Bass w/ guitar tuning?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by llamalor2112, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. llamalor2112

    llamalor2112 Inactive

    Sep 18, 2007
    I know that the major idea in the over 4 string basses is to be able to get lower notes with ease, but.... Are there any sixstring basses that are used with the standard guitar tuning such as to the effect that they simply sound like a bass - guitar? Is it the basses or are there string sets that accomodate this?
  2. There are string sets available that'll allow you to do just about anything.
  3. Yes. Fender popularized the Bass VI, which is a guitar tuned down one octave on each string.

    I own a version by Danelectro and Schecter.

    Some people lump them in with the "baritone guitar" category, but I think they are different by virtue of the tunings.

    Yes, there are string sets manufactured specifically for this instrument/tuning.

    They have their uses, either mirroring the bass line or playing more lead, melodic lines. A number of famous players have had a go with the Bass VI concept.

    Read more here:
  4. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    Some 6 or 7 string bassists (Including JT, IIRC, tunes the 7string like a guitar.)

    EDIT: It's not really about stings. I can't read...
  5. neatobassman


    Jul 16, 2005
    Antelope CA
    There are piccolo sets and you could tune a 6 string in not perfect 4ths like a guitar.
  6. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2008
    Get a 6 string bass, tune it EADGBE. The notes wont sound anything like guitar notes, they will be much deeper.

    Why not just get a guitar though?
  7. llamalor2112

    llamalor2112 Inactive

    Sep 18, 2007
    Do the Fender VIs have neck profiles and body styles similar to standard basses, or are they larger like most six stringers?

    I already have several guitars but want their range with the basses sound.
  8. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
    The Fender Bass VI has a 30" scale neck. I have two and they can be used either as a bass or as a deep throated lead instrument. For that particular sound think the lead solo in Wichita Lineman. I think that one was actually a Danelectro 6-string however.

    The main difference between these instruments and the new standard six string basses are that these are short necked (for a bass) octave guitars that can sound very bassy if necessary, while the new standard kind are long neck basses with a low B (like a 5-stringer) and a high C. You can't interchange the two stringwise or anything like that.
  9. Right, we need to differentiate between a 6-string bass, which typically has the EADG on strings 2345, and a 1st string tuned higher, and a 6th string tuned lower. Those generally have the long scale associated with a bass guitar, and are played as such, until the bass player goes into the higher and lower territory.

    I think OP is asking about Bass 6's and baritones, which are structurally more like a standard electric, but constructed to accept the tension of a lower string gauge. Bass 6 tuning is usually EADGBE (like a standard guitar but one octave lower), baritone tunings usually start with a low B or A on the 6th string, and tuned in 4ths like a guitar.

    Bass 6's, with the bass tuning on the lower 4 strings, have been used as basses by the likes of Jack Bruce and others. Some have used the lower tunings to do melodic guitar lines that have the ability to go far below a standard guitar tuning. When used sparingly, the effect is striking indeed.
  10. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Inactive Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Hi llamalor2112.

    Then a Bass VI type instrument may be useful to you.

    The Facebook group 'Bass VI players.' has a number of YouTube links which partially showcase the sound of the Fender VI from 1962 to more recent years.

    In particular check out Mr. Jet Harris' 1962-era use of his 'VI.

    Also, Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison are worth a listen.


    EDIT: Headphones please! :) :bassist:
  11. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Inactive Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Hi Jordasch.

    Because Bass VI's have a timbre which resides between a guitar and a bass, just as a cello's sound lies between a violin and a double bass.

    Yet a 30" - 30.3" scale 'VI can cover most electric bass parts (except slap) and most guitar parts--even many chords.

    These abilities are useful to bassists/guitarists/composers/arrangers/songwriters or anyone who is seeking a different sound and feel.

    A Bass VI ("the tenor sax of electric guitars") is both: a guitar for bass players; and a bass for guitar players.

    A band would do well to consider a line up which included a 'VI instead of a 2nd guitar.
  12. Tony In Philly

    Tony In Philly Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Filthydelphia, USA
  13. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Inactive Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    1) I never doubted it. It should be :bassist: more often! :D

    2) Now THAT'S what I'm talking about! :hyper:

    A more direct link: Hank The Knife & The Jets - Stan The Gunman

    EDIT: More Fender VI: Hank The Knife & The Jets - Guitar King

    EDIT #2. That Tielman Brothers video was marked 'private'. :eyebrow:

    But I found another (perhaps the same one) in which the Tielmans use two Fender VI's: one covering the bass guitar parts; the other playing the electric bass parts: The Tielman Brothers - Bossa Nova Baby (Indorock / Indo Rock) Holland
  14. In the baritone department:

    Is this guy a frustrated bassist playing guitar, or a frustrated guitarist playing bass?

    Yeah, the low-tuned guitar thing is really really fun. I won't own a 6-string bass, way too much work, but as a guitarist, I love the baritones and bass VI's.
  15. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Inactive Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
  16. That Burns is way cool. I love the old-school vibe.

    I got hooked on Dano Longhorn baris mainly because of Dave Edmunds and Duane Eddy.

    Eastwood has the Sidejack which also captures the old-school feel pretty well.

    After 6 Danos, I had to take a break from baritones. My tech and I souped them all up better than a Jerry Jones.

    Next up: Warmoth custom double-neck 6/baritone. Twang!