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Played and compared 5ers yesterday. (Question with rant)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ROON, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. ROON


    Aug 5, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    Yesterday I had my first good play of several five stringers. I tried these;

    EBMM Stringray 5
    Warwick Thumb BO
    Warwick Corvette STD
    Ibanez SR505
    Yamaha RBX775

    This was the first time I had actually had a good sit down and play some five string basses. My first impression was that B strings are incredibly floppy. The B's on the Warwick and the SR5 were flopping all over the shop and constantly hitting the fretboard making for some nasty fret noise. The Ibanez SR505 had a nice tight B IMO, but still floppier than I expected B strings to be. The Corvette was nice too, but the Yamaha probably had the nicest feel.

    So are all B strings uber floppy or what? I play metal so I play pretty fast, but I play with very very soft picks that basically roll over the string, I like them because they cause minimal fret noise. But the B's on every bass were making noise.

    I assume it's not a setup problem, because all of the bases are usually set up very nice, and they felt good in my hands. The only one that was set up bad was the Warwick Thumb. The extended part of the fretboard which continues and overlaps the body was about 5 to 7mm off the body wood. :eyebrow: Completely killed my GAS for Thumbs, because it felt kinda flimsy and toyish. So I guess thats a good thing, that's the last of my expensive GAS gone... for now. :p

    So yeah, are all B's that floppy? :confused: What basses have a really tight B, similar to the tension on a regular E?
  2. IconBasser

    IconBasser Scuba Viking Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Alta Loma, California
    hm... the tightest B-string I've ever played was on an Ibanez SR505.
  3. ROON


    Aug 5, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    :crying: lol
  4. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    They needed properly set up, which almost never happens before a bass is hung on the wall of a store.

    A bad B string on a Stingray 5? Please . . . .
  5. eastcoasteddie


    Mar 24, 2006
    If you are not used to playing a 5, then yes, the B will feel floppy. It is a thick assed string with not too much tension on it...

    Aside from that, I have 3 basses with low-B's. a G&L a Douglas and a Brice. NONE of them sound "floppy" to me...but then again, it's a matter of opinion. The Brice is a 35" scale which is supposed to make the B sound tighter. UNless you're really anal-retentive, there really isn't much difference in the sound of the B...

    Funny because I recently played a bunch of 5's & 6's at GC a few days ago and the one that felt the best TO ME was the Ibanez SR506.
  6. ROON


    Aug 5, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    Played lots of basses there, but those are the only 5ers I played. They all felt nice (cept the Thumb) and the Stingrays felt like they do when you order one from the factory (I own an SR4). I'm not saying the B's were "bad". I'm saying that I expected most B's to be really tight and the SR5 was probably my least favourite one there.
  7. ROON


    Aug 5, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    I actually just played them unplugged, so I was just going by feel. :) Not sure if all that noise would actually come through on the amp, but it was really prominent when playing unplugged. I put a new set of D'Addario's on my SR4 yesterday, and they buzz like crazy for some reason when I fret (though I do need to adjust my action) but still sounds really clean through the amp.

    The SR505 was really nice! A lot lighter than I would have expected them to be. The build quality was quite nice too, man I love Ibanez. :)
  8. All the basses you played have 34" scale necks, which has a lot to do with feel. Some people like 34" scale, some prefer a 35" scale neck for 5+ string basses. I'm one of those that prefer the longer scale necks (and will respectfully disagree with eastcoasteddie on this) because there IS a difference... the longer scales help with tighter tension on the low B's, making them less floppy.

    With the exception of a Stingray 5, the only 34" scale 5-strings I would buy are the ones which you can string through the body. I have a Fender American Jazz V strung that way and it feels pretty good. Not as good my other 5- or 6-strings (all 35" scale), but better than a standard 34" scale bass.

    Try a 35" scale bass and see if you notice a difference... I bet you'll like the B-string much better. Remember though... as with all other things bass, it's about what sounds/feels/works best TO YOU. :)

  9. I had very similar experiences when I was still relatively new to bass. To be quite honest, I kinda thought about avoiding the low B all together because everything I had played was a flop factory. A custom shop Peavey Cirrus was the first thing that sounded half decent to me and much better when restrung it with plain jane Ernie Ball strings.

    If you're as picky as I am, there aren't many stock 34" scale basses that get the job done. Luthiers are worth their weight in gold when it comes to the low B. Curbow's construction made for a stellar low B in 34" scale. Many Dingwall users will proclaim that their low B is the best. At 37", I wouldn't doubt them.

    I've never heard one that impressed me a whole lot. When comparing something like my Rob Allen or Conklin, it's not even a competition.
  10. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    so the SR505 has a tight B? has anyone been able to compare it to BTB? i'm thinking about buying a BTB456, but if the SR506 has a tighter B, then I'll probably get that instead. (mainly because the BTB is 35", and if i can I'd like to get a nice B without the extra scale length...doesn't seem likely though.)
  11. I've played both and would pick the BTB hands down over the SR, because it's got a better B. Plus, the higher-end BTBs have Bartolini pickups... a nice addition. Any particular reason you DON'T want the extra scale length? Just curious.

  12. Problem could be solved with higher gauge low B.
  13. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    Yeah most 34" Bs are flop city. I played a Warwick the other day and it was the worst B I've ever played. I just bought an Ibanez SR1305, that has a great B, but it's @ 13 years old. I guess Ibanez knew what they were doing then, cause the new ones I've played weren't up to my standards, The BTBs are better because they're 35" scale. I've played some okay Sterlings and the New AS Pbass is decent, but I didn't really like the neck or sound of the P (installed roundwounds part of the problem there).

    BTW when I went out looking for my first fiver I ended up buying a Rob Allen because it had the only B string I felt I'd want to play consistently!
  14. This might help. *shrugs*

    Different strings have different tensions.

    A word of caution though: putting on a whole set of higher guage strings might change the pull on the neck, which will mess with your action of course. And if you put on just a thicker B-string, then you have the problem that you can't buy a standard set of strings... you'll have to buy a set AND a specific guage B. :meh:

  15. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    never played a 35", and no opportunity to try before i buy. the SR506, and BTB456 both have barts (iirc). mainly, i'm just worried about never having played a 35" before. but if the B is better, then I'll risk it.
  16. JonathanD


    Dec 13, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    From G-B I move my hand position. So when playing ont he G string I am close to the neck. As I from string to string I move further towards the bridge. Most people naturally do the opposite without thinking about it. This makes the B feel even floppier than it is. Also, a thicker B string will help reduce that IMO.
  17. Sean Baumann

    Sean Baumann Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Livin' in the USA
    Sounds like either the basses had poor setup or you have poor technique. Warwicks and Stingray 5 strings are some of the best B strings out there. Granted, I do not play with a pick often. My old SR5 did fine picked.
  18. animal52


    Jul 1, 2006
    DC area
    I had an SR506 for a while. It did have a nice B as far as they go, but I still found it unusably floppy most of the time, and forget about digging in. Needless to say, the prospect of an affordable dingwall on the horizon thrills me.
  19. Didn't know the SR had Barts... it's been a while since I play an SR 5-string and they didn't have barts at the time. :oops:

    You won't have too much trouble going to a 35" scale. At first the muscles in your hand might notice that it's a little bit more of a stretch, but doing some scale exercises will solve the problem pretty quick.

  20. El-Bob

    El-Bob Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    Hamilton, ON
    cool, looks like theres a BTB for me in the near future, although i have been known to change my mind alot:p

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