Do you find that life’s too easy? Do you find that fun cannot be had in life, especially when things are as simple as they get? Do you find that the “normal”, mainstream amount of things is never enough for you? Do you think that the bass guitar that you are playing is not versatile enough for your musical needs? Well, why don’t you pick up and move from your four strings bass guitar to the new and exciting, the much more fun 5 string bass guitar. The extra string might come attached to extra responsibilities, but you also get some exciting bonuses with them.
The fifth string means that the bass guitar needs to be sturdier, stronger and heavier but at the same time it allows you the flexibility and fun that the four-string does not. The sounds available to you once you have a 5 stringer is something that you could have never even dreamed about with a normal guitar. Finally, after so many years of not having the satisfaction of having access to the sounds you’ve always wanted to play, the challenge you always craved can be had. Your fingers might need some adaptation if you are a new player and your time might need to be spent adapting to the instrument, but if you commit, you will be able to achieve mastery. Once you do you will have the chance to show your listeners that whatever they expected of your bass is not even close to what you will be serving and if you do need to be providing music like this, you will need the best 5 string bass guitar.
Top 5 Best 5 String Bass Guitars
The midrange price of a lot of instruments is where most people should be looking to buy an instrument, especially when the instrument is somehow unique, such as having extra strings. I say this because I believe that one of the reasons you are looking to buy an instrument with more than the popular amount of strings is because you have had a lot of practice with one and now want to go a little further. This is why you want to make an investment – the mid-range is perfect for that. Still affordable but also offers brilliant quality. Sterling by Music Man RAY35-NT electric bass guitar is a mid-range guitar with a swamp ash body for expressiveness throughout the expanded range of tones available on the guitar and music man humbucker pickups to rock the pants off of anybody listening. It is perfect for the average 5 string bass fan looking to move onto the instrument or to buy another, more advanced 5 stringer.
- Classic Design with a Twist
- Great Low Tones
- Swamp Ash body
- Bolt on neck
- Weak high tones
A lot of the times guitars with extra strings are slight remodels of existing instruments that add the extra string and change the design slightly to fit the 5th string comfortably into the body. This means that you can get a premium body without having to worry about looking for a new model, a very handy thing to have when you are moving into the realm of new instrument, or related instrument. In the case of Schecter Stiletto Studio-5 Electric Bass guitar you can be confident that you will be receiving premium quality for your money. The 4 string model has a beautiful design and make, resulting in unforgettable sound, enhanced by the mahogany top of the guitar. The 5 string version is in no way inferior to the 4-string model in this respect, with the mahogany body emphasizing the new, fifth string in the lower register with ease and comfortable beauty. The pickup is changed for one that is more suited to the lower register of the 5th string, resulting in a bass guitar that is exceptional for its price.
- Powerful Sound
- Expressive Tones
- Great tuning stability
- Does not stand out in look
ESP have decided to take a different turn from a typical road and offer bass guitars that look distinctive and beautiful as well. With their LTD B series they have abandoned bright colors and tend to produce basses that have wood-like finishes. Of course, it’s a matter of taste but I personally really enjoy such an approach. B-205SM, in particular, comes in two finishes: Natural Satin and See Thru Black Satin. But appearance isn’t the only thing it can brag about. This bad boy has an ash body, spalted maple top, 5pc jatoba and maple neck, and a fingerboard that is made from roasted jatoba. Since it’s an electric bass, electronics play a huge role in defining the worth of this model. Here, we have ESP Designed SB-5N bridge and ESP Designed SB-5B neck pickups. They are passive in nature and are paired with active 3-band EQ. This means that you can make subtle or dramatic adjustments to your tone – all with a twist of several knobs. B-205SM is a brilliant bass guitar, which knows perfectly well how to deliver inspiring and impressive results.
- Does have plenty of character
- Excellent sonic quality
- Great construction
- Needs initial setup
- You might want to change the strings
Even if you are not a beginner and are looking to start playing a five string bass guitar, but also don’t want to drop a wad of cash on something too expensive, then maybe you need to consider the 5 string remix of one of the more popular electric bass guitars sold on the market today. The Epiphone “Toby” Standard IV 5 string electric bass guitar takes the base of the 4 string toby and applies slight changes so that the 5 string can be easily accommodated. Slightly more heavyweight than the 4 string, the Standard remains light enough to be played for long periods of time without back pain getting in the way. The guitar sounds just as good as you would expect of such an affordable 5 stringer, but this doesn’t mean it sounds bad, simply that it might not be as good as some of the more expensive models on this list. Still a solid option for beginners and professionals alike looking to start playing the 5 string bass.
- Single Coil Pickups
- Nuanced Sound
- Incredibly Affordable
- Pine Body
- Tuning Stability Issues
- String Noise
- Cheap Nut
If you don’t find the “Toby” to be up to your standards, you might want to consider some of the other options in the price range. There are numerous models that all act as solid competition to the “Toby”, all of them having their own pros, but few can beat the Ibanez beast with a red body and a thunderous sound. The Ibanez GSR205SMCNB 5 string electric bass guitar is a model specifically designed to bring the best qualities of the 5th string forward. The maple top/mahogany body allows the guitar to emphasize both the lowest and the highest of the tones in a manner that anyone listening will find satisfying. The humbucker pickup will allow you to go as sustain heavy as you want, while also allowing you to retain that shred of clarity that you will need when trying to wow the crowd with a funky or sick bass solo. A nice alternative to the 5 stringers in the price range, it is not the best option for a 5 string bass guitar. Still, it is worth considering if you are just looking to try out the instrument or maybe are a beginner not looking to invest too much.
- Great Low Tones
- Humbucker Setup
- Tuning Stability Problems
- Cheap Nut
A fair warning to all of you looking to move from 4 strings to all of 5: there are things you need to remember and adjust for. There are certain discomforts that you will have to start getting used to so that eventually you can play the instrument right. First and foremost, you must understand that the fretboard of the instrument is much wider than what you might be used to, if moving from the four string bass. This means that hords will be harder to arrange on the fretboard. The wider fretboard also means a thicker neck and a heavier instrument, which means some, if not a lot of, discomfort if playing standing up. Using the fifth string effectively also needs some getting used to. Eventually, though, you will have mastered all of these issues and will be able to evoke beautiful tones at your whim.
A 5 string guitar often serves one purpose – to help the musician achieve heights that previously he or she thought might have been impossible to them. Of course, the instrument also looks extremely cool and sounds unique, which means you will be turning heads no matter where you go, but the idea of the instrument is to allow you to challenge yourself. After all, only with challenge does one get better at what they do. This is true for any and all practices. Videogames, art, math, physics, musical instruments, reading and test-taking all have one thing uniting them, the more of them you do, the better you get at them. This is why people start studying for their tests months in advance.
Why people spend years practicing one art or another before they call themselves an artist and why you will have to spend months learning to adapt to the instrument before you are finally able to fully subject it to your will and whimsy. The best five-string bass guitars might assist you in shortening this period of time by being more comfortable, or easier to produce certain sounds on, but the truth stands – once you pick up an instrument you need to be able to commit to it. I do not have to tell this to professional musicians among you simply looking for recommendations, but it is good to be reminded not to get cocky. All instruments require time to learn, even when you have mastered so many others. To you beginners though I have this simple suggestion: keep practicing and if you feel like you might want to try something easier, go for the 4 string bass guitar. It’ll help you learn faster and help you grow for the more complicated 5 string bass. It is only natural to start with the basics, isn’t it? Good Luck!