Ken Smith Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by JeremyBender, Nov 2, 2001.

  1. JeremyBender


    Oct 22, 2001
    Hey Folks,

    My bass teacher recently bought a 6 string Ken Smith.. He let me try it out and I am so impressed with it, I may save up to buy one of my own..

    Does anyone else have Ken Smith bass? What do you good people think of these basses? Are there comparable basses pricewise? They are really expensive I see... Do they make 4 string models? I am not quite ready for a 6 string..

    Thanks in advance!
  2. they are good basses.

    and they sell em in 4, 5, and 6 string models.

    but i hear from some ppl that the string spacing is too narrow?:confused: ?
  3. RS


    Aug 27, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    They are well made basses, but I never played one that I thought was amazing, or even worth the high price tag.
  4. i own an older BT 6 string... neck through, smith p/u's and electronics. my bass plays like butter, there are no dead spots, and it sounds great. i will say that i've played other models made by Ken Smith that don't compare to mine in sound or playability (i'm talking about the bolt-ons here). <br><br>talking about sound, there is a common high-mid type frequency response which is prevalent in every Ken Smith i've played or heard which gives the overall sound a crunchy top-end so to speak. one downfall of this is that i find it difficult to get rid of this tonality if i want to. but it is great for old-style slap tones and vintage fingerstyle.
  5. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    My 2000 BSR6 GN is probably the best bass I own. I've posted pics here many times. I agree with cephas45, the bolt-ons didn't really do it for me. The neck-throughs are great for cutting through a band and the six is, of course, virtually made for soloing. Great top-end and they play like no other. String spacing is pretty similar to a Stingray 5 (another bass I love).
  6. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City

    Spend some time at and you'll get a good feel for Smith basses.

    I used to own a Burner 5 string. It is Smith's lowest product line but I found it to be more stage worthy than other brands I've played. Some Smith bolt ons can hold their own with neck thrus. My teacher has a CR5 (I think CR refers to Chuck Rainey). It's sweet. I do still prefer neck thrus. All my current basses are neck thru.

    As for the string spacing, I've found the spacing on Smith 5s and 6s to be rather wide. Maybe the ones I've played around with have custom spacings? They're definitely wider than my Alembic 5 string and about the same as my Hanewinckel 6 (which has a Ken Smith bridge).

    Anyway, cruise the site, have fun, drool.


  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    AFAIK Ken was the first builder to offer wide spaced 5+ string basses on a standard instrument.
  8. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    The upper-end Smiths feel speedy, have some nice wood in them and do the smoove fusion sound pretty well. I don't really like the coat-of-arms body shape, but whatever floats your boat.

    The cheaper BSRs, formerly known as Burners, didn't impress me in the least. These are the ones that have the *really* narrow string spacing for the fives and sixes. Caveat emptor, and a nickel for a heavy pick.
  9. mjw


    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    Well, one of our more frequent bassists at church has one, and it indeed sounds awesome, but geeeeeezzzzzz....... 5 thousand bucks?????

    ...... Must be nice..... ;-)
  10. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    From what I heard, there's not a lot of versatility happenning tone wise with Smiths. True?
  11. mjw


    Jun 12, 2001
    Spring, TX USA
    Hmmmmmm........ not sure exactly what you mean by versatility. The only one I've heard sounds great. I was only whining about the $$$.
  12. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I've had several players tell me that you're only gonna get one sound out of them. That "Ken Smith" sound. A nice mid rangy type of deal. That's basically it. You know how you can coax different tones out of a Lakland, or Sadowsky? Other players have told me that you ain't getting that with a Smith.
  13. well, the way i see it, you can't coax the sound of a Smith out of a lakland or sadowsky :)<br><br>actually though, i find that i can get modern, cutting tones from my smith as well as something that kind of approaches a cruncly jaco type tone with the bridge pickup soloed. then if you favor the neck p/u a little past center on the blend knob you can get a fat usable fingerstyle tone which is good for blues, country, jazz, r&b, etc. <br><br>i think i kind of addressed the versatility issue you're speaking of in my above post. it has to do with the 'crunchy' tone of the pickups (active or passive) and the pronounced hi-mids that are there. those hi-mids are what give the smith basses their characteristic tone.. at least the neck throughs that is...
  14. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I played one in GC, and I love it. I've had owners tell me this about the tone issue. I'd like to take one on a gig to see for myself.
  15. pumo420


    Nov 2, 2001
    i played a kin smith at sam ash im not sure witch one though. but at first i though it said 279 dollars but then the guy moved his finger so it said 2790$.
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I think the Smith sound is where they really shine but they are capable of other sounds... not as "versatile" as some basses but there are different tones in there.

    Not to disparage any other players but most that I know don't try to get different tones, they make drastic, character-robbing changes at the amp and get stuck with one sound.

    I checked out a friend's older Smith just yesterday... he had coil tap switches installed and had much more tonal flexibility than I've heard on a Smith. My favorite sound on that bass... the "Smith" sound:D

    For anyone seriously looking for one, there are a bunch out there on the resale market. I just came across a tiger stripe BSR EG 5, gorgeous bass, that originally listed in excess of $5k. I think it sold for $2k, in excellent condition.

    BTW anyone interested in a Fodera fretless 5, Spalted Maple top, lined... there's one at Atomic Music for ~$3300.
  17. i was under the impression that Marcus's fretless was a Fodera...
  18. Bass7755

    Bass7755 Supporting Member

    Oct 27, 2000
    Roanoke, Va.
    You are correct sir... At least on the M2 CD. Marcus uses a Fodera 5 fretless. I think KONG wanted us to check out Marcus to hear some great frettless tone. Am I wrong??? Man what a great slap tone too!!!
  19. All I know is they are:

    a)really really nice axes and,

    b)way way out of my price range!:(

    Has anybody used the Ken Smith strings?What is the verdict on them?I figure if I can`t afford the bass maybe I could swing getting the strings!! :D
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Last year at Bass Day Marcus played a Smith fretless... and sounded like Marcus on fretless.

    I use KS Burner Nickel plated steel roundwound strings on some of my basses, especially the fretlesses.