5'er History

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by iriegnome, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I was playing an open mic night last night and I got a very strange comment that got me really thinking...The comment was "You really strike me as someone who would be playing something super vintage and cool". Now mind you, I play a 1978 Modulus Bassstar V Neck thru prototype. About as vintage and cool (IMHO) as it gets. But it got me to thinking about where 5'ers came from. Things that I have read is that Fender had the V in 1965 and it is generally believed to be the first production 5'er. Alembic came out with 5'ers in the early 70's and the market started really opening up in the mid-1970's...
    Enlighten me.. Teach me more about 5 bangers.
  2. Suscribed! I also would like to know more
  3. I believe Anthony Jackson was the first to use a low B string. And that was on the 6 string bass he had Fodera (i think) make for him. I don't remember learning how 5 strings originated though...
  4. Straight from Wikipedia:

  5. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Banned

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    Fender (CBS) Bass V was tuned EADGC. It was CBS Electronics first foray into deviation from ATL (All Things Leo).
  6. the first real V string axe was brought to light by Jimmy Johnson that got the idea from his father, classic upright player well aware of the upright V string contrabass.

    Anthony Jackson followed soonafter with the first prototype by Carl Thompson, but since the very narrow spacing he was strongly disappointed by the first prototype.

    Other custom boutique and extremely rare attempt here and there, but the spread of the V string basses actually started around mid 90... iirc...
  7. Gord_oh

    Gord_oh Check out my items for sale in the classifieds! Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2008
  8. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I know that Fender produced the V from 1965 to 1970 but discontinued it due to lack of interest and sales. Alembic-Jimmy Johnson-Carl Thompson-Anthony Jackson things were right around 1975.. Ok. Got it.. Then what?? It seems we went from prototype stage to everyone makes one in about 2 years??? Yes?? No??
  9. Handyman

    Handyman Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Whoa! That looks like some wildly narrow string spacing.
  10. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Never mind the Fender Bass V. Technically it was the first 5-string. But it was a lousy instrument, a bad idea and a well deserved sales flop. No one was influenced by that thing. I think what many want to know is which major manufacturer made the first useful, affordable 5-string. And since "affordable" is part of that equation, that leaves out Alembic.
  11. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Jimmy Johnson
  12. Ben B

    Ben B Supporting Member

    Jul 13, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Within 1 or 2 years of 1975, no. I was aware of the Fender V and VI basses, but I don't remember seeing any low B 5 strings in music stores before the early 90s.

    I first became aware of them on a trip to the Carvin factory in the late 1980s. I ordered one that day, and it's still my main bass. During my first few years playing out with it, most bassists and guitarists were pretty confused by it. No shop carried strings for it--all special order for the first few years.

    In the late 80s or early 90s amp manufacturers were making bi-amp set ups. I suspect this is related to the 5 string popularity.

  13. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    That's how I remember it. The first 5-string I saw first hand was a G&L L-5000.
  14. from the first attempts during mid seventies until early eighties there only were a few adventurous bass players that custom ordered some bass from some innovative builders, see Tyler (Neil Stubenhaus) or others like Nathan East that started experimenting with Yamaha etc.

    G&L and Ibanez were among the very first affordable V strings. Fender came much later. Personally I bought an Ibanez Rb885 in 1986 and it was the very first lowcost mass production fiver. I funded this bass giving back (listen carefully!) a '72 Jazz and some money... aaaaarrgghhh....

    increased sales started around end of eighties/first nineties
    Preventer likes this.
  15. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I mentioned nothing about affordability or anything of the like.
    But, Alembic, Modulus, Carl Thompson, Yamaha and others have been making 5'ers since the mid-70's and production has increased from there.
  16. Buskman


    Apr 13, 2007
    Jersey Shore, USA
    Pretty sure it was the Yamaha BB5000 (introduced in the mid 80's).
  17. jmattis

    jmattis Supporting Member

    Jul 6, 2007
    Washington DC
    If you want to include double basses, they've been around since the 1800s.
  18. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Who was talking about what you mentioned? There's no point in asking a question that can be answered in 5 seconds using google. What *many* want to know is what the posters above have submitted, i.e. Ibanez, Yamaha, etc.
  19. So who made James Jamerson's five string, Alembic? ;)