NS Design CR4 4 String Viola

List Price:  £2,730.00UK Price:  £2,175.00 - Inc. 20% VATSave:  £555.00 (20%)Worldwide:  £1,812.50

Delivery:  Free Shipping to UK / Selected EU Destinations


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NS Design Adjustable Chin RestNS Design Adjustable Chin Rest
NS Design Custom Flight CaseNS Design Custom Flight Case


NS Design... For The Perfect performance

The 4-string CR Series NS Viola completes the NS Design family of electric concert stringed instruments. With a remarkable tonal range due to its innovative NS Polar™ pickup system, the NS Viola is able to selectively capture the string vibration favored for both bow and pizzicato technique with stunning brilliance and sensitivity. Now the violist can shed the constraints of the acoustic instrument, and enjoy full, rich, powerful sound from an instrument that is very comfortable to play.

Solid Maple Body & Neck

Crafted in the Czech Republic, The NS Viola is constructed of solid maple, with an sumptuous flame maple face. This lightweight solid-body design transfers the full spectrum of sound to the pickup without feedback, and is very stable even with changes in temperature and humidity. The ergonomic shoulder and chin rest provide comfortable, stable support, and a maple bout on the treble side bout provides standard left hand position reference and is readily removed for unrestricted neck access. The solid ebony fingerboard is hand graduated for consistent string articulation.

Polar™ Pickup System

The NS Viola features the NS Polar bridge-mounted piezo pickup system. The Polar pickups can sense either vertical or lateral string vibration. Set in the vertical mode, plucked notes are remarkably even and sustained. In the lateral mode, the pickup has unparalleled sensitivity in the direction of the bow, with more attack when plucked. Attack and decay can be effectively controlled with the Polar pickup system.

Active Electronics

The dual mode preamp allows the player to choose between two very distinct and important tone qualities. The first position delivers the extended frequency response of modern low impedance electronics, for a full-blown "electric" sound. The alternate position activates electronic filters to replicate the frequency response of the traditional viola, 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 and treble EQ controls.

All controls are located within easy reach of the right hand so adjustments can be made with the instrument in playing position.

  • Volume Control
  • Individual Treble & Bass EQ Controls
  • 3-way Switch for Polar Pickup
    • Up - vertical string vibration (for sustained pizzicato)
    • Centre - lateral string vibration, arco full frequency for electric bowed sounds
    • Down - lateral string vibration, arco "acoustic" timbre

Precision Tuning Hardware

With the NS Design patented tuning system, remarkably precise and stable tuning is accomplished entirely behind the bridge, in the manner similar to the fine tuners of an acoustic instrument. The strings are clamped securely as the string is tuned... no headstock scroll or tuners are required, so the balance point of the instrument is back toward the shoulder for optimum playing comfort. Standard viola strings will fit the NS Viola, although specially formulated NS Electric strings from D'Addario are recommended.

Support Systems

The CR Viola comes equipped with the NS Custom Shoulder Rest which can be formed by the player to fit the body perfectly. The instrument can also attach to NS Design's revolutionary Balanced Shoulder Rest which secures it effortlessly in optimal playing position.

Flight Case Included

The NXTa Viola ships with a custom Cordura® covered hardshell case, with handle, shoulder strap and separate compartments for shoulder rest, charger, accessories and bows plus an exterior zipper pouch (loaded weight : approx. 3.2kg / 7lb).

  << NS Design CR Series Violin/Viola User Manual

 NS Design CR Series 4-String Viola

Construction Straight grain, quarter-sawn, solid European maple body & neck, with flame maple face
Finish Traditional amber stain with polymer top coat
Body Reference Bout Black-dyed maple bout on treble side provides standard viola reference; Removable for unrestricted neck access
Fingerboard Hand graduated ebony
Bridge Black-dyed maple; Height adjustable via screws on back of body
Pickup NS Polar™ bridge mounted, directional piezo pickup system
Electronics 9v active circuit by EMG; Mono output; Internal headphone amp circuit with mini-jack output for self monitoring
Controls Volume • Treble EQ • Bass EQ • 3-Way Toggle Switch for Polar Pickup Control (Pizzicato - Arco/Electric - Arco/Acoustic)
Tuning Machines Precision 40:1 fine tuners mounted behind the bridge; Automatic string clamping for quick, easy string changing
Length 58.5cm (23")
Width 11.68cm (4.6")
Thickness 5.1cm (2")
Weight 775g (1.71lbs)
Scale Length 36.6cm (14.4")
String Spacing @ Bridge: 38mm (1.5") / @ Nut: 18mm (0.7")
Strings NS Design/D'Addario Medium tension, stranded steel core (NS410); Compatible with standard viola strings
Accessories Chin rest; NS Custom Shoulder Rest - Ergonomic foam pad support is fully adjustable (up and down and tilt)
Case Cordura® covered, form fitting hard foam core • Loaded weight : approx 3.2kg (7lbs)

The NS Design Polar™ Pickup System

THE POLAR™ PICKUP SYSTEM allows the player to select the direction of response to control attack, sustain, and bow response characteristics. The result is an exciting new dimension in string instrument performance, featuring:

  • Powerful dynamics
  • Rich, full sound
  • High sensitivity to the bow
  • Sustained pizzicato
  • Extended versatility

As a player, you may not think about the direction your strings are vibrating, or even be aware that string vibrations on a musical instrument are polarized in relation to the fingerboard and the motion of the plectrum and bow. Yet direction is one of the most significant factors influencing the tone and response of a stringed instrument. In fact, instruments from the violin family are different from the lute or guitar in large part due to the effects of string polarization.

The bow drives the string back and forth in the direction of the bow, while at the same time it suppresses the up and down vibration. You can see this effect with the naked eye by watching the wide excursion of the lowest strings when bowed. From the front, you can see a wide lateral pattern of string vibration, but looking from the side you can see almost no pattern at all. Instruments in the violin family have a tall bridge in combination with an asymmetrical support structure of bass bar and sound post that efficiently translate the sideways motion of the bowed string into sound.

The Polar pickup responds with a high degree of lateral sensitivity and vertical rejection that is tailored to mirror the polarity of the bowed string. The result is a remarkably dynamic, rich tone that responds effortlessly to the bow.

The Polar pickup takes this concept one step further, and is able to switch from lateral to vertical sensitivity, which is ideal for pizzicato. Unlike the violin, a flattop guitar or lute respond in the vertical direction, to minimize the plucked attack and store energy for longer sustain. With the touch of a finger, the polar pickup can switch from lateral to vertical mode. In the vertical mode the attack is controlled for a sustained, singing pizzicato response. The lateral mode has the opposite effect, and the plucked response is extraordinarily percussive, like a traditional bowed instrument, only more so. This dual capacity allows the player to control attack and decay, adding new expressive potential to the violin family of instruments.

All NS Design instruments are equipped with the dual-mode Polar Pickup System.

On EU and CR Series instruments, active bass and treble EQ controls combine with the Polar pickup options to provide tremendous tonal range. Additional magnetic pickups, switching and associated pre-amp circuitry vary from model to model.


CR Series

Sophisticated and versatile instruments, built to deliver outstanding performance.

NXTa Series

Featuring innovative, custom built, high performance, battery-free active electronics.

WAV Series

Affordable passive instruments featuring NS Design's Polar™ Pickup System.

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