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Bristol Area Lions Club Learns About Musical Instrument Design and Innovation 05/21/2014

Posted by DS in meetings, speakers.
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Steinberger at Bristol Lions Club

Bristol Lion John Janell, left, thanks designer Ned Steinberger for his presentation on electronic musical instruments.

In a recent presentation to the Bristol Area Lions Club, innovative designer Ned Steinberger emphasized the role of ergonomics in his work.

After graduating from the Maryland College of Art, Steinberger knew he did not want to become an artist but rather a “designer of practical things.” He worked first as a cabinetmaker and furniture designer in New York City. After meeting New York luthier Stuart Spector, however, Steinberger was drawn to design electric guitars instead, a decision that led to the career he pursues today in Maine.

Steinberger’s first major commission came along in 1976—the Spector NS Bass Guitar. With its distinctive curved body and tuning mechanism moved to the base of the instrument, the physical balance of the instrument is more comfortable ergonomically for a player to handle and has become a recognized classic.

Other design departures from the mainstream, including a “headless” bass guitar, led Steinberger to establish the Steinberger Sound Corporation to develop and market such instruments worldwide. That company was sold to Gibson Musical Instruments in 1986 so that Steinberger could devote more time to instrument design and innovation.

At his current company, NS Design, Steinberger is continually developing a variety of electronic bowed stringed instruments with sound that rivals or even improves upon the sound of traditional acoustic stringed instruments.

He also has introduced a new bass guitar design that has generated considerable interest in the contemporary music world.

Approaching musical instruments from a design angle is rewarding to this creative inventor, an approach that has earned him a Design of the Decade award from the Industrial Designer Society of America.

Interestingly, Steinberger does not have a musical background, nor does he play a musical instrument; he prefers to invent them.

A brief business meeting followed Steinberger’s presentation. The scholarship committee is actively seeking graduating high school candidates for the four annual Bristol Area Lions Foundation scholarships to be awarded later this Spring at Lincoln Academy.

Plans for the 6th Annual Bristol Area Lions Foundation Golf Tournament, scheduled for August 16 at Wawenock Golf Club, also were discussed.

The next meeting of the Bristol Area Lions Club, on Monday, May 19, will feature Bill Michaud speaking on hiking the entire Appalachian Trail to raise money for Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

To make dinner reservations for that meeting please call 677-6191.

To learn more about the Bristol Area Lions Club, serving Bristol and South Bristol, contact Walt Johansson at 677-2584

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