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First 5 string recommendations?

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My first 5 string bass was a Music Man Stingray 5. It was good but not as good as the Lakland that replaced it. These days there are many more choices for good first 5 string basses, like Sire, Squier and Lakland Skylines.

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13 hours ago, Al Krow said:

Ibanez SRs! (Sep 2019).jpg

How about that, my Portamento looks just like your Portamento. Flawless booty, except I'd have sacrificed a couple of totally unnecessary high frets to achieve some aesthetic gap between the fingerboard and the neck pup.

Edited by lownote12

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There’s so many variations with 5 strings that trying a load out is the only way to really figure out what you like (if 5 strings at all). 
Therefore I’d start with something that is pretty standard and is easy to sell should you want to move to something else. 
Can’t think of anything better than Sire V7 for this. 

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I went through a few 5ers before settling on my current (a Yamaha TRB1005J). 

The first was a G&L Tribute L2500 - just couldn't get on with 5 strings, but that was probably a reflection on me and my ability, rather than the instrument. Next was a USA L2500 - the neck was much slimmer front to back but I had the same problems. I moved it on because it just wasn't getting used. 

A couple of years went by and I picked up a Warwick Streamer Standard 5-string, and used that for a while, but couldn't quite put my finger on why I couldn't get on with it. 

The next one after another couple of years - a Spector - finally confirmed my issue was string spacing - I couldn't get on with anything less than 18mm.

So off went the Spector and in came the Yamaha with its 18mm spacing.

Basically I wanted something as close to the same spacing as the 4-strings I have, and to date it seems to have worked. 

I use the Yamaha for most things - the low B is getting more use, particular on stuff arranged by friends who don't realise that a 4-string doesn't go below E!

I still occasionally use the 4-strings but the advice on here was to focus on using the 5er until it becomes natural. 

So you may find yourself chopping and changing a bit until you find one that works. Obviously going to try is best but even with sitting in a shop it's not until you really get some playing into it that you realise whether or not it works for you. 

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For what it's worth, here's my two cents worth.

Years ago, I wanted a cheapy fiver to play dodgy venues with so I picked up an OLP Stingray 5 from Basschat well under £100. They're a bit dearer now, maybe £150.

Same narrow string spacing as a real MM as they're licenced MM copies.

Ended up using it on over 200 gigs in preference to my Fenders, Music Man and Status basses. Really comfortable to wear and play. Not the largest tone pallet in the world but certainly sufficient for 90% of gigs. Only sold it 3 weeks ago as I was cutting down on stuff to bring back to the UK. Huge mistake. I'd get another tomorrow if I thought I'd start gigging again and if you can find the Tony Levin model, that's even better.

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I know they've already been mentioned,  but a +1 for Ibanez, particularly the SRs. 

Readily available second-hand at sensible prices. A slim neck profile, generally well designed,  made and finished. 

Failing that, you can do a lot worse than a Yamaha.

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On 2 December 2020 at 00:55, chris_b said:

My first 5 string bass was a Music Man Stingray 5. It was good but not as good as the Lakland that replaced it. These days there are many more choices for good first 5 string basses, like Sire, Squier and Lakland Skylines.

Interesting how individual views differ @chris_b - a Lakland, along with Warwick Streamer Jazzman, Yamaha BB 2005 and Fender Precision Special - when it had a humbucker (it and the Marcus Jazz 5 had appallingly wide fretboards and less amenable neck profiles for me so were ruled out - it was hard enough trying to learn say, Teen Town or Sir Duke without having a 'fight' with the bass as well) were all in contention for me - only the Musicman did the Musicman sound properly (which I think has been in my head since the late 70s), a it also did the other sounds I was after - the Lakland came a close second but had a beautiful finish and flamed top IIRC. 

Edited by drTStingray
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2 hours ago, leschirons said:

For what it's worth, here's my two cents worth.

Years ago, I wanted a cheapy fiver to play dodgy venues with so I picked up an OLP Stingray 5 from Basschat well under £100. They're a bit dearer now, maybe £150.

Same narrow string spacing as a real MM as they're licenced MM copies.

Ended up using it on over 200 gigs in preference to my Fenders, Music Man and Status basses. Really comfortable to wear and play. Not the largest tone pallet in the world but certainly sufficient for 90% of gigs. Only sold it 3 weeks ago as I was cutting down on stuff to bring back to the UK. Huge mistake. I'd get another tomorrow if I thought I'd start gigging again and if you can find the Tony Levin model, that's even better.

