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The first succesful 5 strings

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by barroso, Feb 6, 2002.

  1. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    i was wondering this; which is the first (in terms of chronology) 5 strings bass produced that became a real top seller ? i have different suggestions, let me know your idea!
  2. The first important 5-strings were made by Tobias and Ken Smith in the early-to-mid '80s. In terms of sales, the most important 5 that's not a budget bass is probably the Music Man Stingray 5.
  3. trainyourhuman


    Apr 12, 2000
    What about the first fender 5? IT was in the 60s right? As for popularity, I think I am going to go with the Yamaha BB5000.
  4. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    The Fender Bass V was in the early to mid '70's, but I'm not sure that it could be called a "success". I have never actually seen one, and the only noteworthy person that I've ever known to play one was John Paul Jones...and it was used very sparingly. It was "successful" in the sense that it WAS, to my knowledge, the first mass-produed, affordable 5-string manufactured by a recognized manufacturer at that time. However, like most of the instruments that were made in the '70's, the quality and performance were lacking. Otherwise, although I think that Alembic was making 5-strings in the late '70's/early '80's, the first successful, mainstream extended range basses were built by Tobias, Smith, and Warwick.
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    The Fender Bass V was a short scale, only had 19 frets, and was tuned EADGB(or C, if you prefer). I've never played one, but I have heard that they were awful.
  6. Rock City

    Rock City

    Apr 8, 2001
    Actually guys......The Fender Bass V was introduced in 1966 and was a LONG scale!
  7. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    The first successful one I remember reading about was the Tobias. It was in a Bass PLayer Chris Squire interview. It was while he was recording BigGenerator.
  8. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Depends on what you call "successful".

    The Yamaha BB5000 was the first really affordable 5-string and they sold really well in the early-mid '80s. It's documented as such in "The Bass Book" by Miller Freeman. At that time, the only other viable options were very expensive...Tobias, Ken Smith, etc.

    I just got one of these, and I'm amazed at the quality of it in comparison to the going price nowadays. I got mine for less than $400 in near mint condition. The Yamaha BB series in general are a great value.
  9. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Part of this forum's purpose is to be educational, and I don't want to post a response with incomplete or inaccurate information. That said, this should finish off the ole Bass V:

    Fender Bass V was introduced in 1965
    34" Scale
    Offset waist contoured body
    15 fret rosewood fingerboard
    Five-saddle, string-through-body bridge
    Right & Left handed versions available
    The additional string was a high C, not low B
    Pickup was a split-P style
    Contols were similar to Precision-Vol/Tone
    The model was discontinued in 1970.
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Gibsongeek, JPJ, thanks for the correction. That's really strange. 34" scale and only 15 frets?
  11. Maybe they just wanted to add an extra string but didn't feel right in giving bassplayers notes that high? Bass V's are weird looking beasts.. thats for sure.
  12. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001
    While I agree that some of the custom guys were making better basses earlier, I'd have to go with the Yamaha BB5000 as the first high profile 5 string that was a commercial success. I can stil remember the first time I saw Nathan East playing his white BB5000 in the Eurythmics video "Would I Lie to You?", and thinking "what the hell is that extra tuner doing there?"!
  13. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    An exceptionally long body does the trick:

  14. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Craig, I measured the nut width on my BB5000...
    1 11/16". Same as a P-bass, roughly. That's pretty darn narrow for a fiver. Might be something to check into.
  15. Intrepid


    Oct 15, 2001
    First time I saw a 5-string bass, I was very young and someone had led me to believe it was an Electric Banjo...I actually only recently(several years back) realized that it was infact a 5-string bass...
  16. Inm terms of something close to the modern 5er (which lets out the Fender V), I say Alembic. Jimmy Johnson was playing one of these before Tobias and Ken Smith really hit.
  17. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    The first time I remember seeing a 5 stringer was in the hands of Pete Farndon (sp?) of the Pretenders. He had a pink Jazz style 5 string. I think it was an ESP. That was around the time of their first album.


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