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Old 03-26-2014, 10:21 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Thumbs up 35 years..

Today after 35 years I stamped and packed up Smith Bass #6400 (plus model letters and date numbers). It was a 6 string Black Tiger Elite in high figure flamed walnut (22 year old stock.) Yesterday I shipped another of the same model, #6399 but in high figure crotch walnut (16 year old stock.) A few more basses will go out next week and so on. I remember when the first few basses in Pennsylvania were done and I stamped #201 on the first bass of that group. I never knew then how we would do with making basses in the future out in Pennsylvania, but 6200 basses later (and a few in the rack and production nearly completed), I can say it was a good move getting out of NYC and into the fresh air out here. Doing the same thing over and over maintaining the quality and goals day after day and year after year I think is the true test to commitment. It took 35 years to get to this point and I don't see an end. With my small crew and I, 'we do what we are' and with pride! I would like to thank all the Smith Bass & String customers and supporters as we work through our 4th decade of making great basses and bass products. Ken Smith..
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Old 03-27-2014, 04:40 PM
Gerry Grable Gerry Grable is offline
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Congratulations, Ken. You've come along way, baby, as the ad used to say.
But don't you still have a spot of nostalgia for those long, steady gigs in the NYC clubs in the 60s and 70s, especially after 2:00 a.m., when the Jersey bars closed?
Here's to many more happy and productive years!
Gerry Grable
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:14 AM
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Cool lol.. 60s?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Grable View Post
Congratulations, Ken. You've come along way, baby, as the ad used to say.
But don't you still have a spot of nostalgia for those long, steady gigs in the NYC clubs in the 60s and 70s, especially after 2:00 a.m., when the Jersey bars closed?
Here's to many more happy and productive years!
Gerry Grable
My first club gig was in '69 for the summer. I would later work that same club in '75 and '78 with a different group. Other than that, I didn't do clubs steady. More in the studios, B'way and the concert stage as well as Radio City on and off. Looking back, I am glad I did the gigs I did. Pension & Welfare!
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:22 PM
Gerry Grable Gerry Grable is offline
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Ha,ha. I forgot that I had (and have) a few years on you. I never did B'way or studios, and by "NYC clubs" , for any youngsters that may read this, I mean
places like the Copa, Jimmy Weston's, El Morocco, the Embers and Jilly's, not the kind of clubs the Kardashians go to nowadays
I played mostly with piano trios often with a horn or two added, backing singers or running my own gigs. It wasn't the easiest way to make a buck. No pensions or welfare on those gigs. Check to check existence. It's worse now, I am told. There are very few steady gigs left.
Anyway, take care. I hope to get down Philly way to see you this summer.

Gerry
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:38 PM
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Grable View Post
Ha,ha. I forgot that I had (and have) a few years on you. I never did B'way or studios, and by "NYC clubs" , for any youngsters that may read this, I mean
places like the Copa, Jimmy Weston's, El Morocco, the Embers and Jilly's, not the kind of clubs the Kardashians go to nowadays
I played mostly with piano trios often with a horn or two added, backing singers or running my own gigs. It wasn't the easiest way to make a buck. No pensions or welfare on those gigs. Check to check existence. It's worse now, I am told. There are very few steady gigs left.
Anyway, take care. I hope to get down Philly way to see you this summer.

