Best 5 string basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RicPlaya, Jun 13, 2003.

  1. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Need a little help. I am looking to purchase a 5 string. In your expert opionions out there what would you consider purchasing working with a budget of around $800.00 or less, for a small handed bass player?
  2. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Depends what kind of sound you like. I would buy a Music Man Sting Ray 5 used if I had $800.00 to spend.
  3. BassMan2000


    Sep 27, 2000
    For the price you suggested, I'd recommend:

    Elrick Josh Paul 5
    Skyline Lakland 55-01

    Those by far would be my choices, and imo the 'best bang for your buck' in that price range.
  4. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    How are these basses for smaller hands? I have played a 4 string sting ray, sweet bass, never a five. I like fenders, played a 4 but the 5 string has a fat neck and it's hard for me to play.
  5. BassMan2000


    Sep 27, 2000
    For some reason, I had alot of difficulties with the stingray 4 in terms of the feel of the neck.. and in the end sold it.

    The skyline neck was good for me, I just didn't dig the sound and the B. I have yet to play an Elrick Josh Paul 5, but if you pick up the Bassplayer Issue May 2003 with Newstead and Ozzy on the front cover it'll give you a more in-depth review of the Elrick.
  6. I'd say go with the Musicman StingRay 5, for sure. Trust me, you won't regret it. People say it's a "one trick pony," but they are wrong. I can easily sound like a Jazz bass by flipping the switch in the middle position, or any other bass, with the exception for a Rick of course which I'll be getting next.

    I max the mids almost all time, back off on the bass a little, and cut the treble completely and it sounds awesome! Very growly and agressive! (It sounds pretty decent with everything set to flat too.) I use Labella Black nylon tapewounds with mine, by the way, which are way better than the stock strings, IMHO.

    The best position is the the one closest to the neck of course, for that classic stingray sound (think pre-modulus Flea), but if you like to use a pick, then the best position is one closest to the bridge.

    While its not as thin as a four string Fender Jazz, its pretty close. So you won't have to worry about it being too wide. The only problem is that the g-string is too close to the edge of the neck and it occassionly pops off, and I constantly have to adjust the pickup becase the g-string gets too close and becomes dead on the higher frets. And you probably won't notice too much of difference between the different pickup positions.

    But I have heard that the b-string is tight and not "floppy" like other 5 strings and I would agree. It is considered one of best 5 string basses available. Check for reviews at If you can find one used for a good price, then definitely go for it.

    But of course, that's all just my opinion. Take what I say with a grain of salt--I'm used to it.
  7. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    thanks, all of your input is greatly appreciated!
  8. Bass Player rated the SR5 the best 5 string in it's price range. In fact, they rated it almost perfect (5/5 in everything but electronics which was 4/5).

    Basically, I think it all depends on your sound. You could get a used J or P bass, or a Mexico one for that price, or a used SR5. The choice has to depend on the music you plan on playing. The SR5 has some major strengths:

    1) Bright, agressive, and distinctive sound.
    2) HUGE versitility!
    3) Great construction.
    4) Tight B String

    If you talk about options, the best SR5 is the one that comes with a piezo bridge pickup. I can get my SR5 with piezo to sound like almost any production bass out there. The piezo easily adds $300-500 US however, so...

    EDIT: BTW, you can find lots of SR5s on ebay right now. The market is pretty flooded! If you decide to get one, make sure you pick the right fretboard. Maple will give you a brighter sound and a tighter B, the Rosewood gives a warmer sound but the B is a little floppy IMO.
  9. I would suggest looking for a used bass. like people have said a Music Man Stingray 5, the Lakland 55-01 or 55-02 are both great 5 string basses. unless you plan on going with the music man I would recomend a bass with a 35" scale. this makes the B-string much tighter and more clear sounding. a few basses like the music man have a 34" scale but still manage a good B string.
  10. BassMan2000


    Sep 27, 2000
    I'd try the MM5 before buying it though, like you said you have small hands and it might be alittle akward for you.
  11. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Both the Cort Elrick and the Skyline will have fairly wide necks--noticably wider than the SR5--and a longer scale as well. That may be an issue if your hands are small and you found the Stingray neck to be wide. However, all 5-string necks are likely to feel wide at first if you're strictly a 4-string player, so it may just be a matter of getting used to them.

    The Stingray is what most folks would call "medium" width for a 5, and things like the Ibanez Soundgears (NOT the BTBs), Warwicks, and Spectors are "narrow" width. Personally, even with fairly small hands myself, I prefer wide necks, so I can't give you much advice on the narrower necks, but a used Stingray 5 seems like a fairly safe choice--it's got a very good B, is not too wide and not too narrow, and is widely used in lots of different sorts of music.

    Good luck!

  12. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    Since you're from Detroit, have you checked out that 'low down sound' store I've been hearing great things about? You should be able to narrow down your search there!
  13. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I find just the opposite to be true. I characterize the neck on my SR5 as "club-like." It is indeed a "one-trick pony" but, of course, does have a limited range of tones with tweaking. I can't get a jazz-like tone out of mine to save my life (I own three jazz basses). The SR5 is not going to be able to come close to the tonal variations possible on, say, a Lakland 55-02, which you should be able to get within your budget. Further, the neck on the Lakland plays itself, whereas the neck on an SR5 plays like a cricket bat. It's not a bad bass, but you can do better for the money.

    Lastly, Rickenbacker next? That explains everything.
  14. Thems be fighting words! PISTOLS AT DAWN!
  15. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Just one man's experience. Make it squirt guns.
  16. I can conveientely make you forget those experiences with several well placed blows to the head. :p
  17. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    just wanna echo Mike's ideas,

    but on the flip side, i dont like basses that have the strings tooooo close together like most Warwick 5 strings. very annoying cause i feel like my fingers are running into strings i dont want them to touch.
  18. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You might want to consider skipping your next steroid shot.
  19. Without it I wouldn't be able to hold this SR5 up! Besides, I am trying to grow man-boobs, thank you very much!;)
  20. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    A preowned Music Man or Spector Czech made should make you very happy