Ben Smith’s Gear Page

I recently became aware of Ben Smith via twitter, and it turns out we play similar types of music, and to me, our voices are similar too. It would be great to do some gigs with Ben at some point in the future.
In the meantime, here’s some of the tasty guitars and stuff that Ben uses  – I posted the piece on Rees guitars after seeing them on Ben’s site – Ben has a couple of them.

Rees F2 – “Bettycaster”

Ben says: ” It has a chambered Korina body and a flame Maple top that is only attached to the rest of the body around the edge and under the bridge, where I think there may be a small lump of mahogany, although I’m not 100% sure about that.  It also has some holes in the back that were part of an experiment Clive did on it.  It has a Maple neck and fingerboard, a double truss rod and a fender roller nut, which I like as it’s great for behind the nut bends. At the other end there’s a Gotoh wrap around bridge.  For the electrics, it has a Seymour Duncan Jazz humbucker at the neck and a JB humbucker at the bridge.  These are controlled with a 5 way switch, as well as a coil tap switch and a phase switch, which puts half of the neck pickup out of phase with the rest of the coils, and that gives me a total of 12 different pickup settings. It has bags of sustain, and responds really well to the touch.”

Rees Rambler

Ben’s other Rees is a Rambler – a travel electric guitar. He says: “While I was planning a long  trip to the U.S, I spoke to Clive about building a pro quality guitar with a full size neck that was small enough to fit into an ovehead locker on a plane, and he came up with the Rambler.  It has a solid Korina body, a dual truss rod neck with a roller nut, 2 Seymour Duncan P90s, master volume and tone controls, and a 4 position selector switch.  It gets some funny looks because of it’s size, but it’s a serious instrument, with a great sound and feel.”

Ben plays a Taylor acoustic fitted with his own concoction of transducers and more: “For live playing with the Taylor I have a Fishman Rare Earth active humbucker that goes in the sound hole.  Like every magnetic acoustic pickup I’ve tried it sounds horrible on its own, so after I got it I attached an old AKG lapel mic to it and used to use both the pickup and the mic to try and get a sound that is vaguely like an acoustic guitar.  Although this got me a pretty good sound, it depended heavily on having a good sound engineer and used up 2 channels on the desk, so wasn’t hugely practical.  I started experimenting with piezo disc transducers on the inside of the guitar, near the bridge plate, and found that 3 of these on the inside combined with a bit of the magnetic pickup sounded pretty good – as good as the mic and pickup blended, but without quite as much feedback trouble, and without the need for phantom power.  I wanted to make the system as easy to use as possible, and looked at all sorts of preamps and other bits, but thought I might have a go at making one myself, as I didn’t need all of the bells and whistles that were generally on the available ones, and also, it would be a lot cheaper, which is nice too.  I installed the transducers and the fishman with a stereo endpin jack, which I run to a simple 2 input box with a buffer for the piezos and a blend knob for the 2 input signals.  This then goes to an eq pedal, and the system seems to work pretty well, so far…”


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