Ken Smith Basses

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

  1. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I used to use the taperwound stainless steels until I switched to Dean Markley SR2000's.

    Smith strings are very good, for the price.
  2. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i've played a couple of his 7 string melvin davis sig basses - pretty nice, even in spite of the wide spacing, i could play it pretty well. great electronics on it too - sounded great.

    it wasn't worth more than my doubleneck, though, which was what he wanted for it. a lot more. in fact, it was great and all, and i'd buy one for around the price of one of my conklins, but he's asking for well over 2x what bill charges me for a custom 7.

    so i guess i won't ever own a smith.
  3. Tapp


    Aug 29, 2001
    USA, Mississippi
    I played a 6 string 5K+ Smith at a store last week; not really my cup of tea but man what I nice instrument. This one had a zebrawood top that was gorgeous; even my wife was ooo's and ahh's over it. I didn't plug it in and to be honest didn't want it in my hands very long it was so nice (ha ha). Wide spaced and a flat feeling neck.

  4. Saint


    Mar 2, 2000
    DC - USA
    I've owned a ken smith for about 1.5 years and here are my observations (for what they're worth):

    There are a number of different Ken Smith models and they differ in significant ways from each other.

    The Burner bass is the low end bolt-on and is not in the same class as the other smith products. Not that they are bad, but he would do well to remove his name from the Burner series because it tends to sell the rest of his products short.

    The "real" smith basses include a bolt on and a neck through series and 2 different pickup configurations: the J-series which have J-style pickups (they are actually stacked humbuckers) and the M-series which are soapbar style.

    I own a BSR4M which is a 4 string bolt-on, with soapbar pickups.
    It cost me $1600 with case included.

    I bought my bass after a 2 month, extensive se3arch that included comparisons with alembic, spector, music man, warwick and others. I liked the neck through alot, but I didn't find enough sound difference to shell out another $500-1000. I actually found greater difference in sound caused by different fretboards (pau ferro vs. ebony) and different body woods.

    There is a very distinct Smith tone which, as others have mentioned, is characterized by very strong mid-range growl. It can nail a Wal tone really well or a Jazz bass with the neck pickup soloed. It can get other tones, but it will never sound like a P-Bass or a Rickenbacker. But, then again, a P-Bass or a Rickenbacker will never sound like a Smith. With a good amp, you can approximate you can get close enough to any tone you want (although I think it does better with hybrid solid state amps than with tube amps).

    My Smith is by far the easiest of my basses to play. I love the string spacing and neck feel and there are absolutely no dead spots on the neck (that alone makes it worth every penny).

    As regards the Smith strings, I have been using them for years on my other basses. I use the roundwounds on my rickenbacker and the taperwounds on my Smith and Jazz frettless b/c they seem to bring out the growl on those basses.

    So, there's my two cents. Overall, I think the Smith is a great all around bass and I am very satisfied with the workmanship to price ratio.
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