I played the bass for a few years back in middle school and some high school, but I picked up the saxophone and the bass fell by the wayside. Recently I've decided to learn the guitar or relearn the bass. I've been borrowing a friend's starter guitar, and while I'm enjoying the heck out of it, I'm still yearning for my dream instrument - a six-string bass. I plan on playing solo a lot of the time, though I do like the idea of playing with a partner or group. I listen to pretty much everything as long as it's musical: blues, jazz, metal, funk, and hip hop. I also love chordal bass work. I don't plan on playing anything very heavy, though. I'm probably going to be buying my instrument in the next few months, and I've narrowed it down to two instruments; one of which is a pretty standard 6er, and the other is a bit more unusual. The first is an Ibanez SR506. I've had a chance to play this bass, and I liked it a lot. The neck is thin and very fast, and the action is low. The scale length is 34" which makes the low B a little muddier than I'd like (or so I've heard). Full chords using all six strings also sounded pretty ugly, though four and five string chords were pretty nice. Overall, though, it was really good. The second choice is a little different. It's called the Hellcat VI, and it's made by Schecter. This is a descendant of the Fender Bass VI. It's a 30" scale length guitar tuned one octave beneath a standard guitar. For me, this instrument seems to have a few advantages over a regular six string bass. First of all, it has an extended high range rather than high and low, making it more suitable for solo play (in my opinion). It is also tuned the same as a guitar, meaning that all of the chords I've learned on the guitar can be transferred directly to the Hellcat "bass," and they will likely sound as good as the five-string chords I played on the 506. The cool thing about this instrument is that it seems like one can play it like a bass or a guitar, depending on the situation. I'm leaning towards the Hellcat VI pretty heavily, but I have a few reservations because I haven't been able to find one to playtest yet. I worry about finding strings that will fit, because in my little bit of internet searching LaBella seems to be the only company that makes strings to fit this instrument. I guess I can contact Schecter and see what they use, but I'd rather find something I can get in a brick & mortar store. I wonder if the strings are as thick as regular bass strings or not. I also worry that since it's not a bass and it's not a guitar, it's not going to do a very good job at fulfilling either job. The string spacing is also a concern; it seems to be much tighter than a regular 6er bass, closer to a guitar. I've played a guitar fingerstyle before, so the Hellcat shouldn't be too difficult to pick up (though it's probably very different than a regular bass). I probably won't be able to do much slapping and popping, though. Anyway, I'm gonna try to find a Hellcat to test, but if anyone has some experience with it or an instrument like it, I'd like to hear your thoughts. EDIT: While I do appreciate people making recommendations on other brands, let's just say that I would prefer an Ibanez or a Schecter. If you must suggest something that is not one of those two brands, I would request that it be something that is sold at Guitar Center: Fender, Epiphone, B.C. Rich. Thank you!