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roscoe vs smith

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fire-Starter, Nov 26, 2002.

  1. Fire-Starter


    Aug 11, 2002
    Has anyone who has played both a Ken Smith and a Keith Roscoe bass five/six string give some vital feedback regarding the sound, feel, customer service between the two vendors, I would really like to know how they both handle in a church/choir setting, I do have a smith burner but have not tried it in church as of yet. THANKS!!!

  2. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Well, I regularly gig with a Ken Smith BSR6 GN and Roscoe SKB 3006. They are both superb instruments. The Smith has significantly better slap tone and wider string spacing and amazing mid-range clarity and sustain. The Roscoe has a deep, rich low-end that is hard to match. You cannot go wrong with either and I wouldn't want to be without my Smith OR my Roscoe. Good luck.
  3. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Smith is right, HUGE difference!!!!!!

    Hmmm......I think both are definately top notch basses. The B on the roscoe is very tight. The spacing on the smith is very nice. The sounds, well, they are different and are very nice! I actually dug the feel of the smith better, but my overall choice was a draw.

    I guess looks play a big part too. If you want natural, I would take a smith. But I do dig many of the finishes on a roscoe.

    If ken smith comes back up, you ever made a buckeye topped BSR in a 35" scale?
  4. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    I've never owned a Smith so I can't give a good opinion. I've always admired the looks. I've heard them live and they sound wonderful. I've owned 3 Roscoes. All warm, round, easy to play. 2 of 3 were light, well balanced. Roscoes b string kills!!

  5. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I've owned a pair of Smith USA made basses, a Burner and a Roscoe SKB3006. All were 6 strings. The Burner is a nice bass but not in the same class as the BSR or BT.

    I found things to like about both the Smith and Roscoe basses. The Smith tone is a bit brighter and more articulate than the darker sounding Roscoe tone. Playability is wonderful on both brands. It is best to play both and make up your own mind, however, I would choose the Smith for duty in a Praise band. The Roscoe did not do the slap thing very well and the Smith does everything well.

    I never had any dealings with Roscoe for service. I have had ocasion to need service from Smith and Ken himself helped me when I called with questions. I found Smith service to be very good and they stand behind their products.

  6. vanselus


    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    I think the Smith is much more versatile in a worship setting because most churches have such dramatic acoustics it's nice to be able to count on the tight midrange in the Smith. The P-bass like blossom in the Roscoe just sounds too bassy in most churches IMHO.
  7. Fretless5verfan


    Jan 17, 2002
    I've played my Roscoe(SKB3006) in 2 churches and both times the darkness of the sound caused a small problem but it was nothing i couldn't eq out. it was more a of prob in the really high ceiling church i played, but it only took a few seconds to get the sound right. I used the 3 band on the bass, not the one in the rack i was using.

    I've never had the pleasure of playing a smith so i can't compare.
  8. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Having spent time on each, personally, I'd drift towards the Roscoe, but only due to my own proclivity for said instrument. Either way would be a slammin' instrument to own, and to call your own.
  9. JOME77

    JOME77 Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    I can't comment on the Smith in a church setting but I have played Roscoe's in church for the last 8 years. I not sure about the "darker" tone referenced in some of the earlier comments. I found that my Roscoe's can sound pretty much however I need them to sound by adjusting the on board EQ or adjusting my preamp EQ. I've played many large old churches with very high ceilings and had no problem getting a great sound with varied EQ settings on a SWR-400S and expect even better results with the new Demeter HBP-1. I'd be hard pressed to believe that a Smith bass would sound significantly different than a Roscoe in a room with high ceilings. Smith basses are excellent basses and as others previously stated, you can't go wrong with either one. My hands and ears just prefer the Roscoe (waiting on number 3!).:)
  10. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I recently tried a Smith 5 when a bunch of church musicians got together. The majority of us agreed that it had 'that gospel sound' when compared to musicman sei and some custom basses.
  11. Basso Gruvitas

    Basso Gruvitas Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth TX
    As far as tone, they both have their own personalities. Try both and see which one "speaks" to you.

    One big difference is the scale length - Roscoes are 35", Smiths are 34". Does that matter to you? There IS a difference in string response.

    Another is electronics - You can get a Roscoe with an upgraded electronics package with push/pull mids, where you can actually boost and cut at 2 different mid frequencies. I think of it as having a 4-band EQ. The Smiths are the traditional 3-band.

    I agree with Ken...stay away from the Burners! When you try one, try the BSR models.
  12. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    You'll get my Smith Black Tiger 6 away from me when you can pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

    That being said, and therefore exposing my prejudice, I have played Roscoes on a couple of occasions and IMHO they don't quite make it to Smith's level of quality in both sound and workmanship. It seems to me that Roscoe has put more effort into cosmetics than tone. Don't get me wrong, Ken makes gorgeous instruments, and the Roscoes sound quite good. But I believe tone is king with Ken, and he's settled on wood choices that make sense tonally first, cosmetically second. If I'm not mistaken, most of the Roscoes are either alder or ash bodies with the exotic tops. Just doesn't seem to be a lot of thought put into it. Am I wrong or does Roscoe use aftermarket electronics, pickups and hardware? Not that this is a bad thing...Bartolinis are great...but I like that Smith at least designed everything from the ground up. I know this is a cosmetic issue, and a bit picky at that, but I don't dig the cheap knobs on the Roscoe.
  13. Basso Gruvitas

    Basso Gruvitas Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth TX
    Good observations, Craig.
    Keith does have a tight "recipe" of woods that he likes to use in order to get the "Roscoe tone." If it's not a big deal to the customer, some would rather have him work with woods he's totally comfortable with, than navigate in unchartered woods. In the same way, Ken is comfortable (and EXPERT!) with the walnuts.

    The Bartolinis that Keith uses are custom wound, so they're not really aftermarket.

    Hardware - Smith knobs are plastic and Roscoe knobs are metal. Who's got the "cheap" knobs?
  14. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Good point about the Barts John, my bad.

    Perhaps I shouldna said "cheap". I guess I meant run o' the mill. They're the standard metal P-bass style knobs you get from All Parts. I haven't seen Ken's knobs (now THAT'S a good thing :oops: )..ehem...on any other bass.
  15. Basso Gruvitas

    Basso Gruvitas Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2000
    Dallas/Ft. Worth TX
    And the tung/lemon oil! Don't forget that! Those just look great! If you prefer the oil finish on a bass, Ken is your man right there!

    If you prefer a poly finish, I like Keith's better. Serious gloss, and sturdy too.
  16. Fretless5verfan


    Jan 17, 2002
    MOST roscoes that i've seen were spanish cedar bodies, not to mention Keith doesn't even offer alder as a standard choice. I've also seen very few(3,4 at most) ash or mahogany bodied roscoes.

    I wholly disagree that the quality of sound is not equal. They are both tonally amazing, just in different ways.

    Where would you say the craftmanship differs besides the knobs?
  17. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    I was responding to yekcko's request for feedback from cats who have played both basses. It's not my intention to diss Roscoe. They're fine basses. Opinions were solicited, I gave mine. I used terms like "my prejudice" and "IMHO" so he knows where I'm comin' from...dig?
  18. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    BTW Fretless...Happy Birthday man!:cool:
  19. Fretless5verfan


    Jan 17, 2002
    Yea i dig bro. I was just wondering what differences you saw in the quality of construction of the two basses:)
  20. Fretless5verfan


    Jan 17, 2002
    THanx!! i thought no one would notice!:D :D :D

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