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F-Bass BN5 v.s. Smith BSR5EG

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JRBrown, Feb 2, 2004.

  1. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    Why not? I have both basses on hand [for now] so I decided to do this:

    2003 F-Bass BN5 and 2004 Smith BSR5EG

    - Weight: F-Bass - 9.0lbs / Smith - 8.0lbs

    - Craftsmanship: First-class!!

    - Finish: F-Bass Nitrocellulose (soft) / Smith - varnish (hard)

    - Seated Balance: Both basses - perfect

    - Tone: F-Bass - growly, piano-like, true fidelity
    Smith - growly, punchy, percussive, foot-stompin'

    - Low end: Both very nice, Smith has more punch

    - High end: Both very nice, F-Bass has more depth

    - B-String: Both very nice

    - Playability: F-Bass - silky smooth and fast
    Smith - Meaty, flatter neck profile

    - Versatility: F-Bass - not really, "The TONE" is already there
    Smith - versatile, +/- tone controls, switches

    - Better Fingerstyle: F-Bass

    - Better Slapper: Smith

    - Verdict: F-Bass = 7-Up / Smith = Pepsi

    These two basses are very different and the best at what they do.

    Just for fun. :bassist:
  2. BoiNtC


    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    Wow, I actually expected your F to have better slap tone. Both look beautiful though :)

    But what about me? I don't like Pepsi nor 7-Up, what about Coca Cola or Sprite? :p
  3. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    I'm saying that the Smith is a better slapper for me because it's more percussive feeling and sounding.

    Tone is subjective.
  4. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    The Smith looks sweet but that BN5 just knocks my socks off. What a beautifully elegant bass.
  5. Sounds like you've got everything you need in those 2 basses!
  6. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Now if someone could just do a comparison between an F bass and a Roscoe SKB 3005 or 3006.......... :help:

  7. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    whatcha wanna know , Ryan ???
  8. I bought my BN5 because i prefered the F slap tone to the Smith's(which i love also).
    As JR said:" Tone is subjective"
    JR, would it be possible to post soundclips? It would be interesting to know what the TB'ers prefer.
  9. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    I hope this helps, IMO:

    The F-Bass slap tone sounds richer/thicker/deeper than the Smith's because of its high-end fatness. Better slap tone in the high end. Could possibly be the best recording slap tone out there.

    The Smith slap tone sounds just as good but is more dynamic/intense/cutting than the F-Bass (probably because of the woods/finish and the more aggressive preamp). Better slap in the low end--a harder punch.

    If you want to woo the crowd: F-Bass

    If you want to move the crowd: Smith


  10. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND

    Ahh, just the guy I was looking for.

    I will PM you with a few questions so I don't hijack this thread.
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Now this is interesting (not in an I'm saying you're wrong kind of way ;)).

    MY Smith BSR5P is on the block while I'm keeping my F Bass Studio 5. My Studio, as you described, is "richer/thicker/deeper" than my Smith, while still being very articulate. It has a much punchier slap and fingerstyle (think "super Jazz") and in direct comparison the Smith sounds thinner. If "I" want to move a crowd it wouldn't be with the thinner sound;)

    The versatility thing is interesting too.

    "-Versatility:F-Bass - not really, "The TONE" is already there"


    My Smith sounds like a classic Smith... a good thing. I'd have to give my F Bass the edge on versatility, it has a very flexible preamp. My Smith doesn't have coil taps while my F Bass does. Plus passive tone control and three band EQ.

    Highly objective? Agreed:D
  12. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    We both agree that the F-Bass has a great tone. I find that no matter how I adjust the preamp or coils, I get different variations of the same tone...which is a good thing. OTOH, the Smith, with its highly variable mid freq control, enables me to vary the tone to the point where I can get totally different sounds--some usable, some not. The F-Bass objectively stays within a "safe/usable" zone...which is also subjective. :D

    - Smith on the block, huh? :meh: Where? ;)
  13. Basso Gruvitas

    Basso Gruvitas Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth TX

    JB, that is exceedingly helpful. There are no F bass dealers in Dallas/Ft. Worth so the last time I played one was literally 3 or 4 years ago!!

