Which affordable 6-string to get your feet wet?
I'm curious and would like to try a 6-string bass to see if I like it. 35" scale if possible, if it doesn't push it into silly money. Reasonably traditional shapes, no Bongo please. ;) Budget-wise I'd say the Yamaha TRB is at the top end of what I'd consider, but wouldn't cry if there is a more affordable bass. I'd appreciate getting some suggestions if you know of other options.
Save up and buy a good one. You also need to consider strings spacing. You'll want what you're used to, and I can't recommend altering that.
How Traditional and How Affordable?
There's always THIS:
Solid ash body probably worth the price of admission alone...only $199.95! Not a bad way to "get your feet wet", eh? If you hated it, I can't see how you'd have to sell it for much less. It's only a 34" scale, however. There are other colors available. I just love the way the natural one looks. Check the site below
I don't own one of these personally, but SX's and Rondo Music get a lot of love around here. I'm real close to pulling the trigger on a 4-string for myself. Hope this helps!
Just went through this a couple of months ago. I wound up with an Ibanez BTB and love it. I did also look at the SR506 but the string spacing was too narrow. My search also included a Tobias, and a Roscoe. Even though the Tobias was a nice bass, it was the first out of the running because the seller wanted too much for it. The Roscoe was a superb bass, absolutely nothing wrong with it. If you can find one of those at an affordable price, latch onto it.
The ibanez btb was my choice for these reasons: neck through body construction, bartolini pickups, three band active preamp with switchable mid frequency, beautiful amber finish, good balance and feel, also, I loved the smoked chrome hardware on this bass. The final decision maker was price, this bass only cost $1000.00. The only "negatives" about this bass: I wish it had nicer fingerboard inlays, but hey, at this price, I can live with dot markers; and the lack of a case, now some would see that as a positive, they would rather pick a case.
Side by side comparison, all three were nice basses. The Tobias was a great bass, the owner just wanted twice what I thought it was worth. The Roscoe was superb, great wood, playability, pickups, preamp, etc, but price comparison with the BTB, $3600.00 vs $999.00, in the end I chose the Ibanez.
I know there are other great sixers out there, but I could only compare the three that were available to me. Good luck with your search
Here is a photo of the winner in my six string purchasing journey. Note the high tech bass holder
My number one everyday go to bass is the very affordable ESP/LTD B206sm. It was easily my favorite when I was shopping for a sub $1000 sixer. It's a 35" scale and, for a budget sixer, the electronics are really pretty decent.
Ibanez BTB Premium 1406e
Neckthrough design, 35 inch scale length, Nordstrand pickups.
For a more modern vibe I highly recommend either the EXP LTD B206-SM. Only a bit over $400 and a totally KILLER modern 6 string. Same goes for an Ibanez SR506. These have the advantage of many used ones out there for decent price (mine was just a bit over $200). Either is VERY hard to beat as a noob introduction to "modern" 6ers for not a lot of coin. Yes I own both. For that matter my Gio SR206 (also a bit over $200 used) is also a great entry 6 string. It has some issues (output low on C and B strings because of inadequate pickups) but still can be brought into line with a bit of EQ and has amazing Ibby tone. Not a bad way to get your ERB feet wet.
I'd say that if you live with any of the above for a while, you'll have a good idea if 6 is for you and if so what you will want to spend the serious money on.
Here's what I went with:
Here's another push for the ESP Ltd basses. Both the D6 and the B206 can be baught brand spankin' new for less than $500. That's not what I consider really low budget, but they are good enough to be the only 6 string you ever buy.
(Bias note: I absolutely love my ESP Ltd bass. It's been with me for over ten years and I'd save it before any other bass I have.)
I ended up getting a Pedulla 6 string that needed work for a great price. FWIW, I always shop TB first when I'm looking...
I owned both a Schecter Studio 6 (used for $369) and a ESP LTD B206SM. The Schecter was nice, but the smaller body and strap pin placement made it hang and play uncomfortable for me. So I'm still playing my B206SM strung with GHS Flats...
Well, a TRB 6 will run well over $1k, so that's a lot of room.
Your best value in a high quality 6-string is without a doubt a Peavey Cirrus 6. You can pick them up used, in near mint condition, for under $1,000 all the time. This spectacular Cirrus 6 with a redwood top just sold on ebay for $950 shipped.
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