@leschirons IIRC Tony Levin had a lot of input into the EQ on his signature OLP, so anyone who gets hold of one (they seem quite scarce) and knowing the propensity for the tinkerers and modders to butcher cheap basses, it's worth bearing in mind - they have a Tony Levin spec tweaked EQ 👍

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28 minutes ago, drTStingray said:

Interesting how individual views differ @chris_b . . . . . . . .

Yep. I guess my preferred bass sound was "imprinted" way before Music Man came about. The SR5 was a good bass to start my 5 string conversion. It took a few years, but in the end I decided I preferred wider string spacing, single coil pickups and the unrolled fretboard had begun to bug me.

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I've favoured Jazz Basses all my life, and I opted for a narrow necked Ibanez. I was convinced it was ideal for me, but after a while I realised the string spacing was too tight for me and I moved it on.

These days, I have a Lakland 5501. The width of the neck and 35 inch scale make it seem like a bit of a monster, but the string spacing is just so much better for me.

Obviously it's difficult to try things out these days, but without trying a five string it's hard to say what will work for you. In my case it took me months of living with one. Perhaps take a punt a used one, and at least you won't suffer too much if you need to move it on.

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Typically people fall into two main groups - those who are more “right hand sensitive” to string spacing at the bridge, and those who are more “left hand sensitive” to the wider nut and overall dimensions of a 5 string neck. Obviously we’re all a mix of the two to some extent but chances are you’ll lean one way or the other. 

Personally I’ve always been able to adapt to most 5 string necks (lucky me) but I “feel” string spacing at the bridge more than at the nut/neck. 

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On 01/12/2020 at 17:45, Al Krow said:

Ibanez SRs! (Sep 2019).jpg

If you ever go to sell the GVB...please let me know :)

+1 for an Ibanez 5 string for the width and depth of necks. Particularly those from the SR range. (but I'm a bit of an Ibanez fanboy so I would say that)

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42 minutes ago, Mikey D said:

If you ever go to sell the GVB...please let me know :)

+1 for an Ibanez 5 string for the width and depth of necks. Particularly those from the SR range. (but I'm a bit of an Ibanez fanboy so I would say that)

Kind of you to say re the GVB! I've restrung it E to E for a "classical bass" project and purely for personal pleasure! It has a narrower 14mm strings spacing which is maintained throughout the length of the fretboard, which makes it easier to stretch across the neck whilst leaving enough space to hold down notes on individual strings which some of the more standard (and even more narrowly spaced) Bass VIs don't so easily allow.

However the GVBs had gone out of production shortly before I had worked out that it was exactly what I was after; but I was lucky to secure one of the very last ones available in Europe (from a store in Germany) which was being sold with an end of line discount, which doubly made me smile given that, for once, I'd have been more than happy to shell out the full-fat price given how hard they had become to come by! 

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On 03/12/2020 at 10:38, leschirons said:

Same narrow string spacing as a real MM as they're licenced MM copies.

 

Even narrower - the OLP is 16.5mm . There is a Nordstrand replacement pickup specially designed for it. I had one of these for a while too, very playable.

If the OP is looking for a new bass, a Yamaha 235 should be on the list of basses to try.

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I had a Warwick Rockbass 5-string Streamer which seemed a good value second-hand instrument for a few hundred quid ... it felt OK ... I  like my thin-necked Ibanez SR 4-string... but I never really warmed to it. Just not at all inspiring...

Then I got to play ... and ended up trading for ... a German one. Night and Day! It's fantastic. But ... what I now realise having read around ... is that my Rockbass was the early big-sticker from 2003 ... and they weren't so good. But I  believe the more recent Rockbass's are very much better. So ... one of those might be worth considering if you find one in budget because the neck's good ... but make sure it's a 2nd generation...

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On 01/12/2020 at 17:32, NickA said:

I shouldn't worry about the neck profile too much. There are bigger issues with playing a 5; namely: damping, fingering patterns and relearning coordination between the string you fret and the string you pluck! 

This what I'm finding after grabbing a very nice Lakland 55-01.

s-l1600.jpg

I mean to persevere this time...

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Duplicate post...sorry

Edited by TheGreek

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@Al Krow "Ignore the one on the left..."

Yamaha Tribe (20-10).jpg

Ah, you say that but what is it? Me likey...

 

Edited by TheGreek

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Mick - exactly, it's a Yamaha BB NE2

If you can find one used and fancy splashing out, you won't find a much better bass

I know you're also a Spector fan - I did a comparison of the NE2 with my Euro LX5 recently on the Yammy thread (see "Unlikely Twins" post - 17 Dec). Both superb basses and with a strikingly similar set of high-end features.

Edited by Al Krow

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15 minutes ago, TheGreek said:

I hate you!!!

😉😉

But only (on this occasion, anyway - hehe) because you know you will love that bass 😊

 

  • Haha 2

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