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akabane

Ken Smith Chat - (NBD inside! Black Tiger 6)

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@NotAsGoodAsJaco wow, you must have had one of the few Smiths to actually have the 19mm spacing! So on the hunt for a Smith 18mm now? ;) 

I have to admit, I do love my 6ers in 18 and 19 mm. My previous beast (a Yamaha TRB JP2, which I do regret selling and will buy again at some point, had its own unique character) was 19mm (AND 35 in scale!) and I never felt it to be a hindrance. I never thought I had to go down to 18mm, and as a matter of fact, I was prioritising 19mm spacings over 18mm when I was looking for my Smith.

However, I decided I wanted to give a slightly narrower spacing a try and ended up going for the Smith's default 18mm, and it still feels really good. I do feel I would start to get cramped if I kept going down lower towards 17mm or less though.

Something to note though, I did pretty much jump from an upright bass straight to a 6 electric, almost bypassing the 4 completely - so I never really got accustomed to a 'slim' fretboard. I like my instruments to feel like hard beasts to tame! 😎

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On 20/06/2020 at 10:31, akabane said:

@NotAsGoodAsJaco wow, you must have had one of the few Smiths to actually have the 19mm spacing! So on the hunt for a Smith 18mm now? ;) 

I have to admit, I do love my 6ers in 18 and 19 mm. My previous beast (a Yamaha TRB JP2, which I do regret selling and will buy again at some point, had its own unique character) was 19mm (AND 35 in scale!) and I never felt it to be a hindrance. I never thought I had to go down to 18mm, and as a matter of fact, I was prioritising 19mm spacings over 18mm when I was looking for my Smith.

However, I decided I wanted to give a slightly narrower spacing a try and ended up going for the Smith's default 18mm, and it still feels really good. I do feel I would start to get cramped if I kept going down lower towards 17mm or less though.

Something to note though, I did pretty much jump from an upright bass straight to a 6 electric, almost bypassing the 4 completely - so I never really got accustomed to a 'slim' fretboard. I like my instruments to feel like hard beasts to tame! 😎

Sorry no, it was because of the 18mm spacing on my smith that I got rid of it! I would absolutely love a 19mm Smith and I would buy one instantly! Even though I really struggled with it, I still regret getting rid of it as I miss the tone so much!

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1 hour ago, NotAsGoodAsJaco said:

Sorry no, it was because of the 18mm spacing on my smith that I got rid of it! I would absolutely love a 19mm Smith and I would buy one instantly! Even though I really struggled with it, I still regret getting rid of it as I miss the tone so much!

Ok possibly a ridiculous thought: but could you not replace the bridge on a Smith with another high end bridge that allows 19 mm string spacing? And, of course, get a decent luthier to fit it!

Or is it the case that the Smith neck width is not designed to cope with anything more than 18mm, in which case the plan would be scuppered! 

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18 hours ago, Al Krow said:

Ok possibly a ridiculous thought: but could you not replace the bridge on a Smith with another high end bridge that allows 19 mm string spacing? And, of course, get a decent luthier to fit it!

Or is it the case that the Smith neck width is not designed to cope with anything more than 18mm, in which case the plan would be scuppered! 

Al I think that the latter is the case. Smith make a 19mm option but it may come with a wider neck - I've definitely seen the term "wider neck" in their blurb somewhere...

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1 hour ago, NotAsGoodAsJaco said:

Al I think that the latter is the case. Smith make a 19mm option but it may come with a wider neck - I've definitely seen the term "wider neck" in their blurb somewhere...

Understood. Yup it seems to me that trying to adjust string spacing simply by using a different bridge can very easily miss the key point of what string spacing the neck has been designed to cater for.

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4 hours ago, Al Krow said:

Understood. Yup it seems to me that trying to adjust string spacing simply by using a different bridge can very easily miss the key point of what string spacing the neck has been designed to cater for.

There is also the small matter of the pickup pole pieces and the sensing field - particularly for the bridge pickup.

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53 minutes ago, Mikkoantt said:

Hi from Finland

Heres my BT 6 from 1990 with macassar ebony top.

- Mikko 

ken-smith-bt-2000906@2x.jpg

Hey Mikko!

Your BT looks beautiful - very elegant - and still shines like new! 

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Been playing around with the frequency on my smith and thought I'd share a sound I like so far.

 

2 - 3 - 6 on

1 - 4 - 5 off

 

Sounds more 'Smith' to me 😜

20200707_104131.jpg

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Just now, FLoydElgar said:

Been playing around with the frequency on my smith and thought I'd share a sound I like so far.

 

2 - 3 - 6 on

1 - 4 - 5 off

 

Sounds more 'Smith' to me 😜

20200707_104131.jpg

You know I still haven't even checked what my freqs were set to? Maybe the previous owner completely changed them up. My Smith just sounds so good anyway 🤣

Now I need to go check though, you made me curious! Do you settings coincide with either the default 'old' or 'new' Smith settings? :)

 

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@akabane

When I got the bass 1 to 5 was on and 6 was off.  Bass sounded great but didn't have that same ken smith zing.  I couldn't find any information from ken about which switches give different pre sets.

