Wednesday, March 2, 2011

1988 Spector NS-2A Bass

Hi there!

Today we are going to look at a sweet 1988 Spector NS-2A bass. But before I start yammering on about this bass, I had better explain the relationship between Spector and Kramer Guitars.

Stuart Spector is a luthier that started his own company in 1974, and he introduced his most famous bass, the NS, in 1977. “NS” stands for Ned Steinberger, who helped design the bass. Yes, that is the same Ned Steinberger that started Steinberger guitars.

NS basses sold well, leading Kramer Guitars to buy the company in 1985. Kramer continued production of the NS, and introduced an imported line of basses that include the NS-2A we are talking about today. All of these basses were sold under the Spector name until Kramer went bankrupt in 1991.

So, this bass is a 1988 NS-2A, which is one of approximately 7000 that were built between 1987 and 1990. This is a neck through bass with the same body shape as the NS, with a carved top and a concave back. It is finished in a gorgeous semi-transparent cherry burst fade. The finish is in very good condition, with only some light dings. See the photos for details.

The neck has a rosewood fretboard with pearl dot inlays, and 23 years later it shows very little fret wear. Somebody changed the nut somewhere along the line, so there is a little roughness between the nut and the original finish. The headstock has the SSD logo, and the original truss rod cover. It is a little dinged up around the cover. The neck is very playable and has a nice medium/low action. BTW, this is a 34-inch scale bass.

This NS-2A has its original black hardware, and the finish has held up a lot better than it did on the late 1980s Fenders. The bridge looks to be the same design as they use today, and the Schaller tuners are a nice find on an import bass. The low E tuner has been replaced with a matching Gotoh de-tuner. It came to me like this, and I have no idea where the original ended up. Also, the end pin has been relocated about ½ inch, so I figure its hole must have gotten stripped at some point.

The Spector-branded pickups are in my favorite configuration: P-J. There are four control knobs, including treble, bass, volume and tone. I think. They are hooked up to a 9-volt pre-amplifier that sounds fabulous. BTW, an odd feature of these basses is that the serial number is stamped onto the pre-amplifier cavity cover.

Lastly, this bass will not kill your shoulder and back. It weighs in at a bit over 8 1/2 pounds, which is not too bad.

So, I think this NS-2A is a winner. It plays well, sounds awesome, and lives up to what I expect from a Spector bass for boatloads less than I would pay for similar quality instruments.

By the way, this bass is for sale so shoot me a message if you are interested in owning it. It is very reasonably priced and comes with a very nice padded Spector gig bag.

Tags: Kramer, Spector, Steinberger, NS-2A, Bass, Guitar


  1. Is this bass still for sale?

  2. What is 1988 NS-2A going for these days?

  3. I just paid $389.14 in early November 2011 for a 1987 NS2-a on Ebay. the earlier model did not have serial numbers on them. The one I bought is red stain and in mint condition. there are no dings, bumps, scratches or belt buckle rash on the back. It is a NOS grade bass. I clearly got a great deal.

    RMP - Sacramento, Ca

  4. I got one of these back in late 1991 in Bergenfield, NJ. Mine looks exactly like the one pictured here in cherry sunburst, which is also my color. I paid $750-ish. There are no serial numbers anywhere to be found on this bass, and I opened the cover up and still found no info. People ask is it Korean or American.. and I have no idea. How would you know? I don't think anyone really knows. Anyway, it's a fantastic bass, but my days of playing guitar and hoping to be in some successful rock band have come to an end. I stopped playing by the time I was 17 or so. I'm 35 now, and something about playing it makes me sad. It's like a wish that never went anywhere. Though to be fair I lost interest in performing decades ago. I sucked. I'm going to see what I can get for this at Guitar Center in NYC, as well as a few other places in the city. I sold an SG on eBay for $1,250, but Spectors are too rare. I'd be waiting on eBay for ages and I want the cash now. I'll let you know what I got if I end up selling. I hope they offer over $200. I know it's worth more but I need the cash asap. Oh well, bye.

    1. Hello Anom. Your Ns2a is more than likely Korean, like my own. No serial number on mine either. Don't sell it man! These machines are wonderful, kinda rare and the resale value comes nowhere near the fact you own a super bass. Hope you ain't sold to pay for diapers or an electric bill.

  5. Hello. Got same bass but not been kept in such great condition. Only dif is my Ns2a has the Spector crown inlays. Small clame to fame is it's the 1st in Ireland in '89ish 1000 Irish was the on the tag, never got to play it in the music shop but managed to buy it from the original owner in '92 for 600.

  6. Dot inlays were manufactured in far east and ovals with ends missing inlays us manufactured in this year, have one of each and difference only in pick up sound, no idea regarding the rest instruments but they look pretty