Best 5-string bass for small hands

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Phil1, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. Phil1


    Aug 18, 2019
    Hi all,

    First post on the forum! I've been out of bass guitar for ~10 years, but have decided to jump right back in and am planning to buy a 5-string bass. I'm most interested in a P-bass sound, but am concerned a 5-string P-bass may be a little bit too thick in the neck on low notes (e.g., nut width).

    I much prefer the feel of the J-bass neck; but again, am more interested in the P-bass pickups. I searched online for a 5-string PJ bass and it seems there is no such thing currently on the market.

    Appreciate any reco's you all are able to throw my way of basses that might fit these specs of having a manageable neck and P-bass pickups. My max budget is <$2k, and I'm not married to Fender either. My hands are not huge so any little advantage I can get here and there is helpful.

  2. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Roots and fifths and a little extra. Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    I also once took a few years off bass playing. Shortly after I got back into it I also went looking for a 5-string.

    I didn't have the P-bass retro sound requirement that you have, but what I bought fills your requirement for playability. I got me an Ibanez SR505. Mine plays like a dream Narrow at the nut. Thin fingerboard-to-back. And mine had low, low action. It plays like a dream.

    It does not, however, sound like a P-bass. I would recommend it on the basis that you could emphasize the neck pickup and otherwise EQ your way into retro-land.
  3. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    Ibanzez Srms 805.
    alaskaleftybass likes this.
  4. Yamaha BB 415 or similar Yamaha's. The P bass tone is is killer and is often described as an aggressive Fender tone. The nut width is smaller than most 5's @ 1.69 instead of the more common 1.75 or higher. The bridge spacing is 18mm which is near full size, where as an Ibanez SR will be a narrow 16.5mm. If you prefer the narrower bridge an Ibanez SR of some kind is a good bet though I don't think they nail the good Fender tone the way Yamaha does as they go for more of their own sound. But they have a million variations so some will.

    They are built well and can be found cheap. Buy one for about $200 while you search for what to spend the other $1800 of your budget on.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
  5. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    SR655E | SR | ELECTRIC BASSES | PRODUCTS | Ibanez guitars

    shirky, Sub-hoo-fer, NapBassT and 3 others like this.
  6. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    Hi Phil, my Mike Lull PJ5 is very easy to play and is the best sounding P bass I've played. Check out the classifieds here. One will be along soon.

    Don't get hung up on the "small hands" thing. A good technique cuts through all of those "issues".
  7. Double E

    Double E I ain't got no time to play... Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    Don't worry about the neck size... or scale length. Most overestimate the importance of hand size. Here is an example of a player with small hands doing pretty good on 35" scale fiver with pretty wide spacing and a not so thin neck.

    Thisguy, Omiloh, Steve88 and 6 others like this.
  8. brocco


    Feb 27, 2010
    Yamaha BB735A is my vote 1.69 at the nut and a thin profile. A fabulous active/passive P & J with a lot of very good features. Unique bridge with a 45 degree angle string thru and the saddles have an option to flip over to a angled profile which helps the B string Punch on 34 inch scale. Pick ups and 3 band EQ is top notch. Yamaha got it right with this baby. IMG_0780.JPG
    Phil1, Muttleybass and Gizmot like this.
  9. I used a Dean Edge 1 5-string bass. It had a single passive hum bucking pickup in the sweet spot and sounded great with D'Addario Chromes. The neck was very comfortable with smooth well dressed frets. The body is made of basswood and weighs about 7.3 lbs. For a little over $200, it is well worth a look. :D
    Dean Edge 1.jpg
    Omiloh likes this.
  10. jlepre

    jlepre Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Cedar Knolls, NJ
    I have relatively small hands, and these Sire P7 5 string basses are very comfortable and easy to play. I own the one in my avatar.
    P7 5ST – Sire Webstore-USA
  11. filwitheneff


    Feb 22, 2008
    The Japanese-made Yamaha BBP35 is within your budget, and they are outstanding! My hands are also not huge, and I play a Yamaha BBNE2 because of the comfort of the neck (among other good qualities). The BBP35 neck is almost identical.
  12. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I disclose nothing
    as per a manufactured bass try Ibanez.

    I took a different route … I Frankenstein 4 string basses into 5 string basses

    F5 011.jpg
    Michigander likes this.
  13. ahadl2500

    ahadl2500 Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2003
    Greenwood, IN
    G&L L5000. 4 string neck on a 5 string bass and it is an MFD loaded P Bass.
  14. subtlestew

    subtlestew Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2000
    Kent, CT
    Birdsong Hy5. Short scale boutique bass that can sound like anything you want. Even used you'd be at the top of your price range, but you'd be very happy, IMHO.
  15. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Ibanez SR basses have very slim 5 string necks. They don't sound squat like a split single coil.
    Someone else pointed out the Yamaha BB basses. Their necks are pretty comfortable for me (I have small hands) but they aren't particularly slim.
    MattZilla likes this.
  16. honeyiscool


    Jan 28, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    If you can find a used Lakland they used to make a fantastic 5-string P. Don’t worry about hand size. Ever since I started playing a Lakland 5, which is a 35” scale and 19mm spacing, I found that comfort is a matter of technique for my baby hands. Because it sounds good up and down the neck, all I have to do is avoid stressing my hands and the rest takes care of itself. Fives are actually easier for smaller hands than fours, IMO. There are so many positions you can play to maximize comfort that you never have to stretch horizontally. You just have to let your hands be very flexible and don’t be anchored to any single spot. I haven’t been really happy with the sound and feel of any 5-string with a diminutive build like an Ibanez.
    chris_b and Thisguy like this.
  17. lucas303


    Mar 11, 2019
    Obviously not P pickups, but there is the Ibanez GSRM25 to consider. Fivers don't get much smaller than that.
    JohnArnson likes this.
  18. pappabass

    pappabass Inactive

    May 19, 2006
    Alabama !! Roll Tide
    I have a ESP/LTD B205 which is cool. Compact size.
    I gotta say this, don't buy a passive 5 string. Especially a p bass. It will be muddy on low notes. A active eq will help sound to be cleaner.
  19. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    Rickenbacker 4003s/5

    Tiny neck width.
    plav1959 likes this.
  20. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    Stingray 5 with flats.
    craig0316 likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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