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ken smith VS FODERA

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ono69, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. ono69


    Oct 23, 2007
    shanghai, China
    A ken smith 25th VS a FODERA anthony jackson presentation contrabass,which one could give me the better tone for jazz music?(the AJ6‘s price doubles a KS25TH)THX
  2. ono69


    Oct 23, 2007
    shanghai, China

    Attached Files:

  3. Oh man. If you can afford a Fodera than go with it. But Ken Smith's are great basses as well.
  4. allexcosta


    Apr 7, 2004
    Nobody can answer this question besides you... Very different instruments, BTW... You know the AJ is a 36", right? I've seen jazz players using all kinds of basses, including, well... jazz basses and it really comes down to the player, not the bass...
  5. The Smith basses have a very distinct tone. Every one I've ever owned or played (at least the standard models, not the ones with J pickups) sounded VERY similar, regardless of body wood, etc. It should be very easy to do a search and find some classic Smith video's and recordings (a good example of the classic Smith tone... i.e., tight, fat mids with that unique ping in the treble) is the Bruce Hornsby 'Here Comes the Noisemakers' disc. That's a really good live recording of the Smith tone.

    The Anthony Jackson model (I've only played one) is not really representative of what many would describe as the Fodera tone IMO (if there really is actually a Fodera tone) It's chambered, it's passive, and it has one pickup in a 'custom' location. I always joke that it's a $10,000 P Bass! Of course, that's not really the case, but quite frankly, it is closer in tone to me to a PBass (a REALLY good PBass) than either a Smith or the more standard, active Fodera basses with the more traditional Jazz Bass pickup spacing.

    (I know Anthony lurks around TB, so I might have set myself up for an Anthony b**ch slappin' with my PBass comment:D:eek:)

    IMO and IME!
  6. I can't weigh in really I just wanted to read opinions. I will say that if you have the bread to be facing this conundrum you are in an enviable pickle for sure. I'd go with the Fodera since I think it's prettier. Sorry I am so shallow.
  7. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Actually, AJ mentioned this in his last interview in BP (came out in December I think): "Someone said my Presentation model is basically a big P-Bass; I can appreciate that viewpoint. If Leo Fender could come back today I think he would approve."
  8. Whew:p I'm safe :D
    bass6strng likes this.
  9. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    These types of questions always puzzle me. As jazz has so many variations and sub-genres, the question of the best jazz tone is only definable by the individual player who must decide if an ax has a tone that works for them.

    Certainly if we are talking about bee bop, or other forms of traditional jazz, one should consider learning to play up-right. If show up on a "real jazz" gig (talking about players from the 50s and 60s) with an electric, you may get a bunch of condescension from the old timers because to them anything electric is clearly the wrong tone.

    If you are into Smooth Jazz or Fusion, there are guys using everything from Smiths, Foderas, Sadowskys, Fenders...on and on and on. This choice is as subjective and personal as which girl to marry. Spending $10K is absolutely not a requirement for getting a great bass capable (in the right hands) of grooving in any genre.
    Its not the arrow, its the archer.

  10. +1 I kind of ignored the whole 'for jazz' part of the post, per your point.
  11. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    If the bass will be your only or main player, I recommend the Ken Smith simply because it will offer more tonal options. The AJ Fodera is a very specialized bass designed for a specific sound. The Ken Smith will sound like a Smith, but I think it will offer more a chance for individuality.
  12. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Another +1 to Dbassmon's post. If you look at some of the top electric jazz players out there- Anthony Jackson, Steve Swallow, John Patitucci, Tony Grey, Marcus Miller for example- none of them have tones that sound alike. I will say that since the AJ Presentation is such a specifically designed bass in every aspect, you'd better KNOW that that is the exact bass you want with no questions about it, because nearly all of the options you'd normally get to pick from have been chosen for you if you choose that bass.
  13. Tumbao


    Nov 10, 2001
    = Tom Kennedy's model + C string. :ninja: (I hope Mr.AJ does not show up after my post). :cool:
  14. Given the tight-to-the-bridge pickup position on Tommy's signature model, I would agree that, while it won't sound exactly like a Smith up top, it will have at least a somewhat similar low mid punch. I agree that would be the closest thing in Fodera's line to the Smith tone, in a very general sense. And, if you want to wait a few years to get it, I'm sure the Fodera boy's would make a six string version for the OP!
  15. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    The idea of waiting several years for a bass sounds SOOOO painful to me- I couldn't do it. Longest I've waited for a custom was around 9 months, and I was ready to kill the luthier for taking so long :D
    bass6strng likes this.
  16. T-MOST

    T-MOST Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    These basses don't even come close to having similar tones. Apples and oranges... Which one do you prefer?
    bass6strng likes this.
  17. mayaslady


    Mar 14, 2009
    Believe it or not my bass was made up by putting a my fender jazz neck on my peavey body. Both were vintage but each basses other half was broken.than I placed a twang bar on it.I hated the frets so I removed them and with crazy glue carefully filled the lines and wet dryed them to a glossy smooth finish.My neck was rosewood. I loved the sound of the early bass pickups but not the peavey shape so I reshaped it to look more like a fender body. I than placed a switch that gave it more power.I don't know what the name of the unit was but it was kick ash.What really helps is I own a mint condition ampeg svt tubeamp very old and # 13 mesa boogie D180.I bought it when they first said they are making a bass amp.#13 sweet.It came with an anvel case.I had the oppertunity to send it back to put a graphic eq but I didn't want to ruin its true sound.Its funny but read all the time about how great this or that is but really I've heard so called cheap basses played by great great bass players and with the right equip they sounded like those 3,000 dollar basses.
  18. Personally I think the sound of the Ken Smith would suit me better (I also find that with the Contrabass often only having one pickup in the middle of the body it naturally produces those "P" type tones, albeit much better than a Fender ever could!). But it's all down to the player! Listen to AJ, he rocks those basses whereas I would find them probably a bit "P-ish" for my tastes!
  19. What is an I-S?
  20. mstott25


    Aug 26, 2005
    Guntersville, AL
    Okay I was recently told by a very well respected high end bass dealer here in the good ol' US of A that hands down Ken Smith is the best builder of basses in the world.

    This guy (who's a great guy and was in no way trying to put down any other builders, just giving his unabashed opinion) has played/owned/experienced everything under the sun. In fact he told me the two basses he plays most are his Sadowsky 5 string (NYC Modern) and his Fodera Monarch (Victor Wooten model) so he wasn't saying Ken Smith makes the most versatile basses or he loves them above and beyond anything else out there etc. etc. He was just saying what he said...Ken Smith is the best bass builder in the business. In fact he feels Ken Smith is in an entire different league from everybody else.

    I was just thinking about this as I saw the Anthony Jackson Fodera bass costing 16k and would probably take 3 years to get. Yet you can get a top of the line Ken Smith bass for around $4000 mark and most orders go out 3-4 months after they were placed.

    I know this is all one guys opinion but it really makes me respect the fact that Ken Smith has such relatively low prices and an incredible build time after being the guy who pretty much started this whole custom bass building business.

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