The NS Cello, designed by Ned Steinberger, is available in the affordable CR Series. This remarkable instrument, available with 4, 5 or 6 strings, is able to produce the delicate and precise tones of it's acoustic parent as well as to create exciting new sounds through the tone shaping geometry of its innovative Polar™ piezo pickup system.
Interchangeable support systems provide new performance options. A fully adjustable tripod stand can be used seated or standing. The inventive Boomerang™ Strap System and Frame Strap System allows full mobility, while the conventional Cello End Pin Stand provides the traditional points of cello contact and position.
The use of standard cello strings and scale length establishes a familiar starting point for the cellist's journey to the electric world. From there anything goes. The energetic response of the NS Cello can be tamed to deliver a traditional cello tone, or set loose to explore new territory.
Solid maple body and neck: The CR Cello is crafted of European maple, with a flame maple face. This solid-body design develops a rich multi-dimensional tone free from the constraints inherent in an acoustic instrument. The traditional cello scale length and neck shape have a familiar feel, while the small body allows full access to the upper register. Brass escutcheon pin on the rear of the neck serves as a reference point corresponding to the heel of an acoustic cello. Solid construction provides structural stability to resist changes in temperature and humidity.
Fingerboard: The fingerboard is expertly graduated with an asymmetric profile to insure that each note is even and buzz free. An adjustable truss rod allows for precise relief adjustment for different strings and playing style. A cascading dot pattern across the neck provides an accurate reference for position.
Bridge Pickup: The Polar bridge-mounted piezo pickup 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).
Active Electronics: The dual mode preamp allows the player to choose between two very distinct tone qualities. The first mode delivers the full frequency response of modern low impedance electronics, for a rich, full-blown "electric" sound. The second is balanced to produce the frequency response of the traditional cello, for a more "acoustic" sound. A three-way toggle switch allows the player to select the desired pickup and electronics options. Additional controls include volume and individual bass EQ & treble EQ controls.
Length: 94 cm (37")
Width: 14 cm (5.5")
Thickness: 9.5 cm (3.75")
Weight: 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs.)
Scale leight: 69.5 cm (27.36"")
NS 6 String CR Cello Part 1
This is a review of the Ned Steinberger CR 6 String Electric Cello Full disclosure: I was never more than a novice cellist when I bought this. I picked up what I can only imagine was a student level, at best, cello from an open air bazaar in Central Asia, where it had presumably fallen off a truck. I never had a lesson, learning how to play from YouTube. This is relevant because I will offer remarks on how the NS Cello differs from an acoustic, so keep in mind my acoustic was probably not good, not set up right, and also, I didn't know how to play it, so take everything with a grain of salt. I've had this beautiful instrument for about a year and half, so I feel like I can give a decent review. I bought the 6 string with the intent of learning the viol da gamba repertoire, of which the English pieces can be played on a 6 string (the French requires a 7 string instrument). The instrument takes alternate tunings just fine – I have mine tuned to DGDGCF. However, it is still essentially a cello, with a bridge curved to emphasize single string playing instead of the broad chords that you can do on an instrument like the da gamba with a shallower bridge. This is fine – obviously, the instrument was built to be a cello and not a da gamba. I fretted the instrument (like a da gamba), using polyester waxed cord from Maine Thread Company. The action up towards the nut is quite low, so I had to use single strand cord for the first two frets. For the lower frets I used double strand cord. Traditionally one uses worn out gut strings, but I think those might be too thick for this instrument. The NS cello has little dots on the fingerboard to tell you where to place your fingers, so fretting the instrument was a breeze. I have short stubby fingers. The NS cellos are only available in 4/4 size, with the explanation that the lack of a body allows the cellist more play on the fingerboard, so the smaller ¾ size isn't really necessary. While this is true, I still need to swing my hand around to use my thumb as the base of some chords that normal sized hands should be able to reach with just their 1st and 4th fingers. For example, the Telemann viol da gamba fantasias require the use of the thumb throughout, especially number one. The NS 6 string ships with a guitar high E string on the top. I was told that this is because they were experiencing breakage of strings, but the E string is jarringly shrill. I put on a cello E string, which did indeed promptly break. Then I put on a guitar A string, tuned it up to a D, and it's been fine for months. The A string lacks the shrill tinniness of the E, and is sturdier than a cello E string. Since then, I've put on bass viol da gamba gut strings (Pirastro.) The top D string broke about a day after I put it on, so I'm back to using a Larson E, which hasn't snapped yet. I think the issue with the E strings breaking so much has to do with the nut – the edge feels a bit sharp on it. For my most current string, I used a piece of a Biore pore strip to soften up the edge on the nut, and so far so good. The gut strings are temperamental and fussy, but once they're broken in, they take the artificial edge off, making the instrument sound more like an acoustic. The lower gut strings can be challenging to install because the tuning peg holes are too small for a big gut C or F. I got around that by shaving the end of the string into a point with razor. The small size, lack of a big round wood body, and the many options for adjusting the instrument is great for a player like me with a plethora of repetitive motion conditions brought about by years in the software industry and an out of control home sewing hobby. I quit the piano, violin, viola because of pain and inflammation in my tendons from holding my arms flat (for the piano) or horked around at the wrist (for the violin and viola). A cello is much less painful to play for somebody with endless carpal tunnel and thoracic outlet syndrome, and the NS cello is even easier. There's no big unwieldy body to work around when playing in the higher positions. Every single angle of the instrument relative to the player can be adjusted to accommodate whatever stiff muscle or arthritic flareup happens to be going on that day. You can even play it standing if your back is bothering you. In comparison with my acoustic, the upper strings take less bow pressure to really make the instrument sing. The lower strings, however, are less responsive, and require much more physical strength to sound. (Again, I suspect comparisons with my acoustic might be suspect.) Due to a raging case of tendinitis in my right thumb, I play underhand, like a viol, with a baroque cello bow. If I need to produce more of a heavy rock bass sound, switching to a morin huur bow works to get the lower strings to growl.
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