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  #1  
Old 01-20-2007, 09:21 AM
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Lightbulb Wood Etc. as it relates to Smith Basses..

Over the years we have offered our parts and sometime woods for Sale on and off depending on availability as well as policy. To get the ball rolling I will post a few related links from our website to look over. Please feel free to start you own thread or ask any related questions in the Forum for discussion.

http://www.kensmithbasses.com/woodpa...econtents.html
http://www.kensmithbasses.com/options.html
http://www.kensmithbasses.com/access...arts_index.htm
http://www.kensmithbasses.com/accessories/default.html

http://www.kensmithbasses.com/models...mycontents.htm
http://www.kensmithbasses.com/sawmill/sawdefault.html
http://www.kensmithbasses.com/ft/default.html
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  #2  
Old 04-23-2007, 10:22 PM
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Default Cherry :confused:

What sound does cherry exactly produce? One of the leading musical instrument builders of this country told me that cherry was an exellent wood choice for a bass body center, due to its light weight and sound, but in fact I've never heard of any cherry bass.
It's interesting for me because -although my next bass will be a Smith for sure now- originally I've been thinking of having one built here. The problem was that I wanted swamp ash then, which doesn't grow in Europe. So we started thinkink of domestic wood choices and it turned out that there weren't so many. Hungarian ash for example (used earlier by German company Esh - used to own their bass-) has even more aggressive mids compared to swamp, and is usually extremely heavy, etc. (This lack of wood choice would explain why most European classical string instruments used to be built of maple, pinewood and ebony...)
Same sound as maple, or goes deeper?
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Old 04-23-2007, 11:26 PM
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Cool Hmmm....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamás Száva View Post
What sound does cherry exactly produce? One of the leading musical instrument builders of this country told me that cherry was an exellent wood choice for a bass body center, due to its light weight and sound, but in fact I've never heard of any cherry bass.
It's interesting for me because -although my next bass will be a Smith for sure now- originally I've been thinking of having one built here. The problem was that I wanted swamp ash then, which doesn't grow in Europe. So we started thinkink of domestic wood choices and it turned out that there weren't so many. Hungarian ash for example (used earlier by German company Esh - used to own their bass-) has even more aggressive mids compared to swamp, and is usually extremely heavy, etc. (This lack of wood choice would explain why most European classical string instruments used to be built of maple, pinewood and ebony...)
Same sound as maple, or goes deeper?

I've never played a Smith with a Cherry core, but have a Black Tiger with Cherry Lams. Sorry, I know that's not much help. I would say the tone would be well rounded like a Mahogany but with an extra kick that you would expect from Maple. I might be wrong, but I don't think Ken uses Cherry any longer??? Maple, Mahogany, and Walnut are great Core choices if he doesn't.

Ken, this is right up your alley. Give us the poop on Cherry as the Core wood (even if you don't use it any longer).
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Old 04-23-2007, 11:27 PM
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Lightbulb Ebony?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamás Száva View Post
What sound does cherry exactly produce? One of the leading musical instrument builders of this country told me that cherry was an exellent wood choice for a bass body center, due to its light weight and sound, but in fact I've never heard of any cherry bass.
It's interesting for me because -although my next bass will be a Smith for sure now- originally I've been thinking of having one built here. The problem was that I wanted swamp ash then, which doesn't grow in Europe. So we started thinkink of domestic wood choices and it turned out that there weren't so many. Hungarian ash for example (used earlier by German company Esh - used to own their bass-) has even more aggressive mids compared to swamp, and is usually extremely heavy, etc. (This lack of wood choice would explain why most European classical string instruments used to be built of maple, pinewood and ebony...)
Same sound as maple, or goes deeper?
Ebony is not from Europe. It is imported from Africa and India mainly. Many countries but wood form others for centuries including the USA. How about the Bow woods? Those are from Tropical America usually.

On the Cherry, it is almost as hard as Maple and Walnut so I don't see the light weight part about it. Many fine Hungarian Basses, Cellos and Violins have been made with domestic Carpathian Maple which is not so hard or heavy. Try some of that and I am sure you will like it. As for the Bass itself, I don't know what your Luthier can do but I would easily make good Basses with the same Maple as used there for Violins.

