When shopping around for the best 5 string base bass guitar, there are many different factors that you should take into consideration before making a final purchase.
In case you weren’t aware, the biggest thing that sets a five-stringed bass guitar apart from a four-stringed bass guitar is the low string (known as the B string); this is the fat string that will need some extra, as sometimes the size of the string can cause some damage to the fretboard.
You really only have to worry about this if you’re purchasing a cheap bass guitar or don’t really ever take care of your guitars. When going shopping for your new 5 bass strings guitar, you need to look for a guitar that has an extra low amount of fret noise; this is in order to make sure that the B string produces the least amount of fuzz as possible.
If you’re looking for extra help controlling the lower bass guitar strings, finding one with an onboard EQ is always a great bonus. Having an EQ will allow you to have more control over the tonal options, which allows you to experiment with your sound.
Here’s the Top Line Summary:
|Yamaha TRBX505 TWH 5 String Premium Electric Bass Guitar||Versatile tone. Incredibly user-friendly, with beginning musicians in mind||Has a solid mahogany body and a five-piece mahogany and maple combo neck, with smooth black nickel hardware.||Onboard three-band EQ||$549 (Check out the latest prices here!)|
|Ibanez BTB1405E Premium 5 String Electric Bass Guitar||Weight: 15 pounds||7-piece maple/bubinga/walnut neck with a rosewood fretboard||Comes with active electronics, a set of two pickups, one of them which is a CAP double humbucker pickup. Plus an onboard three-band EQ||$1,099 (Check out the latest prices here!)|
|Peavey Millennium 5 String Trans Black||Has a warm low end with a punchy mid-range.||A maple neck with a classic rose wood fret board, a 34 inch scale, a basswood body, a two-way tension rod, and a quilt maple top.||Two straight single coil pickups and a set of three control knobs.||$499 (Check out the latest prices here!)|
|Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar||Not suggested for metal or heavy metal; however, it does pair well with all other genres.||The neck is a bit bigger than the standard sized bass guitar neck||Three-band active EQ||$599.99 (Check out the latest prices here!)|
What Makes a GOOD Bass Guitar?
In all honesty, there are so many things that go into creating a great bass guitar.
You could probably write a long novel about all of the different things that go into creating a good bass guitar.
However, the word ‘good’ is a term that is loosely defined and can mean different things to different people. For me, one of the most important things that go into making a good bass guitar is the types of woods that are used to make the neck and the body of the guitar.
For example, cheaper bass guitars have an alder body or basswood body. However, more expensive bass guitars will use maple or mahogany.
However, if a guitar is/isn’t equipped with these woods or any other special factors shouldn’t be the make or break for you. Before making any final decision on one singular bass guitar, you should head over to your local guitar shop to try playing different bass guitars that use different tonewoods.
For example, a bass guitar that is built with mahogany is going to produce a warmer sound than a bass guitar that’s built with swamp ash, which produces a brighter sound compared to mahogany. Just from the different pickup options alone, you are going to find many different choices of bass guitars to choose from, which can become pretty overwhelming.
You can choose from either humbuckers or single coil bass guitars, as well as an active or a passive design. Single coil bass guitars are a classic bass guitar pick up that have single coil pickups and one magnet, that produces an even and bright sound quality.
On the other hand, humbuckers have a rounded and fatter sound; a lot of musicians really enjoy using the humbucker because it helps to cancel out any background interference, but the sound that the humbucker pickups produce at higher volumes can sound a bit muddy.
Why are there a different number of strings?
The first electric bass guitar that was ever produced was created with four strings; for a long period of time, that’s all there were, were four string bass guitars.
The reason why there are more strings on a bass guitar is to add more range to the instrument; having a larger range means that musicians are able to play further into the bass range or even the treble range.
Another added benefit of having a bass guitar with more than four strings is that your hands don’t have to work as hard shifting around the neck of the bass guitar as much.
Five and six-stringed guitars really began to take off in the 1980s, as bassists were in huge competition with electric keyboards.
A lot of bass guitarists were being replaced in bands by computers and keyboards, as they had more of a range than a standard four string bass guitar did. In order to keep up with the competition, bassists began to add more strings to their guitars, in order to have a
The fifth string that bass players added allowed the musicians to reach further into the bass range, while the sixth string allowed musicians to reach into the treble range with more ease.
