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Roscoe Beck Bass V 5-String

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by harley_ou812, Jan 29, 2002.

  1. Has anyone tried one of these? Can you get a traditional Jazz tone out of one? anyone know where I can try one I am from near harrisburg pa. This seems it may be the perfect solution but I havent gotten to see one in person. Thanks
  2. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The Fender Roscoe Beck V (aka RB5) is so nice I bought it twice. Actually that isn't true: I bought the first and traded for the second. :p

    Anyway, the RB5 does indeed produce an extremely authentic Jazz bass tone. It was designed by Roscoe Beck and Fender to do exactly that... plus more. For example parallel mode produces a very crisp tone which almost sounds active, and series mode delivers serious thump: the neck pup soloed in series mode gets close to P-bass territory.

    Here's a link to the BAss Player magazine review of the RB5: http://www.roscoebeck.com/profile.htm

    Make sure you check out the "making of" sidebar at the bottom. Cool stuff.
  3. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Good stuff. Roscoe's a straight-up player who's added just enough bells and whistles to the instrument to be useful. I don't like fiddling with knobs to get a useful tone, so I like the fact that the tonal variations on the RB5 are activated with switches. The instrument has full 1/4" string spacing, and the neck is rather hefty, but you get used to both. It's also passive and built like a tank, so reliability isn't an issue.
  4. I am thinking of getting a RB5 too. How will it sound with a Sadowsky outboard preamp? I guess those two are a killer combination! On the other hand I am GASSING for a Fender FMT 5 Deluxe! I love the looks on that one! Keep posting your experiences on the RB 5 please.

    Regards, Werner.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I had an RB5 and did indeed use it with the Sadowsky outboard pre-amp - definitely added something in the lows although it was a very subtle effect - useful for bringing up the output to match active basses.

    I also liked it strung through the body, although some B strings won't fit and you need extra long.

    I think it has a killer slap tone and with the wide spacing it was ideal for this, especially with the Sadowsky pre-amp - Marcus Miller! I really like to have only one bass, but I am starting to miss the RB5 for slap - as neck-through basses don't sound so good. But I do very little slap anyway so it seems like a needless extravagance to bring out another bass just for one or two songs!

    For my main needs a 24 fret, faster neck is more important, but I do think the RB5 is a great bass and definitely the best Fender I ever tried!
  6. I own an RB5, and agree it is the best that Fender has ever made. The Gotoh bridge is massive and fully adjustable in every direction. The pickups are VERY smooth and no dead spots even under severe bending. A very large amount of work went into their design. The neck is full "C" width yet thin front to back, and nice to play. I have small hands, and the neck is no problem at all.

    The Gotoh bridge is out of production, so it cannot be duplicated in a Warmoth. Mine has the Hipshot Ultralight tuners, which are very tasty. The bass is heavy but correctly balanced. No neck dive when you let go.

    In Single Coil mode, it nails the vintage J tone (N + B) perfectly. The Series / Parallel switching is very versatile and provides a wide range of tones. Neck/Series is fatter than Parallel or Single Coil mode.

    The RB5 does NOT nail the P tone. It sounds like a Jazz in neck mode.

    I've got a fax and phone call into Bill Lawrence to see if he will custom wind me a P pickup to replace my neck pickup. If so, I will join Fuzzbass and buy another RB5 and convert it to a P.
  7. I still have a couple of questions about the RB5:
    * How "hot" is the output?
    * Is the B string as tight as on a Stingray 5?
    * How low can you get the action without having a sloppy B?

    Thanks for your replies!

    Regards, Werner.
  8. The output on the RB5 is VERY low. It is MUCH quieter than a passive J bass. I have verified this with another TB member who owns two RB5, and yet another bud who owns just one.

    The B string is exceptional, especially for a 34" scale. I can't compare to a Stingray, cuz I don't own one. But... I *live* on the B string and am satisifed with the tone.

    My action is very low. The 6-bolt neck is one of the best parts of the bass. The Gotoh bridge is very adjustable for action height.
  9. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    i love that bass so much that i started a personal project based on it. here in italy they are really xpensive so i decided to put my own on this great bass. my project bass will be a fender jazz V with homemade neck and body and equipped with similar pickups. the bass will have a traditional jazz style with pickguard and chrome control plate and will be powered by a j reto deluxe preamp. my biggest problem now is to find a good position for the 2 three position switches...maybe in the pickguard...
  10. I've got an RB-5, my only 5-string. I'm primarily a 4-string bassist (P-Bass to be exact), but when I need a 5-string, for whatever reason, the RB-5 delivers, and then some.

    It's more versatile than a standard J, and more so than many active basses. It will duplicate just about any J sound you want. No, it won't nail a P-Bass sound, but it gets damn close. It has a plethora of sounds that are very useful. You can change the sound quickly with the series/parallel switches for each pup; the main 3-way switch (neck, neck/bridge, bridge); and the the bright switch on the tone knob.

    It's quality of workmanship is purely outstanding. Yes, the neck is wide, but I like 'em wide. It's got standard 1/4" string spacing at the bridge where all of Fender's (not Squiers) other 5-strings are narrower at this point. Squiers are about the same. As mentioned, it is not a light bass, but it balances nicely and with a wide strap, you really don't notice the weight.

    Mine is a keeper, and a jewel. But, with the RB-5, virtually all of them are jewels. Fender really did their homework and has kept great tabs on the quality.

    Try one. You'll probably LIKE it.
  11. As the output is rather low, isn't that a problem at loud stages? I had a Geddy Lee bass once and when I tried to use this bass live I could not get a decent sound out of it because it did not have enough "power".
  12. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    soulbrother they invented loud amps for that purpose!
  13. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Barroso is right on. If a bass has a low output, this can easily be accounted for with your rig.

    My Cirrus has twice the output of my Pedulla. So I set one channel on my amp for each, so that they are at approximately the same volume. If you don't have a 2 channel amp, it is a simple matter of tweaking the gain and volume knobs on your amp.
  14. Ok I am really Jonesing to try on of these but nowhere in my area has one. Does anyone know of a store in pennsylvania or new jersey maybe southern new york that carries one and has one in stock?
  15. The RB5 output is low by his design. Roscoe wanted all his basses to have the same output level when he switched them on stage. Evidently he has a really old Jazz that was the model for the RB5.
  16. Also, I think they purposely went with weak magnets in the pickups so the magnetic field wouldn't cause ugly dampening & flutter on the "B" string.

    The tradeoff is low output. . .
  17. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The only place I've noticed the low output is with my SansAmp BDDI: it won't push it into full overdrive. But in spite of my handle, the only time I ever use full overdrive is Blur's "Song 2", and even then I don't miss it if I can't achieve it.

    The low output might cause a problem for an underpowered rig that has a poor preamp section. But using Alembic tube pre into Stewart power: no prob, baybee! :cool:
  18. Lawrence had the magnetic pull issue resolved long before RB/Fender started the RB5 project. The low output was RB's design requirement to match the output of his other basses.

    By design, the J uses tall magnets with smaller diameter coils, as compared to the P bass. The J's are less efficient, more prone to flux leakage, and more prone to magnetic string attraction than are the P pickups.
  19. jock


    Jun 7, 2000
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Does it sound closest to a MIA 62 reissue jazz or an ordinary american jazz? What I want to know is: can it sound vintage?
  20. Roscoe designed it specifically to match his ancient Jazz vintage tone. I've not heard a true '62 Jazz, not many hanging in guitar stores these days. I compared the RB5 to a the '62 Classic and several other passive J4, and the RB5 nails the vintage tone perfectly. Neck + Bridge, both in Single Coil mode.