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Roscoe Beck V... I'm in heaven

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mikopita, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. mikopita

    mikopita Supporting Member

    Feb 22, 2007
    As the title implies, I am heaven since acquiring my new Roscoe Beck V from jza57. So far it's seen two gigs with two different bands and three rehearsals between the two. Maybe it isn't for everyone, but it's definitely the bass for me. :hyper:

    For many years I've been a MMan fan, and while I still enjoy that tone at times I felt like I was missing something with my SR5. I took a chance with the RB5 without ever having played one before, and boy am I glad I did! Reviews of the Beck seem to be mixed due to the weight, and the wideness of the neck (which I agree is a tad heavy, but nothing a nice strap can't relieve). Now, I don't have particularly large hands (I'm 5'10" - 170lbs., and have slender fingers) but have found the bass to require me to keep proper technique. Proper hand technique has proven to be the key with the neck on this beast, and I've been able to pull off some pretty nice grooves so far.

    My only real complaint so far is that there is no string tree for the E string. I've seen that this is an issue for other cats too, but it hasn't been that big a deal so far (even though I'm likely going to be putting another tree on it soon).

    The tones out of this thing are exactly what I've been looking for. If you are looking for a diverse 5 with a combination of vintage and modern vibe, this could be the one for you too. Once I raised the B a tad, I found it to be nice and tight with a sound quality that is uniform with the other strings.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share my excitement. Hopefully someone who is searching for these in the forum search tools someday will happen upon this thread and be encouraged to go after one too. In my opinion you cannot go wrong.

    BTW, is there a Roscoe Beck club?
  2. fatsobasso


    Dec 24, 2005
    Ormond florida
    I hope things are going good with your Roscoe Beck 5,i have 2 of them,my 1998 is so damn punchy and solid sounding,i have been up and down about selling it off,cause of weight.i have a pretty bad shoulder injury that is getting worse as i get older,anyway i am
    looking to sell her:bawl:
  3. Music_for_life


    Aug 6, 2010
    I love my RB5 more than my SR5, the definition of low notes is better and I like the wide neck
  4. Gongrats on your new bass!! You've got one of the most versatile sounding passive 5er's out there. Great neck profile and well made. Like other's reported, I too had to sell cause of the weight. Awesome bass though. I never tried a big-wide beefier strap though...?
  5. main_sale


    Apr 26, 2004
    Cape Cod
    Nice buy! I think the RB IV & V just might be the best sounding bass that Fender has made recently. It's sad that they discontinued them but I suspect that will help the resale value of them as time goes on and more people realize how good they sound.
  6. MooseLumps

    MooseLumps Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2007
    Man, I wish I could afford one. They sound like FUN!! I've been hunting for one for about 5 years now, but doing the whole starving student thing really cuts in on your ability to save.
  7. Hans Gruber

    Hans Gruber

    Jun 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    I've got one for sale ;)

    Mine only weighs 10 lbs, compared to other ones that for 11+
  8. I recently picked one up and love it. The neck is bigger than I'd like but I've gigged it a few times and was fine after 3.5 hour nights. Killer tone and full of options.
  9. main_sale


    Apr 26, 2004
    Cape Cod
    The neck on these basses is pretty special. It's an aysemetric profile with a little more meat on the bass side. It makes the neck feel a little more substantial while still being fast. I like it.
  10. mikeddd


    Nov 12, 2009
    San Antonio, TX
  11. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    RB5 newbie question:

    what's the control layout?
    in other words
    "what's them switches and what-not do?

    looks like a strat type pup selector...3 way? 5 way? what?
    coil taps per pickup: single coil and dual parallel or what?

  12. Fretless1!


    Feb 19, 2007
    Congrats! I have two and they are, hands down, my favorite fretted basses ever.
  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Same here. The weight was an issue for my 51 year old back. Also, I am mostly playing modern hard rock these days, and active basses work better for that IMO.

    All that said, I miss my RB5's very much (I had two, a blue one and a gold one). The RB5 has a great range of passive tones, the B string is very good, and the asymmetrical neck is more comfy to my fretting hand than my current #1, a Sadowsky P5. I'd have kept mine if I could, but I had to finance another Sadowsky order.
  14. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    • Master volume
    • Master tone - it's a push-pull with the "pull" position slightly attenuating the neck pickup so that the bridge pickup stands out more when both are used
    • Three position pickup selector switch: neck/both/middle
    • 3 position mini-toggle for each pickup: series/parallel/single coil

    Note: when both pickups are in single-coil mode, they are humbucking.

    Background: Roscoe Beck wanted a five-string Fender that had the tonal mojo of his vintage J-bass. He and Fender worked with Bill Lawrence on the special pickups. I think they got it as close as possible!
  15. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine

    I know I'd prefer blend to the threeway as I have several G&L's with the three way. Not being able to blend pickups is a bummer, I think.

    This is a bass that's always intrigued me!
  16. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The push/pull tone control gives you a little bit of flexibility: lots of J-bassers bump the bridge pickup a bit, and pulling the tone control out does just that. But certainly, a blend control is more versatile.

    I've seen at least two RB5's modded with blend in place of the toggle. That thought never occurred to me, as I almost always soloed the neck pickup. I should add here that the neck pickup soloed in series gives a beefy P-bass vibe... won't fool a purist but it's close enough.
  17. Hans Gruber

    Hans Gruber

    Jun 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    As much a blend control is great, turns out I think you can get more musical blends out of this system.

    I find that blends virtually function as an on/off switch anyway. Not much subtlety. The real secret to this bass's greatness to me is that push/pull pot where it drops the neck pickup to 75%.

    That is the most musical function to me because of it has a much sweeter, more musical voicing. My 2 fav settings is series bridge, parallel neck with pull, and series/series with pull. That's sounds like a true blend to me.

    Wish every bass had that option. The resistor option to me works much better than the blends, even better than VVT.

    Even SC/SC with pull is significantly different than just bridge alone, and I like that. It's not quite as thin that way.
  18. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    huh...ok, i could see that...

  19. Bought mine new in 1998?. Ya it is on the heavy side, but i tend to like that. The bass is so versatile, and the sound is great. Done tons of gigs and recordings with this and I love it. I do own other 5 strings, but i keep coming back to this. Now that they have discontinued this model, I am a bit leary of using it in certain gigs, as I know I cannot replace it easily.
  20. One of the biggest mistakes fender made was discontinuing the rb5
    it is a badass instrument. i wanted one back in 97 but i was poor as fock back then

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