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looking for a 5 string workhorse...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sgt.floyd, Apr 10, 2005.


  1. sgt.floyd

    sgt.floyd

    Dec 5, 2004
    basston
    I'd like to pose my dilema to the bass afficianados-

    I just got a call to go out on tour in the fall. While the details are still somewhat int the air, it's an oppertunity for me to get out of the day job, and really give life as a pro a shot.

    My main bass is a custom fretless 6, it has a very thin neck and incredible action. It's also about to have a U retro driving Lane Poors and a peizo. While this is a great rig for jazz, it's not exactly the sound the band leader is looking for.

    I've been itching for a fretted 5 ever since I picked up a Ken Smith at guitar center a few years ago, but never really had the impetus to swap gear and lay down money. The gear i'd be turning over would be a Peavey Cirrus 4, and a standup- Those plus cash should get me into a the ~$2000 range, which is in reach of a used high end 5. The problem I have is I'm pretty particular about basses, necks, feel and sound, and have been burned ordering instruments. (I ordered a MIA fevder jazz 5 about 7 years ago that played miserably- vowed never to do that again) Why that's a problem is easy, there aren't exactly a lot of high end used basses sitting around in music shops around here.

    I have a pretty specific set of wishes for this bass-

    -thin neck (I don't care for warwics- the peavey is fine)
    -active electronics (is there any reason to like barts over EMG's?)
    -35"scale
    -24 frets
    -whole natural tone
    -stable neck (we'll be touring the west in the fall and winter- I don't want to be adjusting the truss rod during sound check!)
    -through neck is a plus
    -natural finish is a plus
    -non fender shape a plus (i don't really know why)
    -I'd prefer used 'cause I know I'm going to scratch it anyway, might as well get the best bass I can for the $$

    For reference heres a bit of background:

    basses I've played and liked a lot-
    my fretless (obviously)
    ken smith 5
    sokup 6
    MM sterling 4- (wasn't wild about the playing action but bought it 'cause I loved the tone, ended up trading straight across for the peavey, cause it had better action and almost equivelent tone. )

    basses i've been neutral about (nice, but didn't speak to me enough to buy)
    Bongo 5
    Modulus flea

    Basses I didn't care for (no offense intended to anyone who loves theirs dearly-I'm a weirdo :p )-
    Warwics (I think it's mostly 'cause of the neck size)
    Fenders (I think just got a bad one)

    Ive run across a few within reach- a Sokup 5 that looks just like the 6 I played, a Skjold 5 that may or may not be available, a Zon posted here a couple weeks ago, and some others who's names escape me at the moment.

    Can anyone help me out with some experience here? I feel like if I'm going to have to learn a tours worth of music in a month, I'd like to at least have the bass around to get used to it, and playing 5 strings and all that, so having one built is out of the question (probably $$ wise as well) so it has to be one that's availible.


    I'm about to wander into the Boston Guitar center and see what they have...

    Thanks for any input-
     
  2. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Have you tried the laklands? About the only thing they don't have from your list is 24 frets ... and if you liked the sound of the sterling, you'll love the lak.

    You can never go wrong with a Ken Smith either! Though they are 34" scale (you sure you have to have a 35"?)

    And speaking of killer 34" scale basses ... how long is the drive to NYC? If you get up to Roger Sadowsky's shop, theres a good chance you'd walk out with a 24 fret metro.

    Then theres the pedullas (raptures and thunderbasses), rick turners, modulus, zons ... its a great time to be a bass player :D Try everything you can. I'm sure something will jump out.

    Good luck!
     
  3. sgt.floyd

    sgt.floyd

    Dec 5, 2004
    basston
    The band is going to be a power trio bar band- some originals, some covers- a lot of blues, some bluegrass flavor, some slide guitar, and a fair ammount of improv.

    I havn't had my hands on a lakeland- I did just get to try out some Pedullas- they felt kinda sloppy- that may be a string issue, but I can say we didn't connect viscerally.

    I did really like the FBB singlecut fretless 6, but I already have a fretless 6, so that's not really in the cards right now.

    Sadowski's seem to be held in the highest regard around here- I'll look into them more deeply, especially if I end up down that way in the near future.


    Here are the ones that have caught my eye so far, maybe narrowing the field a bit will help generate dialog...

    There's this Skjold- I'm not sure if it's still around, but I like it. I've also never even seen one in person, let alone play it, so that's a bit of a gamble.

    [​IMG]



    This Sokup is the top runner right now... I'm hesitant mostly 'cause I can't find much info on them other than people not liking the headstocks. I've played a six that looks just like this one and it was enough to make me buy the amp I was playing through.

    [​IMG]

    This one is on access bass- a Bolin NS bass- I can find almost no info on other than what's there. I like that it has a hollow chamber and a piezo, mostly 'cause that's a setup my 6 has.
    [​IMG]

    The reason I'm thinking 35" scale is it the playability- I like the higher string tension.


    Thanks for the input!
     
