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Mastodon2 last won the day on March 29 2019

Mastodon2 had the most liked content!

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    Newcastle upon Tyne

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  1. I'm joining the club. Very good first impressions for my Thinline Custom, it sounds great and is really nice to play. There isn't much written or filmed on these on the web. I feel like Sandberg, in a way, are one of the best kept secrets of the bass world.
  2. Based on the purple silks on the strings, I'd guess they are either GHS Precision or Ernie Ball Cobalts. Ken Smith also uses purple silks but I think it's unlikely Sandberg are using them. They're bright as far as flats go, so I'm leaning towards them being Cobalts. Whatever they are, they are really nice as far as flats go, especially the glossy feeling. I find some flats feel chalky and dry, but these are really slick, almost like Elixirs. Speaking of Elixirs, I will be swapping this bass to Elixir rounds eventually. I'm using up my string stocks for my other basses and moving everything towards Elixirs since buying a Ken Smith strung with them last year.
  3. Hey all, I just wanted to do a quick cross-post on my Talkbass thread on my new Sandberg Custom Thinline fretless, since I did a relatively in-depth post on the bass, based on my first impressions. I thought it would be useful to post here if it was of interest for anyone, or as a future searchable item, since there is very little written about these basses on English language sites at least. https://www.talkbass.com/threads/nbd-relatively-rare-sandberg-content.1494780/ The TLDR is that it's: Lightweight Resonant Has a punchy tone at the bottom and sings at the top Was shipped with flats but will be upgraded to roundwounds at some point Was shipped by a certain Midlands-based bass shop with high action, but but I suppose Sandberg send them out like that to account for the different territories they go to. Really easy to play after I straightened the neck out It's my first unlined fretless and I am absolutely loving it and glad I didn't go for a lined fretless. My last fretless bass was a lined Adamovic that I didn't really get on with as I never really liked the sound, whereas this Sandberg is a gem and I love the sound even with flats. I still haven't been able to get any photos of it that I really love, as it has rained all day, every day since I got it and I like to photograph my basses in natural light, so I'll post up some pics from the shop I bought it from, I'm sure you'll recognise the source, I'll edit this post to add those in in a second.
  4. I have just read this thread, it does make for unbelievable reading, that someone could be so brazen and cack-handed with their crimes. The real takeaway for me is the way @ped has handled it. I think anyone with half a brain cell could see that legal threats on this would be absolutely baseless, but most website owners would be falling over themselves to protect the (alleged) perpetrator in such a situation, lest they find themselves on the legal chopping block. Thankfully that has not been the case here and the shabby conduct of this individual has been laid bare for all to see.
  5. That Spitfire in the middle is gorgeous. Here's three from my collection that I suppose you'd call boutique: Raro TM6 (not sure on year 2010-2014 I think) 1989 Pedulla MVP5 1991 Ken Smity BT5
  6. I think I'd call that "McDonald's Logo Yellow", or perhaps "Golden Arches Yellow", if you're feeling a bit Hyacinth Bucket. It looks absolutely stunning, I love it.
  7. As someone who was in a similar position, but making a total switch to bass guitar, the best advice I can offer is this; buy the bass you want, not the bass you think you need or the bass others tell you will be best for you. Bass players can be a conservative bunch. Think about how you want to sound as a player and let that guide your selection process. Edit to add, guitarists can be very conservative too, just for balance.
  8. Not sure if serious. Try a Rithimic, it's a seriously quality piece of kit. They're absolutely not holding back for fear of treading on anyone's toes - they don't need to. They could do do better quality and lower prices to undercut the other companies they subcontract for and they'd still get the business from them, because they are cost-effective, fast, high quality and good QC for their price range. As for "anaemic" pickups, again, try the bass, have a listen to "Joe Frazier Round 3". A Rithimic wouldn't be my first choice for a Pantera cover band but for a deep, rich and punchy fusion sound, well, Bartolini have been revered for years in jazz circles and rightly so.
  9. I've seen it said that the old US Peavey Cirrus basses were close in tone to a Ken Smith, but I don't hear it. I've never played one, but no recording I've ever heard of them had that Smith sound. My experience of Smith tone is super balanced and even sound, with all notes on the fretboard being equal in volume and no particular frequencies standing out obtrusively. I feel like Smith's have a natural compression which is just so musical and they're very flattering to play. Ken has talked previously about his desire to make a live Smith bass sound like it has the "studio" sound already applied. I don't think there is any bass, inexpensive or otherwise, that really sounds like them.
