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5 string suggestion!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by davidchampoux, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. davidchampoux

    davidchampoux Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2008
    Quebec, Canada
    I need a 5 string mainly for pop gigs and studio. Here's a few personal preferences:

    - 34" scale
    - Passive pickups and electronics preferred but could live with active...
    - 2 pickups - I dig single coil tone but I need noiseless PU
    - Light weight
    - Narrow neck
    - TIGHT low B
    - Budget up to $2-2.5k
    - New preferred, but used in GREAT condition ok...

    Please, do not suggest Fender (or similar) products - I already have all that I need in the Fender P and J department.

    Regarding Musicman: I've had a few Stingray H 4 in the past and I'm not in love with the top end. However, the Sterling 5 HS might be a good choice, even if active... Not sure yet...

    Finally, have to admit that I've tried a newer Steinberger XL-25 and despite that the instrument was totally unplayable (problem with the neck, bad overall feeling due to the small squared body, cheeeeap construction, etc), I liked the sound of the passive EMG pickups... :bag:

    So any ideas welcomed! :bassist:
  2. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Yamaha BB series? the BB425x is only about $600, way under your budget, but if you want the higher fit and finish you could go with the BB1025 for around 900-1000 or go active with a BB2025, which will run you more like $2500. The others I would think about (haven't played them myself) would be a USA Lakland or a Carvin SB5000 (which you can get active/passive if you want passive tone).
  3. check out stambaughdesigns.com He will make you anything you want, and his quality and prices are fantastic! I don't know what Chris benavente's instruments run these days, but they are also absolutely fabulous! His website is Benaventeguitars.com
  4. davidchampoux

    davidchampoux Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2008
    Quebec, Canada
    I've had a BB425 a few years ago... While it's definitely a great bass for the money, the neck wasn't perfect (cool width and spacing though) and the bridge pickup is a single coil = noisy!
  5. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oh, if we're going to talk custom basses - you can also contact John Toon in Kansas City (he's a TBer). He makes instruments that show a lot of influence from Carl Thompson and since he's not as well known as Thompson or Stambaugh I'd expect him to meet your under-$2000 budget pretty easily. His default electronics choice is a single active EMG pickup but he'll use whatever you want, if you prefer passive.


    I'm the guy that bought his 35" 5-string, love the bass, always happy to recommend him. Very nice guy to deal with too.
  6. Epitaph04

    Epitaph04 Bajo Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Ever try a Bongo?
  7. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Big Al? Lotsa variety, colors, Music Man quality.
  8. Bardolphus

    Bardolphus Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Sadowsky M5-24 or R5-24?

    - 34" scale
    - both active and passive
    - 2 HC pickups
    - typically in the 9 lb. area
    - not sure on narrow neck, definitely comfortable
    - excellent low B
    - within budget in the used market, slightly over if new
    - nothing like the other Fender-esque Sadowsky instruments, would work very well for pop IMO
  9. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Another to consider is Ibanez.
    - 34" scale
    - Active (not your first choice but acceptable)
    - 2 pickups - Humbuckers
    - Light weight - one of the lightest out there
    - Narrow neck - one of the narrowest out there
    - TIGHT low B (not sure as I play EADGC)
    - Budget well under $2-2.5k
    - New is still within budget

    Suits pop and studio well. The only thing is that they are fairly polite sounding through some rigs so if you're looking for growl, this won't be for you. However...

    You haven't mentioned tone goals as much as playability factors. So funkgen's suggestions for custom builders may be a good idea. The only beef I have with a custom build is you don't know the sound you'll have until you get it in your hands. If you're particular about your tone, it's a different deal and important to play the bass and know what it will sound like before you buy.
  10. Stephent28

    Stephent28 Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    C470, CO
    Dingwall....whichever model falls in your budget.

    EBMM Big Al or Bongo are also excellent choices but they are actives (but Big Al can run passive.)
  11. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Dingwall for sure.
  12. ChuckTrucks


    Jul 28, 2012
    I made this same thread about three or so days ago.

