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thinking of 5 string Basses


Gierolf_Hvitrserkr
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every time I get some cash in my pocket, the idea of a 5 string bass comes into my mind.  Currently I only own my 4 string BC Rich warlock Platinum series.  though I have been looking around for a good 5 string that wont kill my back account. Any suggestions?  (for reference currency is CAD)

 

 

for 500 I found this, through reviews talk about the Open B on a standard chromatic tuning to be off and there is fret buzz, but im used to Fret buzz from my current BC rich.

http://www.stevesmusic.com/guitars-and-basses/basses/esp-b-155dx-see-through-blue

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I'll just throw this out there, when I was looking around for a used 5 string bass that particular model was the one popping out most frequently. I figured why'd I want it if everyone else wants to get rid of it :)

 

But you make your own conclusions of course.

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I have a newb question.  What is the advantage of having the 5th string?  Do people mostly use it for downtuning or chords?

lower tunings are possible as your already starting with b so easier to tune without spaghetti strings.

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I have a newb question.  What is the advantage of having the 5th string?  Do people mostly use it for downtuning or chords?

I have little experience with five string basses, but my Dad is a bassist and has been playing for 40+ years. He made the switch to five-string a few years back and says he'd never go back to four now. He likes it because the fifth string allows him to hit lower notes, play alternate tunings more easily, and stay in one position on the bass longer instead of travelling up and down the neck as much. He also likes not having to hit the open E string to get that low E note like you do on a four string. That might just be more of a benefit for him since he tries to never use an open string...says that fretted notes are easier to control and just sound better, but YMMV.

 

 

sleepy

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Acoustic Guitar:  Seagull Maritime GT  Playing Since:  8/11/2011

Electric Guitar:  Epiphone Les Paul Jr.  Playing since:  9/25/2013

Bass Guitar:  Squier Vintage Modified Jaguar Special  Playing Since:  2/17/2014

 

"The road of life is rocky, and you may stumble too. So while you point your finger, someone else is judging you." --Bob Marley

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I have a newb question. What is the advantage of having the 5th string? Do people mostly use it for downtuning or chords?

I have little experience with five string basses, but my Dad is a bassist and has been playing for 40+ years. He made the switch to five-string a few years back and says he'd never go back to four now. He likes it because the fifth string allows him to hit lower notes, play alternate tunings more easily, and stay in one position on the bass longer instead of travelling up and down the neck as much. He also likes not having to hit the open E string to get that low E note like you do on a four string. That might just be more of a benefit for him since he tries to never use an open string...says that fretted notes are easier to control and just sound better, but YMMV.sleepy
I'll second that, although I don't use the low B-string as often as I probably should (because most of the songs I play in RS are intended for four strings only), but at least it gives me a resting place for my thumb, no matter where I want to fret the other strings. ;) And when I start recording my own songs again, I'll definitely make use of it.
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yeah the advantages are clear, the disadvantages are more price on the strings, the guitars tend to cost more period.  and some 5 strings apparently do not like playing the low b in general (and we see the same issue in rocksmith all the time with the low b tunings apparently, I know my strings are too loose for B on my 4.  hence why i want a 5 string)  Im personally lookin for suggestions on brand + price range of a lower dollar point.

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This is kinda a long story, and I tend to ramble.  BUT, it is about me looking for my new 5-string bass, so I guess it is on-topic rambling.  :)  Anyway, skip this post if you don't want me talking your ear off.

 

I've been playing bass for about 15 years, but only got very serious after Rocksmith (I started with RS2014, original flew under my radar).  I started out back then with a 4-string Ibanez GSR200 because it was cheap, but it has actually worked really well for me.  I am by no means a professional bassist or even particularly skilled amateur, so I don't really have much to compare it with ... but I still play it and it still performs just fine to my ear.  I even have the original strings on it -- I guess I'm a believer in "the funk is in the funk" school of thought.  Well, that or I'm just a cheap bastard.

 

After getting reinvigorated on bass with Rocksmith, I also got interested in trying a 5-string.  I did web research over various models, and the one that really caught my eye was the Epiphone Thunderbird Pro V.  I'm the kind of guy that thinks a stratocaster guitar just looks a little too normal; I like do go for something a bit unusual.  So, my first guitar 16-17 years ago was an Epiphone Korina Explorer.  Anyway, I guess that those kinds of different body shapes are up my alley -- your BC Rich tickles my fancy also.  So, I must admit that the main thing that got me focused on the Thunderbird was the looks.

