High-quality 5-string Jazz-style Basses (AKA hypens everywhere)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dave Metts, May 8, 2002.

  1. So I've been entertaining the idea lately of finally getting a jazz style bass. However, I'm definitely a 5-string player at heart and my budget is semi-limited. I haven't played many Fender 5s, but the few I have tried were not to my liking (don't recall the specific models).

    Ideally the sound I'm looking for would be that of a Sadowsky Vintage 5, but I don't have the bank for such a fine instrument. I'm just looking for that powerful jazz sound. And of course since we're dealing with 5s, a good B string is a must.

    Since this is just to gather some ideas, I'll put a rough cap of $2000 on the price -- either new or used. Don't be afraid to go a bit above that mark with suggestions, but try not to exceed it by too much (it's there for a reason, you know).

    I look forward to seeing some suggestions!
  2. :(I have a Fender American Std Jazz V, and find it difficult to play frets 1 through 4 - a combination of the string separation, neck thickness and fretting. Plus the dynamic tone range really doesn't cover all I would want for Jazz or fusion.

    :D My 6-string F-Bass, on the other hand is much more playable, and as a passive instrument has a very wide tone range. Look for those that have the now standard 34 1/2" scale - gives a solid B compared with 34" scale instruments while maintaining better low fret playability than 35" scale instruments IMO.

    You should be able to find used 5-string F-Basses below $2000 - a great deal IMHO. Those made in the last 7 years have unbelievable finishes, if fretted are 3-band active with George F's own pre-amp design (giving even a greater complexity and variety to the tone range), and play effortlessly. As the old TV ad said - try it, you'll like it!

    Of course, if by jazz style you mean J-type (rather than for jazz playing), the F-bass does not have that look.
  3. Slater

    Slater Bye Millen! Hello?

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    The Lakland Skyline Joe Osborn 5-strings are supposed to be out in early Fall...
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Some recommendations but it depends on whether you want a Jazz bass look and /or sound.

    Fender FMT V - Excellent Jazz bass, period.
    Used F Bass BN5 or Studio - excellent Jazz-like bass, a real player.
    Brubaker NBS-1 - excellent-Jazz like bass, again a real player.
    Used Sadowsky -good luck keeping it under $2k but it could happen.

    I just got extremely lucky by finding a used F Bass Studio, a new FMT and a killer used Brubaker, all since the first of the year. Still looking for a Sadowsky;)

    Otherwise you bite the bullet and go new for more $$$
  5. 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
    Pardon me, but I must post. Jazz V FMT, less than $1500. I just played it again at rehearsal tonight. It kinda rules, actually.

  6. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    If you can get a Sadowsky, they are the tops as far as 5 string Jazz goes.

    But, if you can't quite go that much, you can get a brand new Rapture J2 5 for around $1800, or even better, a nice used one for around $1100.

    I've played all of the American made high end Jazz V copies. Sadowsky is number one. The Rapture, IMHO, is #2.

    Josh, did you mention pictures?:p



    Man, I need to get some better pictures of my stuff!
  7. 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
  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nicer than mine, Crunchee, but not a Jazz type.:)
  9. Thanks for the suggestions so far! They're really getting the rusty gears in my head a'turnin'.

    I'm not really concerned about the bass having a jazz bass look to it. Tone and playability are certainly the most important aspects here.

    So far I'm pretty intrigued by the Fender FMT and the Pedulla. It's really hard to find decent basses around here to try out, so I'll have to think long and hard about this. The main thing I like about the Sadowsky basses I've heard is that they sound really "powerful." It's kind of tough to explain actually.

    Thanks again!

    On a quick side note: About how much do used Sadowsky Vintage 5s go for? I would assume right between $2500 and $3000. Is that pretty close to being correct?
  10. I've seen them go for as low as $1800. $2200-$2400 seems to be the average.

    I would say that if you really want a Sadowsky, save and get one. They are simply fantastic jazz style basses.

    Good luck!
  11. For $2K you could pick up at least 3 used Hamer 2TEK 5-string CruiseBasses. They were factory-equipped with 2-TEK bridges and Duncan Basslines active electronics and, like all Hamer products, they were made from the best woods, had excellent finishes and exhibited top-notch workmanship; boutique quality at everyman prices.
  12. best jazz-type bass there is : the Pedulla Rapture J2.

