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Old 05-24-2011, 11:18 AM
Keith Robinson Keith Robinson is offline
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Question Ken Smith Taper Core Bass Burners Question

Hi there!

I'm new to this forum and although I'm currently not fortunate enough to own a lovely Ken Smith bass I do have a question about Ken Smith strings as they look like they might fit the bill for what I need...

I'll cut to the chase first, then give a bit of background.

Basically will the Ken Smith Taper Core Bass Burners 45-105 set fit a USA Fender P Bass which has the newer Fender High Mass Vintage (HMV) bridge - strung through the body. The key thing is getting the tapered part of E and A strings on the bridge saddles. This is more critical on thru body stringing because the distance from the ball end to contact point on saddles ends up being a bit further than when stringing thru bridge.

Fender have recently changed their stock strings which are designed for thru body stringing 8250M and in my experience the new tapered E just does not work anymore (compared to their older strings). Not enough tapered section of string and the taper itself is still too fat to sit as it really should in the saddle grooves.

If anybody has experience of using taper core bass burners (or indeed any Ken Smith Taper Core strings) on a strings thru body USA Fender ideally with HMV bridge, I would be most grateful to hear.

The best results I've had with strings on this particular bass is with Rotosound Stainless Swing Bass 66 45-105. The only thing is that because these aren't tapered the E string just suffers from a lack of definition and volume compared to the lighter strings. IMHO Fender's new HMV bridge really favours at least a taperered E to get the best results. I think this is mainly due to the fact that the E saddle has several grooves, allowing for string spacing adjustments, but each of these grooves is just not wide enough to seat a non tapered E string solidly. The string kind of straddles the sides of the groove, rather than sitting in a solid trough - hope this makes sense!

Interestingly enough all the other basses I've owned over the years (and there's been many) have been strung through bridge only and I've never had any issues with them.


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Old 05-24-2011, 12:01 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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The tapered part in not long enough for thru-body stringing, period. I don't know why companies bother with this design thru the body. The near 90 degree angle break is not good for any string and the sound difference however sight it may be I think is out weighed by its inconvenience. Maybe if the body was made out of something 2x as hard and thru the body at a lesser angle it might help vibrate the instrument but with the softer woods they use, it's just a waste of material if you ask me. Some older thru-body designed basses/bridges allowed you to string it either way, thru or straight which was a good thing.

Sorry for the long answer but I get this question fairly often. The Taper is designed to just barely clear the saddles. Making it longer for thru-body would be too long for everything else. I think the thru-body is an idea/invention to compensate for some other flaw in the making of the bass. No need to ruin good strings over a bad design. Just use regular strings as it was designed for and restricted to a well, Sorry.
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Old 05-24-2011, 01:55 PM
Keith Robinson Keith Robinson is offline
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Hi Ken

Thanks I appreciate your honest response and I tend to agree on this whole thru-body stringing business. It doesn't add one iota to the sound or feel in my experience. A good solid bridge, nut and decent wood should provide enough sustain for most people. I think older Fender bridges were quite flimsy so they have gone this way for as you say some kind of compensation. It's a shame because I do really like my P Bass, it is just let down slightly by this inflexible bridge design.

I think I'll just have to persevere with it.


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Old 05-24-2011, 03:37 PM
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Ronen Tat Ronen Tat is offline
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Hi Keith,
The HMV bridge lets you string it either way. You can use a KS taper string by installing it the regular way - not through body.
Or, just get a KS bass
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