Gerry
Yes, I got that.. I worked 2x at the Copa with Mercedes Hall (Anthony Michael Hall's mom), at Westons with Tommy Furtado, mostly as a sub but was there several times and at Jillys at least once that I remember and Errol garner walked in that night as well, Cool. Yes, you have a few years on me. El Morocco rings a bell. Was that the new name for El Zorro's next to the Ali Baba? That's the place I first worked in '69 and then '75 and '78. No, no Pension & Welfare on them gigs.. Call me if and when you come down my way..
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:52 PM
Gerry Grable Gerry Grable is offline
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I worked the Ali Baba several times with Bobby Cole. If you recall, you did me a favor by doing a last minute sub for me with Bobby on May 14, 1977 at the "Prive", for $50! Big bucks My car broke down in the Poconos. I don't even remember the club. (I got the above info from one of my gig logs.) The drummer was Pete LoPinto, very unorthodox but one of my favorites. Under-rated and unknown. Chet Baker liked him, too.
I got to know Errol Garner pretty well when I worked at Jilly's. Great guy! I used to have a beer with him every time he came in for a steak. He always sat with the players rather than the celebrities. Kind of scary having him at the piano bar at my left elbow while we played. The last time I saw him, he had just flown in from somewhere and he said he was tired of the road and was going to settle at his place in Connecticut. A week or two later he died. He once offered Lou Berryman, the great bassist that was playing with Joe Patrone ( we played opposite, I was with Reg Wilson, 30 minutes on 30 minutes off) the gig with him. He had had an argument with his steady bassist and fired him. Lou was excited, but alas, they made up and the gig fell through.
The El Morroco was a restaurant down town. Very swanky! Tony Monte was the piano player. I don't recall a Zorro's, but Rodney Dangerfield's was just up the avenue from Ali Baba, practically under the 59th Street bridge.
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:21 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Grable View Post
I worked the Ali Baba several times with Bobby Cole. If you recall, you did me a favor by doing a last minute sub for me with Bobby on May 14, 1977 at the "Prive", for $50! Big bucks My car broke down in the Poconos. I don't even remember the club. (I got the above info from one of my gig logs.) The drummer was Pete LoPinto, very unorthodox but one of my favorites. Under-rated and unknown. Chet Baker liked him, too.
I got to know Errol Garner pretty well when I worked at Jilly's. Great guy! I used to have a beer with him every time he came in for a steak. He always sat with the players rather than the celebrities. Kind of scary having him at the piano bar at my left elbow while we played. The last time I saw him, he had just flown in from somewhere and he said he was tired of the road and was going to settle at his place in Connecticut. A week or two later he died. He once offered Lou Berryman, the great bassist that was playing with Joe Patrone ( we played opposite, I was with Reg Wilson, 30 minutes on 30 minutes off) the gig with him. He had had an argument with his steady bassist and fired him. Lou was excited, but alas, they made up and the gig fell through.
The El Morroco was a restaurant down town. Very swanky! Tony Monte was the piano player. I don't recall a Zorro's, but Rodney Dangerfield's was just up the avenue from Ali Baba, practically under the 59th Street bridge.
El Zorro's was connected thru the basement to the Ali Baba and was the same owner, Mike Hatgis, 59th and 1st Ave. Dangerfields was north a few blocks past the bridge on the same side of the street. When I worked there in the Summer of '69, we would go down stairs past the Billiard sized Pool table and walk underground and up thru the Kitchen next door and get dinner from El Zorro's. The Gig I did in 1975 and 1978 WAS with Bobby Cole there at the Ali Baba as well. Pete was on Drums both times there. I don't remember the sub with Bobby in 1977. Maybe, but it escapes my memory.
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:19 AM
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Eric Swanson Eric Swanson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
Today after 35 years I stamped and packed up Smith Bass #6400 (plus model letters and date numbers). It was a 6 string Black Tiger Elite in high figure flamed walnut (22 year old stock.) Yesterday I shipped another of the same model, #6399 but in high figure crotch walnut (16 year old stock.) A few more basses will go out next week and so on. I remember when the first few basses in Pennsylvania were done and I stamped #201 on the first bass of that group. I never knew then how we would do with making basses in the future out in Pennsylvania, but 6200 basses later (and a few in the rack and production nearly completed), I can say it was a good move getting out of NYC and into the fresh air out here. Doing the same thing over and over maintaining the quality and goals day after day and year after year I think is the true test to commitment. It took 35 years to get to this point and I don't see an end. With my small crew and I, 'we do what we are' and with pride! I would like to thank all the Smith Bass & String customers and supporters as we work through our 4th decade of making great basses and bass products. Ken Smith..
Congratulations, Ken and crew!

Many years ago, I was at a party/jam session, a late night/early morning thing that I went to after playing some gig. I had my DB. Another bassist (I can't remember his name, but he played beautifully) showed up after his gig, with a walnut-bodied bass that he said was an early model made by some guy, Ken Smith, whom I had never heard of. We ended up both playing, with two basses, enjoying ourselves. We switched instruments after awhile, as he also played DB. It was the nicest EB I had played up to that point, a revelation, really.

It was fretless, as I remember, and played/sounded like a very pleasant and exciting dream. It was the first EB I played (and I was playing a 68 Jazz Bass at the time, which was pretty nice) that struck me as being really, really fun to play. It was happening on another level than I had been used to with my Jazz bass.

Thanks for all that you do, for bassists and basses/bows. I am so grateful to you and your multi-faceted efforts and accomplishments. This is a better world for all of us, thanks to you.
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Last edited by Eric Swanson; 03-31-2014 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:08 AM
Lou Laurenti Lou Laurenti is offline
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Default Congratulations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
Today after 35 years I stamped and packed up Smith Bass #6400 (plus model letters and date numbers). It was a 6 string Black Tiger Elite in high figure flamed walnut (22 year old stock.) Yesterday I shipped another of the same model, #6399 but in high figure crotch walnut (16 year old stock.) A few more basses will go out next week and so on. I remember when the first few basses in Pennsylvania were done and I stamped #201 on the first bass of that group. I never knew then how we would do with making basses in the future out in Pennsylvania, but 6200 basses later (and a few in the rack and production nearly completed), I can say it was a good move getting out of NYC and into the fresh air out here. Doing the same thing over and over maintaining the quality and goals day after day and year after year I think is the true test to commitment. It took 35 years to get to this point and I don't see an end. With my small crew and I, 'we do what we are' and with pride! I would like to thank all the Smith Bass & String customers and supporters as we work through our 4th decade of making great basses and bass products. Ken Smith..
Congratulations
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