How many strings is enough for me?
There truly is no definitive answer to this question, as you can choose between a four-stringed bass, a five-stringed bass, or a six-stringed bass. The decision you end up making will ultimately depend on your budget, your experience, and your style.
If you are just starting out playing bass guitar, I personally suggest that you stick with a four-stringed bass guitar, especially if you have no musical experience whatsoever. Just sticking with four guitar strings will keep your learning experience simple and less aggregating.
There is still a whole range of notes and chords that you can play on four strings; most famous rock and metal bands have a bass guitar that only has four strings.
Having fewer strings means that you have less to worry about when you’re performing live, which means that you can enjoy rocking out even more. Also, playing on a four-stringed bass guitar really will allow new musicians to refine proper playing techniques, as well as having the ability to develop a personal playing style.
On the other hand, if you have some musical experience, preferably with a bass guitar, you can upgrade to a five or six string bass guitar. Five strings will allow you to play more notes than the four string guitar, but the six string bass guitar will allow you to play the most notes out of all three options.
Your fingers are going to do have to do a lot more stretching around the neck of the guitar, which is going to take some practice, especially if you’re not used to laying a guitar with that many strings.
If you’ve never played bass guitar, I would highly recommend that you start out with a four-stringed guitar. Even if you have experience playing an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar, learning bass guitar will be a brand new experience where you’re going to have to learn to shape and refine your playing techniques.
Five and six string guitars are really great to use if you’re looking to specifically play metal, heavy metal, or rock. Having the extra string will allow you to reach all of those lower notes without having to spend any time de-tuning and re-tuning your guitar.
Is a bass guitar harder to play when it has more strings?
Yes, a bass guitar is harder to play when it has more than four strings to play. You have more strings to keep control or, as well as more strings to memorize when playing without looking.
A lot of beginners don’t realize that there’s a lot more work when you have five or six strings to play, instead of just four; you have more strings that you have to worry about keeping quiet, while also making sure that the strings you’re playing have the notes ring out.
The more strings you have on a bass guitar, the closer the strings get, which makes playing certain styles like slap bass a lot more difficult.
The neck on the bass guitar will get wider and you have to have a higher accuracy rate; this means that you have to do more stretching and reaching on the neck of the bass with your fingers, which may be tricky if you have smaller hands.
I always suggest that beginners start out with four strings because you can always switch up what you’re playing in the future, as switching from a four to six string isn’t too hard.
What is the difference between passive pickups and active pickup?
A passive pickup provides bass guitars with a more traditional bass guitar sound since they’ve been around since the creation of the bass guitar. If you are a musician who is looking for a warm bass tone that has some punch to it, without having to sacrifice any dynamic range, the passive pickup is most likely the best pickup for you.
Active pickups are newer on the market and they typically come with built-in preamps that are powered by separate energy sources, which are typically batteries. Active pickups provide musicians with a clear, bright, and large tone control. The preamp that’s installed in the active pickup has a much large volume output compared to the passive pickup.
Your choice between an active pickup or a passive pickup is truly up to each bass guitarists individual taste. Personally, I highly suggest that you check out a bass guitar that has an active pickup and passive pickup to figure out which bass guitar you like better.
When you take into consideration of the price tag of the Yamaha TRBX 505, which is priced at $549 , and the quality and performance of the instrument, it’s not too shabby.
While I wouldn’t say that the overall performance and quality of the instrument is absolutely outstanding, you really can’t beat the performance it has for the price tag it comes with.
Spending under $1,000 for a decent quality bass guitar is hard to find, so I always tell my beginning bass guitar players to snatch this one up when they can. This is one of the top affordable bass guitars on the market!
The overall tone of this instrument is incredibly versatile, even fitting along with the sound of heavy metal and rock.
As for the electronics on the bass guitar, there is an onboard three-band EQ that allows the musician to make all sorts of adjustments, which is what makes this instrument so versatile; as long as you know how to make the proper adjustments, you can go to play pop music to heavy metal om the Yamaha TRBX505.