 

But, I did try to do due diligence to make sure that I wouldn't be disappointed with the actual functionality of one.  I read 4 main complaints about them:  First, they are quite heavy.  Second, the neck is especially heavy, so they tend to nosedive.  Third, sometimes they come out of the factory with shoddy wiring and poor grounding that results in buzz or hum.  And fourth, many of them in the initial factory run didn't have the pickups or filter set up right, and as a result they didn't pick up the B string very well -- several dB softer than the other strings, if at all.

 

I decided that I'd probably be able to learn to deal with the first two issues, but that I'd need to actually play one before I bought it to make sure that the other two issues didn't crop up.  So, that cut out eBay or web purchasing.

 

I went on vacation to Las Vegas and then back to my home in Kansas a couple months ago (I currently live in Thailand), and I figured that was my chance to get my hands on one in person.  I guess that the Thunderbird Pro V is getting a little bit rare; shops I checked with in Vegas didn't have them, so I was sure I wouldn't find one easily in rural Kansas.  I eventually found a Guitar Center where they could have one shipped in from another warehouse, so I opted for that.  List price was $599, without a case, shipping, etc.  While I was confirming the order, I said that I would want to reserve the right to pass on it if it had any of the hardware problems that I had read about, and/or be able to negotiate a discount for any cosmetic damage.  They said that was OK but that they thought it should be in perfect working and cosmetic condition.

 

Then, about 12 hours later I got an email that said that it DID have some cosmetic damage - a couple of chips in the finish, but nothing that would affect playability.  They said that they would drop the price to $399 as a result.

 

When it came in, I went to check it out.  Both finish chips were quite small, one on a corner of the body pretty close to where your arm rests and blocks it from view anyway, and one on the back face.  You'd have to look pretty hard to notice either of them.  I plugged in to an amp there, and the B came roaring through at full volume and I didn't hear any extensive line noise / grounding buzz.  So, I happily paid for the bass + case + shipping, very pleased with the $200 discount for very minimal cosmetic scuffs.

 

 

Now that I've been playing it for a couple months, I'm still very pleased with my purchase.  It is heavy and it does nosedive (even though my bass is a newer version where they moved the strap button location to try to help out with that), but I got used to those items easily as I thought I would.  I'm sure that the early-run problem with the pickups not getting the B string at full volume isn't an issue with mine.  However, I *do* get some line noise from what I assume is improper grounding -- it gets pretty loud with high gain or distortion settings.  I can limit it some by cranking down the trebel pot, but that isn't a perfect cure and sometimes I'd really like the tone from setting that higher.  May be possible to have a luthier do some drilling and wiring and get it solidly grounded at some point, but it isn't THAT bad most of the time.

 

On the good side, the tone and sustain are better than my old Ibanez GSR200.  The hardware all seems rock solid and high quality.  And, it was easier to get used to a 5 than I had originally thought it might be.  Although, for most Rocksmith stuff up until recent customs you're just ignoring that low B.  Fun to have the new stuff that makes use of that extra range!  And, I still really love the looks of the thing -- beautiful!  So again, overall I'm still very pleased with it.

 

 

One final thing -- while I was hanging out in the Guitar Center making up my mind about whether or not to pull the trigger and have them ship the Thunderbird in, I wanted to try out basically *any* 5-string just to get a feel for it and see if the neck width would really throw me off or anything.  Well, the sales guy sure knew his stuff and knew just the one to tempt me with ... he pulled a Fender American Standard Precision Bass 5 off the wall.  Over $1500 price tag, but I could tell just from a little noodling around that those things deserve their good rep.  Smooth as silk.  Biggest thing that struck me was how dead easy it was to slap/pop -- I *suck* at slap/pop; I can't make it work at all on my Ibanez, and I'm only a little better at it with my Thunderbird.  But with that P Bass, it seemed dead easy.  Body shape looks very pedestrian to my eye, but as a musical instrument even an amateur like me could tell I was playing a great piece of kit.

 

 

OK, sorry for rambling story -- good luck with your 5-string search!  :)

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-----------------------------

Milkman Dan

My YouTube channel  (bass playthrough videos)

My Customs Download Folder  (my customs)

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 I had a super nice squire deluxe live 5 jb with the slap switch was in expensive. All black with ebonol fingerboard, but I returned it the 5th string was f'ing me up lol.

 

Im looking for another one, but I hear good things about the Rondo Music 5er's I forget the model off the top of my head

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 I had a super nice squire deluxe live 5 jb with the slap switch was in expensive. All black with ebonol fingerboard, but I returned it the 5th string was f'ing me up lol.

 

Im looking for another one, but I hear good things about the Rondo Music 5er's I forget the model off the top of my head

 

I have a Rondo Music 5 string bass (Brice).  It's the only bass I've owned so I can't compare it to anything else.  I like it.  If you wanna hear what is sounds like just click on any videos made by me.

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