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Best 5 String Bass Guitars For Every Price Point

5 string bass guitars

The Top 10 5 String Bass Guitars

With 5 string bass guitars, bassists get a lot of variety because of the extra low string. It makes the overall sound much more dynamic.

After having expert reviews and market research we have listed 5 string bass guitars starting from absolutely delicate boutique bass guitars to more budget-friendly options. This guide also includes supporting ideas and suggestions about the benefits of 5 string bass guitars, tunings, and maintenance.

Learn why you should invest in a cleaning kit here.

Best Budget: Ibanez 5 String Bass Guitar Walnut (GSR205BWNF)

Ibanez GSR205 5-String Electric Bass

The Ibanez GSR205BWNF is a testament to Ibanez’s commitment to providing quality instruments for bassists of all levels. Weighing in at 10 pounds, this 5 string bass guitar is a perfect blend of elegance and performance.

Reasons to buy

Its sleek walnut finish not only looks stunning but also complements the mahogany body, contributing to its warm, resonant tone. The rosewood fretboard with white dot inlay adds to its playability, making it a great choice for both beginners and seasoned players seeking a reliable, affordable option.

Specs

  • Weight: 10 pounds, offering a balanced feel for extended playing sessions.
  • Body Material: Mahogany, known for its rich, warm tones.
  • Guitar Bridge System: Tune-O-Matic, ensuring stable tuning and easy adjustability.

Most Expensive: Yin Yang Fodera Yin Yang 5 Standard Mahogany Bass Guitar – $6550

Fodera Yin Yang 5 Standard Dual-Coil 19 mm 5-String Bass

The Yin Yang Standard Mahogany bass guitar may be a bit pricy but it is famously associated with the legendary Victor Wooten, particularly its 4-string version. This bass features a chambered mahogany body, a 3-piece maple neck with an ebony fingerboard. The distinctive mahogany top with a black painted Yin Yang design, symbolises balance and finesse.

Reasons to buy

Geared with EMG P/J pickups (with an optional dual coil upgrade), it delivers a wide range of tones suitable for a wide variety of styles. Its scale length is 34-inch and 24 large frets ensure comfortable playability, making it a preferred choice for both aspiring and professional bassists.

Specs

  • Body Material: Chambered Mahogany, offering a warm and resonant tone.
  • Neck Material: 3-piece Maple with Ebony Fingerboard, ensuring smooth playability and durability.
  • Preamp: Fodera / Pope 3-Band Standard, providing versatile tone-shaping capabilities.

Best Overall: Yamaha TRB1005J CRB – $1179

Yamaha TRB1005J CRB

The Yamaha TRB1005J in Caramel Brown is an elegant fusion of classic design and modern functionality. This 5-string bass features an alder body with a striking quilted maple top, enhancing both its aesthetic appeal and tonal richness. The maple neck with a rosewood fretboard ensures smooth playability and mother-of-pearl inlays add a touch of sophistication.

Reasons to buy

Equipped with two custom alnico pickups and an active 3-band EQ, this bass offers a wide range of tonal possibilities, from deep, growling lows to crisp, articulate highs. The black hardware contrasts beautifully with the caramel brown finish, making this bass a visually and sonically captivating instrument.

Specs

  • Body Material: Alder with a quilted maple top, providing a balanced tonal foundation.
  • Pickups: 2 Custom alnico pickups, offering clarity and versatility in sound.
  • EQ: Active 3-band, allowing for precise tonal adjustments.

Squier Affinity Jazz Bass V

Squier Affinity Jazz Bass V

The Squier Affinity Series 5-String Jazz Bass is an exceptional choice for those seeking the classic Jazz Bass sound with an added low B-string. This model, weighing 10 pounds, is renowned for its comfortable playability and versatile tone.

Reasons to buy

The poplar body, finished in a striking Olympic White, is complemented by the bright, clear tones of the maple wood construction. It’s an ideal bass for players at any skill level who desire the distinctive Jazz Bass feel and Squier classic vibe without breaking the bank.

Specs

  • Weight: 10 pounds, providing a solid yet manageable feel.
  • Body Material: Poplar, offering a balanced tone with a slight emphasis on mids.
  • Guitar Bridge System: Fixed, contributing to its sustain and tuning stability.

Yamaha BB435 Bass Guitar

Yamaha BB435 5-String Electric Bass

The Yamaha BB435, a right-handed 5-string bass guitar, offers a unique combination of traditional style and modern performance. Its solid alder body, finished in a rich Tobacco Brown Sunburst, provides a balanced and warm tone, making it suitable for various musical genres.

