Originally Posted by BeerSuds
Sounds like you should be looking at 35" or longer scale basses if you plan on down tuning to A and prefer tighter/thinner strings.
Schecter comes to mind when I think of cheaper 35" scales.
I agree with this. Note I play guitar as well as bass (LOVE my 7 string guitar)
And I have a few comments in general to be a guide.
1. I DO NOT recommend tuning down a bass. That's what the lower strings are for. A guitar can sound MUCH better down-tuned. But bass strings...especially E and B are at the limits of what they can do. They'll sound/ play like crap down-tuned. Certain players do that to keep their familar finderings the same, but mostly it's a bad idea that was generated by the mistake of listening to guitarists.
2. I Own a GSR2906, (as well as an Ibanez SR506). If you can score a used GSR206 for a decent price and decent conditon DO IT. It is a wonderful bass for a noob. It has the great fat Ibanez SR tone which is the "classic" modern sound. Neck is fast and thin, body is smaller and light. Action is great. The only down-side on mine is that the pickups don't quite cover the strings evenly which makes C and B strings have less volume than rest. So you have to compensate a bit with bass and treble boost on those controls. But as a learner or bar bass 6er it is HARD to beat.
3. I recommend learning on a 6 string to "get" what 5 and 6 string basses are all about. Get with the wide neck and string damping and playing up the neck and ACROSS it. And if you are into chords on bass, a 6 string bass is THE one to look at. Helps keep your chords out of the mud. (refer back to #2 above)
4. The Brice and Douglas are great basses for the cash. I don't own any or haven't played them but word on the street is they tend to be a bit more "standard" sounding active 6 string. Some think electronics are only adequate. Also look at ESP LTD B206-SM. Heavy, but I DO own one. Absolute KILLER looks, sound and playability. Check one out.
5. Another consideration is tone. Do you want to go "modern" and active (like Ibanez) or "old school" and passive? Normally the latter would be VERY expensive like Low End basses, but at Rondo you can buy an SX 6 string Fender clone for cheap. You can even get it now in ash and natural wood. I own three (rounds, flats and fretless). You will need to deal with a few tweaks like shielding, strings, and maybe a bit of setup, but if that isn't out of your range it's a KILLER Jazz clone bass in 6 string with REAL tonewood at a super price. And if you get unlucky Kurt's fantastic return policy will insure you don't get stuck with even the low price.
6. So long as you are interested in chords on a bass I wouldn't cut back to 5 strings, but if you do a G&L Tribute is something worth looking at. Yes, I own one.
7. I own a 35" scale bass (Modulus) but 35" is not essential to have a decent B string. All my basses have decent B strings. 35" helps some with B string but that is balanced by the hassle of having to find extra long scale strings for a 6er. 6 string bass string sets are hard enough to find but extra long scale (may also be needed for through-body stringing) are a super pain and usually forces you to buy online.
As you can see there are LOTS of great options here and I very much recommend the various basses I own for the things each does well. But in the end that choice is yours.