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NS Design 5-String NXTa Radius Bass Guitar Review

Gear Reviews

NS Design 5-String NXTa Radius Bass Guitar Review

New from NS Design is the NXTa Radius Bass Guitar.

If you aren’t familiar with NS Design instruments, you should know the NS abbreviation stands for Ned Steinberger. The way I see it, Leo Fender introduced us to the electric bass and Ned Steinberger has taken what Leo has done and added engineering and innovation not only to the electric bass, but many other instruments produced by Ned and his great team at NS Design. Ned is the designer of the famous Spector NS basses. What Ned Steinberger does for any of his instruments takes years of research and development until everything is just right and his ideas and innovation are turning up in other manufacturers’ instruments later on.

The NXTa Radius is an innovative and engineering work of art, beauty, and tone to perfection.

Years ago, I was into headless basses and had a few customs myself, which I sold regrettably and wish I had back, and finally did actually get one back. NS Design has reignited that love of headless basses for me. The NXTa 5-String Radius I have sounds great, and as a matter of fact, I am going to suggest against using a preamp as you don’t need one. If you need other effects such as chorus, fuzz and so on, then by all means, but leave your preamp at home!

This instrument has 24 frets and a 15” radius with the string ball ends being inserted into the aluminum headplate.

The adjustment for the steel double action truss rod is at the top of the neck for easy access. The body has a concave back and the tightly radiused front of the body created a more comfortable right-hand position for me when playing. The engineering of the body and neck combined is very well balanced, getting rid of that dreaded neck dive and only weighs in just under 8lbs.

Being that I already mentioned the aluminum headplate I think it’s only right to talk about the bridge, saddle, and tuning system.

The bridge is one solid piece of aluminum and the saddle provides the string height for action and the ability to adjust the intonation. No longer do you have to adjust the action and intonation for each individual string as you did in the past. Once again, Ned has engineered this to make it simpler so you can spend less time adjusting and more time playing.

So, what about the strings?

Well, being that the Radius is a headless bass, the strings are adjusted for tuning on the patented self-clamping tuning system, which is integrated into the body.

With this system, tuning is fast and easy, and string changing is super-fast. Although it comes with a great set of strings from D’Addario, most of us as bass players have our certain strings and gauges the we like. I was able to change the strings and have them ready to go, all stretched and tuned up to perfect pitch in just about 6 minutes, and that includes removing the strings that were on the bass. I should mention that the Radius uses regular strings, not double ball end.

The NS NXTa electronics!

The electronics on the Radius, in combination with the maple body and neck, are the exact reason you don’t need a preamp. As a matter of fact, it will sound great without a preamp and with your bass rig EQ set to flat! The electronics are active/passive featuring custom NS/EMG magnetic pickups designed with a radius top to capture the rich tone from every string. The controls are volume/volume/tone with the tone control being push/pull for the active/passive electronics. While the electronics are active/passive, no batteries are needed. Yes, you read that right, NO BATTERIES are needed. The active electronics are powered by the super capacitor circuitry that charges in 60 seconds with the charge lasting a minimum of 16 hours from when it’s charged. The circuitry is fueled by the supplied AC charger that plugs into the bass output jack.

The NS NXTa Radius Bass Guitar is available as a 5-string as well as a 4-string, and both are available as fretted or fretless.

It is available with a Satin Black finish which is made from solid straight grain maple or in Sunburst with a flame maple top. Be sure to check out this great instrument at a music retailer near you!

For more information, visit online at

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