  13. Well, I can probably afford $2200-$2400... Hmm, used Sadowsky.....the idea is certainly intriguing!
  14. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I don't want to sound like the lone naysayer here....

    But do yourself a favor and try out a few passive Fender™ Jazz basses. You may find that you like them as much as or more than much more expensive "botique" Jazz copies. My MIA Jazz V blows my mind ervery time I record with it, it sounds so perfect in the mix I wouldn't dream of replacing it.

    I have an Alder body Figured Maple Top Ebony Fretboard Bartolini Pickup Shaller Hardware somewhat high end custom jazz bass myself. Frankly it doesn't sound nearly as good as my right off the assembly line Fender. It was very expsneive (for me at about $1600 total) and was custom built exactly to my specifications by a very good local shop using high quality the shelf parts. It looks unbelievably beautiful, plays like a dream, sounds great, and impresses people. However, when I have to bring a bass for recording or critical playing, it stays home.

    Don't be afraid to look at stuff way under your price range. About 5 years ago I got into a band with my brothers Peter and Patrick (The band GUM! which has material at mp3.com - go and listen! :D) . I decided to give myself a budget of $1200 for a new four string for the band since all I had was a Peavey Dyna-Bass 5 which was great, but didn't really fit the sound I wanted any more. I tried EVERYTHING that even remotely interested me under $1200. I liked the Stingray/Sterling and the Fender Precision Deluxe. The only thing I didn't like about these was that they were active and I didn't really want an active bass.

    Then I played a NOS Peavey Palaedium with a price tag of $520, less than half my budget. You know how it is when you try a bass and everything just "clicks"? You instantly realize that is is PERFECT and you MUST HAVE it? That's the feeling I had that day. (and the day I bought my Tacoma). I was willing to spend a lot more, but I ended up with the perfect bass for me, and everyone in the band absolutely loved the sound of it in the mix.

    Sorry for the long story.... :) I guess the moral is don't discount the less expensive models because they aren't as "prestigious" or "high end" as you can afford. Buy the best sounding and playing bass you can afford, but don't discount the less expensive stuff just because it's less expsensive.

    I'm sure this post won't make me very popular here on Talkbass. :) I know lots of people here love their high end stuff. :cool:
  15. Chuck M

    Chuck M Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    San Antonio, Texas
    I have a Lull Modern 5 that sounds just like a 5 string 1970's jazz bass should sound. It has a swamp ash body, flame maple top, pau ferro fingerboard, 35" scale, SD single coils, Bartolini BMT preamp with passive bypass. Unbelievable for slap or fingerstyle.

    A bass similar to mine and in near mint condition recently sold for $1200. Lull basses are one of the best bargains out there right now.

  16. Phil, I don't think you'll really ruffle too many favors with that post. Everyone's got a different opinion here at TB, and that's why I value this place so much as a resource! That said, the few Fenders I did try (and as I said I don't recall the model names of) didn't exactly do it for me. Also, it's a bit hard to find much around here to try out. I do think that your advice at looking under one's budget is very good though!

    Right now I think it's up in the air between a used Lull, used Sadowsky, used Pedulla, Fender FMT, and a Skyline 55-02. Nobody has mentioned the Skyline, and I don't know how well it can cop a J-tone. However I do know that they seem to be fine basses, and I've been thinking of getting one. I've got plenty of time to narrow things down!
  17. Jeez, you're just not going to let me narrow this one down, are you!?! :D

    I've heard from a lot of people around in TB land that fretted Zons aren't really much to get excited about. I do have a Sonus Special fretless, and it's absolutely amazing though!
  18. tjoTim


    Apr 30, 2002
    Ohio, U.S.A
    Great suggestions here, but I don't see how you could wrong with a used Sadowsky if you're willing to spend the money.
  19. Yeah, it's going to depend mainly on how much I can get when I finally sell off some gear and whether or not I can actually find a nice used Sadowsky. I must say that's the option that is most appealing.