I'm looking for a 5 string...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Tom Burbank, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. Tom Burbank

    Tom Burbank

    Dec 23, 2014
    I'm looking to get a 5 string with my taxes this coming year, and when it comes to equipment and many other things, I am very much a novice. My main focus is on metal, but I'm also a huge fan of P-nut and Eric Wilson. My price range is around $600.00. Any suggestions?
  2. Kevan Campbell

    Kevan Campbell Bergantino Artist, Vibe9 IEM Artist Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    Really depends on what features you like, your budget and what's available when you have the cash. Do you like bolt-on necks, set-necks or neck-through? P, Jazz, Musicman, soapbar pickups? Are you okay with foreign-made instruments? What kind of amp do you use?

    You've not really given us anything to go on but a price range and some of your influences. For a 5'er around $600 I'm a big fan of used basses, specifically Carvin, Fender, G&L, Ernie Ball, Spectors and Ibanez. However what sounds great to me with my technique and may sound horrendous to you.
  3. Tom Burbank

    Tom Burbank

    Dec 23, 2014
    It appears I have a lot of research to do. I have no idea how the type of neck effects anything and I'm very uneducated in regards to pickups. I'll look into it. Thank you for at least giving me an idea of what I need to read up on. I'll head up to the music store and try different pickups and necks to get a better idea of what I need.
  4. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    String spacing- Test drive a few basses at the shops, even if they don't tickle your fancy or fit your budget. Get a feel for the different spacings available. Make note of what you like, don't like.
  5. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    As far as the guys you mention - P-Nut is (or was, anyway) a Warwick endorser. Eric Wilson has used a whole pile of different things. All of which is to say, it's pretty rare that an influence or genre would point you to the one type of bass you should get, it's very much a matter of what kind of look, sound, and feel you like in a bass. Personally, at that price, I'd suggest taking a look at the Yamaha BB425x. The BBs are passive but have very hot pickups and you get a real roar out of them. Their only drawback is that they're a tad on the heavy side, but not T-40 heavy. You can often find a used Carvin around that price, those are great instruments too.
  6. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Inactive

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC
    The one thing I'll tell you is that the TB classifieds are a great place to buy really nice used gear. I have bought and sold many a bass, amp, etc. on here, and I have zero regrets.
    Unfortunately, it's difficult to play before you buy, as GC and Sam Ass only carry low-end gear. You can find amazing deals on great gear here, but the only way you're gonna be able to test drive anything is if you live near a music store that carries good stuff.
    A lot of 5-strings fall into your price range. In addition to the ones already mentioned, Ibanez likely has a couple in that range. Happy hunting!
    Joebone and Jim Carr like this.
  7. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    IF you are truly a "blank slate", you would not hurt yourself by going to a Guitar Center or Sam Ash and playing the Squier by Fender line of 5-string basses. If nothing else, you'll start to see your own preferences evolve (do I prefer P or J...passive or active....etc). Just to give you an idea of what these basses are and what you can expect to pay for one, here is a Sweetwater.com page on Squier 5-string basses with pictures and prices. With your budget, you could afford to pick up two and take your time deciding on a favorite.


    Good luck with the hunt.


  8. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    My favorite budget used 5-ers are the Lakland 55-01 and MTD Artist 5. Both have 35" scale and 19mm string spacing. The passive (2 knob) version of the MTD Artist typically goes for ~$400, and is the growliest bass you will ever play.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
    Dima B likes this.
  9. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    Three close to your budget (USED) I like; Fender P V AMR STD - Fender J V AMR STD and my fav the Peavy Cirrus V American built. At a minimum try and play each of these to compare.
    Dima B likes this.
  10. CGremlin


    Nov 1, 2014
    Palm Bay, FL
    I've been pretty pleased with my Modern Player Jazz V, which has a Fender decal but really is more in line with the higher-end Squiers. I paid $399 for mine a couple of months ago, so they're not terribly expensive, and you get a lot of tonal variety with the ability to switch the pickups four different ways. Plus, the high-mass bridge is quite nice for something in that price range. Unfortunately I've never seen one in the local stores here.
  11. Uncle Niko

