Obligatos, which are a popular, heavier gauge upright bass string that delivers a more traditional sound, with less sustain and more body than the stock strings. 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. They designed the rear control cover that allows you route the excess string around the bottom of the bass and anchor them in keyholes.

The Endpin Stand, Strap System, ATA Rated flight case, and Tripod Stand for the CR/EU models (see below) are compatible with the WAV4 as well. However, the CR/EU Stand Conversion Kit, which enables the docking of the Endpin Stand to the CR/EU Tripod Stand, will not work the the WAV stand. See those optional accessories below.

A page with WAV4 comments from Bob, 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
    * CONSTRUCTION: Solid beech wood neck and body, flame maple face veneer
    * FINISH: Gloss polymer
    * COLORS: beautiful shaded Amberburst, Transparent Red, or Piano Black. The Amberburst and Trans Red show off the figured maple veneer tops, and the Solid Black presents a very clean and professional "black on black" look.
    * FINGERBOARD: Black Rosewood; 43.1mm (1.7") wide at nut; 89.0mm (3.5") max. width
    * BRIDGE: Rock maple (dyed black); radius 7.9cm (3.1") string spacing 80 mm (3.14")
    * NUT: Black Rosewood; radius 7.9cm (3.1"); string spacing 31mm (1.22")
    * POLAR™ PICKUP SYSTEM: 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)
    * ELECTRONICS: passive volume and tone control
    * TRUSS ROD: Powerful rod design provides positive relief adjustment, accessible at nut. See text above outlining range, it cannot completely flatten the board.
    * TUNING MACHINES: Fully encased worm gear tuners; black finish
    * STRINGS: Light tension flatwound steel strings are standard. Accommodates all NS length strings and most long scale acoustic double bass strings.
    * TRIPOD STAND: (standard) Black steel, fully adjustable, standing tripod design. Weight 3.2 kg (7 lbs.) Note: All basses come with the newest version stand with the redesigned head.
    * 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

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