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Ken Smith PreAmp

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by EZ9R, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. EZ9R


    Oct 28, 2008
    I have a '03 Ken Smith BSR-5. I later sent it back to Ken Smith to have him ad the series/parallel switches. This is a really nice bass when it comes to recording. Live, sometimes it gets muddy. As of late, I've been playing it passive (vol. push/pull) through a Demeter stomp box preamp and it sounds killer live. The onboard preamps bass knob gets too blowded sounding when I ad bass. On the Demeter, I tightens up the low end when adding bass. I know Ken has a newer preamp that has dip switches etc,.

    A few years ago I put in some Bartolini's in a Fender Deluxe 5. 59j. with an Aguilar ob3 preamp. It just wouldn't cut through the mix. Finally I put in a Bartolini 3 Band Preamp and it sounded killer. Low Mids that would cut through any guitarist amp.

    My main bass is as an Fender Amer. Standard with Nordstrand NJ4SEs pickup. That sounds killer when I play through my Aguilar Tone Hammer preamp along with the Demeter and the MXR M-80. I guess not all pickups/onboard preamps are for everyones ears.

    Question: has anyone who's a Ken Smith owner put in another preamp in their bass? I debating if I sound try that or just do what I do with my Jazz bass and keep the Smith on passive and use a stomp box preamp.
  2. testing1two

    testing1two Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    The new Smith preamps sound very good to my ears although you'll never get an explanation from Ken about what those dip switches actually do. He just fiddled with them until he liked the sound and that's what he tells everyone else to do. But that's assuming you want to maintain the stock Smith sound. If you like the sound of the bass passive with a Demeter preamp pedal then I would suggest getting an onboard Demeter preamp. I would also suggest changing the series/parallel switches to 3-way switches so you can coil tap the pickups as well (there's a thread in this forum detailing it).
  3. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I had a customer bring me a Ken Smith bolt-on six string to install an Aguilar preamp. His complaints were also about the EQ. He even had me drill a whole for the mid range switch!

    I think the bass sounded a lot better.

    The Smith preamp is made by Haz Labs, who also makes the preamps for Spector and Steinberger.


    Apr 6, 2015
    Bass preamps
  5. sammybass61

    sammybass61 Supporting Member

    Nov 7, 2007
    Kissimme Florida
    Still have the the preamp

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