Reasons to buy

The guitar features a 5-piece maple/mahogany neck with a thinner BB profile, enhancing playability and comfort. Its versatile sound range, supported by Alnico V pickups, is perfect for both stage performances and studio recordings, appealing to a wide range of bassists.

Specs

  • Body Material: Solid Alder, known for its clear, full-bodied tone.
  • Neck Material: 5-piece Maple/Mahogany, offering stability and smooth playability.
  • Bridge/Tailpiece: Vintage Plus Light Bridge with Steel Saddles, providing enhanced sustain and tuning accuracy.

Schecter Stiletto Studio-5 HSN – $999

Schecter Guitar Research Stiletto Studio-5 Bass

The Schecter Stiletto Studio-5 in Honey Satin is a visually and sonically captivating bass guitar. It features a warm, resonant mahogany body with a striking Bubinga top, and a through-neck construction combining maple and walnut for unparalleled sustain and stability. The thin “C” neck profile and rosewood fretboard with 24 X-Jumbo frets ensure exceptional playability.

Reasons to buy

Equipped with two EMG 40HZ Humbuckers and a versatile 3-band active EQ, this bass offers a wide range of tonal possibilities. The satin gold hardware adds a touch of elegance, making this model a top choice for both studio and stage performances.

Specs

  • Body Material: Mahogany with Bubinga top, providing depth and clarity in tone.
  • Neck Construction: Through-neck design with maple and walnut, enhancing sustain and stability.
  • Bridge: Diamond Custom Bass Bridge, ensuring reliable intonation and string stability.

Fender AM Pro II Jazz Bass V RW 3TSB – $1869

Fender American Professional II Jazz Bass V

The Fender American Professional II Jazz Bass V in 3-Tone Sunburst is a blend of classic aesthetics and modern functionality. This 5-string bass features an alder body, known for its balanced sound, and a slim “C” maple neck with a rosewood fretboard for comfortable playability. The two V-Mod II Jazz Bass single coils deliver a versatile tone, suitable for various music genres.

Reason to buy

The bass’s iconic 3-tone sunburst finish, combined with nickel/chrome hardware, adds a timeless elegance. With a hi-mass bridge for enhanced sustain and stability, this bass is a top choice for both professional and aspiring bassists.

Specs

  • Body Material: Alder, offering a rich, balanced tone.
  • Neck Profile: Slim “C” shape, designed for ease of play and comfort.
  • Bridge: Hi-Mass, enhancing sustain and providing better intonation.

Fender American Professional II Jazz Bass V – $1899

Fender American Professional II Jazz Bass V

The Fender American Professional II Jazz Bass V in Olympic White is a striking embodiment of Fender’s legacy and contemporary innovation. It features an alder body known for its balanced and resonant tone, and a slim “C” maple neck, coupled with a rosewood fretboard for a smooth playing experience.

Reasons to buy

This 5 string bass guitars has the V-Mod II Jazz Bass single coils offer a rich, nuanced sound, suitable for diverse musical styles. This bass, with its elegant Olympic White finish and high-quality nickel/chrome hardware, stands out both in appearance and performance, making it a top choice for professional bassists.

Check out another related beginner’s Guide to Guitar Fingerstyle.

Specs

  • Body Material: Alder, ensuring a rich and balanced tone.
  • Neck Profile: Slim “C” shape, designed for comfort and ease of play.
  • Bridge: Hi-Mass bridge, offering enhanced sustain and stability.

Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay 5 Special HH Harvest – $2914

Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray Special 5 HH

The Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay 5 Special HH in Harvest Orange is a stunning representation of craftsmanship and innovation. Featuring a select hardwood body with a high gloss polyester finish, it offers unparalleled resonance and durability. The roasted maple neck, finished with gunstock oil and hand-rubbed wax, provides a smooth, comfortable playing experience.

Reasons to buy

This bass is equipped with dual humbucking pickups with neodymium magnets, delivering a powerful and versatile sound. The 5-way lever pickup selector and 3-band active preamp allow for extensive tonal shaping, making this bass a favourite among players seeking both aesthetic appeal and sonic versatility.

Specs

  • Body Wood: Select Hardwoods, ensuring robust sound and durability.
  • Neck Wood: Select roasted maple offering stability and a smooth playing feel.
  • Bridge: Vintage Music Man® top loaded chrome plated, providing reliable tuning stability and enhanced sustain.