Tonight as a matter of fact I did a Symphony Rehearsal with a bass believed to have been made in Hungary. It has an Italian Label but is a counterfeit. It's my Bisiach labeled Bass. It sounds great and is one of my lightest Basses but not small at all. Must be the wood used.
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Old 04-24-2007, 07:21 AM
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Default Figured wood?

Thank you! Interesting. (Yes, I knew ebony was an exception.)

Just one more question. Do highly figured woods sound significantly better? Are they denser? I would like a black walnut T&B and maple core, but I don't think I could afford figured walnut...
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Old 04-24-2007, 08:19 AM
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Lightbulb afford figured walnut?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamás Száva View Post
Thank you! Interesting. (Yes, I knew ebony was an exception.)

Just one more question. Do highly figured woods sound significantly better? Are they denser? I would like a black walnut T&B and maple core, but I don't think I could afford figured walnut...
Most of our GNs and even some MW Bolt-ons have figured Walnut. It is the degree of Figure that sets the price in my Basses at least.

On the sound, Figure is usually more molecules of wood brunched together thereby having more mass. Like rolling up a piece of paper into a small ball. It is no denser for its size then a larger sheet or paper. Same thing in wood or anything else. What sounds better is what your ear likes alone just like the taste of food. What some love, others hate!
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Old 05-28-2007, 05:42 PM
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Default Number of body pieces

Ken, I haven't made up mind which bass to choose yet, but now I'm thinking about ordering a BSR-5M-A. Do you build two piece bodys? (Without a center block...)
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Old 05-28-2007, 05:49 PM
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Lightbulb -A?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamás Száva View Post
Ken, I haven't made up mind which bass to choose yet, but now I'm thinking about ordering a BSR-5M-A. Do you build two piece bodys? (Without a center block...)
The '-A' stands for Black Hardware in our code system. The only woods we do in 2-piece bodies without the center block is Walnut, Avodire' and Tiger maple. The Maple in the wider widths is as available. Walnut we have plenty in stock in wider widths. Avodire' is also currently in stock if you favor a slightly lighter weight than Maple in a light colored wood.
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Old 05-28-2007, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
The '-A' stands for Black Hardware in our code system. The only woods we do in 2-piece bodies without the center block is Walnut, Avodire' and Tiger maple. The Maple in the wider widths is as available. Walnut we have plenty in stock in wider widths. Avodire' is also currently in stock if you favor a slightly lighter weight than Maple in a light colored wood.
Sorry, I thought A stood for Ash. That's what I meant Do you have Ash in narrower pieces?
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  #10  
Old 05-28-2007, 06:06 PM
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Lightbulb narrower pieces?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamás Száva View Post
Sorry, I thought A stood for Ash. That's what I meant Do you have Ash in narrower pieces?
Do you mean 'wider' pieces? No, currently all the Ash we have is cut into body wings and center blocks. We bought this lot of Ash in 1997 even before we moved into this building. It was about 500 bd.ft. of 8/4 (2 inch thick) kiln dried narrow width (5-6") lumber. In that same time be have purchased 25-50,000 bd.ft. each of figured Maples and various Walnuts. We rarely make a Bass using Ash these days as it is only used only our lower cost handmade Basses in the J and M series bolt-ons. Most of when we build are laminated bodies but in the solids, figured Maple is #1 by far followed by Black Walnut.
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Old 05-28-2007, 06:12 PM
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
Do you mean 'wider' pieces? No, currently all the Ash we have is cut into body wings and center blocks. We bought this lot of Ash in 1997 even before we moved into this building. It was about 500 bd.ft. of 8/4 (2 inch thick) kiln dried narrow width (5-6") lumber. In that same time be have purchased 25-50,000 bd.ft. each of figured Maples and various Walnuts. We rarely make a Bass using Ash these days as it is only used only our lower cost handmade Basses in the J and M series bolt-ons. Most of when we build are laminated bodies but in the solids, figured Maple is #1 by far followed by Black Walnut.
Yes, sorry I meant "narrower only?". I like the light weight and the sound of ash. but then It'll be an MW or GN with maple core and walnut t&b.
Or maybe an M with maple core, ash wings. Those ash parts must be very dry and resonate very well due to the long time they've been stocked.
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Old 05-28-2007, 06:15 PM
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To my ear walnut produces a bit clearer lows and more cutting highs, compared to ash, is that right?
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Old 05-28-2007, 07:20 PM
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Lightbulb sound and aging

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamás Száva View Post
To my ear walnut produces a bit clearer lows and more cutting highs, compared to ash, is that right?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamás Száva View Post
Yes, sorry I meant "narrower only?". I like the light weight and the sound of ash. but then It'll be an MW or GN with maple core and walnut t&b.
Or maybe an M with maple core, ash wings. Those ash parts must be very dry and resonate very well due to the long time they've been stocked.
All of our woods are aged for several years before going into our Basses. I still have some wood that was 5-10 years old when the Ash came in.

