The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌ Ken Smith Bass Cherry, Walnut and Maple, 1985


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Since the late 1970s, the Ken Smith Bass has been a benchmark for innovative, high quality custom instruments designed for use in studio, performance and touring situations. Featuring the use of different wood types, Ken Smith has built a huge range of basses for working pros, and are often used by Jazz and Gospel players.

Ken Smith started off in his teens building basses for himself, and is largely self taught.

Here we’re looking at a Ken Smith bass built during 1985, around the time when Smith moved from New York City to Perkasie, Pennsylvania. The Perkasie shop had been a contractor for Martin while they were experimenting with solidbody electrics. Smith moved within Perkasie several times until finally purchasing his current location.

This Ken Smith Bass features a combination of Cherry and Walnut for the body. Maple is for the neck with two Walnut laminations along its length and Ebony for the 24-fret fingerboard, which has Mother of Pearl position  marker inlays. The neck uses a hidden mortise and tenon joint.

For hardware, this bass uses gold-coloured Gotoh tuners, a gold-plated Badass II style Smith bridge, and inlaid strap locks. A mix of passive and active electronics support the pair of Jazz-bass style pickups, and the tone controls have center detents. The detents are one of Smith’s innovations – though they are and were hardly new, guitars and basses tended to have only passive electronics so they can only cut the signal. Active circuitry allows boost as well as cut, so the center detent is a very helpful indicator of the border between boost and cut.

This bass has been used for quite some time and the body finish shows an amount of wear. Fret wear, on the other hand, is quite low, partly due to the use of flat or ground-wound strings. It plays very nicely, is well balanced, and has a full, punchy tone.

A black hard shell case is included.


Price: $3,199.99 CAD
  • Model: Ken Smith Bass Cherry, Walnut and Maple, 1985
  • Year: 1985
  • Finish Gloss
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 85212
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Brand New
  • Date Posted: 27/06/2019

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 8.25lbs 3.75kg
  • Scale Length: 34in 836.6mm
  • Nut Width: 1.54in 39mm
Ken Smith Website

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