Warwick Pro Series Thumb BO 5 – $3780

Warwick Pro Series Thumb BO 5

The Warwick Pro Series Thumb BO 5 is a testament to Warwick’s renowned craftsmanship and innovative design. This bass, with its body and neck made of Ovangkol, offers a unique combination of warmth and clarity in its tone. The Wenge fretboard complements the overall sound with added brightness and sustain.

Reasons to buy

The bass features 2 active MEC J/J single coils and active MEC 2-way electronics, allowing for a wide tonal range. Finished in Natural Transparent Satin and weighing approximately 4.4 kg, this bass is not only a visual delight but also a powerhouse in performance, perfect for both studio recordings and live gigs.

Specs

  • Body Material: Ovangkol, is known for its rich, warm tone.
  • Weight: Approximately 4.4 kg, providing a substantial feel and balance.
  • Electronics: Active MEC 2-way, offering versatile tone shaping capabilities.

Have you selected the bass you are looking for? Let’s learn some songs that have cool basslines here!

Are 5 string bass worth it​​​​​?

5 string bass guitars are absolutely worth it if you want to explore a more versatile sound, extended range, aesthetics, and sound impact.

Extended Range

The additional low string significantly extends the bottom range of the bass, allowing for deeper, more impactful notes. This is particularly useful in band settings, where the extra depth can add a new dimension to the music.

Playability

While the wider neck and closer string spacing of a 5-string bass require some adjustment, they also offer a new realm of playing techniques and styles. The expanded fretboard allows for more note options and less shifting, which can be advantageous in complex musical pieces.

Weight Considerations

Generally, 5-string basses are heavier than their 4-string counterparts. This can be a significant factor for gigging musicians who play for extended periods. The additional weight might affect comfort and endurance during performances.

Aesthetic and Sound Impact

A 5-string bass often has a distinct look and sound that can set a musician apart. The additional string adds more frequencies to the bass sound, which can be both a challenge and an opportunity in music production. The rich, full tone of a 5-string bass can be a key element in creating a unique sound signature.

Honorable Mentions

While our main list highlights the crème de la crème of 5 string bass guitars, there are several other models that deserve a nod for their exceptional qualities, innovative designs, and outstanding performance. Such as Schecter Stiletto Studio 5, ESP LTD B-205SM, Ibanez SR305E, and Yamaha TRBX305 are worth mentioning.

How to Tune a 5 String Bass guitars: 4 Tunings You Should Know

Standard Bass Tuning (B-E-A-D-G)

This is the most common tuning for 5-string basses. It adds a low B string to the standard 4-string tuning, offering a wider range and deeper bass notes.

Drop A-Tuning (A-E-A-D-G)

In this tuning, the lowest string is tuned down from B to A, providing a heavier and deeper sound. It’s often used in metal and hard rock genres.

Drop C Tuning (C-G-C-F-A)

This tuning drops each string down by a whole step or more, providing a unique tonal quality that’s popular in progressive and experimental music styles.

Tenor Tuning (E-A-D-G-C)

Unlike the standard tuning which extends the range lower, tenor tuning adds a high C string. This tuning is beneficial for playing higher-register melodies and solos, adding versatility to the bass guitar.

Learn more about guitar tuning by clicking here!

The Problem with 5-String Bass Guitars

Handling the Extra String

One of the main challenges with 5-string bass guitars is managing the additional string. This includes dealing with increased string tension and ensuring tuning stability. The lower B string on a 5-string bass guitars often requires a thicker gauge to maintain a firm tension, which affects the overall feel and playability of the instrument.

Additionally, the increased tension can lead to setup complexities, as the neck may require adjustments to accommodate the extra force.

Instrument Setup and Maintenance

Proper setup is crucial for optimal performance of a 5-string bass. This includes choosing the right string size – thicker strings for the lower notes are generally recommended. The action, or the height of the strings above the fretboard, needs careful adjustment to balance playability with fret buzz.

The truss rod may require tweaking to counteract the additional tension of the thicker strings.

Attention should also be given to the nut and bridge, ensuring they are appropriately sized for the string gauges used. Lastly, pickup height is vital for ensuring even sound across all strings.

The pickups should not be too close to the strings, especially the lower B string, to prevent any unwanted magnetic pull or interference.

Practical Tips for Players

For players transitioning to a 5-string bass, it’s important to spend time getting accustomed to the wider neck and different string spacing. Practising scales and familiar patterns can help in adapting to the extended range.

Also, experimenting with different plucking and fingering techniques can be beneficial to make the most out of the additional low B string. Regular maintenance, including neck adjustments and string changes, will keep the bass in optimal playing condition and help in handling the unique challenges posed by these instruments.

5 string Bass Guitars FAQs

Rafsan Ahmed

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