New bass day for me - and quite a special one for me personally. I've always loved the 'Smith Sound' and grew up listening to John Patitucci playing his early six string Smith. I recently realised my dreams of owning one when I bought a beautiful BT5 from Basschat last year. However I'm not really a five string player, but I can adapt. Smith basses tend to be 5 or 6 string so there wasn't much choice. But then I saw this.
Not only is it a 4 string, but it's a very early one built just two months after I was. It was finished in January 1984. The serial number is 151. Early Smith basses have a few differences from today's models - first of all the brass fittings on the headstock, especially the 'S' logo in a brass disk which I remember seeing on those early Chick Corea vids, whilst my brother watched and analysed every move Dave Weckl made.
I got some info from Ken about the bass who said the neck joint is a hidden mortise which I believe was inspired by a damaged double bass from a car accident in the 70s. The preamp is made by Haz Labs; it has volume, balance, treble, bass (not sure of frequencies but the treble control always feels very musical) plus a phase switch which Ken said they subsequently removed because it's not very useful.
It's quite unusual to see Smith basses without an exposed centre block like my 5 string - I think some of the Hadrien Feraud models have a solid top like this one. It has a walnut top and maple back with an ebony fingerboard. The whole bass has a very light satin finish which feels great and shows minimal wear except usual playing in. It's been well looked after!
I wasn't able to play the bass first so I was kind of nervous but Smith basses are so consistent I needn't have worried - the neck is dead straight and the action was pretty bang on right away. I've got the G string a little higher than my 'strings painted on' Vigier because I find it makes double stops on the G string more pronounced. As usual have the neck with almost zero relief and the other strings very low. Someone described the sound of their Warwick Thumb as 'digital' here the other day; that's quite a good way to describe this. I'll do some sound clips asap to show you.
So yeah I'm really pleased. I think that's my bass buying escapades over for a while.