Ken Smith bass without the....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by carsonchilders, Jan 26, 2013.


  1. carsonchilders

    carsonchilders Carson Childers Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Location:
    Lexington, Kentucky
    Newish TBer, so please be easy on me. So I'm borrowing a friend's Ken Smith Black Tiger Elite... It has walnut sides (top) and (tiger) maple body/neck and ebony fingerboard. It is awesome. But the one thing I don't like about the Ken Smiths is how nasally they sound. They just sound kind of pinched and odd. Which is awesome in certain situations but not all...

    Anyways, in the next few years I hope to order a custom bass (probably from MTD, but open to suggestions). I want the low end to be a tight sounding as the KS without the D and the G sound having that weird nasal sound to it. Is that just something about the preamp in it, the woods it's made, or what?
  2. Tim Bishop

    Tim Bishop Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    With all respect intended.

    If this bass sounds as you've described (and I am assuming the bass has not been modifed or altered in any way from original make), I'd suggest looking at other reasons why it sounds as you've described. I.E. Many factors would include but are not limited to: User knowledge of instrument, amplification, speakers, strings, battery (good or bad) in the pre-amp which (if bad) would disable on-board pre-amp of the bass, any and all settings utilized from amp and/or bass eq/pre-amp, etc.

    In the 15 years I've been playing Smith basses, and I've played virtually every model, never would I describe the tone as "nasally", unless that was the tone I 'dialed-in' (intentionally) from the bass' internal pre-amp and/or external pre/controls/effects.

    In the endless list of manufacturers of basses out there, I would suggest, without reservation, Smith basses are among the best hand-made basses made (if not the best). The woods Ken uses, from his own personal inventory, are also hand picked and aged for the perfect match in tone woods.

    On the other hand, maybe you are looking for a different tone all together. Nothing wrong with that, but I have learned (the hard way), to eliminate any factor that may incorrectly color my opinion on any reputable, top quality, high-end instrument such as a Smith.
  3. Bass Viking

    Bass Viking Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    I find the Smith has a nasal tone but in a good way. It's possible Ken Smith is not your sound. One suggestion for an alternate would be a Sadowsky M5-24.
  4. Lackey

    Lackey

    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Personally I think Pedullas have some of the fullest sounding string tones while still providing a hefty midrange honk.
  5. carsonchilders

    carsonchilders Carson Childers Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    Location:
    Lexington, Kentucky
    Yes! And it makes the low end sound fantastic, but I'm not looking for that type of tone in the upper register. I just want something with an equally tight low end.
  6. scubaduba

    scubaduba Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    +1

    And look nice too! :D

    [​IMG]
  7. scubaduba

    scubaduba Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    And Pedulla has a thunderous B string. I've owned 3 Smiths and 2 Thunderbasses. Still have a Thunderbass FWIW. I agree Smith's have a pinched sound. I wouldn't describe it as "nasally" though. It's the signature Smith sound. It's not for me I've decided after owning 3.

    The Pedulla is in the same tone range with more "beef" but still has that mid honk.
  8. zortation

    zortation

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    It's the user not being aware of the instrument. There are DIP switches inside the control cavity that can change the frequency centres of the preamp controls. Not many people bother to touch them.
  9. Tim Bishop

    Tim Bishop Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    Yes, and provided it's a 2004 model or later.
  10. scubaduba

    scubaduba Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    On newer models yes. But even adjusting the switches doesn't eliminate the "Smith sound" altogether though.
  11. tappingtrance

    tappingtrance Cooke Harvey Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2005
    I never knew that! I will check this out.
  12. pedulla-2007

    pedulla-2007 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Location:
    texas
    Master Smith has carefully given us so many tonal options on these hand crafted basses, that even with only 6 semester hours of college, (heehee), I can dial in a P bass tone for my 50's gig, a modulus sound for my C/W gig, and a jazz/p bass tone for an occasional blues jam night on thursdays. IMHO people dial in that patented "Ken Smith Nasally" sound because it is so easily recognizable, and in demand for certain genre's of music. But I can certainly promise you, KS basses are not one dimensional. I have always looked at KS basses as status symbols. I confess that I auditioned for a second chair at a gospel church, and the musical director requested a KS bass specifically. And if I did not own one, that I could use the church's own 6-string. I quickly bought myself my own KS 5er, because their 11:00 service was like a party/concert/jam session. They required that nasally sound the OP speaks of, but of course I was not an accomplished soloist, so I didn't get that gig. The only thing i can say is play with those knobs, there are a world of tones to be had, with a KS bass. Just my 2 cents
  13. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Location:
    LA California
    Disclosures:
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    Adjust the 3 band eq a bit...

    Get strings that have a midrange scoop...
  14. azzyrazzy

    azzyrazzy

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Media:
    1
    Location:
    Norway
    Ask John Patitucci, he went from the 6-string smith with a characteristic enveloped/nasal-ish soloing sound, to the open, overtoned, crisp 6-string yamaha(with less character). I got two of his CDs and that difference is definately there.
    :)
  15. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    +1
  16. Jim Nazium

    Jim Nazium Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    Takoma Park, MD (DC)
    IMHO, the pickup placement has a lot to do with it. Both pickups are very close to the bridge. Turning the blend knob toward the neck pickup will help reduce the honk.
  17. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2011
    ?!?!

    Why in the name of all that is holy...?


    :)
  18. bass4worship

    bass4worship Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Location:
    Sebring, Florida
    Owned 4 Smiths, if learn their preamp you can get some nice tones. If you like gospel this bass or a MTD can get the job done.
  19. pedulla-2007

    pedulla-2007 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Location:
    texas
    In the mid eighties, our drummer was a disc jockey for one of the biggest honkey tonks in Texas. The club was "COWBOYS" in Arlington,Tx. and he was able to cop presidential seating for a C/W great, Steve Warnier concert. I sat 5 feet away from his band, and that was my introduction to Modulus Graphite basses. Steve's bass player played a red Modulus 5-string, and I will never forget that bass sound, and that the whole band was wearing the most pointed cowboy boots, that I have ever seen. But that was what they were playing and wearing in Nashville at the time. I couldn't go with the gene shoes, but the modulus remained my main C/W bass for ten years. "THATS WHY IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY". Have you ever played professionally?:rolleyes:

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  20. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I don't wanna be a jerk or anything, but I don't know if I'd call Steve Warnier a C&W "great". Buck Owens, Hank Thompson, Don Gibson - those guys are C&W greats. Steve Warnier.... mmmmmm....not so sure about that.

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