The first 5-string?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Toronto Bassist, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. Toronto Bassist

    Toronto Bassist

    Jan 9, 2008
    I'm curious what the first 5-string bass was...any ideas? I don't mean any one-offs or custom jobs. What was the first mass manufactured line of 5-string?

    I'm just curious because when I started playing in the late 80s, I never saw any - but then again, I lived in a small one-horse town where the only basses you saw in stores was the occasional P-bass (keep in mind that this includes ma & pa furniture stores with music stuff on the side). But when I went to college in the early 90s, I was already seeing people with 5-strings - Ibanez, I think.
  2. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    the first electric 5-er was the Fender bass-v, iirc.
  3. ghostjs


    Aug 14, 2008
    Unofficially Endorsing: D'Addario, Lakland
    what was that tuned in? BEADG or EADGC?
  4. mkrtu9


    Mar 2, 2006
    hmm interesting question... off to google search this.
  5. BigFetus


    Jun 12, 2009
    that's got the weirdest scale length... only 15 frets?!?
  6. Toronto Bassist

    Toronto Bassist

    Jan 9, 2008
    Haha, that is weird...15 frets. Guess maybe they figured no one needed more than that!
  7. ExaltBass

    ExaltBass XBass Cables Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Twin Cities, MN
  8. mkrtu9


    Mar 2, 2006
  9. The Fender Bass V came out in the late '60s. It was a short scale, IIRC, and intended to have a high 'C' string.
  10. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    The Fender V was and remains a terrible instrument. Well made, but terrible sounding.

    I would think that this thread would be looking for the first BEADG 5-string bass. Without knowing, I'd guess it was something Alembic did?
  11. scowboy

    scowboy Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2006
    Sacramento area
    There is a picture of a 1978 model (Series 1?) 5 String Alembic in John Entwistle's Bass Culture book. That is probably a very early example. The string spacing looks miserably close.
  12. Brendan5


    Jul 18, 2009
    Upright fives with low B have been around since classical times. I found it interesting when researching on wiki once. Makes sense when considering the piano though I guess.
  13. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    In reference to the OP's question, I recall a mass-manufactured 34" scale low B to G 5 string basse from Ibanez around 1986, and then the Yamaha BB5000 a short time after that. They were not common, but were occasionally seen in stores and were featured in product catalogs at the time.
  14. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    As I recall, Ampeg made Baby Basses with Low-B and 5-strings. But I think that's beyond the scope of this thread.
  15. I am very much into this thread. I would guess the fender bass-v only had 15 frets on assumption that you didn't need the higher frets since you now had a higher string.
  16. Toronto Bassist

    Toronto Bassist

    Jan 9, 2008
    Yeah, since I mentioned late 80s - early 90s, that would pretty much refer to what we commonly think of now as electric 5-string basses.
  17. SpamBot


    Dec 25, 2008
    St. Paul, MN
    +1. The Bass V and a Jazz or Precision have the same range, even though the Bass V had a C string.
  18. so it wouldn't count as extended range. And therefore.......a witch (and not probably what the OP was looking for). I still kind of want one now, just because its kind of odd.
  19. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    When did MusicMan start? They were the first mass-produced (BEADG) bass that I ever saw a picture of (Tony Levin) in the mid-late 80's.
  20. With all due respect, I believe that this is incorrect. Fodera did not even exist in 1975. Anthony Jackson's first and second 6 string basses were made by Carl Thompson. Then he had a couple made by Ken Smith and Vinny Fodera, who was working for Ken Smith at the time, actually made the 4th one and when he left to start his own company (1982 or 1983?) Anthony Jackson followed him and has collaborated with him ever since.

    The first 5 string bass was played by Jimmy Johnson. He ordered a 5 string bass from Alembic. They were offering basses tuned EADGC and he altered it to BEADG. This was around 1976 or so.

    I learned all this from the book "How The Fender Bass Changed The World" by Jim Roberts but I'm going on memory so there may be some slight errors regarding dates.
    Jim Carr likes this.