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So It down to these 4 contestants!!!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sethlow3, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. I will soon be able to acquire one of these beauties. The style of music I'll be playing as follows...

    A Trio with violin/female vocals, and drums. So think big BAMM!!! I also need something very smoothe and groovy for R&B. I also need something that has heavy metal highs if I want to dial them in.
    I love definition but nothing too hi fi. Nothing too transperant. A bass that "speaks" like vocals. I have only played 2 of the 4 basses I am about to mention. So share your experiences live and in the studio......

    F bass BN5 ash body, Blue with maple FB

    MTD 535 straight up ash body, natural, with no top, and a pau ferro FB

    Ken Smith BSRM5 tiger maple body, natural with pau ferro FB

    Nordstrand NJ5 ash body, teal, maple FB

    I am leaning on the F the most (for now)...
  2. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Wow, tough call. Quality problem, eh? It would be hard to go wrong with any of those. Well, I currently own two of the three you mentioned, and used to own the third. F bass is an excellent instrument, but may be slightly lacking in the "metal highs" you're looking for. Definitely smooth and groovy though (and funky too). The Ken Smith is a great bass too, but I find those angled tuners to be a little painful after a while. Plus I'm not a big fan of tiger maple, although it does look cool in certain kinds of lighting. IME the MTD is probably the one you want. The pickups and EQ on that bass are superb. You can get high end up the ying-yang, if that's what you really want. Plus it's very easy to do the smooth 'n' groovy thing. But, you should be aware of two things. One is, that if you're using the MTD strings with it, be prepared for a lengthy and painful setup. Once it's "in", it sounds great. None better. But it takes a long time to find the sweet spot. The second thing to be aware of is, that the MTD likes low action. The sweet spot is really low on that bass. So if you're used to having your strings an inch off the board, I'd stick with the Ken Smith, it'll respond a lot better to a higher action setting. The F bass doesn't like high action much either, unless you're using RotoSounds (ouch). My MTD is all ash, ash body and ash neck. It's probably in the top three most responsive basses I've ever played. Out of maybe a thousand or so. Mike makes a nice bass. They all do, but the 535 is real sweet. If I were stuck on a desert island with only one bass, that would probably be the one (as of today). :)
  3. Make that four contestants. I am debating if a Nordstrand is worth the wait.....
  4. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    Nino, Major Metal, Bikeplate, Rader, Ari...do we dare?
  5. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    I vote for the F Bass! I can get plenty of highs and have even started dialing back the treble preamp control on my BN5.

    I always found Ken Smiths to be somewhat organic and woody sounding which is cool if that's the tone you're looking for. But to get heavy metal highs, I'd look elsewhere. Think Modulus or Zon perhaps.

    My experience with MTD's is limited. I've only played a couple of them. They seem to vary greatly depending on wood combinations. I've only played the Wenge neck/fingerboard variants and they were too mid-rangey and nasal for my taste.
  6. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Jim, after the attack in the last thread I received, don't think so. It would be the most logical bass to cover his needs. I like F basses, too. I've owned 3 of them. The reason I don't play them anymore, I play Sadowsky's now. I found the F's to be great but they are a bit on the "dark" side. High's aren't very snappy on them. Wonderful instruments, though. I prefer a 34" scale, too. The F's are 34.5".

    It won't hurt to try a Sadowsky 5. I highly recommend them and I'll leave it at that!!

    JimS, great pics you've been posting lately. Be cool

  7. dragonbass

    dragonbass Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2003
    ........................................EX-Sadowsky Guitars Builder..........................................................
    I vote that the wait is worth it!

    I own 2 Nordstrands ( 1 should be ready to ship this week, the other I have had for over a year).
    I really love these basses....they balance perfect, plenty of tone, and made very well. (Not saying that the others you listed are not). They just work very well with the stuff I play.{Mostly Rock}

    I have owned quite a few High End basses and while all of them had something nice about them....I am extremely happy with my Nord.
    I also own a Ken Smith BSR4MW that is one of the nicest Smiths I have played.

    If you get a chance to sit down and try all of the basses you listed you should be able to come to a conclusion that works well for you. You have a great selection to choose from.
  8. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    I do think if you are considering high end basses like F, MTD, etc, you should consider Sadowsky. You want versatility and be able to cut though a band or mix? This could very well be your ticket.

    Thanks Rob. Hope to see you at the NYC TB gathering if you can make it.
  9. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Not on the list but a Neck through Spector sound like it could fit that bill. It's got a good R&B tone, and is capable of getting raunchy with rock and it cuts very nicely with good highs.
  10. callofthebow


    Oct 19, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    have you thought about getting a fretless? thats just one of the things that came to mind when you were describing the tone you wanted
  11. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sarcasm: Just ONE of the many services I offer! Gold Supporting Member

    I have a BN-5 and a wenge/wenge MTD 535. I'm selling the F-Bass and keeping the MTD because the MTD is so much more responsive and comfortable. I did like the F-Bass, just not enough to keep it.

    BTW, I don't find the MTD mid-rangey and nasal but I play fingerstyle almost exclusively.

    I'd vote for the MTD! (although I like my Ken Lawrence Brase 5 better!).

    Dan K. :hyper:
  12. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    F Bass. 'nuff said. ;)
  13. Funny you say that. I used to own 3 fretlesses exclusively for a while but then decided it wasn't my bag.

    Because I'll need the Korg (whatever model) to intonate an MTD, the fact its a 35", that it has barts, and that it has no passive active bypass the MTD is distant in the standings for me. However, they do sound and respond great so its still tough!

    I have been thinking differently about what I want in a bass since playing my friend's Benevente Vintage Vortex. The Vintage Vortex had very good presence on stage and the drummer loved the definition. I didn't like the 35" scale and too hot output. I tried recording with it last night and we spent about 30 min on compression, and I played the bass live in a rehersal and it almost blew my cab.

