I've played the actual instrument that's for sale here, and maybe it would be interesting and/or helpful if I give my thoughts on it.
The bass is even more attractive-looking 'in the flesh' than the photos posted by the vendor would suggest. I like a darker stain finish on my basses, generally speaking, but this NS Cleveland looks very good in the lighter shade, and has matured nicely over the last 13 years or so since arriving in the UK.
The overall condition is exceptionally good by any standards, but particularly so since this instrument has a generous sized body (not huge, but bigger than a standard 3/4, for instance) and has actually been out gigging rather than sitting in the house as a display item. The tuners keys have mellowed slightly and there are a few insignificant cosmetic marks here and there on the body. I saw no cracks, dings or scrapes, however, and the edges are all intact and undamaged. The fingerboard is like new (looks like ebony, and of good quality), and tailpiece, nut and saddle are in excellent condition.
The bridge was well fitted and properly shaped for the fingerboard. It has height adjusters and there is a Fishman Full Circle pickup fitted. I did not try the bass plugged in, but apparently all is working as it should be.
As far as I could see, there was absolutely no luthier work required on this bass. My personal preference would perhaps to have the fingerboard scooped out a little more to accommodate my slapping requirements (to avoid string rattle), but this probably wouldn't have been a problem if I'd raised the action using the bridge adjusters to the height I usually use. I should point out that although I use slap technique as part of my playing style, I'm not a Rockabilly musician, or similar. I am an old school Swing and New Orleans player. I use gut strings (since 1987-ish) and like a high action, but not silly high like some of the guys! I mostly play straight ahead pizzicato. I use the bow a little, but not enough to harm anyone. And, as a point of reference, I don't like thuddy basses that don't really produce a discernible note but are handy to jump on.....! That's not my thing.
This is a very comfortable bass to play, even considering its wide shoulders. The reason for this is to be seen round the back of the instrument. The neck joint is deliberately short which means the back has a fairly extreme curvature towards the button. The upper bout, where it meets the neck, tapers down to something like 6.5 inches (I didn't measure this, but it looked about right). This means that the player's arm is unhindered when approaching the upper reaches of the instrument. You might say to yourself ''Oh, ok. But I never go up high on my fingerboard. No thumb position for me. I'm not that kind of player", but I don't mean that. A bass with really broad shoulders and deep upper bouts can make life hard anywhere above Eb on the G string. I had a cello-shouldered bass (an old 'church bass' as they are sometimes known) that was beautiful and sounded great, but was quite unmanageable above half way up the neck. It was hilarious! Anyway, this is not the case with the NSC. It's really nicely thought out.
The neck is fairly big, but nicely shaped. I have medium sized hands and would perhaps consider having the bass neck made slightly shallower, for full comfort. Lots of other players probably wouldn't feel the need. The scale felt very manageable at 42", and I didn't have to make any discernable adjustments to my technique to play this bass.
The neck overstand is also very generous, as befits a modern instrument, so no problem with bowing access etc.
The bass is beautifully put together and doesn't weigh a great deal considering its overall size. This is a strong instrument that should last a lifetime or two and will put up with all sorts of road travel and humidity changes etc.
The strings fitted suited the bass quite well. Spiro Weichs for E and A, and Gut-A-Like D and G on top. The Gut-A-Like strings are not my favourite and were typically dull sounding on the Cleveland. However, things really brightened up when I tried a Lenzner gut G string on this bass. I think a full set of guts with wound E and A would be very good indeed. I think the original set up, as ordered from new, was Lenzner gut G and D, with Pirastro Pirazzi A and E, which I reckon would have suited this bass very well.
The sound was very well balanced across the whole range of the instrument (as you'd expect from a good quality plywood bass), making it an excellent bass for studio or live recording situations. [My carved bass sounds lovely, but is a real pain in the studio compared to my plywood with regard to mic choice and placement. Similarly, in live gig settings, my plywood basses amplify nicely without any imbalance, regardless of which pickup system I use. The carved bass is very fickle and usually slightly unbalanced-sounding.]
This NS Cleveland has typical plywood 'punch' to it, but with added 'puffiness' and, most significantly, a much more complex sound than any plywood bass I've played (plys, although useful beasts, can be very one-dimensional in their sound, hence my comments in the previous paragraph). I was hearing a very pleasing harmonic overtone that made me want to play the bass a bit more. I played it over a 3 hour period, so this gives you an idea of how I felt about it. Cutting through a band when playing acoustically with this bass will not be a problem, but it's not some sort of blunt instrument either. Best of both worlds, I'd say.
I'd say this instrument has a very pleasant voice which is unmistakably old Americana. With the Thomastik weich strings, I could hear the potential for a more sustaining sound, but not one that would ever be considered very modern. For those of you concerned with such things, vibrato was quickly reproduced and the subtle nuances were conveyed very nicely.
I've played a few basses that 'do the rounds' (some at prices similar to this particular NSC) and there's just no comparison between any of those basses and this one in my opinion. My summing up of many of those other basses would be 'Heavy, unresponsive and dead-sounding'. This bass isn't that. Not even a bit.
If you're looking for a top quality bass that will long outlive even the youngest amongst us, will require very little maintenance, looks fantastic and sounds equally so, I'd look no further than htb's New Standard Cleveland.
And, by the way, the price is a bargain.