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Looking for a decent 5-string recording bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sear, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. sear


    Mar 29, 2013
    I fully admit that I am not much of a bass player; rather I'm a guitarist who just wants a good-sounding bass for laying down bass tracks and having fun with. While I use a pretty okay Warwick Rockbass which sounds okay, the tone is not doing much for me (really unexciting midrange, good clarity but not much else). I'm looking into getting a cost-effective 5-string with a bit of a beefier tone to it - not too trebly or bright, but not exceptionally growly or grindy in the mids either. I primarily play various forms of metal, but versatility is still somewhat important.

    Really, the bass does not need to be incredible, just good enough for the recording and other messing around I do. In the past I have learned you can go fairly cheap with a bass and get a lot more for your money than you can in the guitar world, so I have no problems picking up cheaper gear considering I'm not going to be using it for too much anyway. It's worth noting that I have small-ish hands compared to some so I am not the biggest fan of baseball bat necks (but don't require super-thin by any means).

    Right now the choices leading the pack are:

    - Ibanez SR505 (pros: everyone says it's great, very easy to play neck, cons: price is a bit high)

    - Yamaha RBX375 (pros: supposedly excellent build quality and pickups for the money, cons: possibly too thick a neck for my tastes)

    - LTD B-205SM (pros: looks great, playable, cons: thicker neck, pickups?)

    Does anyone have any thoughts on these models or any others that fit into the price range? Better yet, has anyone been in a position to compare them?
  2. tfernandez

    tfernandez Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    I'm a big Ibanez guy myself. A used sr5 string can be found fairly cheap on craigslist etc. I have also played a few peavy 5s that feel nice for the price. A peavy grind 5 can be had for fairly cheap, and has a deeper, warmer tone than the Ibanez from what I remember. However I'm not sure of the quality of recording sound with it.
  3. Bradass


    Oct 17, 2011
    Tallahassee, FL
    Why not look into replacing the pickups on your Rockbass?
  4. kab10


    Mar 19, 2013
    I recently evaluated the SR505 and RBX 375 myself. I feel that overall, the Ibanez felt much better than the Yamaha. I've heard that people with small hands generally prefer the Ibanez. ESP makes really nice stuff - I have an ESP LTD Bass myself. Check out this thread about the 205SM
  5. tfernandez

    tfernandez Supporting Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Another thing to think about is how you intend to record the bass as well. Are you going to use a Di box? A mixer? Micing a cab?
  6. Digital Man

    Digital Man

    Feb 20, 2013
    Go for Ibanez! Yamaha is good too but not even close to Ibanez. I have owned 2 Ltds whose had bad pickups and quality was lacking so I don't recommend them.
  7. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Pretty much agree with this. I happen to own an SR 506 and an ESP LTD B206SM. My ESP does it all for looks and has the best neck I ever played on a cheaper bass. I've also played Yamahas, but in your case I wouldn't recommend them because to me they are more for live and string spacing tends to be wide.

    My choice for recording bass lines would be hands down the SR 505. Got mine used for not much over $200! It's got a nice fat modern tone that is great in a mix. Neck is thin and fast and even though my hands are large and I usually prefer fat chunky necks I STILL love the thin neck on the Ibanez. Very hard to go wrong here. My second choice would be an ESP LTD. The killer looks won't matter for recording but neither will the heavy weight. Tone will be very modern. Yamaha's are also very good, but even though I've almost bought one several times, I never have. I guess it's just they almost but don't quite do it for me somehow.

    It's pretty hard to go really wrong with any of your picks, but I'd still join the others in recommending the SR505.
  8. sear


    Mar 29, 2013
    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    All DI into an interface. I don't have a bass amp or cab. Obviously I use plenty of VSTs - modeling is not perfect but in a mix I find it works much better for bass than for guitars, since especially in something like metal the bass is always going to be a little buried anyway.

    Well, I want a 5-string, and it's not my bass, but my brother's. I have it at the moment but he could easily pick it up or sell it at any moment, so I'd like my own.

    The big thing about the SR505 that turns me off is the price. $600 is a lot to ask for for a bass that's going into the hands of someone who isn't really much of a bass player. I know you can get it used but for now I'm assuming all of these are new, for the sake of comparison. How does the SR505 compare to the lower end models like the 405 and 305?
  9. I played a 405 extensively when shopping for a new bass recentky. I liked it a lot. Ended up getting a Schecter Stilleto Elite 5 instead. The Ibby was very versatile though. Easy to play.