    That bass made me want to sell my Zon Sonus 5. The Zon had 16.5mm spacing, inner cavity mids only, and it muddied up the mix when a lot was going with other instruments on in the songs. So no Zon for me.. :)

    The very warm sound of Fbass is still something I crave and wonder if I used the right effects or eqing that the metal highs would be attainable since I havn't heard an F in that setting. I have played Fbass and love the feel. The sound had a very warm presence that I still can't get over. Awesome playability and the sexiest looks of any bass IMO.

    I played a Sadowsky tokyo and I was a bit underwhelmed, it sounded good but I didn't quite like the feel. The US models I haven't played. I don't know if $3k is worth it. Most of what I have mentioned is meant to be $2500 or less.
    Sorry about the long reply just ramblin'
    Let me know more about your applications of these basses.....
  14. GRoberts

    GRoberts Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Tucson, AZ USA
    I would not describe my F Bass tone as "warm." It's more like; "Clear, articulate, punchy, good growl, sweet, exceptional Low B string and very smooth highs." The 34.5" scale and the neck shape and incredible action make the bass play like buttah. Truly an amazing instrument.

    Did you play an F Bass with Maple Fingerboard or Ebony? The Maple is a bit more open with sweeter highs.

    I have a Modulus Quantum 5 that is very bright and focused and while it was great for rock, I prefer my F Bass BN5. It cuts better while blending with the rest of the band at the same time. KILLER bass. My BN5, in my experience, is the one bass that does it all well. Quite versatile.
  15. out of those, i would get the F-bass. those things are class. also, the blue with a maple fretboard would look stunning
  16. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    IMHO, of course...

    Hmmmm, first, I'd rule out the MTD. I love my 535, but based on yer description, it's not what yer lookin' for.

    I've also heard the F's are awesome, but also from what I've heard, they may be a bit too "warm" for your needs if you want something that can really be bright when desired.

    I've never played a Smith, but also from what I've read/heard, they're probably one of the finest 34" scale basses ever made.

    Sadowsky's are also to die for... especially if you love a totally souped up J tone, but are hard to find, and I don't know about the scale length.

    Celinder is pretty much the same as Sadowsky from what I've read... Ultra J bass, expensive, awesome, hard to find.

    I'd suggest Roscoe, as I really love my LG, awesome tone, versatility, and playability, but it's a 35". I also know where you could STEAL a crazy beautiful rare/unique SKB 3005 if you were interested... accessbass.com (if it's not sold yet).

    At the NAMM show, I played both Beneventes and a great Nord. Of the two, I think the Nord felt/sounded best to me. I have relatively small hands, but am comfy on a 35" scale. I'm pretty sure the B's are 35". Dunno about the Nord, but it's neck felt effortless to me.

    So, to sum up, I'd say wait until you can play a Smith, Sadowsky (34"?), and a Nord (34"?), and then decide.

    I will say one other thing... of these contestants, you're gonna' totally love whatever you get, so you really can't lose no matter what you choose. :)
  17. Roscoe5, I have played an F with a maple fingerboard. Warm, clear, articulate, growly, and fender-esque is how I would describe the BN5 I played. Tone is always subjective I guess. The "heavy metal highs" may not really matter as much to me as a John Paul Jones type tone with a clear, modern twist. I'm sure that Steve Harris would sound good on just about anything. What I need is something versitile enough for all I mentioned and the F seems to sound the closest to most versitile so far.

    Its important for me to have something that cuts with a lot of variety in tone. Something that sits well in the studio and live. Man I hate that I couldn't make the nashville NAMM, and its the last one in TN too.. :(

    The scale length of 35" isn't a huge issue, it just depends on the bass profile. F bass and Nordstrand are 34.5" which feels very good to my hands. Of course you can custom order a Roscoe, F, Nord, and a Benevente to have any scale length.
    Ohhh boy decisions......
  18. jacochops


    Jul 2, 2000
    Suzhou, China
    My recommendation, for whatever it's worth (probably not much)...Nordstrand with a Smith 3 band preamp...bam!
    I was at Carey's today, and we a/b'd a bass with a Smith pre to several others with Aguilar OBP 3s, and the combination of the Smith 3 band pre and the Fat Stack pickups was really incredibly punchy! To my ears, it was like an F Bass tone, but with a bit more growly Jaco-like midrange. Guaranteed to cut through!
    Worth the wait? Yes. I love the sound and playability, but that's MY opinion. Spend the 2-300 on a plane ticket to So Cal, go to Carey's shop, and play them for yourself. In the big picture, if you end up with a keeper, it's money more than well spent. If you buy a bass that you end up selling because it's not "the one", then you'd lose more than the cost of the ticket!
    F Bass is a good choice, as well. I'm not really fond of the Sadowsky sound. To my ears, not enough grunt in the mids, and the inavailability of a mid control doesn't ring my bell.
  19. Wish I could make the trip to So. Cal. but I have way too much going on for any vacation breaks right now. Thanks for the input though. I have spent a bit of time lately listening to sound clips of these basses and so far I really dig the F and Nord in sound a lot.

    clips for F (in a metal setting too!)


    WOW these are great examples of F tone in a metal setting. Every note seems to ring like a bell.

    The Nord clips I found here on TB from Carey and Unregistered. From what I have heard, Nords sound very close to the classic jazz tone with some modern high end thrown in. Any more clips would be greatly appreciated.

    I think I need about another week to decide. If anyone else has any studio or live stories with these basses, I am all ears.
  20. Vic

    Vic There's more music in the nuance than the notes. Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Central Illinois
    Staff, Bass Gear Magazine
    Where are these Nord clips?