Need advice for a 5-string wedding band bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Benjamin Earl, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. Hello fellow bass players! I've been a member of TalkBass for years, but I don't think I've ever posted a thread. I've searched the forum archives and read a lot of threads, but I thought I could get more specific answers by posting my info/question. Sorry if this is redundant.

    I'm looking for a new 5-string bass. I need some advice on what basses I should be looking at.

    I consider myself a weekend warrior semi-pro bassist. I play multiple gigs a week including weddings, casinos, private parties, and bars. I also do sub/fill-in work.

    Mostly I play "wedding" music, which is a wide variety of styles. One moment I'm playing Jackson 5 and the next ACDC or Katy Perry.

    Obviously I need a versatile sounding bass. I need a bass that is mainly funky sounding, but one that can rock when needed. It needs to be able to pump some serious hiphop sub-bass, then easily switching to a bridge Jaco growl, then have a nice neck pickup slap sound. Preferably 3 ban EQ (not a deal breaker).

    Currently my main bass is a low end Spector bolt on. I purchased it on Craigslist, so I don't know much about it. Maybe someone can identify it (I'd love to know what I have). [​IMG]

    I love the EMG's. They give me most of the sounds I listed above. I like the way it plays, and string spacing is good. I'm not really into the volume knob for each pick up. It's not a deal breaker, but I'd rather have a blend knob, as I only use it full on the neck/both/bridge. This bass also has some minor buzz issues. I get some weird sounds clicking sounds, and annoying hums in certain rooms.

    The bass needs to be "easy" to play. I have a Fender P-bass Deluxe 5 and a Fender Jazz, but they end up hurting my hand after 3-4 hours of playing. My Ibanez ATK feels good, but doesn't have the versatile sound.

    I play a Markbass Big Bang head, with a few different cabs 1x12, 2x10, or 4x10 (depending on the size of the room).

    Ok enough back story. It sounds like I want another Spector, right? I want to get a higher end bass, but I can't bring myself to buy one without playing it.

    Where do you go to play high end basses?

    What other basses should I consider?

    Thanks in advance! :help:
  2. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    It looks like you are a day trip from NYC, which would be where I suggest going to check out some basses. As to where that is, that depends a lot on what you are looking for. There are a ton of shops (that I'm not overly familiar with) that carry custom/higher end stuff, and I'm sure we've got some NYC people that would gladly chime in to suggest shops. You would likely benefit from calling ahead/booking an appointment. A lot of shops are more accommodating when they know you are from out of town and looking to buy, instead of some random Joe off the street just looking to fondle expensive instruments.

    As for what you're looking for, if you like your Spector, then go that route. They have a ton of pickup options in J/J, P/J, J/H, H/H etc. If you like how the Ibanez feels, the high end SR series are H/H with a three band EQ, active/passive switch and a mid scoop switch, master volume and a blend knob, a ton of tonal variety, and they're really comfortable to play. That checks off most of your boxes.

    Otherwise, get out there and shop around. You aren't going to know what's for you until you've got it in your hands and don't want to set it down. Go find that bass.
  3. Here's a vote to put the Peavey Cirrus USA on your list. And yes, I do play weddings and upscale events (and I'm a MarkBass user)
  4. trowaclown


    Feb 26, 2008
    An active 5 string with 2 soapbar pickups sounds like what you need. Different brands will have different string spacings though, so that'll be something good to keep in mind and try out.

    Here's also a suggestion to consider effects pedals within your budget as well. I'm playing an Ibanez SR with roundwounds, and it's darn near impossible to get a dubby sub-bassy tone even if I play near the neck, using only the neck pickup with the tone knob turned down. With an EQ pedal, however, that's not really an issue.
  5. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I'd be looking at a Lakland 55-94 or a PJ5 of some sort (Sadowsky or Lull would be my first choice).
  6. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    First thing you should invest in is setup work on your Fenders so they're as easy to play as the Spector.
  7. Buskman


    Apr 13, 2007
    Jersey Shore, USA
    And to add to this, get a setup done on the Spector & have it properly shielded to fix the hum you're experiencing.

    Afterwards, you may find that you already have what you need.
  8. the yeti

    the yeti Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2007
    raleigh, nc
    roscoe. the greatest neck (i've) ever played.
  9. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    These threads invariably turn into "Try out everything, but here's what I use."

    So with that.

    Go to a store and get your hands on everything they have. Hit a few more stores and find what you like and don't like. Maybe make a trip and get to Rocket Music, Bass Central, BassNW or something similar near you :).

    After all of that, go ahead and buy a Bongo HH or HS from James at and be done with it :smug:
  10. BassBuzzRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    Yamaha Nathan East sig?
  11. I've been looking at Cirrus from early 2000's with the graphite head stock (I have a fretless and love it). Is this what you mean? Or is there another USA I should consider?
  12. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Always groove.... Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Columbia, Md
    I'd vote for a 5 string Jazz active/passive. There are many out there depending on your budget and tastes.
  13. Right! I wish this was the answer. Both my Fenders are professionally set up as good as possible. They play sweet (for a Fender), but the string width is to big and the B string is not responsive enough. This is tiresome for a wedding gig. This is why I switched to the Spector.
  14. That's the one. Neck through, active soap bars, lots of on-board EQ power, amazing guitars. Can be had for around $1K.

    It's just one of several good choices for your needs. I liked mine so much I bought two (I believe in carrying a back up). Some guys here on TB have filled a room with them.
  15. I'm not sure if it is worth putting money into? I love the Spector, but I was thinking I should upgrade.
  16. Yes please! :hyper: I would love to go to a shop that has USA Spector's (and equivalent brands). I've searched, but most places say they have them, but really they can just order them. Does anyone local to NYC/NJ have any suggestions?
  17. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Always groove.... Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Columbia, Md
    Actually, let me vote more specifically. Talk to Nino at and get set up with a great 5 string. He's NYC area.
  18. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Ah, ok. In that case, make sure you measure the Spector neck so you can use that as a basis for comparison when looking at other instruments.
  19. inate_hex


    Apr 4, 2010
    Manchester, England
    I occasionally wet the bed.
    Musicman bongo 5HH
  20. halfjackson


    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston, MA
    I'm with this guy.