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6 String/ Fender VI Advice please

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by vanceg, Sep 2, 2005.

  1. vanceg


    Jul 7, 2005
    I'm looking to either modify and existing insturment, or have one made from scratch for me. Looking for advice, or perhaps someone here HAS the instrument I am looking for already and is willing to sell.

    Here's the ideal:
    6 String instrument
    Tuned like a Fender VI
    scale length near that of the Fender VI
    String spacing somewhere inbetween that of a Fender VI and a P-Bass
    Ideally it would have a tremolo on it (I know, this is highly unlikely)
    Headless design would be acceptable

    I am considering getting a standard 5 string bass and converting it. What I'd do is simply put another tuning peg, nut and bridge on.
    I would LOVE any advise you all might have about how to get around these potential problems with this approach:
    - Where does one find a 6 sting bride with narrow string spacing?
    - If I simply add a string, then the pickup magnets are not going to be exactly under the strings! How serious might this problem be and/or where might I find a 6 string pickup that can cope with this narrow string spacing?
    - Is there any possibility of finding a tremolo for such a beast (I could skip the trem if they just dont exist)

    Thank you in advance for your advice.

  2. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    For the body and neck of a fairly typical Bass VI type instrument, go to USACG.

    Anything else is going to be a custom build. An existing 34" scale 5 string is going to be hard to convert to a 30" 6 string.

    ETS will build you a narrow spaced bridge, but if you move away from the guitar type spacing on the Bass VI then you might find it hard to get a trem unless you have it made.

    For pickups, select something with blade polepieces, so unusual string spacing won't be an issue.

    So I see you have two options: full custom or get an OLP MM5 (add guitar trem)/ USACG Baritone VI and get used to the narrow spacing.
  3. andvari7


    Aug 28, 2004
    You want a trem? These guys can build you a trem:

    Any trem can be custom made, but it takes a while, and it's really expensive. On the plus side, you're getting the highest quality bridge available - you have people such as Les Claypool, Victor Wooten, Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King STILL using them after 20+ years.

    If stock guitar hardware, such as a Tune-O-Matic, works on a Bass/Baritone VI - and I'm awaiting the answer on this one - then a Kahler trem will cost you about $340-350 (shipping, color options).
  4. vanceg


    Jul 7, 2005
    Thanks for your thoughts. I suspect that what I will do is get a 5 string, put a 6 string bridge on it (one with slightly narrow string spacing on it, of course) and put some blade pickups in it (and/or a piezo system in the bridge).

    I actually would love a 34 or 35" scale length. I own a couple of bari insturments and they are great.... but looking for something just a tad lower. What would be nifty would be to find a relitively inexpensive 5 string that has a 32" or so scale.... but who knows what I will come up with.

    Suggestions ALWAYS welcome.

    Thanks again for your tips!