Well I've been toying around with the idea of picking up a 5 string bass because my band has been doing a lot of songs in drop D lately. I'm not a huge fan of drop D so I figured a 5er would be the way to go. I'm picky when it comes to gear so I figured I'd go to GC and give a bunch a test drive in all different price ranges. Here's what I tried and here's how I felt. All basses played through a GK 1001 RB-II thru a GK Neo 410 1. Squier Deluxe Active Jazz V: First off, Squier has upped their game. This thing was set up very well. Frets were great, no fret buzz with very comfortable action. The width at the nut on this thing was massive but still a very comfortable neck. Fit and finish were also really quite nice. There was no gap in the neck pocket or slop that I could find. Tone was great too. The pre was actually quite nice and versatile, though I did notice that there was a huge volume drop when I switched the slap switch down. That could just be an issue with that particular bass though. The B string was a little floppy and was a little undefined below the 5th fret, but the strings were in no way new. All in all a great bang for the buck. 2. Ernie Ball Musicman StingRay 5: This one must have been in the shop a while. It had some serious fret sprout and the hardware was oxidized but it was listed as new (price increased too). Other than that it was everything you expect from an Ernie ball instrument in the fit, finish and setup department. I've owned several EB basses before and while I do have a spot for them in my heart, I always find myself looking for a different tone. I also wasn't in love with the narrow nut spacing. The B-string felt nice and tight and pretty articulate. Again probably would have been way better if the strings werent so old. 3. Lakland Skyline JO5: First time ever playing a Skyline JO. I thought I was going to notice the 35" scale but I wouldn't have known unless you told me. Very nicely put together, no slop to be found, setup and frets were great. The tone was classic Jazz bass. Pretty light weight too. This one probably had the nicest feeling neck. Not too wide, not too narrow, and the satin finish rocked. The B on this one was about the same as on the StingRay. I did notice a little bit of high tension on the G due to the longer scale, but nothing that hindered playability. 4. Squier Affinity Jazz V: I owned one of these before but had it strung E-C. Again wide neck but I enjoyed it. This one, like the one I owned before, was put together great. Easily had the same fit and finish as the StingRay and the Lakland. The tone on the B and E strings were kind of lifeless. Again strings were most likely dead but the B was pretty undefined and muddy. The overall tone was very nice and it was a very sturdy bass. I'm sure with fresh strings and a few tweaks it would be great. Well just thought I'd share that with everyone. If anyone is looking for a budget 5er I say the Squier Deluxe Active Jazz V is the way to go as its ready right out of the box. The Squier Affinity would probably require a few small mods to get it to the same level IMO. My search continues!