Innovative instrument maker shares his story in one-on-one conversation from Frankfurt MusikMesse
Ned Steinberger is one of the most highly acclaimed instrument designers in the music business. Ironically, he’s not even a musician.
The son of an artist mother and a Nobel Prize-winning physicist father (who also played the flute), Ned Steinberger enjoyed tinkering in his basement woodshop, spawning an interest in creativity and design from an early age.
After majoring in sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Ned began designing furniture and cabinetry. Having crossed paths with like-minded individuals, most notably New York luthier Stuart Spector, in the mid-‘70s, Ned was exposed to the art of stringed instrument design. Ned formed Steinberger Sound Corp., which became widely known for its classic “headless bass” design, for which Ned received awards, including the “Design of the Decade” award fro the Industrial Designer Society of America. After a successful run, Ned eventually sold Steinberger Sound to the Gibson company in 1986, freeing him up to focus, once again, on instrument design and innovation.
Ned founded his current company, NS Design, in 1990, primarily to develop electric string instruments. The company, based in Nobleboro, Maine, features an extensive line of violins, violas, cellos, double basses and electric basses. The long roster of notable NS Design artists includes the likes of Laurie Anderson, Les Claypool, Tony Levin, Jim Creeggan, Geoff Gascoyne, “Hutch” Hutchinson, Bakithi Kumalo, Michal Urbaniak, Rob Wasserman and many others.
FBPO’s Jon Liebman sat down with Ned at the 2016 MusikMesse in Frankfurt, Germany.
Watch our interview with Ned!
Also see our FGBO interviews and features with the following NS Design artists:
James “Hutch” Hutchinson