5 string basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by balton4, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. Hello there. So, here i go...
    Ive been looking at getting into five string basses. Mostly because they handle drop tunings so much better than a 4 string. I need a little advice before i take the plunge into this new world of extra strings.

    1) Why is it that most all of the ones ive found are active EQ basses? What does this mean? I understand active pickups, but what is an active EQ?

    2) Are there basses where i do not need a screw driver to open the panel to get at the 9v battery? Im looking for something that is more of a pull on/ off or a clip of sorts, as if i go active, im pulling the battery out of the bass after im done playing it.

    3)Can anyone show me some passive 5 strings, or is that out of the option? I really dont want to be buying 9v batteries all the time. Price range is probably going to be in the 2-4 hundred dollar range, and open to the used market.

    If i think of anything else, i will post it. Thanks in advance for any help in this situation.
  2. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    1. Active EQ means that it's boost and cut and requires active circuitry to work.

    2. My Ibanez SR505 doesn't require a screwdriver. You just pop open the plastic door with your finger.

    3. Don't remove the battery when you're not playing it. You'll just wear out the door and connectors. Instead, just unplug the instrument cable from it. That shuts off any active circuitry.
  3. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Parsippany, NJ
    I'm not sure why you want/need to pull out the battery. As long as you only plug a cord into the jack on the bass, and unplug the cord when you're NOT playing, the battery will last months.

    As far as budget 5 strings, I would look at the Schecter Diamond P 5 used in the $300 range. Also the new Sterling by Music man SUB series for $299 new.

    What kind of music are you playing?
  4. My style of music varies, but i play a lot of Green Day, Avenged Sevenfold, RHCP, Metallica, Volbeat, and the likes. So basically everything from punk to metal.
    As long as the cord is out of the input jack on the bass the battery will not drain? My friends have led me wrong then. Oh well, thats what this site is for, learning all of this.
  5. nathank333


    Mar 17, 2011
    +1 on the diamond P5, plus it's passive (another thing the OP had mentioned wanting) I want one too. (In the pursuit of a budget 5er pbass) although I read that some of them are ridiculously heavy.
  6. Honorac


    Jul 20, 2012
    I've played active basses for many years and I've never had to replace the batteries more than 2-3 times a year. Just remember as mentioned to always unplug your bass when you're not playing and you're good.

    As far as active vs passive basses, you really have to try them out for yourself and see what works for you.

    Another option for a passive 5, check out the Squire Vintage Modified Jazz V, good tone, and attainable in your price range if you go used.

    Good luck!
  7. Consider a used 5er to get the most bang for your buck. I picked up two Tune TWB53s... one for $180 and my second for $250.
  8. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    The major manufacturers think us 5 string players want or need active electronics, that is very much untrue IMHO, it is a herd mentality I think. I have had four 5 string basses in the past and currently own two others, all of which had/have passive electronics, and they all sounded no less than excellent. The two Martin Keith Elfin 5 basses (fretted/fretless) I own currently are amazing sounding with nothing more than a volume/pan/tone roll-off setup. They do possess an interesting feature, however; the tone control has a pull switch that chooses between standard humbucking mode for the two Harvey Citron pickups or to pan between the inner and outer coils of the two pickups, a very cool and useful function. I have had people come up to me and ask what kind of preamp I have in these basses as they are so versatile and massive sounding. :bassist:
  9. Fangry


    Apr 27, 2002
    Helsinki, Finland
    There are very few active pickups for bass, EMGs mostly. Most active basses just have passive pickups with an onboard battery powered preamp and/or EQ.

    As for passive budget fivers, I'd recommend checking out the Yamaha BB lineup. Hot PJ pickups, great sound, solid basses, excellent bang for the buck. I just got a BB425 for a backup 5-string.
  10. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    quick plug for my chosen 5: the Ibanez SR505. No regrets whatsoever.
  11. MarthaSamira

    MarthaSamira Banned

    Apr 29, 2012
    Passive 5'ers...

    Lakland 55-60
    Lakland DJ5
    Lakland 55-64
    Squier Vintage Modified 5
    Fender Standard Jazz Bass V
    Fender American Standard Jazz Bass V
    Fender Roscoe Beck 5
    Warwick Rock Bass Corvette Basic Passive 5-String
    Carvin B50 5 string bass
    Yamaha BB425X

    And so, so, so many others...

    You can even order a Sadowsky or Fodera totally passive... Or get one that is passive/active and leave it passive at all times...
  12. Are you confusing drop tuning with extended range?
    Drop tuning a 5 string tends to sound like garbage unless it already had a REALLY tight B string.
    Drop tuning a 4 string to get to the C & D that the 5 string already has in another story.
    Also, drop tuning a 4 is sometimes better than trying to play on a 5. I play a 5 primarily, and for anything like Tool or RATM, the drop 4 works better.

    A lot of basses coming loaded with EMGs lately are using the EMG-HZ. They're cost-effective & give a really great passive tone. I have them in my Spector Rebop & love the natural tone of these with the tone circuit bypassed.
    The really nice thing about going this route is that battery life is improved tenfold because the pickups aren't sucking power off the 9v.
  13. CORBS


    Dec 28, 2010
    Op said between 200-400$, and none of those can be found for that price.
  14. MarthaSamira

    MarthaSamira Banned

    Apr 29, 2012
  15. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Heh, I've owned my Squier VM Jag Special for a year and a half now and never changed my batteries ONCE. I play for over an hour every single day. I've gotten really good at unplugging it. First week or two was frustrating, but you get it down.

    And OP... buy a SUB Stingray 5.
  16. walldaja


    Apr 27, 2011
    I'd plug an Ibanez SRA505 or 555. I tried about 9 different 5's and settled there. Thot I had to have 35" scale too--not so the B is solid!
  17. LOVE my Yamaha BBN5II
  18. I've had different experiences with the B on the non-neckthru Ibbies. It's always felt fat & floppy, to me. I did like the feel of the neck, though. Now, the older BTBs on a 35" bolt-on were solid.
  19. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    I have serious GAS for a MM Stingray classic 5 but like the OP I don't have a lot of bank. I have been looking for some time for an Amerian made SUB. I guess patience will pay off.
  20. phillybass101

    phillybass101 Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    It's now Oct 2012. I got my first 5 string in the early 90's. Hmmm that's like 20 years or so ago. So why are we still acting like 5 strings are something new? I'm just saying. Who brainwashed bass players into thinking that it should only have 4 strings anyway? I'm not trying to start something as I play both 4's and 5's and used to own a 6 string. It's no biggy really, so why do we make it so is what I'm asking.