I was very curious to why the bass didn't have the zing until I saw a post regarding frequencies in the pre amp on talk bass!

I'm still playing around with it but found a new tone which I like.  Post a pic of yours 🙂🤘

 

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Okay, so apparently the settings are as follow, from a Smith manual:

"Original" settings: 

1-Off, 2-On, 3-On, 4-On, 5-Off, 6-On

"New" settings:

1-On, 2-Off, 3-On, 4-Off, 5-On, 6-Off

So basically, 3 stays on all the time per default configs, and the rest are opposites depending on whether it's the 'original' config or 'new' ones.

I just opened mine up to find ALL the switches to ON! Ahahah, the previous owner must have found their tone like that! (And to be fair, it's not a bad one!)

I'll put them in both settings and report back :) 

Screenshot 2020-07-07 at 12.04.24.png

Edited by akabane
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@akabane

Thanks for pointing that out!!!

I overlooked that sheet and only got the Bass mid and treble from it  🤣🤣

 

From what you've listed it doesn't look like I was far off from that just messing around turning them all off and turning one on at a time 🤣🤣

I bet everyone is going to be opening their smith today 😜🤘

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I have in the past looked around for info on the switches as it wasn't initially clear to me whether the "lowest", "low", "high" etc related to frequency or boost. On the Ken Forums he only says something like the bass, mid and treble controls are set to "some frequencies that sounded nice but I can't remember what they are and I think I have them written down somewhere"!

I then found a sheet on the Smith site for the PAPA outboard preamp that has the same dip-switches in and he talks about them adjusting the basic frequency of the unit. From this I gather that the bass, mid and treble controls give you cut and boost and the dip switches are there to "fine tune" the frequencies. Currently mine is set with the New configuration but I feel a "twiddle" coming on to check again what they do in practice 🙂

My current Fusion 25th and the 6'er I traded for it.

P1060071.thumb.JPG.af772d60be72182ef4daa3e9134be157.JPG

P1050712.thumb.JPG.9c47b097cf79c88cd718b2bdc967c33b.JPG

Edited by Acebassmusic
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9 hours ago, Acebassmusic said:

I have in the past looked around for info on the switches as it wasn't initially clear to me whether the "lowest", "low", "high" etc related to frequency or boost. On the Ken Forums he only says something like the bass, mid and treble controls are set to "some frequencies that sounded nice but I can't remember what they are and I think I have them written down somewhere"!

I then found a sheet on the Smith site for the PAPA outboard preamp that has the same dip-switches in and he talks about them adjusting the basic frequency of the unit. From this I gather that the bass, mid and treble controls give you cut and boost and the dip switches are there to "fine tune" the frequencies. Currently mine is set with the New configuration but I feel a "twiddle" coming on to check again what they do in practice 🙂

My current Fusion 25th and the 6'er I traded for it.

P1060071.thumb.JPG.af772d60be72182ef4daa3e9134be157.JPG

P1050712.thumb.JPG.9c47b097cf79c88cd718b2bdc967c33b.JPG

Both beautiful, although I'm biased towards that 6...

I wonder how the selected woods for White Tiger Anniversary models looked - I don't think I've ever seen any, only Black Tigers. They must have been CRAZY.

 

By the way, my Smith EQ is now in its 'default' 'new settings', as it would come from Ken's hands. It's got an incredible growl now, much more aggressive. Before I had to dial in the growl via the mids. Now I think I'll have to dial in more bass instead. The sounds on those are so versatile.

I'll probably upload a sound clip of my Smith flat EQ'd, 100% DI into Logic (as soon as I get a half listeneable performance out on anything), if anyone's interested. I think it sounds really, really good! I would also love to hear more clips from other owners, there's not enough 'tone flaunting' as there should be, am I alone in this? :P

 

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@akabane

 

I'm going to dial in the new settings tomorrow too!

 

I can say the Smith preamp is very versatile as it had a great all round sound before clear and bright.  Now it growls and bites which was what I was searching for!

 

 

 

 

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I just love the sound and character of a Smith.

This is a test recording I made over a bass-less version of Pat Metheny's "Have you heard" (pardon the dud notes here and there, still learning it):

  • Straight to Logic DI, no eq/fx etc.
  • Using 'new' eq settings (in the back cavity of the Smith)
  • Bass/Mids/High flat, pick up slightly biased towards neck

EDIT: Welp tried uploading on soundcloud but no dice, copyright strikes fast and hard. Just attaching it here for now; let me know if there's some other streaming based alternative I can use in the future so it's an embeddable 'just play' thing? :) 

 

Have You Heard_KSTestmp3.mp3

Edited by akabane

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5 minutes ago, OliverBlackman said:

Well apparently according to BD it's an "investment grade" bass! 😁

Edited by Al Krow
Please note that the value of your bass may fall as well as rise and no investment decisions should be made on the back of this post.
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