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Ken Smith

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Woodchuck, Dec 19, 2001.


  1. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck

    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I know he builds great pieces, but I want to ask this of people that know him. Why is he so F'ing mean?! Outside of Fodera, Tobias, and Roger, he's had nothing but horrible things to say about EVERYBODY! What gives?
     
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    California
    Did you read an interview of his? Where does he say that stuff?

    Oh and does he diss Stuart and Ned? Where's my gun?

    Joking, of course.
     
  3. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck

    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I've talked to him on several occasions, as have others that I know, and it's the same story. Talk to other builders, they'll tell you the same thing. He comes across as a VERY bitter dude. I'm just wondering why. BTW, I've never heard him dis Stu Spector.
     
  4. JPJ

    JPJ

    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    I talked to him on the phone a couple of years ago, and while he wasn't necessarily rude or disrespectful to me...nor was he "mean"...I did find that we was short and to-the-point. He didn't come across as a warm and friendly guy, nor do I feel that he is as touchy-feely as some of his peers. I hope that this isn't taken the wrong way, but the raction you get form him may depend on the "level" of your question, how it is presented to him, your education level, etc. I'm sure he is a busy guy who gets the same questions over and over, possibly coming from younger, inexperienced bassist, or possibly just being silly, unintelligent questions that he views as bothersome. This doesn't excuse his behavior, but it might explain it and help you understand it. He makes great basses, but if you're looking for a luthier who is accessable, polite, and talkative, you might look at Mike Lull, Roger Sadowsky, Ken Benensee, Dan Lakin, or a host of others. By the way, the guys at the Fender Custom shop are great too....just kidding!!! : )
     
  5. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck

    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    JPJ, he wasn't rude to me, I'm referring to the way he regards every one else's basses, and the way he treats some of his dealers and customers. Tombao, that's what I'm talking about. He hates EVERYTHING! Talking to about 4 of his customers, I mean for years they were, and they all tell me that customer service isn't his forte. When there was something wrong with the bass, he blamed them, and even has gone so far to say, "Shut up, there's nothing wrong with the bass. You just don't know what you're doing!" That's not cool.
     
  6. JPJ

    JPJ

    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Understood. It really is a shame, but I guess everyone in the bass community can't be a "winner"!
     
  7. progplayer

    progplayer

    Nov 7, 2001
    I too have heard the "rumors" of Ken Smith and his attitude prob. I considered calling the company last year to see if one of his luthiers could build me a custom bass but the cost was outrageous. Mike Pedulla & Co. are a great bunch of people. Hey if you don't provide good customer service, you'll loose your business. I don't know about Smith & Co. but........ who knows, something probably happened to him money wise that's why he's bitter. Money is the root of all evil aint it?
     
  8. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com
    I've had many people say the same thing about ken smith as well. He's always been pretty cool with me, but I understand where people are coming from when they speak with him. Fodera has been on the bashing of other builders as well over the past few years. Just in the past year R bass (which I understand why) and then Benavente in the past 2 weeks (which really bothers me)!
    I love the guys at Fodera (Vinny & Joey) they are super. I believe that there is an influence with-in fodera's group that causes some problems. His name has been brought up many times by different people as being there reason for not purchasing a fodera. I will leave his name unmentioned.
    But to reiterate Joey and Vinny are super nice guys and will do anything they can for you!!!
     
  9. bassboat

    bassboat

    Sep 27, 2001
    You know,Ken is just a guy like everybody else.
    There may be a whole bunch of issues in his life, just like you and me have our issues. Getting to build basses for living doesn't really change a person in any meaningful way.
    I agree that being nice is always more helpful in business and in life than being mean and cranky. I guess my question is this: Should I buy the bass made by the nicest luthier? Or buy the bass made by the cranky guy, if the bass suits me more?
     
  10. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck

    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Bassboat, very good point, but why does he need to bash his contemporaries? Brutal stuff he says about them too. You could be talking about sports, and he'll just jump subjects and go, "You know blah's basses are subpar. In fact, he should be ashamed of himself. And did you know that so and so stole all his his luthier gear in the early days?":confused:
     
  11. progplayer

    progplayer

    Nov 7, 2001
    There has to be a medium here. Business is business. You have to put on an act. Customer Service is key, the happier u make us (consumers) the more willing I'll be to dish out $3,000+ for a custom bass.

