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Strings for Ken Smith bass

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by rick1906, Jan 4, 2004.


  1. rick1906

    rick1906

    Jun 6, 2002
    NC
    I have a Smith BSR 5-string, and I need to replace the strings. It still has the original Smith taper core strings that came on it, but the D and G strings sound very thin, IMO. What kind of strings should I try on this bass? I play mostly funk, R&B, and gospel.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    Carefull, Ken might chastise you for not using only his Custom Taporcore's on your Smith bass. Do you know what guage strings are on your bass? To my ears, 44-130 Smith Taporcores don't sound thin at all but the light guage one's do sound a bit thin to me. Maybe that's what's on your bass. I've also had very good luck with the Zon Ultrasonic strings strings, but they're more on the aggressive side and definitley a lot lower in tension.
     
  3. rick1906

    rick1906

    Jun 6, 2002
    NC
    They are Mediums (44-130).
     
  4. ChenNuts44

    ChenNuts44

    Nov 18, 2001
    Davenport, IA
    Regarding the Zon Ultrasonics, found anywhere that sells them for a reasonable price?
     
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    That's interesting. I'm wondering how you make a G that big sound thin. What are you doing EQ-wise?
     
  6. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Try the D'Addario EXL-170's. You might like them. The G string sounds "thicker" than most. They're good strings, very responsive. The G string sounds a little unusual at first, but give it five or ten days of try-out, it might grow on you and you might end up liking it. I use these on my 5-string Roscoes and F basses. They work great.

    By the way, I love Ken Smith strings. Been using nothing but, on my 6-strings, for about 10 years.

    I use the non-tapers though.
     
  7. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    I use his Taper Core's on almost all my stuff. As Brad said, what are you doing EQ wise ?
     
  8. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    Don't quote me on this, but I think Joe may be getting out of the string selling business. I sort of read between the lines and came up with this conclusion myself. They certainly are hard to get a hold off, and i only know of one place that does sell them. I get mine from Joe being that I live so close to his place. I actually have been putting my own sets together as well. As a matter of fact, I had some strings custom done for my Smith's. They're the light's but with a taporcore so they're Smith friendly on the bridge saddles.
     
  9. rick1906

    rick1906

    Jun 6, 2002
    NC
    On the bass itself, bass and treble as well as the bridge pickup are boosted slightly. I play through an Ampeg SVP Pro preamp using the funk settings. It boosts ultra hi and ultra lo and cuts mids with the center frequency at 800hz.

    I talked to Ken, and I'm going to try a custom set of tapercores for B, E, and A, and Rock Masters for the D and G strings.
     
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Sounds like you're dialing the "thin" in yourself, Rick. You're basically doing a double mid cut by boosting highs AND lows at the bass AND amp. With very little mids it a perfect recipe for this tone:

    BOOM!! TICK!!

    Just for grins try this (granted, I don't know what cabs you're using):

    Set the bass' onboard tone controls flat. Turn it's volume all the way up.

    Set the amp flat (zero the EQs, turn off the voicing switches). At this point you'll probably notice you have less volume than you did before with the tweaks. Cool... turn your volume up a bit.

    You'll probably have a very full sound at this point. There's typically very little mud from a BSR so cutting mids probably won't be necessary.

    How does the bass sound now? By setting the volume to get you a full sound (turn your amp up loud enough and it's hard NOT to get a full sound) you should now have a decent BASE tone to work with. From here, with the increased volume, you should be able to make minor tweaks to zero in on the tone you're after. I'd make the minor tweaks at the guitar itself first.

    Let me know if that helps.
     
  11. rick1906

    rick1906

    Jun 6, 2002
    NC
    Thanks, Brad. Adjusting the EQ does help a bit. Running the bass and the preamp flat really allows me to get that "Smith" sound even with dead strings. I'll keep playing with it until I find settings I like while I wait for my new strings.
     
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    That's great, Rick. That Smith sound can be a wonderful thing;)