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 new to NS a few questions.. impressions 
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Post new to NS a few questions.. impressions
Hi all,
I just picked up an NS in a trade..

(I currently have a Railboard/ a grand 10 and a Warr 8).

The question is.. I assume the previous owner had this set up a a hybrid tap and pluck. is there an optimal string height set up for tapping? is there an Xmm above 12th fret to aim for?

Initial impressions..

The bridge and head are seriously impressive engineering.

I can't seem to get it to "hang" like a stick, it seems to wants to sit more "guitar like". Not specifically good or bad. just different.

I am not sold on the pickups (esp on melody). I like sound of RB/ Villex/ Barts/ Piezo/ Stick up more. (i tend to run without effects)

Neck feels a lot chunkier than Sticks.

It seems like there is no love for 8 string sticks out there (vs NS)?


Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:26 am
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Post Re: new to NS a few questions.. impressions
I would love to see pictures of your NS!

Gary would be a great resource on how the NS is set up when leaving SE.

Did the previous owner make any adjustments? I suspect most players don't make any changes because they are not comfortable doing it.... which means the instrument is still the same set up from the factory... which is a good thing because SE does an amazing set up.
If anything is out of whack it will be the neck and just needs a truss adjustment.

Do the strait edge trick using the melody edge side string. (Hold it at first fret with left hand and hold down 15th or 17th fret area with the right hand pinky. Reach out with right hand index finger towards the middle and press down on string to see how much relief there is.) For me there is just a tiny amount of relief. I then play a little and adjust by feel and listen for buzzes.

I would start from there and play it a bit. It's mostly your playing style that will have to adjust rather than making changes to the instrument. If after a while you can't get your playing to work then make small adjustments. But start with the optimized neck.

I play my NS in more of a vertical position than Gary Jibilian or Don Schiff. When sitting I have the body between my legs. Gary and Don have it more horizontal. My opinion is that it should be in a position that you are comfortable with but also hangs in a way that is the same when sitting or standing.

The SB8 is a "Stick" version of the NS... Has a 36" scale length and has the options of pickups. I've never played an SB8 but I'd like to try it some time. The video of Don playing it has that iconic Stick tone to it. http://stick.com/instruments/sb8/
Not a lot of people playing these... I can only find about 5 videos on youtube.

I, personally, like the modern sound of the active EMG pickups but I sometimes wonder what it would be like with more of that passive "stick" pickup sound.

Looking forward to hearing what you do with your NS/Stick!

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Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:15 am
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Post Re: new to NS a few questions.. impressions
Skydiver wrote:
I would love to see pictures of your NS!

Gary would be a great resource on how the NS is set up when leaving SE.

Did the previous owner make any adjustments? I suspect most players don't make any changes because they are not comfortable doing it.... which means the instrument is still the same set up from the factory... which is a good thing because SE does an amazing set up.
If anything is out of whack it will be the neck and just needs a truss adjustment.

Do the strait edge trick using the melody edge side string. (Hold it at first fret with left hand and hold down 15th or 17th fret area with the right hand pinky. Reach out with right hand index finger towards the middle and press down on string to see how much relief there is.) For me there is just a tiny amount of relief. I then play a little and adjust by feel and listen for buzzes.


Thanks.

I would suspect/ expect that the NS from the factory tends to be set up not as low as a Stick, as the marketing seems to be geared towards an "it can do everything" crossover approach?

The neck is straight, so, need need to tweak the rod.

Time will tell if it's a keeper or not. I love headless, and this really is an engineering marvel. But, right now if given the chance I would be hard pressed to say no to a trade of an 8st stick if nothing other than based on the sound/ pickups. But, time will tell.


Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:20 pm
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Post Re: new to NS a few questions.. impressions
I believe the NS comes with a setup somewhere in the middle so that you can play any style on it (tapping or plucking.) It can be set up for any extreme. Coming from The Stick world I have my NS set up with very low action.

How low? As low as I could get it to go. Make sure the neck is straight and start lowering the strings (equally) until you get a buzz somewhere (most likely on the highest string.) Now you are as low as you can go. Make sure to write down all your adjustments so you can go back.

I don't think the neck is any chunkier. I think it may feel that way because of the taper, because the strings are further apart and because (now) your strings are higher than on a Stick.

The other thing to remember about the SB8 is that the strings are parallel to each other. I've never played an SB8. For me personally, it would have to go a long way to win over the NS :)

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Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:50 pm
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Post Re: new to NS a few questions.. impressions
rwkeating wrote:
I believe the NS comes with a setup somewhere in the middle so that you can play any style on it (tapping or plucking.) It can be set up for any extreme. Coming from The Stick world I have my NS set up with very low action.

How low? As low as I could get it to go. Make sure the neck is straight and start lowering the strings (equally) until you get a buzz somewhere (most likely on the highest string.) Now you are as low as you can go. Make sure to write down all your adjustments so you can go back.

I don't think the neck is any chunkier. I think it may feel that way because of the taper, because the strings are further apart and because (now) your strings are higher than on a Stick.

