5 Of The Best 5-String Bass Guitars (All Budgets)

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  • New to the 5-string bass world and seeking guidance?
  • We list the top five 5-strings bass guitars on the market
  • Common questions regarding 5-strings answered at the end
  • Also check out our guide to the 5 Best 12 String Bass Guitars (All Budgets)

Whether you’re a pro bass player, an acoustic bass player who wants to go electric, or a beginner – there’s a 5-string bass guitar out there for you.

We’re here to tell you more about the best 5-string bass guitars, how they’re made, and what they sound like, so you can make a decision and keep holding that groove down.

What Are The Best 5-String Bass Guitars?

In coming up with this list, we considered price, genre and style, design and functionality, and of course the tone of the bass guitar.

When you add an extra string, things like scale length and string spacing become more important. Essentially, you want to have the same sustain, volume, pitch, and intonation stability on the lowest string as you do with the other four bass strings.

So, without further adieu, here are our picks for the best 5-string bass guitars:

  1. Sterling By Music Man StingRay 5 (Our Pick!)
  2. Ibanez Talman TMB105 (Best Value!) 
  3. Fender Player Plus Active Jazz Bass V (Premium Option)
  4. Schechter Stiletto Extreme 5 
  5. Sire Marcus Miller V7

1. Sterling By Music Man StingRay 5

OUR PICK!
Sterling by Music Man StingRay Ray5

Featuring a 9V powered Active Preamp and individual Volume Hi and Low Cut/Boost controls, this StingRay5 Ray 5 is a superior choice and has incredible value for players of any experience level.

Why We Love It:
  • Affordable price point
  • Punchy and consistent tone
  • Lightweight body
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Our best pick is the Sterling By Music Man StingRay 5, which stands out due to its affordable price point, punchy and consistent tone, and lightweight body.

Made in the Indonesian division of the Ernie Ball Music Man corporation, it takes the classic American-made Music Man Stingray sound and knocks the price down significantly without compromising quality.

Features

  • Low-noise ceramic humbucker pickup
  • The basswood body comes in a variety of colors
  • 2-band EQ to shape your tone

Review

If you’re a fan of bright, in-your-face bass tone, heavy-duty humbucker pickups, and a sleek, fast neck, the Sterling By Music Man StingRay 5 could be the electric bass guitar for you.

The Sterling By Music Man series is the overseas division of Ernie Ball Music Man. These basses are made in Indonesia using many of the same quality parts and including many of the same features as their American cousins.

The Stingray 5 has active electronics and a single humbucker pickup with two EQ knobs to shape your tone.

The neck is made of hard maple with a matching hard maple fingerboard, and the string spacing leaves plenty of room to get all the way up on the neck for some crystal clear highs that cut through the mix beautifully.

If you want to give it more of a jazz bass feel, put some flat-wound strings on it to warm up and smooth out the tone.

Or, dig in with a pick and get that beefy growl if you’re playing metal or punk. Whatever your style, this bass is a workhorse.

2. Ibanez Talman TMB105

BEST VALUE!
Ibanez TMB105 Bass Guitar

Whether you're searching for an easy-playing first bass or a reliable second instrument, the Ibanez Talman Bass for its looks and playability at an affordable price

Why We Love It:
  • Easy to play, even for beginners
  • Sonic versatility
  • Retro look
View Price On Sweetwater

If you can’t decide between a P-bass style bass or a Jazz bass and you’re on a budget, the Ibanez Talman TMB105 bass guitar is a contender, because you get the best of both worlds without spending a lot.

With a retro-looking mahogany body and Dynamix P-J pickups, this bass can do jazz and R&B just as well as it does rock, punk, and metal.

Features

  • 2-band EQ to shape your tone
  • Thin, fast, and ergonomic maple neck
  • One single-coil bridge pickup and one split neck pickup

Review

On many other 5-string basses in this price range, the low string tends to lack sustain and body, and will generally perform better with higher action.

However, if you’re a really technical player who needs to move fast on the neck, or if you have small hands, you might not like higher action on your bass.

This is where an Ibanez 5-string bass will really shine because the neck will feel easy to play even for beginners.

The Ibanez Talman TMB105 holds its own from the low string and low frequencies you get from the split neck P-bass style pickup to the higher tones, which can be dialed in crystal clear with the single-coil Jazz bass style pickup.

3. Fender Player Plus Active Jazz Bass V

PREMIUM OPTION
Fender Player Plus Active Jazz Bass V

The Player Plus Jazz Bass V expands the popular Ensenada-built Player Series and create a five-string powerhouse that meets the needs of touring pros and serious enthusiast players.

Why We Love It:
  • Brilliantly merges classic and contemporary
  • Comfortable
  • Available in a variety of retro-looking colors
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The Fender Player Plus Active Jazz Bass series is the original Fender Jazz bass revamped for the modern age.