    I got a bunch of Dingwall suggestions.
  13. Turxile


    May 1, 2011
    I think Warwick fits the criteria you listed.
    For the passive pickups (still with a preamp and active/passive switch), check out the $$ models. They have the $$ config in both the Corvette and Streamer body shapes. Especially the Corvette $$ will fit your specs as you can get the Ash body version, mine in less than 8lbs. The average weights are listed in their website among the specs.
    The standard string spacing is 16.5mm, but the bridge is fully adjustable. The max is slightly over 17mm.
    If you are open to active pups, well pretty much any model will do.
  14. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I truly believe it's hard to beat the tone and versatility that you'll find in one of these. It has all the warmth, fullness, and woodsiness of a passive bass in passive mode, and can do tons more in active. I've owned lots of basses (still do) and this really covers all the ground. I can get it to mock a stingray, definitely get J and P bass sounds out of it... it can get funky, gnarly, dubby, and I can even get it to sound like a tin can if I want. :) It's got low and high mid controls along with the bass and treble, series and parallel for all pickups combined, and lots of pickup options. Plus there's a passive tone control also. 34 inch scale, Sterling type neck, dead quiet pickups, lighter than a stingray... what more could you want.

  15. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Dingwall is a great bet. Don't sweat the scale length thing, they play nice and easy. You might also look at G&L, Fenderish but not quite the same.
  16. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    If you're open to an active preamp, the Spector Rex5 has about one of the best B strings I've ever played for the money (about $500 used mint condition). It's a neck thru bass with an exceptionally thin and fast neck. Mine has a holoflash finish (it's a love it or hate it finish) that constantly changes depending on the angle of the light hitting it, lots of stage presence if you want flash.

  17. cronker


    Feb 13, 2007

    That bass is sex.
    +1 on Ibanez. Never played a bad one.
    Outside that, can't go wrong with Musicman, as long as you own the tone.
  18. GlassOnion

    GlassOnion 1.21 Gigawatts

    Apr 4, 2011
    Tempe Arizona
    If you want tight.....

    ---->> Modulus Quantum <<----

    Carbon fiber neck never needs tuning no matter what climate change the bass goes thru.
  19. davidchampoux

    davidchampoux Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2008
    Quebec, Canada
    Some great ideas here, thank you ALL for your suggestions!!

    I need to check some more Dingwall products I think. Sheldon is a great guy, he gave me great support. I've bought the entry model (Combustion) about 2 years ago but did not keep it: the preamp was too noisy (hiss) and the intonation was not enough perfect for me throughout the neck. Also, the trans-white looked like pink to me. However, the fanned frets neck was great; it took me like 10 minutes to get used to it!

    The EBMM Big Al must be a great bass, but it's not the kind of look that I'm into! ;)

    The custom made basses I've had were not very good experiences... Took a long time to receive and have no resale value... I'll take another route for now.

    The Ibanez and Yamies are on my short list at the moment, along with the more expensive Dingwall.

    Thanks all!
  20. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    I would add to the list of criteria:

    1) 1 3/4 width nut is about as narrow as practical;
    2) What does the OP desire for string spacing at the bridge? Too narrow and it will feel cramped, too wide and it will always be a stretch.
    3) Position of the two pickups: to get the best balance of fundamental and overtones for the B string, the "neck" pickup has to be about where the D-G segment of a P-bass is, proportionally.
    4) Yes, noiseless pickups, but neutral: not underwound to get thin tone and not overwound that would cause a mid-bump where would make the B string muddy
    5) 2 (BE) + 3 (ADG) tuner arrangment so that there is enough space for the B string leader to tune smoothly and not bind over the nut or bind the speaking length of the string around the tuner post
    6) The upper horn a little longer so it balances with the extra tuner and a little more wood in the neck when standing with a strap
    7) With @ 20% more tension, a laminate neck of mostly, if not all, maple for stability (my favorite is a purpleheart stringer, but maple, shedua, walnut, etc. as a stringer: all will improve stability and tend to counter resonances that cause dead spots)
    8) Body woods are preferential to the player, but a more neutral sounding body helps clarity. Fingerboard wood is also preferential, but for me, harder is better for clarity.

    That all said, Sheldon fretted my custom P-bass style half-fanned (square nut) bass, and my inexpensive Ibanez SRA305 fulfills all my 5-string needs (very little - only a song here and there with my current band) fulfills all the criteria.

    Yes, if you have the cash, +1 on Dingwall.