Need a 5 string - thoughts on Brice vs Douglas vs Ibanez
I'm a guitar player really just getting into 7 string and..well I need a 5 string :D Not adverse to getting a 6 as the low B (A) is really what's most important.
Anyway, I've stumbled across these guys - The Douglas and the Brice as well as a local guy who is selling his Ibanez GSR206.
I currently have a Peavy Milestone 3 and besides not being 5 strings there are 2 big things I haven't been able to come to terms with.
The flop of the E turned to D string. Am I just used to the tightness of guitar? I play really heavy guage strings on guitar with pretty high action on the basses so it's like playing tree trunks... I can't really imagine what a low B tuned A would be like on a bass... Can either of these handle such a task?
The other thing that's frustrating is how there seems to be SOOOOOOO much beautiful bass from 5-20 but the first 4 are really lacking.
I REALLY like the string through body design on the brice, but also imagine I'd get a better low end with the douglas being longer scale and neckthrough. But intonation is important too because I do a lot of chordal stuff, often above the 12th fret. The milestone has served me well in getting some nice Justin Chancelor (Tool) sounds TBH so I'm really hoping to just improve all these problems....with a low B string :D
edit - also wanted to add this guy to the list...has the string through body and while I prefer natural woods this guy has the recessed arm spot which I pretty much love.
Sounds like you should be looking at 35" or longer scale basses if you plan on down tuning to A and prefer tighter/thinner strings.
Schecter comes to mind when I think of cheaper 35" scales.
And I have a few comments in general to be a guide.
1. I DO NOT recommend tuning down a bass. That's what the lower strings are for. A guitar can sound MUCH better down-tuned. But bass strings...especially E and B are at the limits of what they can do. They'll sound/ play like crap down-tuned. Certain players do that to keep their familar finderings the same, but mostly it's a bad idea that was generated by the mistake of listening to guitarists. :)
2. I Own a GSR2906, (as well as an Ibanez SR506). If you can score a used GSR206 for a decent price and decent conditon DO IT. It is a wonderful bass for a noob. It has the great fat Ibanez SR tone which is the "classic" modern sound. Neck is fast and thin, body is smaller and light. Action is great. The only down-side on mine is that the pickups don't quite cover the strings evenly which makes C and B strings have less volume than rest. So you have to compensate a bit with bass and treble boost on those controls. But as a learner or bar bass 6er it is HARD to beat.
3. I recommend learning on a 6 string to "get" what 5 and 6 string basses are all about. Get with the wide neck and string damping and playing up the neck and ACROSS it. And if you are into chords on bass, a 6 string bass is THE one to look at. Helps keep your chords out of the mud. (refer back to #2 above)
4. The Brice and Douglas are great basses for the cash. I don't own any or haven't played them but word on the street is they tend to be a bit more "standard" sounding active 6 string. Some think electronics are only adequate. Also look at ESP LTD B206-SM. Heavy, but I DO own one. Absolute KILLER looks, sound and playability. Check one out.
5. Another consideration is tone. Do you want to go "modern" and active (like Ibanez) or "old school" and passive? Normally the latter would be VERY expensive like Low End basses, but at Rondo you can buy an SX 6 string Fender clone for cheap. You can even get it now in ash and natural wood. I own three (rounds, flats and fretless). You will need to deal with a few tweaks like shielding, strings, and maybe a bit of setup, but if that isn't out of your range it's a KILLER Jazz clone bass in 6 string with REAL tonewood at a super price. And if you get unlucky Kurt's fantastic return policy will insure you don't get stuck with even the low price.
6. So long as you are interested in chords on a bass I wouldn't cut back to 5 strings, but if you do a G&L Tribute is something worth looking at. Yes, I own one.
7. I own a 35" scale bass (Modulus) but 35" is not essential to have a decent B string. All my basses have decent B strings. 35" helps some with B string but that is balanced by the hassle of having to find extra long scale strings for a 6er. 6 string bass string sets are hard enough to find but extra long scale (may also be needed for through-body stringing) are a super pain and usually forces you to buy online.
As you can see there are LOTS of great options here and I very much recommend the various basses I own for the things each does well. But in the end that choice is yours.
Thanks a lot for the advice! I still really like the a lot of what the brice has to offer but I feel a lot better going into this GSR206 - I DO hear lots of good things about it and I imagine a preamp upgrade would help even more down the road.
I will think about how to do things without dropping down to A but D is probably a must...we'll see how it all plays out tonight! It's at a great price too! :D Thanks!
My word this guys a treat! This GSR206 has strings have got to be a year old and it still has better intonation, tightness of string, action, and less buzz than the Peavey. Bought it for $150.
Strings though....They may well be the default strings they come with which TBH I think are perfect. Maybe a little fat but we'll see if I want to change that. I'm about to boil them but was curious when I DO change...what the heck am I looking for. I shop at just strings and for guitar I use these puppies and they're perfect (adding the same nickel wounds .068 for the 7th string). Going for a Justin Chancelor progressive metal sound, but also wanting a real warm sound when I need it.... where should I start that won't cost an arm and a leg?
@MrTaff - what are those 135-45 strings you use?
Also, out of curiosity - does anybody know if the body is one piece or a big amagalmation of random pieces glued together?
Thanks for the insight guys!
Got some D'addario EXL170's that seem to be real nice. Thinner high's but a low .130 that doesn't flop about.
Having some issues with the bridge/frets. Can you guys clarify 2 things for me?
1) If the open strings don't buzz, but then there are inconsistent, very metalic fret buzz's - how does one fix that? I don't think it's an action thing. (eg; fret 4 and 5 don't buzz, but then 6 does, 7 doesn't, 8-10 do, 11 doesn't, 12 does...etc..)
2) Is it possible that the string holes in the bridge were drilled too high? It seems the High C and G string don't apply enough pressure to keep it seated. This causes intonation problems if it raises or falls as well as buzzing. I can simply raise the bridge saddles and thus increase the tension...but that's not really ideal as I'd like the action to be a bit lower.
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