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Increasingly disappointed in my 5er...what to do?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fassa Albrecht, May 30, 2011.

  1. In recent times I find myself increasingly disappointed in my Yamaha RBX series 5-er.

    I can't complain though, I've had the bass close to 3 years and in that time it's actually been one of my best basses. It was my main bass for church playing and various university stuff, as well as being the bass I learnt to slap on.

    But now I've largely quit playing worship and have also begun to move away from indie and rock (which is what I originally played on bass) to learning jazz, funk and fusion, and now the tone and feel of this bass is beginning to really hack me off. It feels muddy, the B string too muted and the bass bulky to play.

    So I've come up with three options: mod the bass, get a new 5er or simply scrap the idea of playing 5ers for a while and stick to the 4er fretless I have. Major problem with the last of these options is that there are times when fretlesses aren't going to do the job or sound right. I also have been tempted towards the new bass option as I've found an Aria unlined fretless 5er which would combine something I have always wanted (an unlined fretless) with something I need (the B string). I'm not tempted towards modding for the simple fact I'm not confident in doing so, and it could prove to be not cheap.

  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Whose tone do you really like? What would be your ideal sound?
  3. cassius987

    cassius987 Banned

    Apr 20, 2007
    Denver, CO
    If you find yourself steering clear of the B string most of the time, invest in a good starting out four-banger, like a Squier Precision or some such thing. Some people swear they need a low B, but if you don't use it, you don't use it. On the other hand if it's just the way this particular one sounds you may want to try some other strings, a setup, etc.
  4. bathnapkin


    May 28, 2011
    I say get a new bass.

    I just bought an Ibanez btb to replace that same bass and It's very different.
    The rbx is a 34 inch scale and btb is 35 and that alone makes a big difference in the clarity of the b string. It plays a hell of a lot better too. Now I just have to find someone local to sell my rbx to.
  5. Aspidites


    Oct 20, 2009
    Berkeley CA
    Shop the TB classifieds for a bass that will better suit your needs.
  6. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    I find it interesting how you played it so much, and obviously liked it, and now don't simply because you're changing the genre you're currently playing in.
    I vote get a pro setup on it (or if you're competent to do one yourself, do it, but since you said you can't mod, I bet a pro would be the better route), get new strings put on it, and start over with any kind of FX/EQ/technique that you're currently doing.
  7. SwitchGear

    SwitchGear Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    Just install a new set of strings then re-fall in love with it.
  8. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Hey as long as we are feeling sorry for ourselves, you forgot an option: Stop playing bass altogether and get some guitar lessons!

    This should not be some huge revelation, but when a person's musical interests change, that usually means you'll need to "adjust" your instrument(s) to fit your new music. It's why I have a collection of basses. It's why TBers have GAS.

    As for your options, I'd think hard about what kind/sound/look/brand/ etc. bass is commonly used in your new interests? Personally I'd be a bit reluctant to try to go the "mod" road unless you'd really like to spend some time/money learning what effect various things have on a bass. Quicker and easier (and probably cheaper too) is to listen around and try to make a decision as to what sound you'd really like to have coming out of YOUR bass. Buy one of those and go for it. The 4 string fretless idea probably isn't the way to go since you already have doubts that it could handle all the music you want to play.

    Anyway, this is TB: Rule: You can never own too many basses! ;)
  9. Hey, who do you think I am? Alex Lifeson? :p

    Seriously, I play guitar and much as I love it, I don't think I could be a guitarist.

    Thing is that it's not my musical interests which have changed, but my interests in what I want to play on the bass. I've always been into different music, but what I want to play on bass is usually very genre or style-specific. It used to be rock bass, now it's jazz-funk.

    Major problem with the mod route is that I could easily spend the equivalent amount of money as a new bass just trying stuff out. I've seen it happen with other musicians and it's not something I can really consider.

    It's not about my genre of playing, but also my technique and handling of the bass has also changed. As a result things that originally posed no or a minor problem are now major problems.

    Take my Yammie's thick neck. When I started out on this bass, I played pizzicato ALL the time. No slapping, no picking at all.

    Now I'm beginning to play a lot of slap and the combination of the thick neck and the chunky frets is a pain in the rear end. You've never seen Mark King on a 5er for a very good reason.

    I want to emulate someone like Mark King. I ADORE that rubber-band, really zingy snappy sound he has. especially when he's playing the red JayDee bass.

    TBH I've come across FEW situations where a B is an absolutely necessary thing. Even when I was playing worship music from a piano score on my 4er, I could simply whack everything up an octave so I wasn't having to downtune if needed. OK, it meant reading was harder, but made the playing easier.

    I'm very much inclined right now to go with the idea I had previously and getting a Fender J-bass, either one of the standard models or a Geddy Lee. That way I get a fretted instrument to have alongside my fretless, no pesky B string I don't absolutely need and a sound I love.

    TBH the idea of playing a 5er again is really not appealing to me right now. In any way or form.

    Doing so!

    Tried that. It didn't work.
  10. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Right-O, so you already made up your mind; why bother asking us what to do? If you seriously are going to circle all 5ers into having "huge", "chunky" or "thick" necks then I don't think there's much we can do for ya to start with. Go get a 4 stringer that you like and rock out on it as you please.

  11. I didn't intend to sound like I was labelling ALL 5ers. I'd seriously love to find some way to make this specific 5er that I own work for me, hence why I asked this thread. I'm very much open to the idea of trying any other 5er someone cares to name and if it works, I'll go for it.
  12. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    bathnapkin did start going down that route, to which you replied,
    "TBH the idea of playing a 5er again is really not appealing to me right now. In any way or form."

  13. Right now, no it's not appealing to me. BUT (and it's a big but) if in the future I found a bass I liked and it was a 5er, that fact of it being a 5er wouldn't stop me from playing it.

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