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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jason Hale, Dec 29, 2003.
What's the best bass to get a great Precision tone in a tight 5 string?
A..precision 5 string? Fender used to/still does make them i thought?
Fender still does. American Deluxe only though. Retail for about $1200-$1300.
Mile Lull will make you a 5-string with a P pickup on it.
Benavente also make a 5-string bass in a PJ pickup confic, it has the look of a 51 P bass.
I'd have to say a Lull P5 of a Benavente '51 (a P bass version of the Vintage Vortex line) would both be outstanding choices! Without knowing exactly what you're looking for, what your preferences are, or what you like/don't like in a bass, generally speaking:
The Lull P5 is great for guys who like a Fender look, a vintage feel, and a more traditional, "old school" tone.
The Benavente '51, while it has the look of a '50s P Bass, is still a Benavente. I'd recommend it more for players leaning more towards a modern tones and playing styles. The Benevente is also more customizable than the Lull, so if you like your basses tricked out, then you might want to consider the '51. Hope that helps....just let me know if I can answer more questions.
I have a Lull P5: mine is passive, Fralin PJ pups, maple top over ash body, RW board, 35" scale, 4+1 headstock. It definitely has the old school look. The passive tone isn't modern, but I wouldn't call it old-school. I suspect this is because of the 35" scale, but then again it could be due to the high-mass bridge, or other factors (probably a combination).
I like the Lull a lot: fit and finish are excellent. Probably because of the ash body it has very snappy tone: sounds great for slap even without the J pickup engaged (I never use the J pup). It also growls nicely (again, even without the J). The alder-body models probably offer more of the traditional P-bass "thump".
Playability is definitely new-school, however. The neck is slim and fast. I love the sexy satin finish, but the profile is a very shallow C, which I find unsettling because to me, a P-bass should have a chunky neck. That's not such a big deal, but string spacing at the bridge is a genuine distraction to me: it's a fairly narrow 17mm, as opposed to the Fender-standard 19mm (3/4"). I can hang, but can't get completely comfy. YMMV.
I've auditioned the Fender Precision 5 a few times: the older model with 5-inline headstock and 9V preamp. Playability was perfect for me. Whereas the Lull P5 has a genuine P-bass body shape, the Fender P5 is scooped deeper on the lower cutaway for access to additional frets. The asymmetrical split-pup on the Fender bothers me for some reason. I also didn't care for the big bridge bucker, and wasn't thrilled with the preamp. The newer Fender P5 basses have 4+1 headstocks (which I prefer), and an 18V preamp which supposedly sounds much nicer.
There are a bazillion 5-string Jazz clones, but we P-bass lovers don't have many options. The Lull serves me well enough: isn't perfect (for me), but I prefer it to the Fender. I've emailed both Dan Lakin and Roger Sadowsky asking for a vintage-style Precision 5 string, but unfortunately neither has plans to build one (the PJ Sad is a killer bass, but it looks like a J).
P.S. The Benevente '51 model does have tons of mojo, but I prefer split-pup P-basses.
I replied to your e-mail but the message got kicked back today. I copied my reply and sent it to you in a PM. Check it out...I hope you find it helpful.
Another vote for the '51 PJ Benavente. I've been looking for a P5 for several years, and this is the best I've found.
When I first got it I was a little disappointed, but it is really growiing on me. The first issue was the weight, it's a little heavy at 10 lbs 7 ozs, it is also slightly neck heavy. Having played active basses for years, I thought the tone was weak and too zingy. The pluses were the fantastic neck, very good B,knockout looks, and outstanding craftsmanship.
I changed the strings from stainless SITs to nickel D'addarios which really helped. I tried it through a Fodera 2000 preamp which helped, and also with a Sansamp BDDI, but it really came to life through the Radial Bassbone (a great pedal BTW).
The final test was A/B'ing it against my '66J (I have a P, but it's a fretless '75 with tapewound flats). My '66 is a GREAT sounding bass and I felt it would be a good reference point. Going through the Bassbone, the '51 can mimic the '66 with the PUPs blended. Soloing the neck PUP, the tone became punchier and rounder. My favorite sound is 3/4 neck, 1/4 bridge (punchy, focused, with clear highs and a little growl).
My '51 has the alder body, Aero P and Dimarzio Ultra Jazz PUPs. Chris has also offered to build a lighter swamp ash body, but I'm not sure I want to mess with it. For now, I'm using a Comfort Strapp or Slider strap to deal with the weight.
Give the '51 some thought, and as has been stated elsewhere, there are many options.
Although I haven't really played one, I've heard nothing but great things about Sadowsky 5 string Precisions
Don't overlook the Roscoe Beck 5. It'll do a convincing P bass in single coil mode, plus a nice j sound, not to mention having it's own wonderfully sweet tone....AND it won't set you back $$$-wise like a Lull or God forbid a Sadowsky.
Here's my new MTD 535 P5:
I've been looking for a really nice playing 5 string Precision type bass for Hawaiian Music for some time, and this was my favorite. After playing everything I could find at NAMM, I had to take this one home:
It's a prototype made by Mike for the Nashville NAMM show, with an alder body and a custom passive Bartolini pickup that Mike describes as "vintage wound".
No bells & whistles, just a volume & treble cut. It plays very easily, it's pretty light and it sounds like a punchy P should. It has even been pre-tested by Mike Dimin, which has become a prerequisite for my new basses.
Man, I dig it, Jonathan! Very cool.
MTD P-bass = teh sex!
I'm also a fan of the P bass and 5ers, and the market on these kind of basses is discouragingly small. Most people seem to go for the Jazz necks and pickups.
I do like that Lull offers said P5s, and I've lusted after them from time to time.
Fuzz, quick question: is the P5 body full sized or downsized, like Sadowsky basses are?
I surely do love the P bass sound, and I'm glad at least some luthiers are making them. Now they just need to make one my broke college-student butt can afford.
MTD Pingston, maybe?
Hawt damn that MTD is hawt. I'm saving for a 535 right now, maybe I'll go get me one of those P basses after. I'm in college too so it might take me a while
I just picked up a Lull P5 in a trade and it sounds great. Very punchy and growly. Mine has a solid ash body finished in a Mary Kay finish. It looks exactly like the one on Lull's website. It seems to cut through a bit better than my MTD 535. The band has instructed me to only bring my Lull. LOL! It reminds me alot of the old 70's P-bass with a Dimarzio pickup dropped in. A friend has a 64 P-bass and this sounds almost exactly like it. Highly recommended!
PS: 1st bass I've owned in awhile that doesn't need a stinkin battery
Congrats on the new Lull P5!!! Glad to hear you dig it and that it's working for you. Pretty good "bang-for-the-buck" bass, eh?
Don't forget US Masters... they make a 5 string P bass, as well. http://www.usmasters.com/basspgs/ep4ep5.htm
Sadowsky PJ5. Think Robert Cray- Phone Booth.