The Best 5-String Bass Guitars You Can Buy Today

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Last Updated: May-07-2019
Our most recent refresh of this 5-string bass chart saw the addition of two new models. Making its way to the top of the list was a classic in the Sterling by Music Man RAY35-NT, as well as the ominous ESP LTD F-415FM, which is great for metal.

Whether a 4-string bass limits your creativity or you like to challenge yourself, adding a 5-string bass guitar to your collection can be an excellent move.

The addition of that extra string offers you a lot more in terms of tonal range, increased maneuvering space, and the ability to go to places you simply can’t get to with a standard 4-string bass.

If a 5-string bass has piqued your interest and you are in the market for one, you’re in the right place! We have compiled a shortlist of some of the best 5-string bass guitars on sale today, varying in price – from entry-level right up to the higher end of the market.

Some of these may well be familiar to you, since they are identical to their 4-string counterparts (bar the extra string) and may feature on our big article charting the best bass guitars around. However, some may be completely new to you – they were to us!

Let’s dive in…

Top 9 Best 5-Strings Bass Guitars:

Image Bass Guitar / Rating Summary Check Price
+ - Sterling by Music Man RAY35-NT Sterling by Music Man RAY35-NT

Total of 4.67/5   4.7 out of 5 stars

This 5-string bass will become a modern classic!

+ - Schecter Stiletto Studio-5 Bass Schecter Stiletto Studio-5 Bass

Total of 4.80/5   4.8 out of 5 stars

An astounding higher-end Schecter bass that’s worth every penny.

+ - Ibanez SR405EQM Ibanez SR405EQM

Total of 4.90/5   4.9 out of 5 stars

Another great SR model which delivers a great tone and looks awesome.

+ - ESP LTD F-415M ESP LTD F-415M

Total of 4.50/5   4.5 out of 5 stars

An imposing 5-string optimized for metal and hard rock.

+ - Yamaha TRBX605 Yamaha TRBX605

Total of 4.83/5   4.8 out of 5 stars

A high-end versatile workhorse from Yamaha.

+ - Schecter Omen Extreme 5 Schecter Omen Extreme 5

Total of 4.88/5   4.9 out of 5 stars

A real contender designed for serious work both in metal and elsewhere.

+ - Squier Affinity Series 5-String Jazz Bass V Squier Affinity Series 5-String Jazz Bass V

Total of 4.66/5   4.7 out of 5 stars

Squier once again show that ‘affordable’ doesn’t need to mean ‘compromise’!

+ - Ibanez GSR205 Ibanez GSR205

Total of 4.42/5   4.4 out of 5 stars

Ibanez deliver a budget bass that sounds great!

+ - Dean Edge 09 Dean Edge 09

Total of 4.66/5   4.7 out of 5 stars

Simple entry level bass guitar that packs a decent amount of heat.

Sterling by Music Man RAY35-NT

Sterling by Music Man RAY35-NT

Body And Neck:4.7 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.7 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.5 out of 5 stars

The Sterling by Music Man RAY35-NT 5-string bass has everything going for it. It's designed by some of the best engineers in the industry, it has an instantly recognizable classic style, and all the ingredients to sound fantastic.

It's not a cheap bass by most standards, but it is an investment you can feel safe with – this is one well-made instrument. In our full Sterling by Music Man RAY35-NT review, we detail why this is such a solid choice.

All of the hardware is designed by Music Man and of the highest quality. The RAY35-NT offers a huge amount of versatility and we break down some of the features that make this possible. Check it out!

Schecter Stiletto Studio-5 Bass

Schecter Stiletto Studio-5 Bass

Body And Neck:4.8 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.8 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars

The first of two Schecter basses on this list, their Stiletto Studio-5 Bass is the more premium – and a bass that justifies its slightly higher price tag. It sports a sleek and sophisticated design, with a double-cutaway beautifully-contoured body made from mahogany with a bubinga top.

This is finished in either see-through black or satin honey. The maple and walnut neck is another highlight, with a thin C shape, deep Ultra Access design, and a fast satin finish, along with a rosewood fretboard and 24 extra jumbo frets.

It is voiced by two passive EMG 40HZ humbuckers with 3-band active EQ, which – as we mention in our full review of the Stiletto Studio-5 Bass – offers an excellent sound worthy of gigging and recording.