  4. LiamCohl

    LiamCohl

    Jan 29, 2005
    Toronto, ON
    The first thing that comes to mind is a Modulus Q5, great sound, consistant, incredibly stable neck, honestly, Im not sure if it is a 35 inch scale or not, but the b has felt perfect on every one I have played, and Im pretty sure it is 24 fret. Good luck with everything, hope you find the bass you are looking for soon.
     
  5. How about a 5 string Cirrus?
     
  6. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Out of my mind, back in 5 minutes! Supporting Member

    I would recommend a Zon even though I traded in mine (for a Ken Lawrence Brase 5!). Great bass, I've been wanting to try a Zon 519 since I like the wider string spacing and 35 inch scale of my Brase, 535, and 55-94. As a bonus, the neck NEVER moves on the Zon. You should be able to get one at the top of your price range.

    Dan K.
     
  7. sgt.floyd

    sgt.floyd

    Dec 5, 2004
    basston

    How was the neck/action/playability? I like the idea of a neck that never goes anywhere....

    There was a 519 in the classifieds not too long ago.
     
  8. Limo

    Limo

    Sep 22, 2002
    Reykjavik Iceland
    It's a Sukop not Sokup. I had a 6 string Sukop for a while and loved it, definately a workhorse.
     
  9. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Hey Sarge, you're in Boston? Be sure to head over to see my pals over at RockCity Guitars in Somerville. It's right next to Porter's Sq. Talk to either Corey or Justin and tell them that Andy Dow sent you over. They've got an unreal older Ken Smith 5 over there right now that you should really play. There's a Sadowsky Metro 5 but it's not a great bass in my opinion. You just missed the best 5 I've ever played, a Tyler that was Corey's personal bass for a while. Can't remember what else they've got for 5's right now but there's always some new stuff anyhow.

    There's a beautiful used Lakeland and a used Smith at Austin Bass Traders. Check it out here:
    http://www.austinbasstraders.com/_inventory/inventory-preowned.html

    Definately go over to Rockcity though, you'll have a good time I guarentee.

    Cheers.
    Andy.
     
  10. sgt.floyd

    sgt.floyd

    Dec 5, 2004
    basston


    Killer!

    I'll swing in there tomorrow! Thanks :hyper:
     
  11. sgt.floyd

    sgt.floyd

    Dec 5, 2004
    basston
    ahh that may explain the lack of info in the serches.

    thanks-
     
  12. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Exactly what I would suggest. Check it out.
     
  13. mike sancho

    mike sancho SANCH

    Feb 10, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    You can't go wrong with a Smith if neck through is a requirement.
     
  14. Steve

    Steve

    Aug 10, 2001
    To be honest, if it where I and the band leader of a gig like that had a "sound he was looking for".....and I was going to buy a bass anyway.....I'd buy whatever the hell he wanted to hear and just deal with what ever I didn't like about the bass he wanted.
     
  15. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    My search for a truly good 5-string spanned several years, and after playing Pete Skjold's basses, I knew my search was over. I really like his basses, and speaking with Pete and Ron made me very comfortable and very confident in their work and craft. That Skjold looks beautiful, and reminds me strongly of the bass Pete is building for me right now.

    I found Pete's basses very easy to play, and tonally very, very flexible. But, ultimately it has to feel right in your hands and sound right to your ears...

    Good luck, Tom.
     
  16. pickles

    pickles Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Looks like the kind of bass that a bandleader or engineer "won't like the sound of" before you even plug it in :bawl:
     
  17. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Well, the upside is, that since it is so flexible, tonally, you can ask the bandleader/engineer/egotistical wahoo what sound he/she is after, dial it in, and then say, "listen, this bass sounds just like what you had in mind!"

    Pete challenged me to come up with different players' sounds for him to mimic on one of his basses (with all Skjold electronics), and he pretty much nailed them all with a few tweaks of the on-board preamp. Very nice!

    Tom.
     
  18. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I think a Zon would fit your bill quite nicely. They're great basses, and having a composite neck (woody and warm, it's no Modulus, trust me), means things like temperature and humidity are non-factors for them.

    They sound amazing, built like tanks, Joe Zon is a great guy, and you really can't go wrong.

    -thin neck (I don't care for warwics- the peavey is fine) - Yep
    -active electronics (is there any reason to like barts over EMG's?) - Yep
    -35"scale - Yep
    -24 frets - Yep
    -whole natural tone - Pretty close. Give one a whirl, they sound great
    -stable neck (we'll be touring the west in the fall and winter- I don't want to be adjusting the truss rod during sound check!) - oh so very stabel
    -through neck is a plus - Cosmetic, really.
    -natural finish is a plus - Quite available.
    -non fender shape a plus (i don't really know why) - Ding.
    -I'd prefer used 'cause I know I'm going to scratch it anyway, might as well get the best bass I can for the $$ - Can definitely be had used for your price.
     
  19. mike sancho

    mike sancho SANCH

    Feb 10, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I think Joe's basses all come with a 34" neck. They are solid as a rock and the B string is happening!
     
  20. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Well, the Sonus 5/1, 5/2, 519, Studio, and Classic are 35"