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Fodera vs Ken Smith strings

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by iwearpumas, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. iwearpumas


    Aug 12, 2011
    Has anybody ever compared? Which do you prefer?
  2. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Supporting Member Commercial Seller Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    Fodera = Round Core w/ Smaller Diameter outer windings

    Ken Smith = Hex Core with standard size windings (these Stainless strings have been described as some of the smoother ones out there however.)

    Both available in a wide variety of gauges. Both available in Nickel Plated Steel or Stainless Steel Flavors where the Ken Smiths also have Compression Wound and Slick Rounds (half wounds). Ken Smith have the option for all tapered strings (tapered B E A strings), where both have Non and Tapered B String options.

    Fodera are made in smaller batches (made to order when a dealer orders them).

    Ken Smith have silked ends while Fodera do not.

    Fodera Long Scale = 37.5" Ball to Taper
    Ken Smith Long Scale = 38" Ball to Silk (some B strings available in 36.5")

    Fodera Extra Long Scale = 39.25" Ball to Taper
    Ken Smith Extra Long Scale = 40" Ball to Silk

    In short... :D
    iwearpumas likes this.
  3. jsbarber


    Jun 7, 2005
    San Diego
    The Fodera Anthony Jackson Signature string set has all 6 strings tapered.


  4. iwearpumas


    Aug 12, 2011
    Which one has a superior tone?
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  6. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Who makes Fodera's strings?
  7. TXLawDawg

    TXLawDawg Put some stank on it...

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Fodera does. http://www.fodera.com/publicpages/bassstrings.aspx

    Here's their, uh, factory...


    Man, it's nice having you on this forum! :bassist:
  8. I've actually recently tried both on my Warwick $$ 5 string. I should state first that one never knows if they didn't get the freshest pack of strings in the world, but so far JustStrings.com has been pretty good for me.
    That said I found that the Fodera Nickels were brighter than the Ken Smith Rock Master steels that I tried. The Smiths sounded a little blah, especially in the B and E. SLaPiNFuNK says that the Smiths are hex core, which may be true because they felt a little tighter in the B, but I couldn't find that information for my self.
    So far I'm enjoying the Fodera strings more, but if they made a hex core I think I'd be happier. I may have had a bad set of the Smiths, but I'm not in a hurry to buy yet another pack of strings as an experiment.
  9. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Supporting Member Commercial Seller Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    I did not mention those because they are such a specialized set... The almost 40" winding makes them too long to use on 99.5% of instruments out there.

    And they are exposed core not tapered strings...
  10. GMSweet

    GMSweet Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2007
    New Hampshire
    Here's my take on the two...

    Ken Smith Burners vs. Fodera Nickels (Formerly Wooten's)


    • Gauges used: .130, .095, .075, .055, .040
    • Initially like a nice blend between DR High Beam and DR Sunbeams; Not as bright or scooped as the High Beams, not as warm as the Sunbeams
    • String feel was higher in tension than I expected given the round core and the gauges (I used a Wooten set plus a .130 B). Nice and balanced though.
    • "Grabbier" feel than I expected but smoothed out with time.

    Why I replaced them...
    After the first month (60-80 hours of play time), I began fighting the sound. In comparison to the DR strings, these Foderas fade in a way that was unpleasant to me. Instead of gradually dulling and becoming warmer while losing their top end, I found the sound to become more nasal and mid-focused. The top end got "crunchy", the harmonics were a struggle and on my already-mid-forward bass, it was too much. It almost seems as if some of the bottom end got a little lost as well.

    Ken Smith:

    • Gauges used: .130, .100, .075, .055, .040
    • Not as bright as I expected, though still bright. More scooped than the Sunbeams and a bigger bottom than Hi Beams.
    • Custom order from BSO (seriously just buy the strings from Jason, it's a great experience)
    • Smooth feel out of the box, not quite DR smooth, but better than the Foderas out of the box.

    Why I replaced them...
    These lasted the full three months for me which is my target for strings. They had dulled somewhat and showed signs of wear which reduced the sustain of the strings. All in all, it was a good experience and I will most likely try these strings again. I put DR Fat Beams after the Burners and I liked the Burners better, especially since I can custom order the gauges from BassStringsOnline.com so easily! The Smiths have a lot of singles available where the Fat Beams are limited.

    Where I'm at now...
    I'm just finishing up with a set of Ken Smith Steels which strike me as just brighter Burners. They are decent strings, but didn't seem to offer me any real wow factor beyond what DR offers. I haven't tried the Fodera steels but since the nickels gave me a shorter life than I desire, I'm not sure I will. As always, your mileage may vary. I was using my Stambaugh custom with a Bartolini X45CBJD in the neck and the Bartolini MV52CBJD MM pickup with a Pope FlexCore preamp. I have since switched back to Bartolini Original Deep series pickups with an X45J1 in the neck and two X45J1's in the bridge location. I have another set of Hi Beams coming since I recently re-replaced the pickups and I wanted to go back to the beginning.

    I hope this helps.

    iwearpumas likes this.
  11. iwearpumas


    Aug 12, 2011
    I have never tried DR strings. I need to pick a set up.
  12. GMSweet

    GMSweet Supporting Member

    Oct 12, 2007
    New Hampshire
    Ahhh, then my comparisons my not help. DR Strings have been my standard since the mid 90's and I only recently started testing the waters to see what else was out there.

    As always, strings are a very personal preference so you may just need to order a set to try them out.
  13. DR strings are an excellent choice if you don't need a tapered B or anything over .130. In stores they tend to carry the .125 B which is too light for me, so I usually to stick to them if I'm buying strings for one of my 4 string basses.
  14. micgtr71


    Dec 4, 2012
    I'm a 4 string player and I have used Ken Smith Stainless Steel 40s for the longest time now. I really like them. They age well on my jazz bass.

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