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Help me find the right 5 string.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mike M., May 9, 2010.

  1. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    I've come to the full realization today that I need to find a 5 string bass with a smaller string spacing.

    I got my first 5 string bass this past December, which is a Fender MIM 5 string Active Deluxe. For the most part I really like it and I love having the seperate bass, mid and treble cut/boost knobs. That's a must.

    But there always seems to be an element of me "fighting to try and play it." Not always and not everyday, but it seems like it's a bit to often. Sure, when I got it I wasn't use to playing on a wider neck, but at the time every 5 string neck felt huge to me and I thought that in time I'll get use to it. Yes, the bass has been setup pretty good.

    While at my local music store today I tried out a Schecter 5 string, one of thier import models. (Sold for around $580.00).
    Good Lord Almighty!!! Things that have been giving me grief on my Fender were effortless on this bass!! I was most amazed at how much better my attempts at slapping were. I'm pretty new to slapping and will admit that I sound very rough slapping on my Fender. With the Schecter there was no fighting it. I also tried out a Peavey Cirrus that was also an import and while it was nice I prefered the feel of the Schecter. the only reason why I didn't buy it was because something was wrong with one of the pots, plus another one of the knobs was missing.

    I want to explore what other options are out there. Something with a 35" scale....string spacing that's narrower than my Fender and a control layout like my Fender. Any recommendations?

    One other thing I should mention. I'm 57 years old and all the years of physical labor from my jobs have started to take a toll on my hands. Just lately I've noticed my hands are not as limber as they use to be. Don't know what the future holds so why should I fight playing my current bass if I can find one that I don't have to fight?

    Thanks for your time.
  2. My first impression: The word *fight* is significant- I for one don't have a lot of that in me anymore(I'm 46), so I like to make it easy to get what's left in me out. On that note, I suggest you try out an Ibanez Soundgear 5. Specific model will work itself out according to your preferences & budget. I have a 96 Fender Jazz 5 that slaps nearly as readily as any 4 I've diddled with, but the SRs I've played have all been very sweet, too.

    Edit: On 35", I find it a bit taxing in the low positions, but that's likely due to a left hand injury which limits my finger spread(& reach). IIRC, I like the tone of the 34" basses I've played, but I'm sure feel is more the deciding factor on that detail.
  3. davkane

    davkane Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2007
    IMO. Based on your post, you may already have your answer. Schecter makes a quality bass. I had a Ken Smith Burner 5 (had a wonderful sound but horrible neck dive). Then I had Ibanez BTB1005 for a short period, string spacing was way to wide, I was fighting this bass the whole time. But for the past two years my only fretless has been the Schecter Stiletto Studio 5. Wonderful bass, and feels "natural".
  4. JVA


    Jan 8, 2006
    Queens, New York
    For me the BTB spacing is perfect, so it's really a matter of preference. Try the SR and BTB to see which feels better. I personally have 2 BTB's, a 4 & a 5. I also had a Schecter Stillito 8 string that was incredible, but again, the tight string spacing, plus I'm a finger player, made the 8 impractical. But man, what a sound it had...
  5. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD Supporting Member

    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    I'd look into various Schecter models (Omen, Riot, Stiletto) and Ibanez SR305 and up (as in SR505, etc.).

    The omen has a pretty big body compared to the Riot and the Stiletto, so it will probably be a bit heavier. I can't speak to the way Ibanez controls are configured, but basically every Schecter 5-string bass I have seen has had the same control setup: Volume, Pan, Treble cut/boost, Bass cut/boost all on separate knobs.

    It could be that the wider fretboard radius (20") on Shecter (and Ibanez) 5-strings is what is helping you move around faster. Fender uses a rather rounder fretboard.
  6. Tropic


    May 19, 2009
    Woodbridge, Va
    I agree with HaMMerHed, try out different ones. The Schecter Stiletto Elite 5 has a 3 band eq while all others that are apart of the diamond series (non US schecters) have a 2 band eq, which actually isn't bad. It's all about the feel. Schecters have a narrow 17mm string spacing I believe so the neck isn't as wide (my Elite 5 neck feels like any 4 string P neck).
  7. really the bass you are looking for is an ibanez SR 5er! i took me 3 years to find the right 5 string for me because i couldnt never feel comfortable with basses with larger string spacing. these basses have 16.5mm spacing and have awesome light and very nicely contoured bodies which really "fit" you when playing
  8. Swimming Bird

    Swimming Bird

    Apr 18, 2006
    Wheaton MD
    I'll second a late-90's, maybe early-00's Ibanez Soundgear. I picked one up as my second bass ever in 2001 and it's been a mainstay ever since. I have never found a bass with a tighter string spacing (if you look at the 4-string SDGRs from that era, they basically have violin necks at the nut). It seems to be intended for fast picking, but I learned slap 'n' pop on it and it works great (though you have to be very accurate).

    The controls are not the same as your Fender V, but are significantly more powerful IMO. Mine has volume, pup select knob, bass +/-, treble +/-, and mid +/- with selectable frequency. It takes some getting used to, but it's got an incredible tonal range.

    It doesn't have the 35" scale you're looking for (I don't think), but the low B is still very tight sounding even with low action.
  9. thisSNsucks

    thisSNsucks Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    Maybe look into Spector 5 strings. They're available at a few different price points.

    They're 35" scale, have narrower string spacing than Fender (17mm I believe) and have an active pre. I think they only have bass and treble controls, no mids.

    I'd also have to say check out a StringRay 5 or Sterling by MusicMan Ray35. They're 34" scale but I'm pretty sure they have narrower string spacing and have a full 3 band EQ
  10. The Lowe Down

    The Lowe Down

    Feb 28, 2010
    Isanti, MN
    I have both a BTB and an SR and they are very different from a string spacing and fretboard feel. The BTB is easier for me to play slap an pop, the board is flatter and the strings are farther apart (easier to pop). The SR neck is amazing though. Super thin and fast and really tight string spacing. I prefer my SR right now as the 35" scale on the BRB coupled with the string spacing is tougher on my left hand. GC will have SRs is stock for sure. Sometimes a BTB. Try them out. I the the SR neck is faster and easier to play on than even my Jazz.

    Btw there is a SR505 for sale on the classifieds right now too.
  11. If you're looking at a 35" scale, take a gander at the Peavey Cirrus BXP - reasonable price, 35" scale, active pups, active pre and , I think, 17mm string spacing.....Of course if you can afford the MIA.........
  12. Lync


    Apr 13, 2004
    I vote Spector 5 for comfort.
  13. I agree. Plus SR505s and up have bartolini pups/pre which sound awesome and are very versatile.

    Sorry to be blatantly plugging my own thread, but it's relevant.

  14. aproud1

    aproud1 Don't surround yourself with yourself. Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    Cincy, OH
    You should check out a Peavey Cirrus 5 string.
  15. keithbaynes


    Sep 3, 2008
    You should also check the Ibanez SRA series. Just played one the other day. 3 band E.Q. ,EMG humbuckers, the narrowest Ibanez neck I've ever
    played, and that includes the SR 505 I currently play. Check the link

  16. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    Leave it to you guys to deliver the goods!! Thanks to all for the suggestions. I'm going to do some reading up on all that was mentioned.

    Thanks again.

    (Keithbaynes....I'll tell ya right now, I love the look of that Ibanez SRA you showed me!!)
  17. The Bongo is pretty danged light, and in the five and six string models they have 17.5 mm spacing. There is one or two in the classified right now I believe.. The necks are really easy to play IMO...

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