Mike Rivers

Aqua Marine

Posts: 2,528 Member Since: 13/10/2012


Mar 17 17 5:55 PM

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I know that
1. We have some bass players here
and that
2. Nobody likes a 5 string bass very much


In my fumbles with the IK Multimedia MODO Bass, I got to wondering about pickups. You can't stray very far from conventional basses in this program, but one of the things you can do is add a 5th (low B) string to any model, and you can, with a few limitations, put the pickup from any of the models on any other body. But there seems to be only one obvious (from its designation and graphic) 5-string pickup in the lot, yet add a 5th string to any old bass like a 60's Precision with its standard pickups and all 5 strings are pretty well balanced. 

I don't know anything about basses or bass playing other than to thump an upright when nobody else will, so I'm guessing that a 5-string bass neck is a little wider than a standard one, and that there really is such a thing as a 5-string pickup that's at least a little wider than a standard 4-string pickup, and maybe has a 5 pole piece configuration if it's that style. The MODO Bass model works pretty much like real life when it comes to playing styles and touch, brand new versus old worn out strings, and stuff like that, so I just thought it was a bit odd that you could make a 5 string bass out of 4-string bass parts and have it work as well as a real one.

This is, for me, an education, and what I learn will probably go into an article, but I'd like to have some confidence that my guesses are in the ballpark.


For a good time, call mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com

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jesse decarlo

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,543 Member Since:24/03/2013

#1 [url]

Mar 17 17 7:16 PM

Incorrect on number 2 - the people who complain about them are just louder.

Yes, 5 string basses have wider necks and purpose-built pickups.

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Ruby Baby

Posts: 5,637 Member Since:26/01/2011

#2 [url]

Mar 17 17 8:27 PM


I'm a jazz bass guy, so the only 5-strings I've had have been jazz basses, save for one custom bass that was very expensive and I hated it from day one. Lovely piece of furniture, though.

For 5-string jazz basses the nut widths are usually 1 3/4" which I find too small, and 1 7/8" which I find too big. After much searching and many different basses, I found a Lakland jazz bass that has a 1 13/16" nut width that I find perfect. It also has a 35" scale that helps with the string tension, rather than a Fender 34". Many pickup makers make 5-string pickups, though I wasn't able to find many good vintage sounding pickups. I didn't love the Lakland pickups, and I wound up having Seymour Duncan custom-wind me a set that came out great. There actually is a strategy here - I want to be able to play my Fender, my fretless, and my five-string on the same track without the listener being able to detect where the switchover occurred. It hasn't been easy, and there are level differences among the instruments, but I can punch in and out of one track with all three basses without you knowing until I do something that only one of the basses can do.

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Ruby Baby

Posts: 7,404 Member Since:04/02/2011

#4 [url]

Mar 17 17 9:51 PM

ganglion wrote:
FWIW, my favorite record so far this year is Thundercat's "Drunk", and he plays a 6 string bass.

I enjoy that record, as well! And fantastic bass playing on it, and it wouldn't be the same without that 6 string bass.

Of course Mr. Bruner is an artist in his own right with a very unique concept, and a very personal sound and concept on bass. It is perfect for what he does. 

brad allen williams

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