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Al Krow

Best 5 string bass you've ever owned and why?

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Guys - some amazingly helpful insights and suggestions on here, which I am really enjoying digesting and working through. Thank you - and please keep them coming - I'm 100% certain that I am not the only person benefitting from this collective wisdom!

And JTUK to your point - I've definitely got the message from this thread to look beyond a Fender Jazz 5! (As a complete aside - I know you are a big fan of Markbass and together with Molan influenced my decision a couple of years back to get a Markbass AC Combo Lite which has become my gigging workhorse amp. Well I had some very positive (and unsolicited!) comments from a couple of musicians in the audience, last night, about the bass sound quality and tone...so I guess I have you, in part, to thank for that!)



Getting positive and unsolicited comments from musicians in the audience is definitely a nice thing. You'll have to know what you are doing for that so the credit is down to you. Well done. B) Edited by Dad3353

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I use a Mike Lull PJ5 (passive) and I love it. It sounds great. The fit and finish is flawless, as it should be for the price. I would buy another one if I lost it for whatever reason. The Laklands are also nice for sure.

If you have a Sandberg 4, why not try a 5? I had one for about 4 years and it was a lovely bass, and good value for money.

My general advice would be try before you buy. I've played very expensive basses with flappy B strings, and 300 quid yamahas with great B strings. You don't want to blow a shed load of cash on a bass only for it to be a disappointment.

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I use a Mike Lull PJ5 (passive) and I love it. It sounds great. The fit and finish is flawless, as it should be for the price. I would buy another one if I lost it for whatever reason. The Laklands are also nice for sure.

If you have a Sandberg 4, why not try a 5? I had one for about 4 years and it was a lovely bass, and good value for money.

My general advice would be try before you buy. I've played very expensive basses with flappy B strings, and 300 quid yamahas with great B strings. You don't want to blow a shed load of cash on a bass only for it to be a disappointment.

. Or: match your budget to whatever Yamaha model is closest

Edited by Dad3353

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Them Nathan East BBNE2 Yamahas are the best quality basses I have ever seen in the flesh, that includes the Foderas.



Yeah, absolute monsters! And, in white, possibly the best looking bass going?! Edited by Dad3353

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I like the piano black, looks like wet paint!



Actually, mind changed. The man himself has a grey one, which the The Best Looking Bass in the World™.

To answer the original question the best 5 I've owned is my Sadowsky because it is so versatile and comfortable to play. Just fits my hands. I've got a Stingray 5 on loan atm too, the B is quality. Edited by Dad3353

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... mine had 4 strings, it's the best 5 because it had 4 strings so was less confusing for me to play :D.

Seriously I've had lots of 5ers over the last 10 years or so and the best open rounded tone and playability is the current Warwick Steamer Stage 1 5. Apart from that the nicest signature tone was my NT Thumb 5, really thick and had something about it. I also once had an old reworked Overwater 5 that was really really nicely put together with a very neat electronics install (why aren't all bases like that??). But I'm probably going to go back to 4s for a while as I seem to know what I'm doing more on them for some reason :P

Edited by jimbobothy

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This one:

GusG35Passive.jpg

This one:

GusG35Active.jpg

This one:

DSC00290_zpsc18d4a5a.jpg

And this one:

SeiFlamboyantOffsetFretless.jpg

All different, so which one I use will depend on what sort of music I am playing.

The black Gus and the Sei were made especially for me. You can't beat a good custom bass.

Edited by Dad3353

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Wow - absolutely gorgeous!!! Any links to you playing any of these four beauties live with your bands? I'm guessing you use the Warwick in a rockabilly band?

And actually the same shout to Paul S, Grangur, therealting and Rich in terms of have you got any uploaded material of you playing your 5 strings which you have kindly shared pics of?

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The one that cured any GAS for fretted 5ers is my Zon Sonus 5/2 ...looks smilar to this one:

Lightweight, easy handling. The neck is a dream to play and that graphite-polymorphed-secret-potion material is sooo stable. It adds a certain low-punch to the sound that I have never heard before. Plenty of attack, plenty of soul, lotsa funk. The combination of wooden body and bolt-on graphite neck gives the best of both worlds, soundwise. Not as sterile as a Status - but similarily stable intonation and very precise sounding.

Tom

Edited by tom5string

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Wow - absolutely gorgeous!!! Any links to you playing any of these four beauties live with your bands? I'm guessing you use the Warwick in a rockabilly band?



Thanks!

