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From 4-strings to 5 --> Recommendations and fanned fret questions

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bioflava, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. Bioflava


    Feb 14, 2016
    Hey TB,

    I'm a long-time four string player who jams weekly with friends playing a wide range of covers and original tunes... I am thinking about adding a five-string to my stable (which includes a Modulus 4 and a Carvin AC40 fretless) and have a few questions:
    • In general, do folks who have moved from 4 to 5 strings find that the greater ranger and reduced need to move one's hands is worth the greater weight and complexity?
    • IF I want a fiver with wider spacing (similar to a Fender Jazz V) what mid-priced (e.g., <$1500 new or used) non-Fender basses do you recommend?
    • For folks who play fanned fret basses, I know that adjusting to a fanned fretboard doesn't seem too hard, but does moving back to a standard bass throw you off at all?
    Bassist Jay likes this.
  2. nikolozj


    Dec 15, 2011
    Interesting topic. I've been wanting to get V for a while now.
    My fav V is Ibanez SRFF805.
    If you're into Fender classic designs, you may not like the way it looks, but I love this bass:

    Bioflava and HypersoulRocks like this.
  3. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    I'll answer these.

    My 5s aren't any heavier than the 4s I used to own. Both of mine are under 9 lbs, which is perfectly fine. I don't understand "greater complexity" - it's just one more string, nothing complex about that.

    US Jazz V's are 18mm I think. There are a *ton* of good options in that price range. Dingwall's are 18mm, and a Combustion/NG-2 is under $1500 used. I'm a total Dingwall nut and would recommend at least trying them out if you can. But there are a LOT of other options available.

    Not in the slightest. I flip from my Dingwall AB1s to my unlined fretless EBMM Bongo 5 all the time without any issues. Well, the "issue" that I'm never quite as happy with the tone, but I'm not yet brave enough to tackle fanned fretless.
  4. Bassist Jay

    Bassist Jay

    Dec 28, 2009
    Sterling, CO.
    Endorsed by K.B. Guitars, Nordstrand Audio Pickups, Von York Strings and Gallien-Krueger Amps.
    I highly recommend Music Man. Either a Stingray or a Bongo. I prefer either the single H or the HH set up.

    I just added three five string basses a few months back and am loving the low B. I have used 4 strings exclusively for 30 years but now after having the 5 string basses, I wish I would have added them much sooner.
    Bioflava likes this.
  5. christle


    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    I play 4's and 5's. One of my 5's is a fanned fret model, an Ibanez SRFF805, and moving between it and my standard fret 5 (Ibanez SRSC805) and my Fenders doesn't seem to require adjustment on my part. I don't even think about it. Come to think of it it doesn't bother me even going to my Gibson SG bass from my fanned fret bass.

    There are a number of wider spaced 5's that you can look at including Ibanez BTB and ATK basses, Lakland, Godin and a few others. I tend to like narrow-ish spaced 5-strings so hopefully you will get better guidance on this question.

    As to whether or not the reduced movement and extended range is worth it or not is a personal preference. I need it for some material I play but not a lot of it. When I need a 5 it tends to be a gig requirement. I have found a number of great sounding, easy to play fives that were of reasonable weight. Both of mine are around 8lbs. So it is not something that necessarily requires a compromise. I think it is best to play as many as you can so you can decide what features suit you best.
    Bioflava likes this.
  6. Bioflava


    Feb 14, 2016
    I've fooled around with a few of those at GC and I love the look, feel (not a Fender fan obv) and the value -- but all the 5-string Ibys I've played are too tight in terms of string spacing.

    I guess I need to find one of the BTBs or other basses that @christle Recommends... or maybe I will follow @Bassist Jay 's advice a grab a MM, they are classics for sure.

    @Selta Thats very helpful -- thanks for the feedback! From listening to clips I must admit the Dingwalls sound superb, but they are hard to find at all no less under $1500.
  7. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    I don't know where you're located. Here's a brand new Combustion for $1495:
    Dingwall Combustion 2016 Black Metallic

    Though I will readily admit that it's not often a used Dingwall of any flavor pops up -- especially over the past couple of years, it's gotten crazy. When they do pop up, they seem to go pretty quick, too. I sold a V2 Combustion for about $1200 here last year, so deals happen, but not often and they never last. No matter what route you take, good luck on the hunt!
    Bioflava and Tonycarlson like this.
  8. nyangsw


    Apr 26, 2012
    I bought a LTD B1005SE and it recieved today.
    Never play fanned fret bass.
    Will play it later.
  9. Aidil


    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    I do own the Ibby fanned fret, but not the 5er one. Mine is the 6er SRFF806. No problems switching between this and my 'normal' fret SR and BTB basses.

    In time, you'll appreciate Ibby's SR design with the 16.5mm string spacing, cause it'll be easier for your fretting hand as well as your picking fingers in playing 'more' strings and adapting your muting technique to keep the unplayed strings from ringing along. And most of all, the fact that SR basses are lightweight, you'll favor them as you'll get older.

    Though I confess that I gig more using my 19 mm spacing 5er BTB. The only reason is because me and band buddies tend to include songs with lots of slap bass lines in our set list. Other than that, these days I prefer to bring along my 16.5 mm SR 5er.

    The compromise of lightweight SR and wide string spacing BTB would be the single cut model SRSC805 as it has 18mm string spacing and relatively still in lightweight package... but this one is not a fanned fret though.

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