The Return of the "Impulse Buy"!! KSD V70J4

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dave Siff, Jan 12, 2004.

  1. So, last Saturday, I'm minding my own business, running some errands, and I get a call from our esteemed colleague, bassmonkeee, instructing me to proceed post haste to a local instrument store called Earthshaking Music. He told me they had the new Ken Smith import Jazz basses, and that they were incredible. I told myself "no", but soon enough, I was heading over there.
    I walked in, and went straight for the blonde 4-string with the maple neck. As soon as I picked it up and played a few notes, I was floored by its super-smooth playability and great tone. The active sound is nice, but the passive tone just kills. It's just totally slammin' and in your face. When I looked at the price tag, I knew I had to have it. And so, I did. I never thought I'd make an "impulse buy" again, but I'm glad I did. I had been wanting a 70s Jazz with a block-inlay fretboard, and now I've got it. This thing is as good or better than any high-end Jazz I've played.
    Here's a couple of pics:
  2. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon Supporting Member

    May 10, 2000
    Lake Forest, CA
    interesting 3 piece bod.

    nice when a can't resist happens.


  3. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    According to the website, $675 for a four strings, $750 for a fiver. (Case with both.)

    They look amazing. I was considering a Marcus Miller a while back, but it looks like I could get a Smith for less... interesting. (Though I can't say I'm ga-ga for the headstock.)

    How heavy is it?
  4. amos


    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    yes, please do tell.
  5. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Hmm. I was a bit weirded when I heard about Smith doing a "budget high-end Jazz clone", but it sounds like they've really done a great job.
  6. pistoleroace


    Sep 13, 2002
    Let's hear more. What is the tone and overall quality like? Are the pickups noisy like some have said they are?
  7. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    All of the Ken Smith Design basses I played at Earthshaking Music were amazing. My personal favorite was the five string with alder body/burst finish/rosewood fretboard.

    The fit and finish on these basses is as good, if not better, than that of most high end basses I've seen. The preamp is great, and only gets a little hiss-y when you have the treble wide open, which I would never do, anyway. This bass makes me think that I prefer 2 band preamps to three band preamps.

    I never liked the way the headstocks looked in pictures, but I thought they looked just fine in person. And, I really like the way the five string headstock looks--more so than either the new Fender 4+1 headstock or the Lakland Joe Osborn 3+2 headstock.

    Dave's new four string has one of the tightest neck pockets I've seen. Period. Amazing fretwork, too. I can honestly say that I prefer this bass to most of the high end Jazz basses I've played (Sadowsky, Lull, Suhr, Lakland). I'd take one of these over the Skyline Osborn any day of the week.

    None of the basses I tried were very heavy. All of them were lighter than the Ash MIA 75 Reissue I used to have that was tricked out. Everyone who played it thought it was one of the best Jazz Basses they've ever played. :bassist:

    These were better.

    I don't know if all KSD basses are as nice as the batch I played, but it's been a long time since I called someone leaving a store and told them they had to go and try a bass. The fact that Dave checked it out and immediately bought one (the day after his wife's birthday, no less) just validates what I thought about them. :D
  8. OK, let me answer all these questions!
    Firstly, I should note that the contrast in color between the three pieces of the body is not as stark as it appears in the third picture. It's noticeable, but it doesn't look bad.
    Bassmonkeee pretty much summed up all the good qualities of this bass. It's light in weight. The fit and finish is amazing. I have never seen a tighter neck pocket on any bass. The fretboard is bound, and the fretwork is great.. no high spots that I could detect. The store had five KSD basses, and the salesman told me this one had the best set-up out of the box. The neck is straight, the action is super low -- a touch lower than I like it, actually, but I'm not complaining -- and there's no fret buzz at all, unless you really dig in hard.
    The signal from the preamp is pretty hot. I've played some active basses that could safely go into an amp's "passive" input, but not this one. Like I said in the original post, the active sounds are nice, but I prefer the passive tone. It's just huge and cutting. I'm sure I'll use the active settings at some point for something, but the passive sound suits me just fine. And, there's no noise.
    I paid $670 for just the bass. The guy told me they did not ship with a case. I didn't mind that, since I prefer gig bags anyway, so I picked out a cool tweed one. Matches the bass!
    This bass is different from my others in several respects. (In other words, I can justify it! :D )Besides the preamp, it's got a maple fretboard, and a master volume instead of a separate one for each pickup. It's really striking, plays like butter, and sounds killer. What else is there?!
  9. atldeadhead


    Jun 17, 2002
    Nice bass. Being a fellow ATLien, I'm curious about the store, Earthshaking Music. I haven't heard of this place. Is it new? Where is it located?
  10. Earthshaking Music is in East Atlanta, right next to The Echo Lounge. It's been there for several years. They don't have a real big inventory, but they've always had some cool stuff. They were a Reverend dealer when Reverend had a dealer network, and recently they had a couple of Italia basses.
  11. hands5


    Jan 15, 2003
    good 'ol USA/Tampa fla.
    This Bass just plain "Smokes".I'm going to purchase the 5-string version in Febuary'04
  12. BoiNtC


    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    Welcome to the KSD club ;)
  13. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    When I visited Mr. Sadowsky, I also went to visit the distributor of the KSD's. I spent about 1 1/2 hours playing them. I was going to get one until I wandered into that damn Benavente booth @ NAMM!
  14. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I really dig mine. Interesting that your has a 3 piece body; mine has a two piece.
  15. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    What's the bridge spacing on the 5-er like?
  16. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    :( Now I really want to try one. I'll have to find out a dealer in the Chicago area where I can find one. I doubt they'll hit the Guitar Center/Sam Ash scene. Although, it would be nice, as I have credit cards with both. :D Maybe I'll have to PM Ken Smith...