Although the Warwick is the bass I play live with Richard Venom & The Terrortones, I used all 4 basses when recording the most recent LP - SnakeOil For Snakes. Edited by Dad3353

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Hey - loved it - rockabilly meets punk! Tight Pants Live in Wakefield (2014) is a great track. Very capable drummer too, she still with you guys? Do you find "them B lows" particularly used in your music? Being in a 50s / 60s band myself (we've just recently rebadged ourselves as "the Retros" also with a female drummer :)) I must admit rockabilly was one genre I thought the trusty 4 string would almost always cut the mustard?!

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Hey - loved it - rockabilly meets punk! Tight Pants Live in Wakefield (2014) is a great track. Very capable drummer too, she still with you guys? Do you find "them B lows" particularly used in your music? Being in a 50s / 60s band myself (we've just recently rebadged ourselves as "the Retros" also with a female drummer :)) I must admit rockabilly was one genre I thought the trusty 4 string would almost always cut the mustard?!



Thank you for the kind comments on the music! It's weird but The Terrortones are probably the most "conventional" band I've played in yet I've got more use out of the low B string with them than any band I've played with since I got my first 5-string back in 1989. A lot of it has to do with the keys we write the songs in which allows me to drop down to D, C and even B. "Tight Pants" is one of three in the most recent set that uses the low B string, although on that one it's for position rather than getting notes lower than E. Unfortunately the band is currently on indefinite hold due to Mr Venom being too unwell to perform.

Edited by Dad3353

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My favorite bass ever is this Spector Euro 5 LX with some mods.
As a stock instument it was already wonderful sounding and the neck was the best 5 string neck ever I played.
But I did some tweaking and a refinish.
Obviously I'm biased but after owning 50+ basses to find out what works for me I have some experience (regarding what I like and what I do not)

I think these Spector Euro5 basses are great because their sound is useful in studio and live (cuts through) and the ergonomics are very well thought out (curved body, neck ) Also they have very good value if purchased second hand. The 35" scale makes the B string sound really good and the whole bass is built to last. can't add more really.
[attachment=233856:IMG_5403.JPG]

Edited by Dad3353

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Thanks! It's one of the MiK pro Series basses that Thomann were selling off at under half price a few years ago. I took a bit of a gamble since the MiG I'd tried previously had all been completely underwhelming considering their price tag. However, to my knowledge the Starbass is the only long-scale 5-string semi hollow bass in production, so my options were pretty limited. Luckily it has turned out to be a great instrument, although if I'm being completely honest the Gus basses are far more comfortable to play.


Cool, yes I can't think of another with a long scale and a B string, I think it is a given that it will not be as comfy as many basses but that is the compromise, same as the double bass, awkward thing that makes your hands and arms ache but well it is cool!

A definite big thumbs up from me on that one.

Edited by Dad3353

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Guys - I'm going to take some time out over the hols to go back over all over your recommendations that you have kindly taken the time to share on this thread and see what models seem to be regularly featuring and make a note for future reference, should I decide to step up to a more expensive model a few years down the line.

In terms of bang per buck several of you have been really positive about Yamahas (although I appreciate that is not a universally held view). So in terms of something that comes highly recommended but at a "reasonable" price the Yamaha BB1025(X) at around £820 seems to hit the mark and would seem to be a very good 5 string "starter bass" for an experienced 4 string bass player to cut his teeth on? I've taken note not to rule out an active 5 string bass, for the reasons a couple of you have helpfully given.

A number of the other basses you have recommended look amazing but are in the £2k to £3k price range which, on reflection, feels a little extravagant for a first 5 string (even if this ends up being my only purchase of a 5 string).

Are there any other 5 strings that you guys love / recommend in a similar price range to the Yamaha BB1025(X) that I should be considering either already on this thread, or not yet mentioned?

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The best is my Overwater J five string. How does it compare to the Fender Jazz V, well I owned an anniversary five string active (five in a line headstock), and as befits the step up in price, it knocked the Fender into a cocked hat.

I should say that all of my five string basses are active, so I am no use to you when you talk of passive, but I find the 35" gives a much better B string than a 34". I have also owned a Musicman Stingray V and I found that that was the same as the Fender in that the B string took longer to bloom, which felt like latency when you were playing. All the 35" scale basses I've played don't suffer from this.

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Guys - I'm going to take some time out over the hols to go back over all over your recommendations that you have kindly taken the time to share on this thread and see what models seem to be regularly featuring and make a note for future reference, should I decide to step up to a more expensive model a few years down the line.

