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Ken Smith Design Proto J 5

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BoiNtC, Jun 10, 2003.


  1. BoiNtC

    BoiNtC

    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    Okay now that I have this baby in my house and was messing with it for a bit. I have to say I'm impressed with the bass itself, the preamp isn't my thing though (J-Retro Deluxe was sold out, gotta wait for R2 to gimme a call back then I'll plug it in) Only bass and treble knob, no mid :( , push pull volume knob active/passive(bypass), tone control, and bass and treble stacked. Not bad, but not my thing, the wood is gorgeous though :) Inlays are gorgeous too, plus I'm a sucker for that Fender look so thats a plus for me. Pickups are a bit ugly but I can live with that, I think its because the round metal pieces are bulging out of the plastic, and I'm used to em being in flat. Overall this is a very sweet bass, only one complaint is that the bridge is a pain in the butt to use to restring the B string! The string fits quite snug so when you're trying to pull it through it gets caught. Might swap it out for a Badass or something (does Badass make a 5string bridge? :p ) Anyway if Ken Smith is lurking around, I was curious as if any 5string pickguard for a Fender would fit on this. Other than that, I did it! I'm no longer a Fender 4string only player! Not only did I join the 5ers which I'd thought I'd never do, but I also bought a nice non-Fender :p
     
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    That's odd. The Standard J-Retro is stacked blend/vol, stacked bass/treb (pull bright), stacked mid/mid sweep, active/passive switch, pickup blend switch.


    The J-Retro Deluxe is the one with the passive tone knob.


    edit: whoops, my bad. Misunderstood the first post
     
  3. BoiNtC

    BoiNtC

    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    Oh no, I'm talkin bout stock preamp, I didn't get a retro (deluxe) in it yet, it was sold out.
     
  4. Anthony,

    Crazy boy, you've gone out and done it. ;) Congratulations. Can't wait to give it a test drive on your EBS cab...
     
  5. BoiNtC

    BoiNtC

    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    its not worth it without the J-Retro deluxe
     
  6. Sounds nice, even if it could do with a BA or Hipshot (my favorite) bridge. It'd be pretty cool with a MOP pickguard, too.

    Have you played any of the Skylines, by any chance? I'm wondering how the neck compares, since I really like the Skyline neck but am looking for a J-style body, and it's this or the Skyline JO5.

    Mike
     
  7. BoiNtC

    BoiNtC

    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    They stick up pretty even... And um.. when I was restringing it I popped the B string, so mm... if Ben could come by Newtown on Friday or something and give me a spare B string that would be nice ;) without the retro, its pretty darn bright, but you can add more bass to it, I'd compare it to... out of all the basses I played to the Miller sound (but that might just be the wood and not the pre and I guess thats what they were going for with a 70's bass) Personally I feel the retro is worth it, I love the limitless tones I can get out of a retro (have one in my Jaco fretless and its sweet!) I wouldn't say its necessary to tamper with the preamp, its not the best, but its decent, in fact because the retro isn't in stock, the first time I'm playing this live will be with the stock preamp! :)
     
  8. BoiNtC

    BoiNtC

    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    I'm late for a dinner engagement now, I'll come back and play with the passive later :p I've been suckered into playing active :p
     
  9. BoiNtC

    BoiNtC

    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    Its awesome stock! But I've been spoiled after all my "starter bass" was an MIA P Bass with a gorgeous natural finish, and my second is a Jaco with a J-Retro in it. Its great stock, I'm just spoiled and I'm looking foward to having this as my new number one, so I want it to sound better than the others ;) okay I'm going to plug it in passive and ding around with it a bit then I'll tell ya what I think
     
