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Grouse

5 String Advice?

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Can anyone recommend a bass with a slim, fast 5 string neck? I have short fingers and find thin necks better but am not sure how 5 strings stack up. I'm thinking Ibanez but not sure?

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I don't have short fingers but a narrow string spacing is important for me, too.  I have a MM Sterling 5, Yamaha BB425, Fender MB-5 and Hohner BV - all these have slim necks with tight string spacing, especially at the nut.  I found that 5 string Fender P or J generally have wider necks or are too heavy for me.  Can't comment on Ibanez as I haven't tried one.  I am sure there are plenty of others.

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I have small hands and find the neck and spacing at the nut on my Ibanez perfect. The trouble with some 5s is too narrow spacing.

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I had an ESP LTD, such as this one:

https://www.bax-shop.co.uk/right-handed-bass-guitar/esp-ltd-b-205sm-ns-electric-bass-guitar-5-string-natural-satin?gclid=CjwKCAiA-KzSBRAnEiwAkmQ156cBGCpD454gys32lugMWrGYQkfBqfbkSUHG9Ijo3XZfnQaNCcNoPRoCqx4QAvD_BwE

Mine was fretless and the neck was really good and fast IMHO. As @lownote12 has suggested, I found the string spacing too narrow. 

You do really need to try out some basses. The answer might be to send off for some on mail-order and send back what you don't like; which might be all of them.

Don't feel bad about doing this - they have to honour this under EU legislation. The mail-order companies have under-cut and driven high street seller out of business, so its the service they must now offer.

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Posted (edited)

Another thought - I don't know your playing experience, but when choosing a 5-string, don't forget, a 5 is predominantly played lower down the neck. If you watch Gary Willis you'll see he rarely ventures up to the 3rd fret. So over all the playing experience is simply different.

Edit: for lower - read that as "nearer the body"; so actually it's higher up the neck

Edited by Grangur

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6 hours ago, Grangur said:

Another thought - I don't know your playing experience, but when choosing a 5-string, don't forget, a 5 is predominantly played lower down the neck. If you watch Gary Willis you'll see he rarely ventures up to the 3rd fret. So over all the playing experience is simply different.

What an interesting point.  Never thought about that...

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5 minutes ago, lownote12 said:

What an interesting point.  Never thought about that...

Edit: for lower - read that as "nearer the body"; so actually it's higher up the neck.

Yes, the whole thing of a >4 string bass is not having to move about so much.

Anthony Wellington will tell you: "A 4 is the hardest bass, 5 is easier, 6 is easier than a 5, 7 is easier than a 6."

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Totally agree. I play 5's now and spend most of my time around the 5th - 8th fret. Makes life so much easier.

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On 02/01/2018 at 17:31, Grangur said:

Edit: for lower - read that as "nearer the body"; so actually it's higher up the neck.

Yes, the whole thing of a >4 string bass is not having to move about so much.

Anthony Wellington will tell you: "A 4 is the hardest bass, 5 is easier, 6 is easier than a 5, 7 is easier than a 6."

ive only just woken up and im suffering from man-flu so excuse me if im being dumb but how does that work? i mean doesnt depend entirely on how the instrument is tuned? for example, if its a 5 with a low B then surely you would spend more time playing nearer the headstock to use the "new" notes that you access to ie the B, C, C#, D and D# on the B string?

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Ne.  In principle you're right but the real world usefulness is to be able to access low D, Eb and E but that little bit higher up. Not necessarily the low B and C.  With a six in particular you can gallop straight across one set of frets without having to dog leg back and fourth like on a  4.  The ONLY thing I hate about 6s is losing the plot on so many strings. Life may be easier on a 6, but the pictures and string spacing are easier on a 4.  5's to me are neither fish nor fowl.     

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For an example of the playing difference between a 4 and a 5, go and play a 2 octave G Major scale on a 4 string. Start using the G on the E string and go up 2 octaves. To do this you will then end on the G at the 12th fret on the G string.

If you do this same on a 5 string bass, you can, of course use the same E string G. As an alternative you could use the 8th fret on the B string. A is the 10th fret on the B and then drop to the E string for the next 3 notes etc.  You can complete the entire 2 octave scale between the 8th and 12th frets. 

So, provided you like the attack tone of these notes for the song you're playing, most of what we play on a 4 string bass can be played between the 7th to 12th frets on a 5 string.

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And an E-C 5 or a 6 make things similarly easy if playing classical, avoiding long stretches and gallops up to the 24 fret. 

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On 1/1/2018 at 23:25, Grouse said:

Can anyone recommend a bass with a slim, fast 5 string neck? I have short fingers and find thin necks better but am not sure how 5 strings stack up. I'm thinking Ibanez but not sure?

I've just bought a used Ibby SR605.

Fastest neck I've ever owned.  I haven't particularly short fingers but I haven't had years of stretching exercise to help span the first four frets equally well with each finger either.  It's easier on this neck somehow.  I think the string spacing is about right for me.

I am happy to recommend you try one for yourself.

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For what its worth...I had a G&L L2000 Tribute and I loved it except i thought the neck was very wide.I ended up getting an G&L L2500 and I have to say I find the neck far more comfortable than the 4 string !!!

I would recommend trying out a G&L L2500 tribute , I think you'll be pleasantly surprised

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I have a Bass Collection SB 5er, which has pretty much the perfect neck to fit my weirdly-shaped hands (biggish square-ish palm, short-ish fingers). 

So comfortable that half the time I forget that I'm even playing a 5. Mind you, I have the 4-string version of the same and the neck on that is stupidly slim.

Which is all welcome to digits that are as often as not used for (whisper it!) guitar-pickin'.....'

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Both the Cort Artisan B5 / A5 and the Ibanez SR 5ers has slim necks.

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On 1/2/2018 at 12:29, Grangur said:

Another thought - I don't know your playing experience, but when choosing a 5-string, don't forget, a 5 is predominantly played lower down the neck. If you watch Gary Willis you'll see he rarely ventures up to the 3rd fret. So over all the playing experience is simply different.

Edit: for lower - read that as "nearer the body"; so actually it's higher up the neck

C'mon guys..the magic is in the B..actually the open B..

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But you don't need to use your left hand to play that ...

 

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