Ibanez SR405EQM

Ibanez SR405EQM

Body And Neck:4.9 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.9 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.9 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.9 out of 5 stars
Value:4.9 out of 5 stars

Ibanez is a household name when it comes to bass guitars in every segment of the market. Not only are their basses considered to be among the top-rated in their respective categories, but Ibanez has maintained such reputation for so long that people don’t even question their instruments anymore.

Ibanez SR405EQM belongs to one of the oldest families of electric bass guitars that Ibanez has. For decades, SR has been the go to choice for professionals and amateurs alike. This particular model features a mighty set of humbuckers, a great EQ cluster to compliment them, and a design that just looks incredible.

One glance at this bad boy will tell you it’s a quality instrument, there’s no doubt about it. For the type of money we are working with here, Ibanez SR405EQM is definitely at the top – if not the best choice on the market.

ESP LTD F-415M

ESP LTD F-415M

Body And Neck:4.7 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.5 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.6 out of 5 stars
Value:4.2 out of 5 stars

ESP LTD is a mainstay in the metal and hard rock guitar market – so it’s no wonder their 5-string bass, the F-415M, comes in as one of our top-rated basses as well!

Featuring a mahogany body with stunning maple top veneer and transparent black finish, this axe will turn heads wherever you go. However, as we highlight in our full review of the F-415M, this guitar has more than just style. A pair of active EMG humbuckers and 3-band EQ controls help you dial in the perfect tone for any situation.

The aggressive horned cutaways and smooth U-shaped neck are just the icing on the cake. Any player looking for a metal or hard rock bass should check it out.

Yamaha TRBX605

Yamaha TRBX605

Body And Neck:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:5 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.7 out of 5 stars

While we all love Yamaha’s BB Series, it’s the brand’s new TRBX 600 Series that’s demanding a lot of attention – and for good reason. The TRBX605 is the 5-string part of this collection, offering huge power, an endless tonal range, and gorgeous looks that make it a real steal.

It features the highly sculpted double-cutaway alder/maple body with no end to the smooth contours and sleek feel. This is the same feeling in the neck, which is a laminated five-piece maple/mahogany build with a 24-fret rosewood fretboard.

Bass, mid and treble boost/cut, a pickup balancer and passive/active switching are just some of the highlights of this bass guitar’s incredibly versatile electronics – as we mention in the full TRBX605 review.

Schecter Omen Extreme 5

Schecter Omen Extreme 5

Body And Neck:4.8 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.9 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.8 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.9 out of 5 stars
Value:5 out of 5 stars

Schecter’s bass guitars are becoming more and more popular by the hour. A lot of people still live under the impression that metal is the only genre you can play one of these, but that has been proven to be wrong numerous times by now. Schecter Omen Extreme 5 is a perfect example of what you can expect to get from Schecter for less than $500.

One look at this bass will tell you that you’re dealing with a quality instrument that sounds just as good as it looks. Speaking of which, the aesthetics of this model are something you usually see couple of categories north of where Omen Extreme 5 resides. Tone is balanced, versatile and comes with enough output to bring on the thunder.

Even though Schecter is known for making metal axes, this model is more than capable of playing a variety of music genres. Overall, it is a great choice for a second bass, and an awesome one if you’re shopping for your fist bass guitar.

Squier Affinity Series 5-String Jazz Bass V

Squier Affinity Series 5-String Jazz Bass V

Body And Neck:4.6 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.7 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.5 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.7 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars

Can’t afford the Fender Deluxe Dimension Bass on this list? You may be keen to check out this Affinity Series 5-String Jazz Bass, which offers true Fender style at a price only Squier can pull off. The double-cutaway Jazz Bass body is made from solid alder, with a bolt-on C-shaped neck, made of maple with a rosewood fretboard and 20 frets.

It comes loaded with two pretty decent Jazz Bass V single-coil pickups at the bridge and middle, with two volume controls and a master tone control.

As we mention in our full review of this Affinity Series 5-String Jazz Bass, the hardware isn’t jaw-dropping, but does the job – chrome bridge and tuners. Hard to complain about such an affordable 5-string bass!

