Unusual distortion on Ken Smith bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jason Wilson, Dec 19, 2012.


  1. Jason Wilson

    Jason Wilson

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Hi all, I just got a Ken Smith Black Tiger which I love, but when I played around with the settings I noticed a bit of an issue.

    If I pan to either the neck or bridge pick up, put in pickup in series, and have the bass & mid right up the sound distorts like its got overdrive on it. Now, I may not use this setting to play, but would have thought it could handle all settings?? I was told I may have been overloading the pre-amp, so I turned the gain in the bass down, and that kind of worked, but then the passive mode was way louder than the active mode. This bass is brand new straight from Ken, so it's all factory settings. I'm a little disappointed as it's an expensive bass and my other basses handle all settings fine, and they are cheaper.

    Has anyone else had a similar experience? Or can suggest a solution. I e-mailed Ken but am yet to have a reply back.

    Help please :help:
  2. thiocyclist

    thiocyclist Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    Location:
    Colorado
    When the output level changes, you are going to have to adjust the gain or else you will clip your preamp or be too quiet. It's just a fact. The series/EQ settings you describe are basically a recipe for clipping. It's not the bass's fault.

    It's sort of like saying, "Why do I have to change the amp settings when I switch basses?" When you have all these onboard switches and controls you're dealing with multiple basses in one.
  3. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Location:
    santa maria,california
    soundsl like your distorting the front end of your amp
  4. darkstorm

    darkstorm

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2009
    Return it as defective if youve tried a new battery.
  5. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Location:
    suburban Chicago
    Have you tried asking Ken Smith? It may be normal and there may be something you can do about it if you talk to them. Putting pickup coils in series and setting EQ controls to max boost is asking a lot from a single 9V battery. If this bass uses only one 9V battery I would also ask if it is possible to run it from 18V or 27V as the added headroom will likely fix the problem.

    Ken
  6. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin and Upper Michigan
    Solo'ing either pickup with those massively powerful bass and treble boost controls, and with the pickup in series mode:p Yeah, that will put out a combination of a massively hot output and an inherently 'pushed/overdriven' sort of sound from the bass.

    As you found out, when you turn the volume down, you no longer overload the input stage of your amp.

    Nothing wrong here at all. Yes, if you put 18db of bass boost, driven by a Ken Smith pickup in series mode, it will destroy the input of a preamp.

    As you suggest, there is absolutely no sense in that particulate setting, and don't do it again:p It is kind of like asking 'I turn my amp up all the way and turn the bass control to max and it sounds distorted. Is there something wrong?'!
  7. j.kernodle

    j.kernodle

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    series mode on most basses that have that capability gives you a big bump in output. G&l l2000's have a similar switch and with the volume full up will distort some amplifiers preamp stage. if backing off the overall output volume on the bass when in series mode doesn't fix it, there may be bigger issues.
  8. Jason Wilson

    Jason Wilson

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Ok, cheers for your help.
    Great to know it's me and not the bass!
  9. Jason Wilson

    Jason Wilson

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Just got off the phone from Ken Smith himself and he was really great. Totally helped and as suggested, it was user error.
    Just to clear up any misunderstanding from my post. The bass is AWESOME! I can not fault it in it's look, feel & sound. And Ken was great to talk to.

    For anyone wanting one of the best basses out there, try a Smith. But if it's from a shop, make sure it's set up properly & with the correct strings etc.

    Cheers guys
  10. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin and Upper Michigan
    Excellent. Enjoy that beautiful instrument!

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