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 NS/Stick – update and question about action 
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Post NS/Stick – update and question about action
I’ve been enjoying getting to grips with the NS for six weeks now, minus a week’s vacation.

Having taken delivery with guitar tuning, I briefly tried the guitar lower octave, before resolving on the straight fourths. It seems I’m more likely to be using the instrument as an extended-range bass, with lots of tapping opportunity, rather than playing that many chords with a bassline, or counter-melodies. I will get back to trying more of that in due course. It’s so easy to flick between tunings that it doesn’t matter much.

The tapping is hilariously good fun. I have a GR-55 hooked up via the GK-3 pickups to do the full widdly widdly stuff (not that I’m very expert yet), and that works really well.

Mostly, though, I’ve been practising using it as a bass, in order to get to grips with the very, very low action and the unfamiliar string spacing. I’m not used to a low B string and the gap between the D and G strings sometimes confuses my right-hand fingers. As part of that I have also been spending time with my (4-string) bass guitar and on both instruments I’ve been brushing up on various rock and metal stuff, including Metallica, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple and some new stuffer, e.g. Winery Dogs (Billy Sheehan being a bass-tapping monster). The NS sounds fantastic through a bass distortion pedal and compressor (+/- octaver, chorus, delay).

Going back and forth between thrashing away on the bass and using a much, much gentler plucking technique on the NS is useful. For some practice on the NS I have not plugged it in, to really get to grips with quiet plucking and minimizing buzz. The required level of plucking is so gentle. (BTW I’ve only minimally tried using a plectrum – not my favoured manner of playing anyway, and I find that the GK-3 mounted on the instrument body gets in the way when picking.)

Which brings me to a question.

I’m not yet planning to change the action as I want to get as used to it as much as possible. However, I really think that the required level of gentleness is not going to be feasible for me when playing live. Who doesn’t like to get carried away in a live rock situation? As well as plucking, I will want to tap, so I only imagine raising the action very slightly. My question is whether raising the action at the bridge by, say, a quarter- or a half-turn will mess up the GK-3 pickup response? Everything I read says that it’s easy to change the action and to change it back, but I’m still nervous of changing anything at the moment. One option may be to raise the four bass strings a little and leave the higher strings. As I say, there’s no real rush as I’m really trying to master the super-low action to start with. No gigs planned yet ;o)

All thoughts welcome.

Thanks.

Seán


Fri Sep 04, 2015 5:10 am
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Post Re: NS/Stick – update and question about action
I don't actually do this myself, but Don Schiff always recommended plucking much closer to the bridge. According to Don you can really dig in there, it gets a really decent tone, but it also results in less difference between your volume plucking -vs- your volume tapping. This would also may alleviate the need/desire to raise your action.

Disclaimer: I'm a Jazz player and play with a *really* light technique, so take this whatever grain of salt you think is due. ;)

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Fri Sep 04, 2015 11:44 am
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Post Re: NS/Stick – update and question about action
Thanks. I'll give that a try.


Fri Sep 04, 2015 12:37 pm
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Post Re: NS/Stick – update and question about action
Plucking closer to the bridge definitely helps, but it does limit the variety of pluck tones. I use a couple different eq settings on my pedal board to help solve that.
I also did the same thing that you mentioned, raising the lower pitched strings and keeping the higher ones lower. I found that I mostly just do tapping on the higher strings anyways and like the fatter sound of the higher action for the bass.
From my experience it came down to assessing how much tapping I do in comparison to how much I will be sitting on the low end in whatever project I gig in. I always keep my hex wrenches on hand in the case and find myself adjusting that often.

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Fri Sep 25, 2015 2:28 pm
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Post Re: NS/Stick – update and question about action
Thanks, that's interesting.

I've not touched it for 3 weeks, in favour of playing a lot of bass guitar, but I might pick it up this week and adjust the action. I still don't know how that will affect the GK3, but I guess I'll find out.


Mon Sep 28, 2015 4:45 am
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