  10. BoiNtC

    BoiNtC

    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    Most of my playing around with it in the first post was with the Ken Smith strings which I didn't like, but I restrung it with D'addarios XL Medium Lights and I like the sound better. The active is pretty good, but not as good as a Retro (But then again I think Retro is one of the best around), and again its fine, I just want the best as this is my new #1 bass. Now for the passive, after messing around with it, it sounded pretty good in passive/bypass mode. Its comparable to the Jaco, but brighter sounding, I guess again its cause its maple fretboard with ash body and the Jaco is pau ferro and alder. All in all I'm extremely pleased I bought this, and if I didn't have the money and I couldn't upgrade it to be my perfect #1, I'd still be quite happy with it! Now if only I can decide if I should put a tort shell guard on it :)
    *edit* wow forgot bout that skyline question, nope haven't played any skylines, but this thing is different from the Fender Jazzes I've played, well just because the fretboard is a bit longer, I can adjust to that its not that bad :)
    *edit again* The bridge isn't bad, I don't restring often or take of my strings a lot, if you're careful you can get it through quite alright! I was looking for a bit more sustain anyway plus I like the look of the BA bridge :)
     
  11. Mike

    Mike

    Sep 7, 2000
    Cali
    Sounds cool, overall. I caould live without the mid control. I'm a bass and treble kinda guy. HEavy mids always sound dirty to me. A control on the amp is enough for me.

    I need to try one. The active/passive option is a nice plus for the price range.
     
  12. BoiNtC

    BoiNtC

    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    OUCH! The brightness of this thing hurts when I pop, maybe I just need to lower the volume, but dag its bright in passive mode, its not that bad in active with the treble rolled back a bit :p actually its not THAT bad, I just realized I'm plucking REAL hard :p and my volume is ALL the way up there
     
  13. Mike

    Mike

    Sep 7, 2000
    Cali
    How's the definition of the B? Is it nice and clear? All that good stuff?
     
  14. BoiNtC

    BoiNtC

    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    I broke the B string :bawl: so actually its a Proto J 4 :p I never dealt with stringing 5string basses before (this being my first), didn't realize I passed the B I was supposed to and kept crankin til the other B, and around the next octave A, it snapped on me :p I'll tell you tomorrow when I get another set of strings, well I hope I can go grab a pack tomorrow
     
  15. Mike

    Mike

    Sep 7, 2000
    Cali
    My lord!!!!!! That took some force! IT must have sounded like a sonic boom when it burst... :)
     
  16. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    I have heard some very good things about these basses. I talked to one
    Sadowsky owner that was
    sick at the fact that the KSD's were dangerously close to tone and feel of his 2 Sads...

    As for the bridge I's put a Hipshot "A" style on there since it is a top loader.

    glad you're digging it.

    If it were available short scale I'd buy one for my 5 year old - but it looks like I'm going to have to go with a mustang for him..:bawl:
     
  17. BoiNtC

    BoiNtC

    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    now with a B string on (some idiot "friend" of mine broke the B string yesterday so I couldn't play it as a 5string :rolleyes: ;) :p ) It sounds good :) its pretty tight, but I always like tighter strings, but its pretty tight as a B string none of that floppy Fender syndrome (well atleast on all the Fender 5s I've played besides the Beck), sounds good though! I'm playing through my small Bassman amp, can't wait til I run it through my EBS :)
     
  18. BoiNtC

    BoiNtC

    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    Oh when I said it wasn't worth it without the J-Retro, I meant for Captain Scarlet, cause it won't push the amp any more :p
     
  19. BoiNtC

    BoiNtC

    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    I've never played a Sadowksy, I guess a Sadowsky with same wood would pull off the same attributes, but did you expect a warm tone from ash and maple fretboard?
     
  20. Jon Burnet

    Jon Burnet

    Jan 21, 2001
    Memphis, TN
    went by today and re played the proto 4's to make sure i gave them an accurate review and i didnt. these basses are serious. i didnt find them tooo overly brite. i like them as much as the lulls i have played but more than the sadowsky's. i would run a sadowsky pre with it so the onboard is kinda overkill. i have some research on another 5 string 70's style bass that i bet is made in the same factory with similar parts that i wanna investigate before i pick one of these up.