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SOLD Ken Smith Burner 5 Fretless - $1,200 shipped

Discussion in 'For Sale: Bass Guitars' started by VroomVroom, Aug 14, 2012.

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  1. Hi Folks,


    Ken Smith Burner Five fretless, for sale only. $1,200 PayPal, shipped UPS Ground CONUS. OR... $1,000, cash, local SF Bay Area pickup.



    Circa ~ 1991
    Maple body (three-piece, quilted wings)
    Five-piece maple and (walnut? - not sure) neck
    Lined rosewood fingerboard
    34" scale
    [DEL]17.5mm[/DEL] 16mm string spacing (corrected)
    Dunlop strap lock pins
    Smith humcancelling J's and two-band pre, Vol/Blend/Bass/Treble
    Fresh DR Sunbeams
    Smith leather-ish gig bag

    I can trace this back to roughly 1995. This previous owner took the bass all over North America, the UK, and a bit of continental Europe. Punk and folk rock. Go figure. :D I bought in March - it had been on consignment for roughly six months at my local store. Every time I went in, I played it, and just smiled at the tone. Ultimately, I gave in, mostly because the bass needed some TLC, and I was interested in making a small project out of it.

    The neck needed a few days to settle, so some back & forth with the truss rod adjustment, and things have been well since. This thing sets up LOW, and plays like a dream. I took some Scotch Brite to the fingerboard, and over a few days I applied three light coats of Planet Waves Hydrate. (I purposefully used a flash when taking photos, which gives a clear view of the fingerboard.) I polished the body, back of the neck, and the headstock by hand, using diminishing grades of Meguiar's abrasive polishes. I thought about it, but did not pull hardware or electronics to machine polish. Accordingly, this is a genuine five-footer. Look close, and you can see the hazing and micro-scratches you'd expect on a gloss finish of this vintage. However, the finish is smooth, free of major defects, and from that five feet the bass looks fantastic. The electronics are in perfect condition. I installed a fresh Procell, but otherwise this thing is just awesome - noise-free operation and that pre-amp really is a beast.

    The original gig bag tells the tale of ~ 21 years of globetrotting. The zippers work, but the shoulder straps are long gone. It came with the bass, so I'm including it. Aside from nostalgia, it wouldn't be of much value for regular use. I will pack carefully, but if this is a showstopper for you, let's talk. I can offer an as-new Mike Lull or Roscoe gig bag at a negotiated upcharge.

    Sonically, this bass is really something. The Burner is (obviously) kind of a niche take on the J vibe, but this one offers it in spades. Organically, it offers tons of focus and bite - just what you'd expect from maple. Being fretless, and with a rosewood board, it does have very nice table manners. But, there's no doubt here...bias the bridge pickup, add a little boost for spice, and your inner Hadrien Feraud will bounce around the room with joy. Certainly the playability adds to that - the narrow string spacing and 34" scale bring unsolicited smiles. It's all in there, though - from deep 'mwah' and full blossom, to Jacoesque bite & snarl, and everything in between.

    For sale only....thanks, but no trade interest. As a lowest common denominator, PayPal will work fine...$1,200 confirmed payment and you'll get the bass with insured UPS Ground shipping included...CONUS only. If you're in the bay area, I'd love an in-person transaction. You can play the bass, through my rig our yours, and we can trade straight-up for $1,000 cash. I'm open to special circumstances...if, for example, you have a UPS account that offers a discount than the crazy amount I pay from a personal account...let's talk. The bottom line for me is a net of $1k. If there's a way to work that and save you a few Scheckles, I'm all for it.

    I think that covers it all, but please feel free to hit me with any questions. At that, I'll thank you for your time, and will leave you with a coupla' more pics... Happy shopping!


  2. It is perhaps dangerous for me that you are so near. :ninja: The presence of dots prompts me to ask if this is a degree?

    Edit: meant to say *defret*... Stupid auto-correct
  3. ahollowhd

    ahollowhd Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2009
    Gainesville, FL
  4. :D - whew. I had no idea what, "degree," meant. :D

    I am at least 90% sure this is a factory fretless. If not, the work was impeccably done. Bassteban, you are more than welcome to check it out...no obligation. It really is a cool bass.

    Best guess on the weight is 9lbs. It's certainly not a heavyweight, but it's also maple. :) Balance on a strap is great, and as with every Smith, it's also very comfortable when played sitting down.
  5. Hi Folks,

    An update with more current/accurate information. First, I was reminded of the first thing I did to the bass...the 'hillbilly' nut repair. The 'G' slot was enlarged, so I filled it with a small bit of super glue. It's worked like a charm ever since, but I wanted to be sure to mention it.

    The next two items come courtesy of Ken Smith himself, who was gracious enough to send me an email this afternoon. The string spacing is, in fact, 16mm, not 17.5mm. I edited the original post to reflect this as well. Finally, Ken shared that they never offered the Burner as a fretless, so this one was obviously converted after the fact. In any case, it was done long before my tenure, and I have to say...I wish I knew who did the work. Outside of Mike Lull's handiwork I've never seen a de-fret of this quality.
  6. Very interesting- I will watch this one. I could really use a smooth fiver, but I'd need to sell a bass.. Dilemma, dilemma
  7. rodneyat


    Apr 12, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Great seller and a cool bass.

    And, I have to say, I am REALLY surprised Ken Smith replied to your email. ;)
  8. Hey, Rodney! Thanks, my man... Just for the record....his email was totally unsolicited. It came as a huge surprise. The only bigger surprise would've been me actually sending one his way first. :D :D
  9. XavidmanX


    Jun 29, 2006
    Bakersfield, CA
    First, VroomVroom is a class act and you would be hard pressed to find a better person to do business with anywhere let alone TB.

    Second, I've played this bass and it kills. Tone, feel, you name it and it's got it in spades. Any and all issues he points out are only mentioned in the spirit of full disclosure and are barely noticeable and they definitely don't harm the tone. You will barely be able to see anyway with the corners of your mouth up in front of your eyes after you plug this thing in and bust out a big ol' grin.
  10. rodneyat


    Apr 12, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    I cannot believe this is still here...I may have to snatch it up myself.
  11. Thanks to both of youse guys for the bumpage and kind words. Quick update...

    PM's responded. Highlights, in case they're of value to anyone:

    - I am looking into international shipping options for a couple of folks. This may be too painful...for both parties...but hey, I'm learning some new stuff, so I don't mind the legwork.

    - Confirming, again, the 16mm string spacing. My bad on the OP listing of 17.5mm...not sure where I got that. It's narrow, but not too narrow, IMO. All of my other basses are either 18.3mm or 19mm, and I can jump on this one with no problem.

    - Buy this for the sound and playability, not the looks. There's no doubting it's a 20-ish year-old bass with some miles on it. It's cleaned up well, but if you're judging on perfect finish quality, this one isn't for you. My guess is this is overstating the obvious, but I want to make sure everyone's expectations are on par with how this bass looks and what it does.

    - The pics are, indeed, fresh...they were taken the evening before this thread was posted. The bag on which the bass is leaning is the bag that will ship with the bass. I'm no expert, but I'd guess it's vinyl or, "leatherette," as opposed to real leather.

    Bada boom. We're up to date. Happy shopping, and please feel free to ask any other questions.
  12. Serg423


    Aug 12, 2012
    Hi Jerry!,
    Awesome bass, would you say it can be re fretted? very interested :)
  13. PM's responded....thanks for the interest, folks.

    Transaction pending...
  14. And.......sold!

    This one is on the way to Scotland. Which, by international law, means I must share this:


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