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Best 5 string under $1k

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by chadr, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. chadr


    Jun 8, 2010
    A friend of mine is looking to buy a 5 string for his church, but is trying to stay as far under $1k as possible. So, new or used, just curious what everyone's suggestions would be for the best sounding 5 string under $1k?
  2. I would say a used Peavey Cirrus. Solid, affordable, decent sounding and a nice b-string.
  3. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
  4. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    "Best sounding" is going to depend on your friend's ears, not mine. I've played several Fenders, Squiers, Ibbys, Peaveys, and Schecters in that price range. They all sound different but they all sound good to my ears. I'm not there yet but I am an aspiring church bassist and unless your friend's church is a really rock oriented congregation I think he will get a suitable tone from most any of the under $1k offerings. I'm not saying any of them are unsuitable for rock either, just that the churches I have attended would be less demanding and less particular about the tone of their basses than many rock musicians would be.

    In terms of "as far under $1k as possible" I think that for ~$350 you can get a very nice new bass from any of those brands (but the Fender will say Squier on the headstock). Two of the nicest in terms of how they feel and play in my hands have been the Squier VM Jazz Bass V and Deluxe Jazz Bass V Active. Both are good looking, well built, and "dressed" suitably for church. I'm looking for a five myself and those two are on the short list. I'm especially taken by the Ibanez SR505 though because it is the one that plays best for me. It is more like $600 but many people I talk to in stores like them a lot or know someone who does. I may go for the SR305 which should play the same but has cheaper electronics and bridge. It is priced like the two Squiers above and as lovely as the SR505 is I really like the Starlight Blue of the 305. The only one I've found to play is set up with the strings so far above the fretboard that it is unplayable but I am confident that it will play like the 505s I've tried when properly set up. In that same price range I've also played and liked the Schecter Raiden Special 5 and the Peavey Millennium 5 AC BXP. There are many other offerings in your price range, these are just the ones I've had the chance to play.

    I haven't found one yet that I hate actually. I tend to prefer a narrow string spacing but the more I play fivers in stores the less strong that preference is. Initially I could not play 19mm fives at all but by now though my left hand prefers narrower it has begun to adapt and my right feels most at home with 19 for obvious reasons. People tend to be somewhat particular about this. If your friend will be the sole bass player for this instrument he can buy to suit. If several people will use it I am not sure what to say because many folks here on TB profess to be unable to play wide or narrow (varies with individual) fivers. If there is a small group of bassists at the church he should query them to see if they have a consensus opinion on the matter.

    There are so many good choices in under $1k basses (four or five) that the problem is less finding a good one than choosing between the good ones. And then if you want to look at used instruments....

  5. Used Spector.
  6. "Best Sounding 5 string under $1,000, new or used" is not only extremely subjective, but covers most of the 5 string market. Your buddy is going to have to narrow it down. Wide or tight spacing? 34 or 35 inch scale? Active or passive?

    As far as new, you can buy really nice Squier Deluxe Jazz basses brand spanking new for $350. There is a huge selection of new Ibanez, ESP, Schecter, MIM Fenders, G&L Tributes and doezens of others that are above that but way less than $1,000.

    Used, you have all the but the highest end basses available. Lakland Skylines, Stingrays, pretty much anything you want.

    Tone is personal. For each and every bass I mentioned above, there are legions of devotees who hold their bass's specific tone on high as if delivered divinely from the Gods themselves. Same thing goes for cabs, but that's a different set of Gods, apparently.

    IMHO, there is no better bang-for-your-buck in the 5 string market than a Carvin. Of course, I'm a little biased as I have 3 of them. Brand new they are on par with basses I've owned that cost 2-3 times as much. You can order a Carvin B50 custom made to your exact specs for less than $1,000 (I have done that twice!). They can be all but stolen in the used market. They are also available in whatever config you like: 34 or 35", narrow spacing, wide spacing, passive and active, with/without piezos.

    So your buddy is going to have to figure out what he likes. But you don't have to spend anywhere near $1,000 to get a nice fiver. Whatever you do, don't let him be a sheep and blindly buy solely because of the name on the headstock or how 'popular' the bass may be. Remember, some basses were designed as 5 strings, others seemed to have just added a string. He needs to go play as many as he can and buy the one that speaks to him.
  7. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Carvin B50.
  8. DBCrocky


    Oct 18, 2011
    Cary, NC
    Used MIM Fenders or Used Ibanez BTBs can easily be had in the $300 to $400 range.
  9. I was looking for your variax on eBay, but am unable to find if. Please pm me if it is still available.
  10. pablomigraine

    pablomigraine Commercial User

    Feb 9, 2005
    New York
    VP & Managing Director - Willcox Basses
    Having played pretty much everything that's out there, both on account of being an enthusiast and working at major retailers... the highest quality and / or most feature-packed basses available new under $1,000 are the Brubaker Brutes and the Lakland Skylines.

    Whether you will like the way either sounds I dont know, and they're two very different basses.....
  11. Any used Carvin is a steal for under $1000.
  12. Mulebagger


    Dec 12, 2007
    poppin in the corn belt
    Endorsing Artist: Zon Guitars, Tsunami Cables, DR Strings, GK
    Squire active Jazz bass with Phenolic board. It's a sleeper and like under $300 new.
  13. +1

    You might be referring to the Indonesian BXP. The USA version is more than just "decent sounding." Most players are very impressed.
  14. IdealWay


    Oct 18, 2006
    Asheville, NC
    Can't go wrong with a used Lakland 55-02, the craftsmanship is top-notch and they're extremely versatile. Often can be found used in the $800-$900 range.
  15. 5 String Electric Bass & Most Music Gear Ships Free | Musician's Friend

    I'm sure any of those would suit your friends purpose well. IMO you always get a quality instrument for your money from Ibanez...I have never owned a Fiver from them though.

    I'm a player and I'm always looking for quality instruments that don't break the bank and that I won't be afraid to take out and bang around at gigs on the road. In my experience it's pretty difficult to find a BRAND NEW 5 string bass for less than $1000, however I have found some very nice USED basses in that price range. I'm constantly searching Craigslist and Ebay for deals..... I grabbed a 5 string Fender P bass off ebay for around $850 with shipping. I was able to pick up a OLP Tony Levin model for $350 about a year ago off Craigslist, and just last month I bought a Lakland Skyline 55-02 for $900 off C-List as well. While none of these basses were in mint condition, like I said, I'm a player and don't mind a little cosmetic damage as long as the sound is right.
  16. Lync

    Lync Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2004

    If he wants new, this is a good way to go. The B string rings like a piano and the neck is very comfy. Sounds much better than my old Kingston 4 as they tweaked the preamp and there is a nice bottom end.
  17. madbassplaya


    Dec 28, 2007
    I agree. I have and really dig the 55-01 as well. If you buy it used you can modify it for about 1000 and have a bass that rivals a 2000 bass!
  18. Warfender


    Oct 25, 2009
    YAMAHA, SPECTOR, WARWICK, FENDER, Dean Q5 (way underrated). Make sure to try for tone, weight and for me the most important was string spacing.
  19. 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
    Used Fender American Jazz ot Jazz Deluxe. Also the American Deluxe Precision V is good.

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