The 'Core' is the center or a 3, 5, or 7-piece laminated body wing. The piece in the middle of a Bolt-on body under the Pickups is the 'Center Block'. this is on both un-laminated Ms or laminated MWs. On a Neck-thrus like the GN you mentioned under the Pickups is the actual Neck and in the Back we laminate Bubinga and Maple top beef-up the thickness of the Neck to match the Body.

On the sound, what you hear is what you hear. On Smith Basses you may find different results than from other makers as the finish we use is entirely our own and produces part of the sound. For me, Ash is brighter and thinner sounding than Walnut. Walnut has more Mids and a thicker sound but both are clear sounding. Maple has less mids and has more under current lows and tight HIs.
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Old 05-29-2007, 03:56 AM
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Default

Sorry again for having to correct me all the time, I wanted to write center block for the M, but was very tired in the evening. And thanks for the useful info.
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:26 PM
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Default

Although I have not had the pleasure to actually play a Ken Smith, I have listened to enough songs featuring Smiths to convince me that I WANT ONE!!!!!! I have listened extensively to Al Turner's CD and The Annointed Pace Sisters CD featuring Darrell Freeman on bass and am floored by the sound of both!! Al's Black Tiger has amazing clarity and punch while Darrell's BSR bass (bubinga top and back w/ maple core?) seem to have more "growl", which appeals to my ear a little more. Does bubinga really have more "growl" than walnut?

As soon as I am blessed with the funds, I will either buy a new or used Smith 5 NT.


A Groove is a Terrible Thing to Waste!
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Old 04-07-2008, 05:19 PM
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Lightbulb well..

Quote:
Originally Posted by bottomzone View Post
Although I have not had the pleasure to actually play a Ken Smith, I have listened to enough songs featuring Smiths to convince me that I WANT ONE!!!!!! I have listened extensively to Al Turner's CD and The Annointed Pace Sisters CD featuring Darrell Freeman on bass and am floored by the sound of both!! Al's Black Tiger has amazing clarity and punch while Darrell's BSR bass (bubinga top and back w/ maple core?) seem to have more "growl", which appeals to my ear a little more. Does bubinga really have more "growl" than walnut?

As soon as I am blessed with the funds, I will either buy a new or used Smith 5 NT.


A Groove is a Terrible Thing to Waste!
Besides Bubinga there is Shedua. We happen to have a nice quantity of it in stock that is well figured. Our Bubinga stock is nearly gone and we will not re-stock until the Shedua has been mostly used up. These are structurally and tonally interchangeable woods. The main difference is the color. I happen to prefer the Shedua and it is also more figured as far as our stock goes.

On Tone, without hearing each Bass in your hands instead of a recording, who can say which Bass or wood has more growl?
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Old 04-07-2008, 05:22 PM
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
On Tone, without hearing each Bass in your hands instead of a recording, who can say which Bass or wood has more growl?
Exactly! +1 Ken.
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Bishop View Post
Exactly! +1 Ken.
I CONCUR!!! THE PROOF IS THE PLAYING-NOT THE HEARING!!!!!!
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:38 PM
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Lightbulb Well.,,..

Quote:
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I CONCUR!!! THE PROOF IS THE PLAYING-NOT THE HEARING!!!!!!
Not exactly. My point is that the sound of the Bass is not necessarily the recorded sound but rather the unrecorded sound.
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Old 04-08-2008, 03:29 AM
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Yes, I get it-you mean live vs memorex, right? Also, is it my understanding that if I want to order a bass made with bubinga top and back, I will have to choose shedua instead due to your low supply of bubinga? I have a Peavey Cirrus with a bubinga top and walnut back as well as a Warwick Thumb bolt-on with a shedua body. I not only prefer the sound of the bubinga/walnut combination, I also prefer the look of bubinga. My other choice would be walnut/walnut.

Thank you for your expertise, Ken.
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