I've narrowed it down
Still looking for a 5-string that will meet all of my requirements. Still don't have the money to buy it quite yet but I should very soon...depending on which one I choose.
On the bottom end of the price spectrum there's the ESP LTD B-155DX, which is going for about $379 new.
For a little more I can get a Peavey Cirrus 5. I've only played the 4-string version, so I don't know how much I'll like it, I really liked the 4-string version. My only concern is the width of the neck.
For a little more still I can get a new Ibanez ATK premium 5-string.
The most expensive one I'm considering is a Carvin PB5.
The things I'm looking for in a 5 string are:
Neck Width - 45mm or narrower width at the nut. Any wider than this really isn't very comfortable for me. Most 5 string basses appear to have 1.80" or wider neck, and that's more difficult for me to play on. The actual thickness (front to back) is less important to me, if the width is right the neck can be fairly thick or thin and it won't make that big of a difference to me.
Sound - the cheaper basses are a compromise in this area. What I really want tonally is something close to a Precision or Jazz bass. I may be able to get something in the ball park with the Ibanez or ESP by adding some Nordstrand big splits, but I'm not positive on that. The 4-string Cirrus I played had a nice tone, so I imagine I'll like the 5er as well. The Carvin is very much in line with what I want tonally. And actually, while it's a little different from all the rest, I really like the tone of the ATK.
Aesthetics - this does matter to me a little bit. I like the look of most of these basses well enough, the ESP is my favorite looking of the bunch, the rest of them are still decent looking though.
Price - this is a big factor because I honestly can't afford to buy any of them right now (that is, if I want to be able to pay rent this month!). However, a few of them I could afford in just a month or so of saving up, the others I'd have to save up a bit more.
i'm a Fender whore, but when i'm cheating,.. i choose Ibanez!;)
Your safest bet is the peavey or ibanez. The soundgears are nice but the cirrus has gotten tons of praise as well. It may not please you aesthetically but if you want a versatile bass look for a used peavey T-40
ATK. Super duper versatile. Every sound it's capable of sounds awesome.
The Peavey looks very much like my old and loved International 5 str. I love the tone, Easy to get to the higher frets, and it stays in tune forever! The action is really low, and it doesn't buzz or rattle. I've recently bought a Jazz bass, and the tone is totally different. The Peavey doesn't lend itself with the low action to very percussive playing, while the Jazz can't get close to the low action - Fender's recommendation is really high. I think you really need to work out what you are going to do with it, and then play them. I'd never buy a bass without trying it. My Peavey's neck isn't that wide, and it's an easy player.
I don't slap at all so something that lends itself well to finger-style playing is what I want.
They all look like good choices, grats on whichever one you get.
I could add a SBMM Ray 35 or SUB 5 to the list, since they meet all the criteria, but looking at it more and listening to more sound clips, I'm basically sold on the ATK.
Ibanez sr705 for sale!!! With Aguilar OBP3 preamp!!!
I have a sr705 with an Aguilar OPB3 preamp for sale
I bought it brand new, only had it a year.
Comes with an Ibanez signature gig bag.
Updating the list:
Dingwall Afterburner ABZ 5-string Whale Pool Burst - $2625
-This is currently my "dream bass". I haven't played one in person so I can't say that for sure but it looks beautiful, sounds great, and I love the fanned fret concept. Would probably take a couple of years to save up for, but I think it'd be worth it.
Carvin PB5 - $1228 (with the options I want)
-I was going to add the SB5000 to this list but the PB5 is closer to what I'm looking for tonally. Would also take a while to save up for.
Dingwall Combustion 5-string - $1200
-The same 37" scale B string as the ABZ but at half the price. :)
Ibanez ATK805E - $800
-Still my current first choice as the best compromise between playability, tone, and price.
ESP LTD B-155DX - $379
-Never been able to play one but I love the looks and what I've read about it and it's cheap, but no idea how it plays.
Brice HXB-405 Nat Quilt - $300
-The cheapest option, and not a bad one considering Brice has a decent reputation and its 35" scale which I really think I'd like. No idea what it sounds or plays like, though.
The other option is of course getting a 4-string tuned BEAD:
Spector Euro 4LX 35" scale 4-string tuned BEAD - $2169
-Love the sound, only played a Whimbish model so still need to play the LX and see what I think of the playability. Would take a long time to save up for like the Dingwall.
Peavey Cirrus 4-string tuned BEAD - $600-950 (used)
-If I can find a good deal on one of these used I really like them.
Narrowed it down, huh? You've narrowed it all the way down to 8 basses, either 5 or 4 strings, and a price range of $300-$2625. ;)
Please don't take this the wrong way. It's all meant in good fun. But at the same time, you just might have a little more thinking to do. :)
I enjoy my SR505 very much. It's a great bass.
However, you wouldn't be disappointed with Carvin. I have no affiliation with them.
I have cabinets and a bass amp from them. Their customer service is awesome. I haven't had any issues, but their staff is great. They make a great product for a honest price. Plus, it's designed and manufactured in the USA.
I can definitely vouch for a Dingwall being worth the wait, however, of the other options I'd probably go for the PB5. Carvin puts out superb instruments, and you have a ton of options to tailor it to your preference. The Cirrus is also a great value, however, having a 5-string definitely opens a lot of doors.
Why not save up till you have enough for something you really want.. you mentioned Precision or Jazz type tone, so look up what they go for on the used market and grab one when you have the dough.
That way you don't compromise on quality or the need to swap PUs/electronics to achieve the tone and playability you want while possibly still being able to get a sweet deal. That way you also don't lose as much or any at all on resale.
I'd recommend a used a 5-string Am Fender Precision or Jazz. If you don't mind 35" scale, i'd highly recommend a Lakland Skyline 55-60, 55-64 or 55-02(for it's tonal flexibility and brilliant active electronics) depending on the tone and playability you'd prefer.
The Dingwalls have the widest necks of any of the other basses I posted, and have about 1.8" width at the nut, which is right about the limit of what I find comfortable.
I don't have a problem with 35" scale, and 3 of the 8 basses I posted have 35" scale. But the neck size and shape is a big deal to me.
The Peavey will have relatively narrow string spacing if you find a used 5 string for sale, and is usually one of the best bangs for your buck you can get.
I have a Millennium 5 and I like the spacing a lot, I prefer narrow myself.
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