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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Yamarc, Apr 16, 2003.
What and how do you use your Ken Smith? Reggae, Rock, GOSPEL?...Why Do you love it?
I use my current Smith for any style. It's the only one I've owned that was versatile enough to cover anything. Smith's I've owned in the past were a little too thin for use in rock, blues, country but were great for pop, jazz, latin, etc.. If someone is going to buy a new Smith, I think it's very important to talk to Ken about the tone you're looking for and let him suggest the woods. My main bass has a walnut core, coco bola front and back, and sounds incredible. It's the first out of 6 or 7 Smith's I've owned that I actually asked Ken to suggest woods from the description of tone I was after. He nailed it perfectly. The man knows what he's talking about.
I own a beautiful 2000 BSR6 GN and, while it's foolish to say "never," I can't imagine ever getting rid of it. It's a great instrument and very versatile. I play jazz, classic rock, r&B and a little country. It covers everything with ease. Now if I could just afford one of those stunning 7's Ken has...
I play MOSTLY gospel. But I've found the tone of my BSR 6MW to be perfect for those cutting mids and the Active onboard EQ is just enough for adding some bottom but not too much.
I've toyed with the idea of some Aero Pups and an Aggie 3 band EQ, but I always get MUCH flak from Ken Smith when I'd e-mail him to ask questions about center freq's and what not. I have to admit that I always come back to "Wow, Ken got it right...."
I've heard that they're only good for those types of music (Funk, R&B, jazz, and ESPECIALLY Gospel!). I've always wondered how they'd do in a rock setting. I once emailed Ken about it, and never heard back from him, so I guess that answers my question.
Mine sounds great for rock. I think the guy with Bruce Hornsby's band (live CD from a few years ago) plays a Smith, too. I find that boosting the bass a bit gives you a great meaty tone that works well in classic rock or Motown styles.
Really?! That's the only reason why I didn't consider them, because I'd NEVER seen them in a rock setting. I might look into checking one out.
Take a look at the pic of mine above. (the eq knobs) Pointing at the strings is flat. (center detent)
The three knobs at the bottom are Bass (far right) Mids (very bottomknob) and treble (bridge side of the bass knob) That's my normal setting.
I boost bass and treble and leave mids generally flat. For headphone listening and practicing, the mids get further reduced, but for live playing, the bass is just above flat, as is the treble, and the mids get cranked a bit beyond flat for cut. more mid boost, more cut ans presence in the mix. The Bass is just enough and doesn't over power, and the treble CAN be a little harsh, but it's still tasteful.
I have a friend that plays his KS 4 string (don´t know the model) in a rock-electronica band. He restrung it B-E-A-D, wow!!!!!! what a big-fat-nasty sound.
I like to think that Smith basses can be used for any style, but they have especially nailed down the the funk/fusion sound.
My Smith rocks hard.
I use mine in a hard rock setting, and it has plenty of guts, especially if you boost the mid eq anywhere above flat. I normally boost the bass eq close to max and run mid and treble flat, and my amp flat...sounds sharp to me. I like having a distinct tone during some of the spotlight sections - you don't end up sounding like every rock bassist.
If you've never seen a Smith in a heavy setting, check out a band called Pulse Ultra. I think they qualify has heavy
I use mine to play funk, jazz, two hand tapping and gospel it's very versatil, my only problem is the string spacing, too tight!! I might get a new bridge I might not....
The big knock on Smith basses for years has been that they tend to "disappear" in the mix...or that they don't cut through. NOTE: I'm not stating this as my personal opinion...just passing along what many people think and have said about the basses over time. I've played a couple of Ken Smith top-of-the-lines in Nashville, TN and loved them. I seriously considered purchasing one several years ago, and talked to Ken several times in doing my research. I really liked the thick, phat tone of his pickups/electronics, and thought that it sounded better than any active bass I had ever played, because it didn't sound "fake" or processed, like many actives tend to sound then played fingerstyle. I even thought about trying to have his electronics/pickups installed in a custom by another luthier. Needless to say, I wasn't able to try the bass out in a band setting, so I can't say how they respond when other instruments are present. BUT, for fingerstyle rock, funk, and old school groove playing, at the very least, they sound great solo.
He sure can, man! Thanks for the name, I had a senior moment. Killer player and great sound on that CD set, too.
Phil Lesh used a Smith 6 for a while in the late 80's or early 90's (before he went to Modulus). I'm not sure what Dead discs you can here it on.
I use my two in a funk (sometimes disco ) and R&B soul type setting and they kill.
Also check out Liquid Souls first 3 discs for some great Smith sounds.