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Ken Smith 5-string fretless basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Neil Folkard, Nov 21, 2018.


  1. Neil Folkard

    Neil Folkard

    Nov 24, 2016
    Hey, I have the potential opportunity to buy a Ken Smith 5-string fretless bass, at a Black Friday event this week. They are selling it used for $2,000 and it apparently retails for $6,000 new. I have wanted a 5-string fretless for awhile now, but know nothing about Ken Smith basses, so just looking for opinions/thoughts on them. What do ya'll think?
     
  2. Find out the exact model, there are a few that are worth way less like the Burners. KS is a strong aggressive sound and I love it on fretless. They are known for a bright slap sound but sound great as a fretless to me. The series parallel mod can offer a lot of flexibility with some smoother sounds than the default parallel.

    I prefer the BSR body style and find some of the others to be neck divers.
     
  3. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    I had a BSR5-GN fretless that I ordered direct from Ken. It was a very good instrument - there are times I wish I hadn't sold it.

    If it is a neck-through made in PA, then it is easily worth $2K unless it is broken. If it is a bolt-on made in PA, then worth 2-3K depending on the details. If it is a Burner (overseas), then $2K is too much.

    I always though the Smith pickups/preamp are ideal for fretless. The basses tend to be fairly compressed/focused sounding (due to the laminations) and the electronics give it serious punch. Great for fretless.
     
  4. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Ken Smith makes a great bass. I hope you can try it before you buy it. If not, it should be easy to sell if you don’t like it, but I think you will.:bassist:
     
  5. Neil Folkard

    Neil Folkard

    Nov 24, 2016
    Here is the model#: KEN SMITH BSR5M-A FRETLESS 5-STR BASS
     
  6. 48thStreetCustom

    48thStreetCustom

    Nov 30, 2005
    Colorado
    Those are sexy lookin' basses.
     
  7. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    That should be a bolt-on, not sure what the "-A" means - could be for ash or avodire body. The bolt-ons usually fetch significantly less than the neck-throughs. Also they usually have 9V instead of 18V preamp, and typically don't have the series-parallel switches.

    http://www.kensmithbasses.com/custom-bolt-on/m-series/

    If it is clean, $2K is probably close to market value so it isn't a screaming deal unless it is exactly what you're looking for in a bass. Smith fretlesses aren't that common, but the market for fretless is also much less than fretted.
     
  8. Neil Folkard

    Neil Folkard

    Nov 24, 2016
    Thanks so much, for the responses. It can't hurt to go up and play it, to see how it feels, and make my decision then. If it is already sold (it is Black Friday, after all), so be it.
     
  9. Neil Folkard

    Neil Folkard

    Nov 24, 2016
    If I don't end up getting it, I have some serious thoughts about getting a custom made F bass. But that...is a different level of money, of course!
     
  10. I let a BSR5P go for $1650 after being on sale too long. It was a bolt on with some wear. I thought it was just as good as a neck through but it clearly wasn't as valuable.
     

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