    Great neck. Nice tone. Pretty to look at.
  10. sloasdaylight

    sloasdaylight Banned

    Feb 4, 2009
    Tampa, Florida, US
    You'll notice the quality difference between them. Between fit, finish, playability, and sound, the 505 is easily the superior bass, and enough so that unless you REALLY don't want to spend much money on a bass for your purposes, I wouldn't really look at the others.

    Generally I really don't like Ibanez basses, I think they're thin and feel kinda flimsy, but for the money, you're probably not going to find much else that will really do what you want, unless you can score a great deal on craigslist on a Musicman or some such.

    Also, I don't know if you had this and didn't mention it or not, but if you're gonna go and record a bass straight in, look at getting a decent pre-amp. It'll make a pretty big difference in the tone you get coming in, which means less modeling on the back end.
  11. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Sorry, I just don't see any of those being better than a Warwick Rockbass. You may need to look elsewhere down the chain...strings, amp, pedals, DI...
  12. sloasdaylight

    sloasdaylight Banned

    Feb 4, 2009
    Tampa, Florida, US
    Well like he said, the Rockbass is his brother's, so he may not have it 15 minutes from now if his brother decides to pick it up. It makes sense to have his own bass for this purpose.

    That and Rockbasses don't sound very good, at least to me. They sound like a cheap imitation of a Fender trying to sound like a Warwick.
  13. seang15


    Aug 28, 2008
    Cary NC
    My ATK305 is a KILLER recording Bass. B string is ridiculous. You can get a good price on these, too.

  14. Agreed.

    Also, small hands don't always do better on a smaller neck profile. FWIW, IMO, blah blah.
  15. sear


    Mar 29, 2013
    The Rockbass sounds good, don't get me wrong, it just doesn't have a "fat" and powerful enough tone. It has single coil pickups which sound very clear and articulate in most situations, but with very little warmth or richness. And there is a certain midrange character, especially when playing with a pick, that I do not like at all - sounds almost like an acoustic simulator. It's a nice all-around bass, just not really what I am looking for.

    And yes, I'm aware it probably is better-built than most other basses in the price range, but my brother did get it used for a couple hundred less than normal, in basically brand-new condition. If I could get that with an Ibanez SR505 I would do so almost immediately.

    Has anyone directly compared the SR505 to the 405 and 305? How would you characterize the differences in tone? Feel? Build quality? Effectively they are the same bass, but different pickups and woods are bound to change a lot, and I'm sure the SR505 has better pickups. On the other hand if the 405 is just a slightly prettier 305 then I'm not sure I'd want to pay extra for it.

    Last, how about Schecters? I know they are built well but I've never tried any of their basses. Didn't like their guitars much due to the very chunky necks. How would they compare tonally to other options? I'd imagine they'd be most similar to the LTDs.

    To be honest the reason I'm asking is mostly just because it's a long weekend here and every store is closed, so I might as well ask my questions now before I go check stuff out in person. :p
  16. sloasdaylight

    sloasdaylight Banned

    Feb 4, 2009
    Tampa, Florida, US
    Single coils can provide just as much fat and warmth as a humbucker or split coil, it's about how you fiddle with your knobs. Also the strings you use make a phenomenal difference in the tone you get out of your bass. Using strings like the Ernie Ball Slinky or Super Slinky (what I used to use), will give a radically different tone than if you use DR Black Beauties (my current setup), or Sun Beams, or *Insert string make/model here*.

    My opinions that were formed about 3 years ago when I was shopping for a new main player. (Full discretion: I wound up getting a Musicman Bongo 6 HH).
  17. sloasdaylight

    sloasdaylight Banned

    Feb 4, 2009
    Tampa, Florida, US
    Schecters are pretty decent basses for the money. They're a little more solidly feeling than an Ibanez.
  18. I would either look at ibanez or esp if you want something affordable but decent. With ibanez I wouldn't go any lower than the sr505 and you might like them because of the skinny necks. With esp any of their basses that come with real EMGs will probably do the trick. The surveyor is definelty the beefier of the bunch. But the higher "B" and "F" models woth EMGs are pretty good also. Personally the majority of the basses I'd recommend to bass players that are primarily bass players start off in the $1300 range but if your a guitar player that just want a bass for home recording purposes and you playing music styles where the guitars have a bigger role(mainly metal) those basses will do the trick
  19. sear


    Mar 29, 2013
    Now I'm curious about the LTD D-5. Anyone know what the difference between it and the B series is, other than body wood? Prices are very similar.
  20. sloasdaylight

    sloasdaylight Banned

    Feb 4, 2009
    Tampa, Florida, US
    Even though I have an ESP, and it's my second main player (two tunings), I wouldn't recommend it for what you want. The D series is a little better from the B series in my opinion, but it's still kind of a metal bass, that makes any sense.

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