In terms of bang per buck several of you have been really positive about Yamahas (although I appreciate that is not a universally held view). So in terms of something that comes highly recommended but at a "reasonable" price the Yamaha BB1025(X) at around £820 seems to hit the mark and would seem to be a very good 5 string "starter bass" for an experienced 4 string bass player to cut his teeth on? I've taken note not to rule out an active 5 string bass, for the reasons a couple of you have helpfully given.

A number of the other basses you have recommended look amazing but are in the £2k to £3k price range which, on reflection, feels a little extravagant for a first 5 string (even if this ends up being my only purchase of a 5 string).

Are there any other 5 strings that you guys love / recommend in a similar price range to the Yamaha BB1025(X) that I should be considering either already on this thread, or not yet mentioned?



There was a sterling ray35 for sale very recently for £450, if I hadn't just dropped the hammer on an sr5, I probably would have snapped his hand off.
Be careful buying new for a "starter bass", if you fin it's not for you (and it isn't for everyone!!) you will burn a load of cash trying to unload it. That ray35 to me is a sure bet, you will get your money back if you decided to sell it on. Edited by Dad3353

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Cheers for the tip-off Damonjames. The Musicman Sterling 35 is £950 new so in a similar price bracket to, but about 15% more than the Yammy B1025 - your view that the Sterling 35 is the better guitar?

I'm planning for sure on trying out the basses, based on folks' recommendation from this thread, before buying so hopefully that will de-risk buying something new quite a bit. I would definitely also want to try out a second hand piece of kit and the only problem with the Sterling is that it's gonna be quite a trek to central Scotland (which is where Stirling also happens to be, hmmm... :))...so I think I'm going to need to limit myself to looking at gear located within the M25...

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Cheers for the tip-off Damonjames. The Musicman Sterling 35 is £950 new so in a similar price bracket to, but about 15% more than the Yammy B1025 - your view that the Sterling 35 is the better guitar?

I'm planning for sure on trying out the basses, based on folks' recommendation from this thread, before buying so hopefully that will de-risk buying something new quite a bit. I would definitely also want to try out a second hand piece of kit and the only problem with the Sterling is that it's gonna be quite a trek to central Scotland (which is where Stirling also happens to be, hmmm... :))...so I think I'm going to need to limit myself to looking at gear located within the M25...



Wow, are they really that much?!

I was going to recommend a 5 string Musicman of some sort, probably a 5 HS or HH.

I would save that £900+ and get a second hand Stingray 5. Edited by Dad3353

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Owned a few 5 strings, here are my thoughts:

Bass Collection 355:
First 5 string about 15 years ago probably. Great bass, probably wouldn't go for the aesthetics/body size now, but the neck was fantastic, sound was good too.


Fender Jazz USA Standard:
I was playing a 4 string USA Standard Jazz, and I wanted a 5 string which was basically the same....which this was. Nice neck, lovely bass, although I'm not convinced about passive 5 strings, despite there being some of my heroes who play passive low Bs (Richard Bona, Anthony Jackson etc). Sounded good though.

Yamaha 615:
Sold the Fender and simply wanted a cheaper 5 as I had fewer gigs on it. Got hold of this for £180 I think. Helluva lot of bass for the money. Really good stuff, although didn't like the preamp, easily changed though.

Fodera Matt Garrison Standard:
Sold most of my non-essential bits and pieces to buy this, best 5 string I've ever owned, ridiculous quality, feel, workmanship, sound....everything.
Would absolutely own another. Simply sold it as I had a baby on the way and wanted to be proactive rather than need to sell it at a later date and struggle.

Xotic XJ-1T:
This replaced the Fodera as a cheaper 5 essentially. Really really nice 5, the best Low B 5 I had owned (the Fodera was a High C). Really good quality/finish, sounded great, nice weight, Xotic are really helpful as a company. Would own another.

Lakland 55-01:
Buying a house and so wanted to free up some cash from the Xotic, sold that and bought this, again as a cheaper 5. I've owned this for about 3 days, so very early days obviously. Already I can say that it's neck feels fantastic, the fit/finish is very good (although not quite on par with the Xotic, £1500 price difference though). May change the electronics for something more up-market seeing as it came in way under budget, but we'll see after a few gigs.


In conclusion, the best 5er was the Fodera, hands down. Beautiful to play, listen to, look at etc. Financially restrictive though obviously.
Best value has to be the Lakland and the Yamaha......so I would check them out as your first point of call!

Si

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