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Fender Bass VI strings - "contrabass guitar" setup

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Skinr, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. Skinr


    Feb 8, 2013
    First things first: this is my first post here, and I was unsure if this should actually go in the Hardware forum, but here goes.

    So, I have been playing bass for a little over two years now. During that time, I've also been attempting to teach myself guitar, but without a whole lot of success. I've been looking for a 'bridging' instrument for a while, and nearly fell out of my chair when I first came across the Fender Bass VI.

    For me, this would be a great instrument: the thicker strings would let me play it fairly well, and the smaller space between the strings than most basses (especially a four-string!) would help me in becoming more mechanically proficient with guitar. I would buy this in a heartbeat, but there are two problems:

    1) It's expensive.

    2) It's electric and solid-bodied. This is really a minor thing, but I have also been smithing for an acoustic bass for almost as long as I've been playing.

    My first idea was to get a 'normal' six-string bass and restring it/retune it like a guitar (EADGBe). But then I happened on these: http://www.daddario.com/DADProductDetail.Page?ActiveID=3769&ProductId=54

    Even better, a user review on Amazon stated that, since these strings have guitar-sized ball ends (a characteristic that seems to be almost completely unique to the Bass VI), they were able to convert an electric guitar to an ersatz bass. :hyper:

    Now, on to my idea (finally). My uncle just gave me a rather nice Seagull acoustic guitar, and I had the idea of restringing it with the Bass VI strings--thereby giving me an acoustic "contrabass guitar". This would also largely alleviate the problem of volume, as most of the strings are of a slightly lighter gauge than standard bass strings.

    I have two questions that I'm hoping someone here can answer.

    A) Will the string tension be so high as to damage the neck?

    B) Will the strings be too long for a standard length acoustic guitar? I am especially concerned about this, as the aforementioned Amazon user did their thing with a long-scale electric guitar.

    Any feedback from someone else who has tried this (or someone with a lot of technical experience) is greatly appreciated!
  2. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    One of the first problems you will have is the string spacing will probably not allow for the size of the bass strings to even fit the next properly.
  3. Southway

    Southway So ugly, he made a train take a gravel road

    Jul 26, 2009
    Lake of the Ozarks
    Never tried it myself, and perhaps someone here has, but I don't think you'll have much luck using bass VI strings on any regular guitar. The problems will be the nut slots will be too small, and as you said they will be too long. A Bass VI has a 30" scale. Also if you try to tune it to a normal bass range, the strings are gonna be WayLoose, and likely would be even tuned to baritone range (Baritones are normally 27" scale). A lot of folks say that with the D'Addario set you linked, the low E is way too loose even on a 30" scale. But at least you shouldn't have too much tension on an acoustic!

    Also, have you checked out the Schecter Hellcat or Eastwood Sidejack? I think they are both cheaper than the Fender pawn shop Bass VI.
  4. Skinr


    Feb 8, 2013
    The Sidejack is indeed cheaper, but none of the (scant) information I can find says that it's a bass. Is it?

    The Hellcat looks nice though; unfortunately, it's about the same SRP as the Bass VI. Granted, the former is still in production at least.
  5. Southway

    Southway So ugly, he made a train take a gravel road

    Jul 26, 2009
    Lake of the Ozarks
    Yes it is, but now that you mention it I there is a Sidejack guitar as well.

    http://www.eastwoodguitars.com/ Click "Bass" at the top, and it's the first one under the bass heading.