Ibanez GSR205

Ibanez GSR205

Body And Neck:0 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.5 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.4 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars

One of the more affordable basses on this list of fantastic 5-strings is the GSR205 from Ibanez’s budget branch, Gio. It features a nicely rounded double-cutaway body shape in a wide range of finish options.

With a 34” scale length, the body is made of solid poplar while the slim bolt-on maple neck features a 22-fret jatoba fretboard with good playability. While the two Ibanez-designed pickups are relatively basic, they deliver a very good tone – especially for the sub-$300 price tag.

It proves versatile enough for everything from heavy rock and metal (especially with the bass booster) to country and blues. You can check out all the details on the Ibanez GSR205 in the complete review.

Dean Edge 09

Dean Edge 09

Body And Neck:4.6 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.5 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.6 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.7 out of 5 stars
Value:4.9 out of 5 stars

Affordable range of bass guitars has seen an influx of solid Dean models which have proven to deliver a great value for the money. Dean Edge 09 is what you can get in terms of five string basses for less than two hundred. On a similar note, Dean’s five string selection is maybe eve better than their four string basses in the sub $200 range.

Check out our list to find out which models we are talking about. Overall, this thing is solid. It feature a basswood body, which isn’t all that unusual in the entry level category, and comes packing a single soap bar pickup. In terms of performance, you are going to be limited compared to a model that has a standard configuration of pickups, but there is still enough there to work with.

The tone is good, full of girth and broadly flexible. However, this is definitely not a guitar for precision work. It lacks finesse, but that’s one of the tradeoffs you are going to have to make if you want spend less. Dean Edge 09 is perfect for metal, rock, and similar heavy genres. As a beginner bass guitar, this thing is a solid choice.

What is a 5-String Bass?

If you haven’t already guessed by now, a 5-string bass is a bass guitar with an extra low B string, giving the player an extended range in which to play. The ability to go so low without having to detune is very useful to modern rock and metal bassists.

Is a 5-String Bass Right for You?

Some bassists will never need to consider a bass with a fifth string. Look at the likes of James Jamerson, Flea, and Geddy Lee – they have survived just fine with only four strings!

However, adding a fifth string has its advantages and is crucial for some bassists. As we’ve mentioned, that extra low string adds a wider range and lower frequencies, so you can get really, really low and add big rumble to your playing.

Here’s a quick video to explain the advantages:

While few bassists are going to turn down extra low-end, there are some considerations. Firstly, the additional string needs its own space, so the neck of a 5-string bass tends to be a little wider. For most players this won’t be a problem, but it’s a good reason why beginners shouldn’t explore the world of 5-strings just yet.

A 5-string bass is also heavier in comparison to its 4-string brother. This won’t be a problem if you are a full-sized adult, but it’s worth bearing in mind if you are a smaller player or travel around regularly.

Finally, because there are five strings, it is obviously a little more expensive when it comes time to change the strings due to the extra materials involved.

None of these perceived disadvantages are there to put you off, but they are useful to consider before you dive in and spend the cash.

The Final Word

Switching to a 5-string bass can be an exciting step for any bass player – that extra string opens up a world of possibilities.

As you’ve seen from our list of recommendations, there is a wide choice of basses offering that extra string, spanning several price ranges. We hope our shortlist has given you a quick insight into some of the most popular models out there, as well as a little inspiration when it comes to shopping around.

Best of luck with your hunt for your ideal 5-string bass!


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Comments

  1. Bob Bryant says

    My Stingray 5 HH is the best on the planet! I walk in the music store and don’t see any bass I’d rather play! I’ve had it over 5 years now. I really like the neck width. Only 1/8th inch wider than a 4-string.

    I’ve played semi-pro since 1976 when I bought a CBS (oh horror!) Fender Fretless P-Bass. Still have it, still play it! I currently play in 3 bands.

  2. Larry Alexander says

    This article looks like the same article, with the same basses, that shows up in my news feed from time to time. What about G&L, Lakland, Lull?
    There are so many better basses than the ones listed.
    Rant over.

    • Guitar Fella says

      Hey Larry, thanks for the feedback/rant 😀

      We know there is a great selection outside of our list. You can check out our FAQ, where we answer the exact question you have.

      If you have a specific model in mind, please let us know! We are always open to suggestions for our next chart refresh.

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