By the time he started NS Design in 1990, Ned Steinberger's headless guitar designs had already captured the industry's attention. But with NS Design, Ned expands his forward-thinking innovations beyond the guitar, exploring the bowed instrument family. NS Design offers the full line—Double Bass, Cello, Violin, and Viola—reimagined as electric concert instruments. Each model achieves a new level of functionality, providing modern players with the ultimate freedom of expression.
Other brands make travel-friendly, compact upright basses, but NS Design goes way beyond portability. Make no mistake, the NXT Active may be the easiest double bass to bring along on the subway, but it's also a purely electric instrument. Feedback isn't a concern, and you can control the volume and tone just like an electric bass. You have the freedom to explore new effects and run upright through a loop station. For recording? Plug into an interface, and you're good to go.
Relative to other "travel" basses, the NXTa feels durable and bomber, and it packs up neatly into the included gig bag. While most uprights are known as "stand up" basses, the sturdy tripod stand allows you to sit down comfortably with the NXTa. You can also adjust the tilt and angle to your liking, and unlike a traditional acoustic bass, you can let go and walk away from the instrument without it falling over.
The NXTa's electronics are based around the NS Design Polar Pickup System, which uses the bridge as the transducer. It has a rechargeable Active circuit, but you can also bypass it and play in passive mode. The "Arco/Pizzicato" optimizes the tone dynamic bowed response or percussive attack pizzicato playing. For classical or orchestral playing, we like the Active setup in Arco mode direct into the board. For jazz, bluegrass, rockabilly, or folk music, we like the Passive option in Pizzicato mode through your favorite bass amp.
This 2017 NXTa is in nice condition all around, and it has a low setup that feels much easier to play than a traditional upright. Plus, it has guitar-like sealed tuning machines and even helpful markers on the fingerboard. Beyond the obvious portability—and the functionality of a purely electric upright bass—the NXTa feels so much more approachable. In many ways, the NXTa makes the double bass more accessible to a wider range of players.