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  #41  
Old 01-27-2010, 11:35 AM
Anton Hasias Anton Hasias is offline
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Default Ken's secret sauce

Hi Ken,

No need to tell you how much I appreciate your art of making basses.
I have a question concerning the finish of your basses either satin or high gloss.
I would like to hear the story of how have you arrived to find these finishes and the impact they have tone wise on Smith basses.
So please tell us about your "Secret Sauce".

Best regards
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  #42  
Old 01-27-2010, 01:52 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Wink please tell us about your "Secret Sauce"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anton Hasias View Post
Hi Ken,

No need to tell you how much I appreciate your art of making basses.
I have a question concerning the finish of your basses either satin or high gloss.
I would like to hear the story of how have you arrived to find these finishes and the impact they have tone wise on Smith basses.
So please tell us about your "Secret Sauce".

Best regards
Hey, if I tell you, it wont be a secret anymore, will it!..

"Loose lips sink ships"
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  #43  
Old 01-27-2010, 03:08 PM
Anton Hasias Anton Hasias is offline
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Oh yes, I understand... The Secret Syndrome.
For sure is not the secret formula that I wanted, but just your history as a high end electric bass luthier.

Best regards

Last edited by Anton Hasias; 01-27-2010 at 04:23 PM.
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  #44  
Old 01-27-2010, 04:13 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Thumbs up humm,.. oh... ok..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anton Hasias View Post
Oh yes, I understand... The Sectet Syndrome.
For sure is not the secret formula that I wanted, but just your history as a high end electric bass luthier.

Best regards
Trial and error with various formulas available and mixing a few of them as well for the right ah.. flavor...
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  #45  
Old 01-27-2010, 05:15 PM
Anton Hasias Anton Hasias is offline
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Nice, like the ancient alchemists you transform the warnish into gold.
I am sure the bass history will remember and will pay respect to this.

Best regards
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  #46  
Old 01-28-2010, 01:12 AM
Lou Laurenti Lou Laurenti is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
Smith Bass Design and its History..

Who here is interested in discussing this and learning how it came to be?
Ken you need to do this book it would be great

Lou
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  #47  
Old 01-28-2010, 03:11 AM
frederic vidal frederic vidal is offline
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+1 for a wonderfull book with lot of pics and history to our favori brand

I order one copy

frédéric : 1
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  #48  
Old 01-28-2010, 09:15 AM
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Thumbs up ok, ok..

Quote:
Originally Posted by frederic vidal View Post
+1 for a wonderfull book with lot of pics and history to our favori brand

I order one copy

frédéric : 1
I order 10 copies..

Where do I order them? Who's writing this book??
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  #49  
Old 01-29-2010, 03:33 AM
frederic vidal frederic vidal is offline
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If you can speak to us the story of the john patitucci collaboration ken.

I remember the first time i saw a Ken Smith bass...

It's on John Patitucci eponyme album, it was in 1988

What a sound ! terrific !
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  #50  
Old 02-02-2010, 02:14 PM
Larry Elwood Larry Elwood is offline
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Default conception of the burner series

Hi Ken,

Not sure if this quite fits in this History of KSB forum but i think it would be interesting to hear about it and it does seem like a pretty significant part of the KSB past.

Can you talk about what lead up to the conception and development of the original Burner Series and how the process unfolded?

How were you able to maintain such excellent quality control with a large part of the building process happening half way around the world - it seems like other instrument manufacturer's can't duplicate what you were able to do when they cross the water.

Thanks!

Larry Elwood
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  #51  
Old 02-02-2010, 02:50 PM
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Cool ok..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Elwood View Post
Hi Ken,

Not sure if this quite fits in this History of KSB forum but i think it would be interesting to hear about it and it does seem like a pretty significant part of the KSB past.

Can you talk about what lead up to the conception and development of the original Burner Series and how the process unfolded?

How were you able to maintain such excellent quality control with a large part of the building process happening half way around the world - it seems like other instrument manufacturer's can't duplicate what you were able to do when they cross the water.

Thanks!

Larry Elwood
What let up to it was seeing all of the Asian copies of American Basses. I was at the Frankfurt show in Germany in March of 1989 sharing space as a guest with Jim Dunlop. His good friend and mine now, Toshio Moridaira, owner and founder of MMI (Moridaira Musical Instruments) in Japan and also owner and founder of Morris Guitars. A maker and subcontractor that had made for many famous companies. In Japan, Morris is a famous brand as well. I witnessed that a month later when I went to Japan.. I will get to that.

I asked Toshio (I played golf with both these guys, Jim and Toshio) to walk with me to look at some basses from Japanese companies. One of them offered to make basses for me but then Toshio told me "they are not factory, only trading company". It was that walk on the show floor that opened my eyes as to how things are done. He then became my mentor instantly. He offered to make basses for me as his factory could do the job. A week later when back in New York I sent them a BT neck thru to copy as a bolt-on. The following month in April I flew to 'Frisco to meet with him at his Cali' house and play a little golf with him and Dunlop of course and then off to Japan for business. They were not quite done with the sample when I arrived but we finished it there at the Morris plant in or near Nagano.

The head maker could make Violins, Acoustic Guitars and even Banjos by hand. He was a real Luthier. He said in Japanese that HE must handmake the Artist Model himself and the other models Custom, Deluxe and Standard can be thru normal production. He was clear about that in not such a nice way BUT, he wanted the credit at home for being the Luthier he was. The bass that Hadrien Feraud plays is the Artist model Burner!

