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buying a bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Gjay, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. I am looking at buying a 5 string bass and have narrowed my selection down to 3. As I live in New Zealand a couple of them are not readily available from some music shops here so getting to know how they feel is not an option. If anyone has any of the following and can let me know their thoughts on them, good or bad, I would appreciate the help.

    Fender Deluxe Jazz Bass V 5 string
    Ernie Ball Big Al 5 sss
    Carvin SB5000

    The order they are listed in is my preference at the moment but there is not much between them.

    Thanks heaps for your help
  2. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Take what I'm about to say with a grain o' salt as I've only been playing for about a year and I haven't had a chance to try all the basses on your list.

    I've owned a total of five so far, all but one being 4-stringers with rosewood fretboards. When I decided to try my hand at a 5-stringer I jumped on a used (barely used, at that) Squier Deluxe Jazz Active V.


    It feels very nice. The fretboard doesn't stick and seems to hold up well in different levels of humidity. By the way, ignore anyone who says it's "plastic" or "rubber". It's compressed layers of paper and phenolic adhesive resin. It may be synthetic, but there's actual wood content. Sure, it may be the Velveeta of fretboards, but it's still "tasty". :D

    Aside from the fretboard, it feels pretty nice overall. The string spacing seems nice, and I'm saying this as someone who owns nothing else but slim, Jazz-style necks. It's a little chunky (like most 5-stringers seem to be) but a nice, wide padded strap makes up for it. It also doesn't hurt that I'm 185cm tall, so your mileage may vary depending on your height and build. (re: "grain o' salt")

    But what I look for, once I get past my esthetic preferences, is sound and tone. I love a bold, toothy/bite-y sound, but sometimes I want something smoother. This one has a wide control over it's tone, what with the high/mid/low controls and the slap switch. There's further discussion on the slap switch on this thread.

    Aside from my review, I hope you find what works best for you. Looks, feel, cost, sound and tone…all that great stuff.

    Cheers, mate! ;)
  3. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Very biased, but I would look into a Yamaha BB or TRB 5 string. Or, if you dig narrower string spacing, a used Carvin can be had for cheap.

    If you end up digging the 5 string thing, you can always save up for a custom in the future.
  4. bassyogi


    Jul 23, 2012
    Sardis Ohio
    I have a new American Deluxe Jazz V. Love it. The active/passive switch on it is cool. Great deal of different tones. Build quality is super nice. Nice growl as well. Never played the Carvin or Big Al, but the new Jazzes are quite impressive. My main basses are a German Warwick Fortress Masterman5 and a Ken Smith bsr5p. They are both collecting dust now. Hope this helps.
  5. Shakin-Slim


    Jul 23, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    Sorry for the derail, but I see you live in Tauranga. I'm from there too, but have lived in Welly for the last few years. Grew up in Bethlehem, which is funny given my nickname has always been Jesus.

    Have you been to play the basses you're interested in? Surely between the Rockshop, MusicWorks and Mayers at the Mount they'll have the basses for you to play.

    Edit: Just saw what you said about getting a feel for them not being an option. Sorry, bro, didn't do my reading :p
  6. FileBass


    May 9, 2012
    Big Al for modern
    Carvin for vintage
    Fender for fender

    Personally, I'd choose Big Al. I have seen a lot being played on stage more than carvin and fender deluxe
  7. Thanks guy's for all your thoughts, I have been looking at you tube reviews thus far.
    They are all great units. I will just have to save my money and make a choice when I am ready to buy. Almost as bad as buying a house, So much choice. :)
    Have a great Christmas and New year.
  8. Can anyone recommend some good bass guitar web sites to look at that are based in San Diego?
  9. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Phillipsburg, NJ
    I have tried Many Fender 5 strings and was disappointed every time. And I love Fender Basses. If they have recently improved on them then cool but I just couldn't get the Fender Sound or feel from their 5 strings. I absolutely love Ernie Ball 5 strings. Carvin is Amazing Bang for the Buck.
  10. Andyman001

    Andyman001 Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2010
    bass san diego