As for the physical makeup of this bass guitar, the TRBX505 is incredibly user-friendly, with beginning musicians in mind. This instrument is comprised of a solid mahogany body and a five-piece mahogany and maple combo neck, with smooth black nickel hardware.
The Premium 5 String Electric Bass Guitar is a bit more expensive than some of the other articles that we talk about in this article, but there’s a good reason why. For just over a thousand dollars, you’re going to purchase yourself an electric bass guitar with active electronics, a set of two pickups, one of them which is a CAP double humbucker pickup.
The CAP double humbucker is attached to a three-way switch that is in total control of the electronics department, which gives you the ability to choose between three audio presets that are extremely different from each other.
On top of that, you can make additional adjustments with the onboard three-band EQ, which really gives you an endless amount of adjustments to the sound that your instrument produces.
There is a very distinctive groove and warmth that comes from this bass guitar, which you would expect to find in a guitar that’s priced at $1,099 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here). A great little bonus that comes with this bass guitar, is that there is a unique cling that comes from the sound of the guitar, which gives you the ability to create and build upon your own unique sound and style.
For $449, you can purchase yourself a bass guitar for an inexpensive price tag that wasn’t made with cheap materials.
Personally, my favorite part of the Peavey Millennium is the finish, as I find it very attractive in cosmetic standards. Picking up this instrument and starting to play it, you might be a bit surprised by the warm low end with a punchy mid-range.
As for the physical makeup of this guitar, you’ll find that the Peavey Millennium is comprised of a maple neck with a classic rosewood fingerboard, a 34 inch scale length, a basswood body, a two-way tension rod that’s completely adjustable, and a quilt maple top.
The electronics department for this guitar is a bit exciting, as the Peavey Millennium has a set of two straight single-coil pickups and a set of three control knobs that allow you to adjust volume and tone.
#4 Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar
If you’re looking for one of the best jazz bass guitars that will also pair well with blues, rock, funk, or pop, you’ve come to the right guitar. For $725 you can purchase yourself an extremely bass guitar, the Fender Standard Jazz Electric Bass Guitar
The sound that this Fender jazz guitar produces is very unique and distinctive; the Fender produced a soothing and mellow sound that pairs so well with many genres of music. After playing this bass guitar, I wouldn’t suggest this bass for any metal or heavy metal; however, it does pair well with all other genres.
The build quality is also somewhat unique.
This guitar is cosmetically appealing with a neck that’s a bit bigger than the standard sized bass guitar neck; if you have larger sized hands, you’ll have a lot easier time playing the neck of this guitar without your hands cramping.
There is a three-band active EQ installed in the electronics on this bass guitar, which will allow you to make any type of sound adjustment to your guitar that your heart could desire. Check out how Jazz Bass compares to Precision Bass here.
Some Additional Considerations Before Purchasing a Bass Guitar
As you’ve read in this article, there are so many different things to think about before purchasing your new bass guitar, whether it’s your very first or your hundredth bass guitar purchase! You can choose to buy a new or used bass guitar, which only adds to the list of difficult decisions you have to make before making a purchase.
Buying a used bass guitar does come with a bit more risk; just make sure that if you are purchasing a used bass guitar, purchase it from a reputable guitar store and not a thrift store or a flea market.
You can always return your bass guitar to a guitar store or return online if you’re unhappy with your purchase!
You really want to make sure you find one that you’re totally in love with because if you end up being unhappy with your purchase, you’re not going to want to practice on your new instrument.
FAQs About 5 String Guitars
4 string bass guitars are very similar to 5 string bass guitars, so basically the only difference between them is that 5 string guitars provide extended range without having to switch hands very often.
Yes. Usually, most guitar players use 4 string guitars, but those who want extended range and a high C-string use 5 string guitars.
Yes. Bass guitars don’t make any sound unless they are connected with bass amp, so you will definitely have to purchase one.
Further Reading Material:
- My Guide to the Best Bass Guitars (Overall – not the 5-string variety)
- My Top Bass Guitar Songs to Get Started On
- My Top Short Scale Bass Guitars
- 4 String vs 5 String Bass Guitars
- The Best Single Coil Pickups You’ll Want to Pickup
- Best White Bass Guitars
Danny grew up playing anything that looked like a guitar. Since some kids just don’t know how to grow up, he continues to write about guitars because you can do that these days.