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Looking into getting a 5 string.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Matt_784, Dec 30, 2016.

  1. Matt_784


    Mar 21, 2016
    Well Im looking into getting my very first 5 string. Can't decide on whether I should get a Fender or Sadowsky. All of my current basses are Fenders so that is my last brand choice. The Stingray 5 was recommended to me by a friend. I know that there are many great quality 5 strings out there other than Fender or Ernie Ball. Can you recommend me a few that has a really great tone/quality, durable and around $500-$2000. Thanks.
  2. kittywithabanjo

    kittywithabanjo Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2014
    Coquitlam. BC
    You might want to look at some of the used fender elites that are starting to pop up here. Stingrays are great too the spacing is a little closer that on a Fender which may be either appealing to not. The Sadowsky metros are fantastic the preamp is a bit different than others and does take some getting used too but once you understand it, it's awesome
  3. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    A used Roscoe is in your price range. Might as well do it right if you're going to do it!
    NigelD, selowitch, G RICH 5 and 4 others like this.
  4. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton My P doesn’t have flats or tort Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
    Quite a large range for a budget. There's a lot you can fit in there. I have a 3 band Stingray 5 and I absolutely love it, it's my main gigging bass. Can't go wrong with the Sadowski either. I'd be looking it a used Pedulla as well if I were you.
    G RICH 5 likes this.
  5. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    If you have the budget for a Sadowsky, look no further.

    My 5 string journey includes US Lakland, Wal, Mike Lull P and J's. I'd suggest all of these to anyone wanting to know about good quality basses.

    Just before Christmas I tried a Sadowsky Metro Will Lee 5 which blew my socks off. This week I tried a new Fender Pro Jazz V which was very likeable. I don't need a better bass than my Lulls and Lakland, but that Sadowsky was way ahead on all counts.
    Maiden Bass likes this.
  6. TinIndian


    Jan 25, 2011
    Micco Florida
    I don't think you can go wrong with a nice Stingray 5. It does have a little tighter string spacing at 17.5 mm as opposed to a Fender or Lakland 19 mm, but I have found for me it is still fine for my sloppy slap playing. I have found that is pretty much the cutoff for me 17 mm is just a little to close together.

    That being said, it just depends on your tonal goals, because any of those are high quality instruments.
    G RICH 5 likes this.
  7. Sid the Kid

    Sid the Kid Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2013
    There is much more variety in the neck and bridge specs on 5's vs 4's. You have a whole lot of options available in your budget range.

    Fender 5's are going to have a wide (1.875") and slightly thick neck and 18mm spacing at the bridge. Squier neck specs tend to vary more than Fender, so be aware of that.

    Musicman and G&L have very similar feeling neck profiles (1.75"). They are as thick as the Fenders but the narrow nut makes them feel a bit faster. 17.5mm spacing for the Musicman and 17mm for the G&L.

    Ibanez Soundgear 5's have fast necks and narrow spacing. 1.75" with a comfortable profile and 16.5mm string spacing.

    If you can find any of these locally to play it will give you an idea of what string spacing and neck profile you like. After that the world is your oyster.

    Have fun bass shopping! If you have the time you could skim $200 off of your budget and go on a bass acquisition road trip!
    Matt_784, Ikkir and TinIndian like this.
  8. groove pump

    groove pump

    Oct 24, 2006
    Oh dang - that was a good one from Bob Clayton in post #4: used Pedulla. Yummy players!!

    I've been the 5-string route and it wasn't for me, but if I had to go and get one today, I'd look for a Lakland Skyline. Wonderful fit and "playability" in a package that seems to offer a bundle of bang-for-ye-buck.
    Bob Clayton likes this.
  9. looper

    looper Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    I just got a Lakland Skyline Glaub, great bang for the buck, 35" scale really seems to make a difference with B clarity.
  10. Lots of good info thus far.

    My 2 cents after the long and expensive journey to find my 5 string years ago..

    - 5 strings are different beasts, and not all combinations of scale and string spacing will feel right. One or 2 will click.
    - You should try and play as many combinations with as possible, with an open mind. Find the one that feels right and look for basses with those specs. Do not get hung up on brands/headstock decals.
    - Some brands known for their 4 strings may not necessarily make a great 5 string.
    - $500-$2000 covers the vast majority of 5 strings available, new and used. With 5 stringers, you often get what you pay for up to a certain point. After that it's often (but not always) cosmetics, panache and branding...
    - 34" vs 35" scale can make a difference in some cases, but is not an absolute. I have owned 34" and 35" basses. When I did encounter a sub par B string, it was always on a budget 34" bass. That being said, plenty of 34" basses have great B strings. I play only 34" now and the B's are as good as any 35" I had, but are more comfortable to play, for me. YMMV.

    Like many others in this thread, I have played and/or owned dozens of 5's in my search, including Fender and Sadowsky. Between those 2, IME the Sadowsky Metro is the easy and clear favorite in pretty much every category. They are fantastic basses. My basses are Wilkins Roadtested models with an 18mm spaced bridge. So the Stingrays are tight for me, but obviously they are great instruments as well with a wide and respected user base of their 5 string models.

    Again: It all comes down to what fits you. Good Luck!
    el_Bajo_Verde and Matt_784 like this.
  11. TheMartianBassist

    TheMartianBassist Supporting Member

    May 30, 2015
    San Diego
    I'm selling this baby (-:

    Spalted maple, Nordstrands, Birdseye Maple board... the whole package!
    christle, Matt_784, Ikkir and 3 others like this.
  12. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton My P doesn’t have flats or tort Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
    A couple Pedulla's have popped up in the classifieds for under 2 grand lately and every time I go to my wife and say "hey do you mind if i buy a ba-", i get cut off with a "we're saving for a house and you already 4".

    i can't argue with her logic! :laugh:

    Lakland would be another good buy. I've been GASing for one of the hollow-bodies, but they don't come in 5ers.

    Very true. I like the B on my 34" Stingray 5 MUCH better than the B on my 35" Spector. A lot more go into it than just scale.
    Matt_784 likes this.
  13. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton My P doesn’t have flats or tort Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
  14. Wolfhound32


    Sep 10, 2013
    WA State
    G&L, Music Man, and Kiesel are my favorites, and each for different reasons. Once you figure out which specs are important to you (string spacing, pickups, etc.) buying through the TalkBass classified section would be a wise decision.

    Should you decide to entertain G&L, I've got a sweet one posted in the classifieds myself:

    For Sale - 2016 G&L JB-5, Turquoise Metal Flake

    Best of luck!
  15. mexicant


    Aug 28, 2012
    Mid Michigan,USA
    I vote for the american fender p5! Played a gig with my 5 last night, through my mesa d800 and subway 2x10 cab it filled the room with fat p bass goodness, and quite a bit less $ then a sadowsky. I rotate through these, all have different feels and sounds ,love all my fenders! 20151010_143218-1.jpg
    BlueMINI likes this.
  16. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    It's a shame someone scribbled all over it with a Sharpie! :D
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.
  17. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Pedulla. Used.
  18. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Unless you live somewhere utterly remote, there should be stores with five strings you can try. Don't worry about the brand just yet. Play some fives to see what sort of neck profile you like.
    TinIndian and kittywithabanjo like this.
  19. Ellery


    Mar 25, 2015
    Personally the most important attributes for a fiver is neck thru construction and 35" scale length
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