It comes with two single-coil Fender Player Plus Noiseless Jazz Bass pickups. It’s even available in a variety of retro-looking colors, from mint green to traditional sunburst and more.

Features

  • An active/passive switch so you can go without a 9-volt battery and still get your groove on
  • 3-band EQ to dial in your tone just right, with treble, mid, and bass boost/cut
  • The alder body has an offset contour so you can play sitting or standing and still move comfortably on the neck

Review

The first time you pick up a Fender Player Plus Active Jazz Bass V, you’ll probably immediately feel how comfortable the body is and how smooth the C-shaped maple neck is.

As much as the original Fender Jazz bass is a timeless classic, the Player Plus series merges classic and contemporary to give you the best of both in one instrument.

Not only does it feel good, but this bass sounds good too. The Fender Noiseless Jazz Bass pickups let you groove hard and loud without any hum, and the built-in preamp helps add an edge to your tone.

Take note that in passive mode, there is no tone control.

However, the out-of-the-box bite of this bass makes up for that, and the craftsmanship of the build makes up for its slightly heavier weight of just over 10 pounds.

Whether you’re a die-hard Fender fan or new to the family, this bass is a step up from previous basses at this price point.

4. Schechter Stiletto Extreme 5

Schecter Guitar Research Stiletto Extreme-5

Schecter's ultra-playable Stiletto Extreme 5 solidbody bass guitar gives you an amazing playing experience. 

Why We Love It:
  • Lightning-fast maple neck
  • Huge sustain
  • Affordable and playable
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You’ll probably like this one if you’re a metalhead, if only for the choice of slick finishes and the shape of its mahogany body.

Beyond looks, the Schecter Stiletto Extreme 5 has a lightning-fast maple neck so you can tear through bass solos whether tapping, slapping, or just chugging away on the low string with a heavy pick.

Features

  • Has a rosewood fingerboard for a smooth and effortless feel
  • Has two Schecter Diamond humbucker pickups
  • The blend knob and 2 EQ knobs let you shape the lows, mids, and highs

Review

This bass has huge sustain and snarl that might even have the guitarist asking you to turn down.

Southpaws rejoice; it comes in a left-handed or right-handed configuration, so no more awkwardly playing your bass upside down and sideways, hoping nobody notices.

Schecter’s Stiletto series does a great job of splitting the difference between affordability and playability for beginner, intermediate, and advanced players alike.

The double-cutaway body shape makes it easy to get up and down the neck. It does have a 35″ scale length, but since the neck is nice and thin, you’ll adjust to it quickly.

5. Sire Marcus Miller V7

Sire Marcus Miller V7 5-String Bass

The Sire Marcus Miller V7 5-string bass is built to meet the performance needs of its world-renowned namesake — and Sire's commitment to quality is evident right out of the box. 

Why We Love It:
  • Utmost attention to quality control
  • Impressive build quality
  • The signature bass of a legend
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Bassist Marcus Miller sought to make a signature bass that was accessible and affordable to all, so he went with Sire basses, a lesser-known Korean company.

The V7 series is made in Indonesia with the utmost attention to quality control. The bridge was modeled after the Badass II Bridge on Marcus Miller’s Fender bass.

Features

  • The body is available in a vintage swamp ash finish or in alder in a variety of colors
  • It has an 18-volt preamp for extra punch
  • Comes with two Marcus Super-J Revolution pickups

Review

We can’t really talk about this bass without first talking about Marcus Miller, one of the most creative, dynamic, and prolific electric bass players around.

A multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, he’s mainly known as the bassist for jazz legends like Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, as well as various R&B, hip-hop, and pop artists from Aretha Franklin to LL Cool J to Beyonce and more.

Now that you know more about the man himself, let’s talk about his bass.

If you’re after something like a souped-up Fender Jazz bass, the price tag alone will probably pull you in, as it’s a solid build for a bass under $1000 (although keep in mind that due to the rarity of the wood, the vintage swamp ash body finish will cost a little bit more).

Even if the price is not a concern, the details put into the build quality are impressive.

These include the big bad saddles on the bridge, the hard maple neck with an ebony fingerboard, and the smooth rolled fretboard edges so you can slap and pop to your heart’s content without slipping.

While the 18-volt preamp takes two 9-volt batteries, it’s worth it, because this bass has some serious power behind it.

The tone knobs are ergonomic and can dial in three EQ bands, including a sweepable midrange to get that signature Marcus Miller scooped sound.

Summing Up

Hopefully, we’ve steered you in the right direction for picking out a 5-string bass and you can go audition for the Tool tribute band.

If you’re new to that extra string, go easy on yourself and go back to the basics for a little bit if you have to; there’s no shame in revisiting your scales or easier bass lines.

Will a 5-string bass make you a better bassist? If it inspires you more than a 4-string bass, it just might!

FAQ’s

What is scale length and why is it usually either 34″ or 35″? Does it matter?