#@%^@#!! Five String Basses! Somebody recommend me one....

#@%^@#!! Five String Basses! Somebody recommend me one....

Postby DKWilkins » Sat Apr 21, 2007 9:14 pm

I have been down the "Five" road before and it wasn't pretty. I seem to be drawn like a moth to a flame to these five string wonders, and like the proverbial moth I usually get burned.

I've tried several over the years, and non really "took", and each seemed to have their own quirks making it hard for me to fall for any one of them in particular. I've given up on fivers as many times as most people give up on cigarettes.

Having said all that, one of the bands I play with is pushing hard for me to go fiver. The bandleader was the original bassist and he played a five, so all the originals we play (and most of the covers) admitedly could use a five to sound better (at least when HE plays the five- I ain't all that and a bag of chips on a five if you know what I mean ;)

I've tried (and sold) MM SR-5, G&L L-2500, L-5000, L-5500, Ibanez 5. I'm wondering if I would do better with a J type fiver. I don't have a printing press in the basement and will either have to go very used and very cheap, swap a MM Sterling HS for it, or sell plasma for the downpayment and do a layaway somehow.

What should I be looking at? Pickings are slim around here... Some of you badasses throw me a bone here... I needs direction!
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Postby Freddels » Sat Apr 21, 2007 9:32 pm

I really love my Zon Sonus Custom 5. I have it strung with a high C (I don't need a 34" thumb rest).
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Postby DKWilkins » Sat Apr 21, 2007 9:38 pm

I've had 3 different Zon's over the years and wish I had kept 'em... they were all 4's though. I'd love to find a (relatively) cheap/used Zon 5. Unfortunately that may be shopping on an aisle I don't need to be on (if you catch my drift ;) )
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Re: #@%^@#!! Five String Basses! Somebody reccomend me one..

Postby Ken Baker » Sat Apr 21, 2007 10:47 pm

DKWilkins wrote:I've tried (and sold) MM SR-5, G&L L-2500, L-5000, L-5500, Ibanez 5. I'm wondering if I would do better with a J type fiver. I don't have a printing press in the basement and will either have to go very used and very cheap, swap a MM Sterling HS for it, or sell plasma for the downpayment and do a layaway somehow.


I've been down the road a bit too, though not to your extent, and it's been painful.

Started out with an L5000, and the string spacing was just too narrow. Seemed kind of goofy to me because I used to play a Hofner 500/1 Beatle bass which has equally narrow spacing. So I flipped it to Buffalo Bros.

Then along came a well-used Pedulla Thunderbolt. At first, it was kind of intimidating because the bridge string spacing was the same as my L-2000. This made the neck look like the deck of an aircraft carrier, but it was VERY thin and VERY easy to play. In testing it, I found that I could bounce between it and a #8 neck G&L without skipping a beat. It almost came home with me but for a mangled trussrod. Hint - it was the wide string spacing at the bridge and light weight that made this one.

I ended up with a Bongo 5 HHP. String spacing feels about the same as an L-2500, so I don't bounce between it and my L-2000 quite so easy. But the neck is thinner than any L-2500 or SR5 I've ever picked up, so playability is pretty good for me. Great tone that is unlike anything but another Bongo, and VERY versatile.

But I'll tell you what; if that Pedulla's trussrod had been in order, there's a good chance that I wouldn't have the Bongo. The Bongo has better tone, is a helluva lot more versatile, and has a great EBMM B string. But the Pedulla just felt SO good.

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Postby bdgotoh » Sat Apr 21, 2007 11:39 pm

The nicest 5er I ever had was a Lakland Joe Osborn 5. It was a USA but the Skyline series are pretty reasonably priced and great basses.
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Postby Jerry » Sun Apr 22, 2007 2:45 am

The Lakland Joe Osborn fiver was a good suggestion since you mentioned a jazz-styled fiver. The Lakland necks are nice, and you can also try a used Skyline 55-01 or 55-02 pretty cheap these days.
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Postby hmagman » Sun Apr 22, 2007 7:22 am

Jerry wrote:The Lakland Joe Osborn fiver was a good suggestion since you mentioned a jazz-styled fiver. The Lakland necks are nice, and you can also try a used Skyline 55-01 or 55-02 pretty cheap these days.


