Explain the Fender Bass VI

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jason42, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. hypercarrots


    Jan 28, 2009
    many bass VI designs use bridges with saddles or string holes that don't work with heavy gauges. sometimes the tuners are a problem too.
  2. hieronymous


    Nov 28, 2002
    Northern CA
    Yeah, I have an old set of LaBella flatwound Bass VI strings where the wrapping by the ball end won't fit through the hole, but the roundwounds I have do fit (both of these are old sets from over 10 years ago, they may have changed them). The high E on the old roundwounds is barely long enough to wrap around the post once, though again they have hopefully changed them by now. My old ones still work so I haven't bothered trying a new set. I find the low E in the LaBella rounds are heavy gauge enough I think it's a .095

    Here's a link to the LaBella flats, looks like Sweetwater has them in stock - maybe I should pick up a set!

  3. Backdrop


    Feb 2, 2011
    Los Angeles
    I love my VM Bass VI. I come up with bass and guitar type parts on it. Think it's great. Never use the tremolo bar anymore.

    Here are couple of my favorite Bass VI videos.

    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
  4. burpgun


    Jun 29, 2015
    One key thing you have to do when you get a Bass VI instrument is make sure you've got heavy enough strings on it. I've got Labellas on my Fender, and the low string is a 95, and I play in drop D with few issues. It plays pretty much like a normal short scale, albeit with narrower string spacing. The PSVI is also pretty fussy about set up and shimming the neck was essential. The stock bridge Fender sends out is problematic and I replaced mine with a Staytrem, which is a good thing because the guy who made them--they're wider and help with intonation--only ships in the UK now. It's a mystery why Fender ships with such light strings and I wonder how many people got turned off based on that experience.
    RedVee and hieronymous like this.
  5. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    Two knobs, yes, plus three necessary switches for pickup combos, and hardtail is a common mod, easily done.
  6. consectaneus


    Sep 23, 2016
    Jet Harris "Besame Mucho

    Theme to The Man With The Golden Arm
  7. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    That's understandable. There is a lot of confusion about these instruments. They are erroneously referred to as baritone guitars too often. Danelectro did produce a baritone guitar which looks identical to their six string bass---those are usually tuned A-D-G-C-E-A or B-E-A-D-F#-B.

    I'm currently looking for an excuse to buy one of those too.....
  8. kirkdickinson

    kirkdickinson Supporting Member

    I really like the sound of a Baritone Guitar tuned B1-B2 or A1-A2

    To me, that Bass VI is an odd duck that is too muddy to do guitar very well and not enough balls to do bass very well.
  9. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I defy you to check out the Julie Slick vids posted by @Toptube (post #59) and me (post #71) and then say that again. :D
  10. That strange video inside an empty swimming pool was pretty cool. I always thought Bass VI would be awesome for solo live looping. Add an octave-up pedal and you have the full range at your disposal.
  11. Are you suggesting that John did not play bass on the released (album) version of Helter Skelter? I've never read anything to the contrary, and if he did, it was likely the Bass VI. There's a recording of Paul demonstrating the part to him, on guitar, included on the boxed set.
    RedVee likes this.
  12. Spun__Kee

    Spun__Kee Inactive

    Apr 17, 2019
    First you stated: "The only Beatles songs that have Fender Bass VI in them are Back in the USSR, Rocky Raccoon, Honey Pie, The Long and Winding Road (another possibility could be Oh! Darling), and that's it!"

    Then you added: "Lennon playing bass as an overdub on While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "... bass on released version of Helter Skelter still remains ("it's John playing sloppy on Fender VI" is still repeated everywhere ad nauseam)"

    The point is, you don't know. You likely were not there. Even the Beatles can't remember.

    And, in the end, it doesn't matter.
    boggus likes this.
  13. I tried a Squier in a shop and liked it well enough from a brief play around. But could not stand the floppy E string.
  14. boggus


    Feb 21, 2018
    Lennon definitely played Fender VI on 3 rehearsal takes when the song was slow (before Paul got 'inspired' by Pete Townsend to make loudest dirtiest recording), Take 2 of this was released on Anthology in edited form and on 2017 White Album reissue in full. Throughout you can hear John playing one E note for 12 minutes.

    For the released version, the outtakes from 2017 White Album (and more studio chat from Beatles Rock Band video game) point to the fact that it was Paul playing his Fender Jazz bass, which he used quite a lot on the White Album. Because during the chat when he says to have extra guitar bar in the first intro, then demonstrates the ending crash, he is "singing" all of that and also demonstrating it on the bass. And the bass sounds exactly like on the released version. Furthermore, reissue also includes short quick Baby, Let's Play House cover with the same bass sound as well.

    Considering John's bass playing on Fixing a Hole, The Long and Winding Road, Let It Be (before Paul re-recorded bass track), he sucked on bass for some reason, so I don't think there was that one magic moment when he played that grinding Helter Skelter bass line for 20+ takes.

    Anyway, it's all off-topic, the point is: yes, Beatles used Fender VI but only a couple times. It didn't become the mainstay and wasn't used often like in the case of The Cure.
  15. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    The problem with calling it that is "octave guitar" refers to one of these:
    An octave up guitar. That's why we call octave down guitars VI's, regardless of who made them.
    deirdresm and Nevada Pete like this.
  16. Backdrop


    Feb 2, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Here you go.
    It's on Reverb.
    Simon Fretless likes this.
  17. bigtone23


    Dec 10, 2014
    Denver, CO
    I have a 2014 Squier Bass VI. Did all the usual things to make it a solid bass alternative-tuned E-e. Made the bridge posts tight in the thimbles, got the neck angle shimmed properly, Kalium .102 strings, repurposed the strangle switch to do series/parallel, took out the 1M volume and replaced with a 500K, and replaced the tone control with a Duncan preamp so it can get more oomph or cut as needed. Oh, and all black plastic on a black body. It intonates perfectly and is a solid instrument-it has that shorter scale kind of plup to it, but is strong toned. Using the soloed neck or middle pickup is the most clear and authoritative bass tones. Doing mid +neck or mid + bridge in series gets thick and powerful, too.
    I used it live a lot for the first couple years I had it, it was perfect for pick parts as I had a little trouble doing faster finger style passages on it. Now it's more of a fun thing to noodle on, Cure style, etc... It capos up well for baritone-style use.

    I'm also searching for a 27-28" scale baritone guitar to do the B-b or A-a thing. This will be a guitar, and I'm thinking something hard tail and Tele style.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
  18. 2F/2F


    May 26, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm not sure that there is a "rule" that "octave" attached to an instrument always means octave up. When we say "octave mandolin," it's an octave down. That's where my version of Bass VI terminology comes from, as the octave mandolin is a very common instrument that one is quite likely to encounter during a life as a musician. It's just a shorthand for "octave down guitar." I've never heard of one of the octave guitars you describe, till now. Seems to me like an octave up guitar should be called a soprano guitar. I'd love to play one, whatever it's called.
  19. Spun__Kee

    Spun__Kee Inactive

    Apr 17, 2019
    When it comes to the Beatles... one never really knows...




  20. hypercarrots


    Jan 28, 2009
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
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