    Uncle Niko

    Jul 5, 2014
    Take a look at an Ibanez BTB bass, they're designed to be played with five strings. You aren't going to find a better one for a good price IMHO. I have a BTB305FM it sounds amazing and is only $300 used. There are also higher quality BTB's for under $600.
    AciDBatH666 likes this.
  12. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    So am I. I could have sworn I left it in a case in behind the old pink chair in the back bedroom. Maybe in the living room...
  13. I used to own an Ibanez sr 405 I ended up getting rid of it because after all these years of rocking the 4 string it got weird on the 5 Best of luck on your choice
  14. For metal? Spector Rebop. It's possible to find some used for $600 in the US. Peavey Cirrus 5 (US) is a good choice also. It's a very underestimated bass.
  15. Joebone

    Joebone Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    California Republic
    Lots of folks (including me) find ergonomic issues to be more critical on 5-string. Nut width? string spacing at bridge? 34" scale or longer? body size/balance issues? Neck depth? And aside from the usual tone issues, how does the B-string sound compared to your expectations? (Me, I favor as uniform a tone and volume as I can get for each note, from bottom to top.)

    Try to go to music stores and find out what you like. Don't be afraid to be dorky and take notes, so you can keep things straight.

    And don't be afraid to buy used, from reputable sellers. A lot of folks try 5-string for a while then bail, which means more axes out there for less.
  16. Kevan Campbell

    Kevan Campbell Bergantino Artist, Vibe9 IEM Artist Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    In a sense a 5 string bass is a different animal that a 4 string bass (than a 6 string, than a 7 string, than a 12 string, etc). One big thing to keep in mind when choosing a 5'er is to see how the B string sounds in comparison to the rest of the strings: is it louder, softer, more or less defined, does it feel as tense or loose? Thankfully this is one of those choices that you can read up on, then go try as many different basses as you can get your hands on so that your journey to find a good 5'er is almost as much fun as actually finding it. I also must emphasize, again, the benefit in buying used; you'll get so much more bass for your money. I've even played a used Pedulla Rapture 5 for $700 at GC since they didn't really know what they had.
  17. Worldeeeter

    Worldeeeter Inactive

    Mar 29, 2010
    Asheville, NC

  18. Dug2


    Sep 24, 2011
    good outlook, there are many things to research. necks, scale lengths, pre amps, pick ups. best advice (as
    mentioned already) is, just go to a music store and start noodling with as many basses as possible. gl
  19. mikefromchurch


    Jan 23, 2014
    Go play an Ibanez 505. Got the bart PUs, fast neck, tons of tone for the money. Got mine $700 out the door with a hard case strap, tuner and cord. Plenty of bases out there that can beat it, but not many for the price.
  20. raventepes


    Jan 7, 2012
    Reno, NV
    Well, I see a couple options here for metal, all of which are within your price range.

    Yamaha TRBX 505
    Spector Legend 5
    ESP B-5E or the F-5E if you're into the body shape. I know I am :D
    ESP B-205 SM
    Ibanez SR 405QM

    As a mostly metal player, these are what I'd go with in that range. All of them are solid instruments, and all of them are capable of a wide variety of tones, though I think that the Yamaha would be the absolute most flexible of the bunch. Ultimately, it's really be up to you to decide if you like any of them or not. Like I said...these are just what I'd choose. It's my opinion, nothing more, nothing less. I will say though that I do a lot of solo work, outside of metal, which has a lot of influence from classical, jazz, and everything else in between.

    As far as ESP's go though, it should be criminal for the price they're selling them at. They're really worth a lot more than what they go for.

    With the Ibanez, many would say the SR 505. Personally, I like Ibanez's CAP pickups better than the Bartolini MK's they use for the rest of the Standard SR line.

    The Spector...well...It's a solid bass. Period. I've never played a Spector I didn't like. Even their entry level basses just knocks the competition out of the park. It's tough to beat, despite its lack of 3-band EQ.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014