My current fav for a jazz-style fiver is my Lakie Skyline DJ5. Great neck, feel and easy to play. They also did a great job on string tension for the B string.
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Postby DKWilkins » Sun Apr 22, 2007 7:31 am

Thanks for the replies guys! That helps a good bit.... I'm supposed to go to ATL. this next week for some family stuff, if I can break away I may see if I can get out to the "House of Satan" and see if they have any of the above hanging on the wall. I enjoy living in "eastern Egypt" UNTIL time for gear-hunting comes around; there just ain't nuthin' in my neck o' the woods.

Just to narrow down further... anyone able to reccomend a Fender 5 of some sort or should I contain my search to what's been mentioned?
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Postby felig » Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:29 am

I've got a Fender Jazz Deluxe (a MIM one) that I got new for dirt cheap at a GC sale--I stuck a Roland 13 pin GR pickup on it & haven't really used it much--although it seems to be pretty decent as far as 5 strings go. I've got an L5000 & a PRS Bass 5--both of which have the really narrow string spacing & I don't find that to be a problem. I have a Pedulla Pentabuzz & the neck isn't too goofy on that one--I think Pedulla has several neck-width options & mine is not one of the super-wides. I have a MM SR5 & that neck is very comfortable. The best 5 I have ever played was a Zon Sonus that I foolishly traded away. I had both a USA and a Skyline 5 Lakland. They both played pretty much like my MM SR5.

Just some observations from a 4 string player--IMO the MM SR5 is probably the one that I would gig with & they seem to be available for decent prices on the used market.
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Postby Jerry » Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:40 am

If you want a Fender fiver, the Roscoe Beck signature bass is also very nice. It has the same string spacing as a Jazz and does the j-bass thing very well plus some.
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Postby noahvale » Sun Apr 22, 2007 10:01 am

I bounced back and forth from 4 to 5 for years. Finally I realized that if I was going to play 5 strings, I needed to quit bouncing. I realized the problem wasn't the bass, it was my unfamilarity to the 5. I only took a 5 string to gigs for several months in a row. Now I get lost on 4's! For a long time I stayed away from 35" scale basses because the first one I had, a Reverend bothered my left hand. I think it was the fact that the top strap button location is further south on those. There are lots of good fivers for not too much used, you have had a bunch of good ones. Get one and play just the 5 all the time for while, and I think you will find that it's worth it. I also made myself think about the notes I was playing, rather than just going for familiar patterns. That helps a lot when you are first getting used to the extra string.
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Postby nolabass » Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:38 am

I like and play Lakland 5ers. Maybe like butch said...I stuck with it enough to get used to it. But the Laklands appeal to my P Bass side. My 55-94 is a Classic with an Alder body and maple neck. Makes it a little different than most.
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Postby DKWilkins » Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:41 am

The Laklands appeal to me as I've had a few Skyline 4 bangers that I was quite fond of... but the 35" scale puts me off a bit. As much trouble as I've had in the past w/ 5's in general I don't know that I want to compound the problem by mixing scale lengths. [smilie=coz.gif]
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Postby harleyyy » Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:51 am

Lowell has an early 34" scale Lakie 5'er. The first of it's kind.
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Postby BluesBassPlayer » Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:52 pm

DK

If you can't find the L2500 to your likings, then give up fivers. I had a few issues with different 5's until I committed to "really" play one. Love the L2500 I have.

Same issues with a fretless. Setteled for a G&L ASAT fretless.

If you find a Roscoe Beck 5, you'll enjoy this one also.

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