This was the start. That sample was an Artist model and we still own it. My son Jon had been playing that same bass since he was 4 years old. He is turning 22 this year. They made 6 more basses for the June Summer NAMM that year in 1989 as samples and then we made the first 3 runs of 40 basses, 40 basses and then 80 basses the third run and finally caught up with the orders from that first show. We had 5 left in stock after producing 166 basses.

Being a personal friend of the owner helps. One day in Tokyo on that trip he walked me around town to some stores. We walked into a Guitar store and the sales girl greeted us like customers, took a second look at Toshio and HIT THE FLOOR bowing to him as if God had just walked in. No Joke. I once saw a head of one of the most famous Japanese brand Guitar companies do almost the same thing in the lobby of the Nashville Convention Center one evening just after 6pm as we were all leaving. This guy (a famous Japanese CEO) was bowing and bowing and bowing as if asking for forgiveness..

My contact in Japan is a Powerful person in this business. I have nothing but respect for him as he started with nothing and built an empire in his own life time. While touring his factory he showed me his old office, now empty. He said "Ken San, (that's what he calls me) if you move to Japan, this can be your office".

Staying at his house with him and his wife and later meeting all 3 of his grown children (2 sons and a daughter) as well as being invited to his Daughters wedding Reception at a Namm show private party tells me he respects me as well.

So, it's not all business. It's people too. Gotta have people. We can't do without them. He taught me about business "first you give trust, and then you get trust". I taught him something we say when asked how things are.. "so far, so good". He loves that saying. He taught me a few words in Japanese as well while I was there.
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  #52  
Old 02-02-2010, 04:02 PM
Larry Elwood Larry Elwood is offline
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Ken,

Wow! Thanks! What a fantastic story. I get it- the level of quality, care and respect that went into those burners... And on a side note - I'm ultra stoked now because only a couple of days ago I acquired beautiful walnut/mahogany/maple 1991 Artist burner 4 string that is in superb shape. Now I know it's back story too!

amazing...
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  #53  
Old 02-02-2010, 07:01 PM
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Tim Bishop Tim Bishop is offline
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Lightbulb Also....

Ken, you also performed final set-up on the Burner's as well, correct?
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  #54  
Old 02-02-2010, 07:04 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Cool yes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Bishop View Post
Ken, you also performed final set-up on the Burner's as well, correct?
That is correct. We also installed all of the Electronics as well from late 1992 and on. Top woods for all Artist models and the maple and walnut for the Customs were supplied by us as well. We also supplied the fingerboards after 1992 with Morado instead of rosewood during the first few years.
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  #55  
Old 02-03-2010, 06:01 AM
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Cool ok..

Quote:
Originally Posted by frederic vidal View Post


If you can speak to us the story of the john patitucci collaboration ken.

I remember the first time i saw a Ken Smith bass...

It's on John Patitucci eponyme album, it was in 1988

What a sound ! terrific !
It was different than usual. Chick Corea called me up to tell me about his new bassist to be and that he wanted a Smith Bass. I knew Chick thru Stanley Clarke and even got to play with Chick one day so he had my number. He asked that I help this new young player to get the bass he was looking for.

John came over shortly after and tried a Maple 6-string with gold hardware. He was still on the road with Dave Sanborn and had to finish that tour up before starting with Chick. He said if this one sells he would get the next one which I had in production. It was Walnut and maple with Chrome Hardware. We made so few 6s back then and had only that one bridge for a 6 in stock put aside for the 2nd bass, the walnut. Both with our Oil finish we used then.

Shortly after, he called and the first maple bass was sold so he bought the 2nd one, the walnut, sight unseen. The rest is history I guess. People tell me he never sounded better than when he played his Smith 6. The model was a BT back then like today's oil finished neck thrus, GN/BT and Black Tiger models.

I think these basses then sold for under $3k. He paid the regular asking price but did get to reserve the bass while he was out on the road.
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  #56  
Old 02-03-2010, 06:40 AM
frederic vidal frederic vidal is offline
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And what a great history !

I'm totaly agree with myself

The wonderfull, marvelous, smooth, full and precis sound when he played a KSB miss me a lot.

I can say it, I don't like the sound that it had when it changed instrument but i'm not rancorous, i'm a big fan of his work

Thanks for this piece of history ken.
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  #57  
Old 02-04-2010, 10:40 PM
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Thumbs up Cool!

That's some cool history there.
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  #58  
Old 02-04-2010, 10:47 PM
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
That is correct. We also installed all of the Electronics as well from late 1992 and on. Top woods for all Artist models and the maple and walnut for the Customs were supplied by us as well. We also supplied the fingerboards after 1992 with Morado instead of rosewood during the first few years.
As for final set-up, etc.: I think this was a critical phase of production that contributed greatly to the Burner's success.
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  #59  
Old 04-06-2010, 07:06 PM
Mike Braun Mike Braun is offline
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Hey Ken,

Can you talk about your companies relationship with Anthony Jackson and John Pattitucci?
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  #60  
Old 04-06-2010, 08:27 PM
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Lightbulb well..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Braun View Post
Hey Ken,

Can you talk about your companies relationship with Anthony Jackson and John Pattitucci?
That's past history. Both went on to a different company that needed their name and were possibly paid to use their product in either cash, instruments, royalties, paid clinics or some or all of the above. I think..

Don't quote me on it. Just use your imagination.

Ask them directly if you can and good luck on getting a straight answer or a truthful one for that matter.

We don't do endorsements like that and we never chase players down to use their names or buy our products. They either come to us or they don't. I'm just not that good of a hustler or one at all.

Both players paid the normal asking price for their Smith Basses and services but got a discount on strings which were bought in fairly healthy quantities.
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