  10. Quite. Signature instruments are partly about getting a certain sound, part getting a bass with specs which works for you (which often is a unique or unusual combination which is hard to find in other instruments) and part hero worship. If you change the spec away from the standard "This is what Harris / Sheehan / Berlin etc uses on stage and in the studio" then you will damage the hero worship value of the bass. I have always wanted a Yamaha Attitude Ltd II in seafoam green, like Billy Sheehan used on the Steve Vai: Live at the Astoria DVD. I'd always known as well however, that aside from getting the signature Sheehan overdriven super P tone, that I'd get a lot more out of the bass if I had a J pickup in the bridge position. Luckily enough, I managed to get exactly that from a member on here and to boot, it was considerably cheaper than any other Attitude LTD II, despite being in fantastic condition. It was virtually box fresh, with a set of Lace Alumitone P and J pickups, flawless routing work and all the rewiring. The pickups aren't cheap and the workmanship is excellent, so I'd guess the cost of the mods at being a few hundred quid in their own right, work which devalued the bass by a large margin. This made it an ideal buy for me, being a total bargain and in my optimum spec and with the work already done, so I didn't need to agonise over getting the mods done or take the financial hit on the value of the bass. Should I ever come to sell it, which I don't think I will, it owes me quite a lot less than LTD II in standard spec.
  11. While Spector is the obvious choice, I'd definitely recommend giving an Attitude a try. They have a certain something that just makes them work so well. I have an Attitude LTD II with a J pickup added to the bridge. I actually rarely use the woofer pickups or the stereo outputs, but it does sound absolutely huge to use the woofer clean and the P/J pickups running through an overdrive pedal. The necks on Attitudes are pretty fat but it somehow feels right for the bass. That said, most Spectors aren't exactly slim in the neck department either.
  12. You know that Ken has been more of a shop manager than a luthier for years though, right? Since the 80s he has been outsourcing parts of the build process. He had a team of guys working in his shop for years. From what I gather, Ken would do virtually all of the processes, but rarely, if ever, did he do a bass from start to finish. Wood selection, lay-up and gluing, carving, sanding, fretting, finishing, hardware installation, electronics installation etc, he did all of it and as I understand it, every single bass that came out of the shop went through his hands for set up and inspection. However, it's always been a team build, I don't think Ken has ever worked as a lone luthier doing everything completely by himself, like later-day Mike Pedulla for example. I would guess an awful lot of other shops do this and keep it hushed up. Part of the allure of a boutique bass is the idea that the bass came from a special shop and it was crafted within those hallowed walls. Ken has always been open about his business practices. He's a smart guy, he got out of NYC when the price of doing business there was ramping up. I know he has used multiple guys to build his preamps and pickups over the years, carving has been outsourced and just the other day, I watched a video where he talked about outsourcing the finishing process to a piano restoration shop who had spare capacity in their spray booth and the skills in their business to do boutique bass levels of finishing quality. Still, everything had to meet his acceptance criteria and given the exacting quality of KS basses and how he comes across as a person, I don't think he'd accept anything less than perfect from any of his subcontractors. Now that Ken has got Kev Brubaker doing anything, are these basses any less of a true "Ken Smith" product? I don't think so. I think there may well be a premium on older Smiths that came from his NY and Pennsylvania shops, but I wouldn't be averse to buying a new Smith. As per Al's post above, what is a boutique bass? Where does the value come from? Clearly, the cost of the finished instrument is considerably more than the value of the materials used to build it, the value comes from the expertise and skill of the designer and craftsmen. I agree with Al somewhat in that part of what makes a Smith a Smith, or an Alembic an Alembic etc, is the design. People covet the Smith sound, nothing else on the market sounds like it, so if you want that Smith sound, you need a Smith. However, I do think that part of the mystique and allure is that the basses have from these famous shops. If somebody copied the specs of a KS perfectly and built their own and it was indistinguishable from one of Ken's basses, it still wouldn't be a Smith. I don't feel that to be the case with Kev Brubaker though, as Kev was selected by Ken to perform the work. If and when Ken retires fully and he no longer has the last pair of hands on a bass before delivery to the customer, he may well licence Kev to keep going with the KS basses. Maybe this will cause a dilemma for some with regards to whether or not it's a "true" KS, but personally I'd still be happy to buy one. People are happy to pay more than ever for new Wals for example, so clearly when you have a unique and desirable product, people will still buy it. Ken Smith will be remembered as one of the greats in boutique basses, that much is for sure.
  13. You can still buy a new Ken Smith if you wish. Kevin Brubaker builds them now. Ken supplies the wood from his collection, Kev builds it and Ken does the final setup. If you check the Ken Smith YouTube channel you can see him doing the setup on some of the latest instruments to come from Kev's shop.
  14. Yes that is the trim pot. Unfortunately I don't have any method of recording at home that would do the bass justice. I just record clips on my phone if I'm making sure I don't forget a bass line for example. I should probably buy a DI box and record to my laptop.
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