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Looking for advice - 5 string upgrade

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by wankerness, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. wankerness

    wankerness

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    I'm interested in buying a new bass sometime soon, and I've always sorta drooled over Warwicks. I'm interested in 5 strings, mainly. As far as models go, I haven't found a clear description of what the strengths and weaknesses are of each model, but it seems like the "Thumb" and the "Streamer Stage 1/2s" are the upper mid range models and thus what I'm interested in. I'm not closed to other brands, either, but from all I've heard a Warwick will solve most of my woes.

    I've been using an Ibanez 405q for the last ten years and have recently gotten really dissatisfied with it as I've been playing in bigger groups with better sound systems, it seems like no matter what I do with the EQ, pickups and string gauges still results in the G string sounding incredibly thin and wimpy. I also REALLY don't like the action on this thing, I've adjusted it all different ways and it just doesn't work well for slap lines (not something I do a ton of, but I do enough that I've taken to using a cheap piece of **** just to slap/tap on cause the strings actually rebound properly). Finally, the output on this thing is INSANELY low, with volume on max and even with pickups raised almost to the strings the output is so low I have to run it through preamps before it will even trigger my compressor. This last problem may be some kind of defective electronics, but it's been exactly the same the entire time I've had it and no places I've had take a look at it have ever commented on it so who knows.

    Any advice/pointers/feedback is appreciated. I don't have the means to try any Warwicks out since the places around here do not stock them. If you have any solid recs for a very versatile 5 string is appreciated. I play all kinds of stuff, everything from metal to jazz, and I'm often required to play in public in jazz groups where I have to do a lot of walking lines on old swing charts so it needs to have some tonal variety. I want to be able to slap/tap on it if necessary but I'll mainly just be playing fingerstyle. I have an irrational need for 24 frets on the neck. Other than that, I'm wide open to suggestions in the ~1000 price range.

    I keep hearing that Warwicks have huge necks which might be too much for some players. I have been using an Ibanez BTB 405q for the last ten years so I'm not worried about neck length/width, but maybe I should be? It's 35" scale and the strings are pretty wide, but I don't know the exact width. I also have a cheap piece of crap Rogue 5 string with a shorter scale and MUCH tighter string spacing which feels like a toy in comparison, which makes me think the Ibanez is on the bigger end, but I don't really know.

    I've been reading around these forums for a few days and a few models that have piqued my interest are:

    warwick - streamer, corvette, thumb (german made)
    pedulla rapture j2
    spector rebop or euro 5
    musicman stingray/bongo
    Peavey Cirrus USA 5 string
    schecter stilletto

    Anyone have anything else I should add to the list? I'm planning on sending it to the guys I know in the area who work in music stores to see if they have any of the models so I can try them out. Thanks in advance!
  2. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass Supporting Member

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    All those basses are very different.

    You can get a lot of sounds out of a HH Bongo. I think Warwicks tend to be known for more aggressive sounds, so I don't know that it will cover a jazz gig as well as some of the others. Really, any decent bass will get it done in most, if not all genres of music.

    I've always liked the look of the upper model Warwicks, but every time I played one it just didn't feel right to me.

    I'd also add these to your list to try:

    Lakland 55-01 and 55-02 and 55-60 (Skylines)
    Dingwall Combustion
    Fender American Standard Jazz V (2008 and up)
    Fender Roscoe Beck 5 (if you can find one used)
  3. wankerness

    wankerness

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    Thank you for the recs. The Dingwall Combustion in particular is really interesting, I've heard a lot about the benefits of fanned frets but have never actually tried them.

    RE: the warwick sound, yeah, I've heard that too. You're probably right that it would sound nasty in a jazz setting. The fretless versions seem to have a pretty smooth sound but the fretted definitely have a distinctive growl from all I've heard. I like the sound a lot, but I've only really heard it in metal and funk.
  4. carvinbassplyr

    carvinbassplyr

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    My impression of Warwicks has always been "the poor man's Ken Smith". They have that upper mid EMG-like twang to them like the Smith's do, but Warwicks have what I like to call the "baseball bat" neck. It's very reminiscent of an acoustic guitar neck, basically shaped like an upper case "D" which makes it great for chording or former guitar players turned bass player. I personally prefer the asymmetrical necks that taper towards the treble side more like the shape of a bass clef (i.e. the pre-gibson Tobias and MTD necks as well as the Mike Tobias inspired Carvin version). This results is a flatter neck that can be wider to accommodate wider string spacing without killing your wrist.
  5. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass Supporting Member

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    The good things about the Dingwall Combustion is that they are designed to be easily modded. You can "upgrade" to Dingwall FD-3 pickups if you want a more aggressive sound and/or can change out the preamp. But, the ones in it sound very good already. Among the Dingwall family, other than the SuperJ's and SuperP's, I would say it sounds the most traditional, but benefitting from the increased clarity of the longer scale lengths. It would definitely be suitable for a wide range of styles.

    Plus, they come up used fairly regularly, but are also a good value new.
  6. Session1969

    Session1969 Gold Supporting Member

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    Try a Lakland 55-01 and compare it's playability to the others. You may be pleasantly surprised. Uprading the electronics for a couple hundy puts it in the big boy category as well.
  7. Andy_D

    Andy_D Supporting Member

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    I own a 5 string Cirrus and absolutely love it it would definately be a great choice but it does have it's own unique character and may not be as versatile as some other choices

    Now, I just recently acquired a 4 string Brubaker Brute and it is an amazing bass! Probably the best fretwork on any bass in my collection. I haven't played the Brute 5 which actually seems more to be popular than the 4 string but I bet it's killer. I can certainly see one in my future at some point. but I need to sell a couple of basses 1st. I'm running out of room The price point on these is very good as well.
  8. wankerness

    wankerness

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    For some reason I feel like I need 24 frets, I used to have a 21 fret bass and was occasionally unable to play pastorius/wooten songs that I was trying to learn at the time due to the lack of frets. I'll still add those to my list to check but I consider 22 frets to be a strike against them. This might be very stupid of me!
  9. Swakey

    Swakey

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    Have you checked out the yamaha trb1005? I love that bass. Great neck nice sound 24 frets and the b string sounds great! Ive got the action set up so low with no fret buzz. Replace the onboard preamp with a u retro and there you go. Also looks amazing! As if it came out of a custom shop
  10. basskidd

    basskidd

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    I have a huge man-crush on Carvin right now. Great instruments and the warranty is unbeatable. I've never played one myself, but have heard a lot of good things about the SB5000 which is about within your price range. If you're able and / or willing to shell out a couple extra bucks the Icon series is worth looking into.
  11. carvinbassplyr

    carvinbassplyr

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    ^ +1 on that! I LOVE my Carvin LB75! I've had it over 10 years and will own it till I die! Carvin, please endorse me! :p
  12. wankerness

    wankerness

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    Hmm, I'll try that one out. I used to use a school-owned yamaha sometimes and always really liked the action on it. It sounds like it might be like the warwicks in that it's too aggressive for some of the stuff I'd be using it for, but they actually stock yamaha around here sometimes so I'll probably be able to test it.
  13. wankerness

    wankerness

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    The LB-75 looks like another great candidate!
  14. masoncole

    masoncole Supporting Member

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    Lakland 5501-5502. Best bang for buck period. I've had them all.

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