Ok, here goes....
5 string for sure - but that is preference since I really like the deeper low-end of a 5-string
I play Music Man Sting-Ray and I look for good feel/weight, rich tone, strong/long sustain, over-all quality of the instrument.
Although pricey, I believe that you should build/buy the best you can afford. Like a woodworker/artist, you may be the best in your craft, but with crappy tools, you will get crappy results.
This are my opinions.
Building a bass is as personal as playing. That being said, a couple of pretty good resources are Talk Bass (they have a luthiers thread, I believe) and Warmoth.com. They have everything from blanks to finished bodies and necks. They have a lot of great parts as well, but I'd also look at Best Bass Gear.com and Hipshot products. Hipshot makes the best tuners out there, and make a lot of different bridges. A lot of builders right now seem to be going to a P/J pickup configuration, which uses a Precision bass type pickup in the neck position and a Jazz bass type pickup in the bridge position. Those will give you the most sonic possibilities and can be had at any price level. I personally like using a noisless Jazz pickups.
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