    It sounds like the reason why he wants to "bash" other bass companies is to get their business. I dont know about you but I don't know anyone that owns a Ken Smith bass. They are rare. Plus they are too damn expensive for us normal people.
     
  12. boogiebass

    boogiebass

    Aug 16, 2000
    I own a Ken Smith BSR6 GN and it's a great instrument. I bought it used but, yeah, it still set me back a few bucks. Well worth it. The one time I called Ken Smith with questions about the instrument, they were cordial with me and I bought some polish, a T shirt and the plant tour video. No problems whatesoever.
     
  13. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com
    Ken smith basses are everywhere. Faithful ken smith players always have another bass though. Smiths are a one tone instrument and in alot of situations are real muddy sounding and don't cut through. This is a complaint by dihard smith fans. Ken has a great bass, but I think he has hurt himself like many others by coming out with the cheaper models that are foreign made. People can buy a cheap ones for under $1000.

    The real US ken smiths come with the smith soapbars and a 2 or 3 band smith preamp. The US smiths with JJ's don't quite have that old origanal smith tone.

    Used smith's sell under $2000 for even the neck-through's. So their not really out of the price range to many buyers, and there are alot for sale!!!
     
  14. boogiebass

    boogiebass

    Aug 16, 2000
    If you mean the first sentence to apply to all Ken Smith basses, I'd have to say your statement is incorrect. The BSR6 GN that I own does not fit that description by any stretch of the imagination. Regarding your second sentence above, I've never seen a Smith neck-through for less than $2K. Please provide some examples and facts to support this statement, if you don't mind.
     
  15. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    Here are the things they list on the website as Ken Smith's innovations:

    1978
    Inlaid Straploks

    1979
    Printed Circuit Board Electronics

    1980
    Graphite Inlaid Neck

    1980
    Detented Balance Control

    1980
    Detented EQ Controls

    1981
    Wide Neck 6 String Bass

    1981
    Low 'B' Design .128 & .130

    1983
    Wide Neck 5 String Bass

    1983
    Taper Core Bass Strings

    1983
    Compact Quick Release Bridge

    Some of those are a little more, uh, "cosmic" than others, but I can see if he really did come up with all that, and he doesn't really get the credit for it, bitterness setting in.

    Either way, it's too bad, huh?
     
  16. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com
    Sure, for one, I have never sold a smith for over $2000. Understand I am talking used smith's!
    Look on ebay, bassgear.com, harmony-central, etc.

    There are good smith's and bad smith's like all basses. But finding good smith's, I've had many friends and customers compare it to finding a good fender jazz bass. You need a good selection to go through, but they are there.
     
  17. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck

    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    If you don't think Mr. Smith is chatty, bring up the subject of wood!:D
     
  18. Okay, sorry. Well I just wouldn't like to purchase a kensmith bass, and having Ken tell me I'm doing something wrong incase something happens. I do like Ken Smith basses the quiality is awesome! However I do not like the electronics, something about them sets me a little weird about them. Seems to be more of a mellow sound to me.
     
  19. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck

    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    As I said before, Ken has been VERY nice to me. I'm just curious as to why he's so bitter towards other builders and to his customers and dealers at times. Maybe someone knows of an incident that may have made him this way. Believe me, I have heard about 30 or so instances where he does this, as well as my own conversations with him.
    Case in point a store owner got a new neck thru 4 that had a dead spot on the A+ of the G string, he called Ken about it, and he said, "It's not a dead spot, it's you. You must be doing something wrong."
    He asked Ken if he could ship it back, so he could look at it, and he said, "No, I don't have to look at it, I know it's not the bass."
    What happened? Someone said that maybe he doesn't get credit for his innovations. I could see where that would piss a person off.
     
  20. What I meant is that with all the comments about Ken Smith's personality that if what is said is true then I feel that Mr. Smith is being a jerk.

    p.s I also feel sorry for this store owner with the dead spot :(