The other thing to remember about the SB8 is that the strings are parallel to each other. I've never played an SB8. For me personally, it would have to go a long way to win over the NS :)


I had not considered neck taper (ns ) vs no taper (stick). That would make a lot of sense as to the difference in feel.


Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:55 am
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Post Re: new to NS a few questions.. impressions
So I guess Ive always viewed the NS as basically just a headless 8 string guitar optimized for tapping due to its being based off the Stick. Maybe I'm wrong tho idk, I would absolutely love to get my hands on one to try tuning it really dissonantly and low, and I guess to that end you would want probably want the action set some in the middle to higher up depending on the style of music you're playing. It's obviously designed for versatility though so I can't imagine the neck taper necessarily being an issue, I've played a couple very different 9 string guitars with wide necks but huge differences in taper, and that wasn't as much of an issue as the setup was in how you could adjust them. I imagine it's about the same with the NS...

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Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:56 am
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Post Re: new to NS a few questions.. impressions
I've had my NS for a few weeks now in a try-it-out mode. I have a railboard and I probably won't keep both of them.

I had a hard time the first week because of the sound of the melody, which is not as sweet and pretty as what I get out of the railboard. The strings are also a lot stiffer, which is to be expected with the heavy gauge.

I'm finding guitar-interval tuning to be rather nice on it. I play guitar, so I don't have quite as much of an issue with the illogical last two strings. It allows me to strum the instrument or put a capo on the last 6 strings and really use it like a guitar. You have to strum lighter, of course, but it works well enough. The only real thing holding it back is that it doesn't have the pretty sound I can get out of my guitar. It's also good for fingerpicking in this mode.

I like straight 4ths tuning, but it really strumming a lot more difficult, especially with minor chords. But I still switch back and forth. Obviously, 4ths has its major benefits as well.

But overall, my biggest thing is the tone. I like it to be similar across all 8 strings so I don't have to worry about stepping into the bass strings and having it sound off. Mono can do this, but stereo with a similar signal chain I think will work out best.

The sound I got out of the melody side at first was rather dull. I've improved it, but there's still a lot of work to be done in that department.


Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:04 pm
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Post Re: new to NS a few questions.. impressions
I am also having a hard time getting sounds out of the melody side that I like, and there is definitely a "break" sound-wise between bass and melody side. Trying out an SB8 would be interesting, especially as it has a wider string spacing that then 10 string instruments. But they seem to be rare...


Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:00 pm
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Post Re: new to NS a few questions.. impressions
evil1603 wrote:
I am also having a hard time getting sounds out of the melody side that I like, and there is definitely a "break" sound-wise between bass and melody side. Trying out an SB8 would be interesting, especially as it has a wider string spacing that then 10 string instruments. But they seem to be rare...

snoitan wrote:
I've had my NS for a few weeks now in a try-it-out mode. I have a railboard and I probably won't keep both of them.

I had a hard time the first week because of the sound of the melody, which is not as sweet and pretty as what I get out of the railboard. The strings are also a lot stiffer, which is to be expected with the heavy gauge.

I'm finding guitar-interval tuning to be rather nice on it. I play guitar, so I don't have quite as much of an issue with the illogical last two strings. It allows me to strum the instrument or put a capo on the last 6 strings and really use it like a guitar. You have to strum lighter, of course, but it works well enough. The only real thing holding it back is that it doesn't have the pretty sound I can get out of my guitar. It's also good for fingerpicking in this mode.

I like straight 4ths tuning, but it really strumming a lot more difficult, especially with minor chords. But I still switch back and forth. Obviously, 4ths has its major benefits as well.

But overall, my biggest thing is the tone. I like it to be similar across all 8 strings so I don't have to worry about stepping into the bass strings and having it sound off. Mono can do this, but stereo with a similar signal chain I think will work out best.

The sound I got out of the melody side at first was rather dull. I've improved it, but there's still a lot of work to be done in that department.


Hmmm...I've not really noticed any break between the string sets, bass and melody, myself. I'm about 2 months in on mine now. Most of the time, I don't even think of it as two sets of strings. I think I'm mainly summing both channels into one mono signal, and I have some pieces that cut right across the two sets of 4-strings but I can't tell where the break is by listening.

The heavier string gauge does make things sound differently, versus my Railboard or my Rosewood 10-string. I've focused more on the bass side of the NS and not so much on the melody side (plugged in anyway).

But a lot of this sounds extremely subjective. People really have different tastes and that's why there are Fenders and Strats and Les Pauls and various flavors of Sticks, and pickups, and gear, and playing styles (heavy touch versus light). And 437 string manufacturers.

So, I guess try one out if you can, see if it fits you and is what you're looking for. But I love my NS/Stick! And my Railboard! And my Rosewood! Like I love all my children, who are all special and different. But I won't pretend that they are the same--just all awesome in their own different ways. Thanks for sharing your impressions, guys!

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Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:01 pm
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Post Re: new to NS a few questions.. impressions
The harder you play the low pitched strings, the louder they sound. The same is not true with the high pitched strings. At some point (much sooner than low strings,) the high pitched strings stop getting louder. I've heard the same complaint from people that play 10 and 12 string Stick.

So, to even out your sound, change how you play. Don't play so hard.

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Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:54 pm
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