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Ken Smith design (KSD) proto J bass. Opinions?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Scoopbass, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. I've recently taken delivery of a KSD 604 proto-J. I really wasn't happy with the pre-amp so shipped it out in favour of an EBS and it sounds soooo much nicer now.

    While it sounds great I have some concerns over build quality. I just have the impression that the bass itself is somehow a bit unsubstantial and flimsy. A loud sneeze while playing it and I'd be waiting for it to fall apart like a Buster Keaton jallopy. The only think I can truly point my finger at is that the knobs on the pots feel really plastic and lightweight and cheap and this has probably influenced my overall impression.

    What are other players' / owners' thoughts, particularly with reference to its ability to take a knock or two while gigging and still hold it all together?
  2. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Some love them, some hate them! I hate them. Chunky neck and heavy! 2 things on the top of my list I don't want in a bass! As you can tell, I'm not a fan of KSD's!
  3. NewGuy

    NewGuy Supporting Member

    Jun 4, 2006
    I had one a few yrs back. I agree, the preamp was nothing special. I had a J-Retro in mine and I was definitely impressed. I think the build quality if fine. I honestly don't think "Ken Smith" would associate his name with anything less than quality! I just hated the oversized headstock. Really hard to find a gig bag to fit it and when I bought mine it did not come with one.
  4. bassmangreg


    Jun 20, 2001
    Warrenton, NC
    Those basses have a cheap look to them to me. I have never tried one so, looks might be deceiving, but that's just my opinion. I guess I'm comparing them to other jazz basses and the higher end/real Smiths. I mean, the Lakland copies are quite appealing and so are the Mike Lulls, and the Sadowsky's.

    I would like to see the word Ken Smith Jazz written out on the headstock.
  5. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    But it isn't a Ken Smith Bass.

    The build quality is fine but geez, in this modern day and age, please stop making heavy bulky basses.......PLEASE!
  6. In fairness, weight isn't an issue with mine. It's as light as a feather.

    The UK importer is Bernie Goodfellow at GB guitars (he's an exceptional bass luthier in his own right) and I bought direct from him (he also fitted the EBS pre amp). He informed me that he's had some that were so heavy he detached the necks from the bodies and sent the bodies back requesting lightweight ones.

    They provided them, too.
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  7. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Hmmm.......interesting! It'd be nice if I could do that with all bass makers!!
  8. I love mine.I made some changes and it is now as good as any of the high end boutique basses.
  9. RodHutch


    Jan 1, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Just got one used. Since I play Warwicks, this is actually lighter than my other bass!

    Got it home and the electronics exhibited a buzz that I didn't have in store. Did you guys have this problem? If you're changing electronics, what do you recommend? I heard EBS, has anyone tried Sadowsky?
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I tried a KSD Proto J 5 once. It was alright. Wasn't knocked out by it, though. The guy who had it now uses an Alleva-Coppolo 5, if that gives you any indication.
  11. They're not my cup of tea but check out this guy making his KSD TALK!

    (Caveat: This one has been upgraded with an Audere JZ5D and Bartolini 57 CBJD1's. )
  12. I have had my KSD-705 for about 2 years now. It has become my main bass. It's not perfect and it doesn't compare to a Sadowsky or others in that range but for the price, you can't go wrong.

    Good points: I like the sound. I have not had any pre amp issues. I have used this bass several times in a "name" NYC studio and to me, it nails the "Jazz Bass Sound." I also like the look of it; it looks like a Jazz bass should (except for the headstock, which I hate) Furthermore, the neck is a very nice shallow C shape with a beautiful satin finish and the string spacing is 3/4 of an inch like it should be (IMHO)The 35 inch scale has been easy to get used to and the B string has been a dream!

    Bad points:It's heavy. The knobs are a bit rough. As I said above, I don't like the looks of the headstock.

    Overall: a very good Bass for the money. As others have mentioned, it isn't a Ken Smith Bass. I agree yet I have emailed the company and Brooklyn gear wasn't very helpful but Ken Smith himself replied twice to my email inquiries so he seems to be giving at least some of his attention to KSD.
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  13. mrniceguy715


    May 2, 2006
    nice clip i dig mine its stock p/u and a sadosky pre and like liked my stock 4 string two. the dont feel cheap at all to me. the tuners maybe. but the keep tune so I am happpy and it sounds great and looks good doing it
  14. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Sorry, I had to have the Grammer Police step in so I could understand what you were saying. ;)
  15. Lo end PUNCH

    Lo end PUNCH

    Jan 28, 2005
    There's a couple of 6 string KSDs floating around that are actualy prototypes and I noticed that each had different pickup types. One had j style pups with exposed pole pieces and one had j style pups without the pole pieces exposed. Anybody ever get a chance to check those two out? They were at Bass Central. I know that Prince's bassist plays one and KSD was supposed to release them but it never happened.
  16. seansbrew

    seansbrew Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2000
    Mesa AZ.
    I played a few KSD's and totally didn't get them whatsoever. The build quality (attention to detail specifically) was sub-par and the electronics left allot to be desired.
    I would much rather spend my money on a Fender American jazz bass; which can be had for the same price.
  17. Mr. Pickles

    Mr. Pickles Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2006
    Dutchess County, NY
    The KSD is a solid performer in every way. The engineer at my last recording session kept exclaiming how fat it sounded and how it was far better than most Fender Jazz basses that come through his studio. An excellent value at @ $550 new (sans case).

    Listen to these two tracks recorded direct (!) at the link below:
    Hunting and Fishing
    Think Again


    Yes, those are the stock electronics on the bass. No upgrades.

    This think kills my buddy's Marcus Miller Jazz bass in every way. My bass tech thinks that the fretwork is the best he's seen on a factory bass. Neck pocket is tighter than that on my Fender Jaguar. Satin finish on back is super smooth. The ash grain on the body is lovely. This bass will not fall apart, IMO. Obviously, YMMV, but I am very happy with it.

    Yes, it's a bit long, no thanks to the headstock...
    Yes, the tuners look cheap...
    But it works well for me.:bassist:
    Elliott Hills likes this.
  18. I did not like the headstock on mine either.Check this out!

    Attached Files:

    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  19. lueberry


    Nov 15, 2006
    I've had mine used for about $350.00 I've been using it a whole lot for recording http://www.talkbass.com/forum/images/smilies/guitarist.gifabout as much as my Ken Smith 6 GN. How does it look? It's a 4 string (704) so i guess the headstock looks righthttp://www.talkbass.com/forum/images/smilies/colors/eek.gif! At least better than on the 5 string version! The preamp is really really noisy IMHO. But my intent is to replace the preamp with an Audere and the p/u with the Nordstrand NJ4SV then I'll be more than happy with it! I'll let you know then what it really sounds like!http://www.talkbass.com/forum/images/smilies/hyper.gif

    Attached Files:

  20. Billy Low

    Billy Low

    Apr 14, 2003
    Sandberg Guitars
    That explain's the added warmth in the tone (meaning the barts)!

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