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Need 5 string P bass - what should I get?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nonsqtr, May 23, 2004.

  1. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Hi all, I need a 5 string bass with that fat Fendery bottom (like a P bass). What should I get? I'm totally open minded. Someone suggested a Lakland, but I don't know anything about them or what model would be right for this application. Currently I play F basses and Roscoes (mostly), but I need this new bass for getting the "classic" classic rock sound. Although I probably won't be able to resist slapping it every now and then. :) Any suggestions?
  2. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    MTD 535 P. TBer Joathan Starr has more on that.
  3. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    Fender RB5, Roscoe, or F-Bass BN-5.
  4. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    I personally love the tone of the Fender American Deluxe V (available in either alder or ash) with it's massive bridge humbucker:


    If you're looking for a more "traditional" sound, the Mike Lull P-5's are suppose to have gotten wonderful reviews. The Lull is also has a 35" scale, is available in alder or ash, and with an additional J bridge p-up.
  5. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    MMM.... yummy. Tobacco sunburst Lull P5. I like that a lot, with the 35" scale, and it's got the right nut width that I'm used to. Thanks for that, I'll have to find a place where I can check one out here in the LA area.

    jenderfazz, is that the Sadowsky "Vintage 5"? Would that be a better bet than the 24-fret 5 with the soapbar pickups?
  6. Dan Molina

    Dan Molina TalkBass Secular Progressive

    Jul 17, 2002
    Murr Town, California
    sandberg Basic PM

    I'm on a sandberg craze now-a-days
  7. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
  8. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Ooh, that's purdy. What are the knobs, does that have an active preamp?
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

  10. grooveguru


    Sep 14, 2000
    Central PA
    Mike Lull P5
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Fender American Deluxe Precision V.
  12. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Okay, that's a hit. Fender American Deluxe Precision 5. Let's talk about that one for a minute.

    I went to the GC today, wanting to see if they had any 5-string P basses. The sales dude was totally clueless (so what else is new), and he didn't know if Fender even makes one (but he's checking, grin). But I played just about every other Fender 5 string bass they had there, several jazz basses and an RB5 (through an Ampeg SVT-4 and an Ampeg 15" cab). I was getting pissed 'cause nothing had the sound I wanted, then I happened to look over at the stockroom guy who was just putting up a brand new 4-string Fender American P bass (the one with the S1 switch). Oh my. Candy apple red. I immediately grabbed the bass, and figured at least now I'd have something to A/B against, and I could use it to verify that I wasn't going completely crazy and hadn't totally lost my ear. But no, plugged it in and... instant tonal recognition. That's exactly the tone I need. If that bass had 5 strings, I would have bought it on the spot.

    So, I just checked the Fender web site and saw the Deluxe Precision 5. The way I understand what they're telling me, it's basically a "P bass plus", with the extra humbucker, although it has an active preamp and in other ways may be somewhat un-P-like. Unfortunately when you click on the link that says "specs" it takes you to a page that says, "Sorry, the specs for this bass have not yet been posted". So, what's the deal with the active preamp? Does this bass have an ordinary passive tone control as well, or are you forced to use the active preamp all the time? And if so, is the resulting tone "close enough" to an ordinary P bass to make it useable for this purpose?

    If I want "the P-bass tone", do you think I'd be happier with a P-5 or with something like the Roscoe Beck?
  13. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    If money is a issue, US Masters makes a P-style bass that sounds great for the money.
    I think it's the EP-4 and EP-5
  14. Yeah, that Sadowsky is the vintage. I guess the P-bass pickup would do the job better than the soapbars.

    Well, if you're in the market for an actual Fender, I too have to recommend the American Deluxe P. I haven't played a 5er, but the fours sound great and probably nail the passive P tone pretty well (I know my Jazz deluxe nails the passive J tone!). And with the humbucker, you have tonal variety so that your bass isn't a one trick pony.
  15. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    I found one! It's called a Celinder. It's made in Copenhagen. It comes in either 4 string or 5 string versions, and you can get either active or passive electronics. The active one uses Celinder's own pickups, and it doesn't sound anything like a P bass, it has a much more modern sound. It sounds great, but it's not what I'm looking for.

    The one I really like is called the Celinder Classic. It has the Seymour Duncan Antiquity pickups in it. It sounds "exactly like a P bass", in an A/B test against a 60's Fender P bass the difference was so minor that it would be entirely unnoticeable in a (live) mix. It has that beautiful P-bass midrange thump, and the high end sounds just like a P bass too (and since it's a passive instrument, it's very simple, just two knobs, volume and passive tone). It even has 19 mm string spacing. Beautiful. Tomorrow I'm going to find out what kind of pickups they put in the 5 string, if they're anything like the 4 string, I'll order one. It'll take 2 two 3 months to get here. I'll get the alder body and maple fingerboard, that should have a nice vintage look and feel (and sound). Probably sunburst finish, or maybe tobacco sunburst. Gotta think a bit about the pickguard color.

    I also tried the Mike Lull. That's also a very nice bass. Unfortunately, the one I tried had a dead D string, and the bass tech wasn't in the store at the time, so he'll check into it tomorrow and see if he can diagnose it. For some reason it D'Addario EXL strings on it, which aren't exactly "normal sounding strings" for a P bass (they sound a lot better on basses with a "modern" sound, for instance I use them on my Roscoes). This bass was a little bit brighter than a Fender, it had some upper midrange grind in the string noise range, that I've never heard on a Fender. Also the neck is slightly narrower than the Celinder, it has an 18 mm string spacing (which is probably perfect if you're used to a 4 string P bass, but it makes it a little harder to slap). If the tech can fix the D string and replace the strings I'll go back and listen to it tomorrow again.

    Does anyone have any experience with Celinder basses? Good or bad?