    Very cool comparison! We should do more of this kind of stuff :D
  14. dveeus1


    Jan 7, 2001
    DFW, Texas
    you can check out my F's anytime.

    A F bass not flexible??? I have done everything except a C&W gig with an F. IMO you must have really got a lemon. Wanna sell it to me? I betcha I can make that bitch thump.

    Smith basses, Love the tone, craftsmanship and the playabilty. Just dont care for the body shape. Smith electronics. Installed them in one of my basses 10 years ago. been killing ever since.

    Next Fretted stop. Nordstrand or Lawrence.

  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I just offered it to a local friend who had asked about it (he also wants my FMT V... not currently on the block;)). If he doesn't jump I'll probably post it here and on Bassgear. It's the BSR-5P I just got. It was my first Smith AND a good deal AND I really wanted to like it more than I did. That's life.
  16. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    The F-Bass does thump, and deeply! But not as hard as the Smith. Let's look at this from another angle. I A/B'd the F-Bass against a StingRay-5 last month. Almost, everyone's familiar with the StingRay-5, right? Many consider the StingRay to be the ultimate slap/funk bass.

    - Does the Ray-5 sound like a F-Bass? No.
    - Can the F-Bass do all that the Ray-5 can? No.
    - Which bass thumps harder? Ray-5.
    - Which bass was more musical? F-Bass.
    - Which bass sounded better? It all depends on what you are looking for at the time.

    The point I'm trying to make is that on any given day, the F-Bass will beat out many high-end basses for "quality" of tone; sometimes the darn thing sounds too good. But if I'm looking for some hard kickin', spine tinglin', make every thump count funk, I'd reach for the Ray-5 [or Smith].

    Bottom line: The F-Bass does most things better than many of the basses I've owned (and I've owned quite a few). It and the Smith overlap in several areas. Then there are areas where IMO the F-Bass outshines the Smith and vice versa. And those are the areas that I tried to point out. Just for fun.
  17. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia In Memoriam

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    Bro, i took it to the show gig tonight and it kicked azz! took a minute to get used to the tone controls and feel, but once it got going, it was great- and it looks ridiculous- i am really diggin Ken Lawrences work- 34 in scale.. comfy!!-
    so many basses.. so little cash...
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I've been underwhelmed with most Stingrays, unless they're played by themself. In direct comparison, they suffer. The same was true with my Smith. Sounded damn good as long as I didn't a/b it.

    I haven't played a Ray that could hold a candle to my Studio 5. Actually I haven't played a Ray that could hang with my old G&L L2000E, especially in the thump dept.

    This is from making direct comparisons with several of my basses to Stingrays, among other things. You should've heard a few 4 string Stingrays compared to my 4 string Elrick E-vo. Even the local Ray heads came to the same conclusion:D

    Good comparison though. My mileage varied big time;)

    The obvious caveat is I have no idea how you set your tone on the bass or amp, what kind of strings you've tried, how you play, etc.
  19. JRBrown


    Jun 21, 2000
    North Carolina
    - Exactly. Even though I did use the same string set on the Smith and the F-Bass, the on-board and outboard EQ's were set to what sounded best to me.

    - As always, when one bass sounds and plays differently than another, it's up to the individual to decide what is better, worse, or insignificant.

    - You have an F-Bass Studio model. How does if compare to the BN5? I read that the Studio is more P-bass sounding than the BN5. What do you say?
  20. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Frankly, I cannot stand the F bass. Mine was even custom ! I found the jazz bass tone frannkly not so great. And the ergonomics of that body design are horrible. I couldn't wait to get rid of it.

    The Smith on the other hand is my favorite bass, hands down. I've owned several and always always get compliments on the tone -especially during solo recitals.

    But, you are also comparing apples and oranges...and didn't someone once say comparisons are odious ?

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