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Fender Bass VI

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Freaky Fender, Nov 8, 2001.

  1. does anyone here have one of these? if so, how much are they? and how do chords sound on them?
  2. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    I thought so, I knew you had to ask that question for some reason.

    I don't own a Fender Bass VI, but the only thing I can tell you is that its basically an electric guitar with a longer scale (I think 27 or 28 or something like that) with the same tuning as a guitar EADGBe an octave lower. I think the strings go somewhere from 0.015 - 0.080 or something like that.. I'm not sure about chordal wise but it should sound pretty muddy since its a guitar with an octave lower!

    Price? I think its around $1299-1599 or something around there.. depends if uw anna get the vintage one or the one they started again.

  3. Blackbird

    Blackbird Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I've seen them go used for under $700. I'm talking about the MIJ reissue, obviously.

    I played one of those and I think it sounds more interesting if played like a fingerstyle guitar. The spacing is kinda narrow for Pizzicato. I'd like to hear a band using one to fill the sonic space between the guitar and the bass.
  4. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Pick up the CD "Fresh Cream" if you want to hear Jack Bruce playing a VI. And he played it fingerstyle like a regular bass.
  5. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    hmm... I always thought it was a baritone guitar. baritone guitars are just like regular guitars except tuned to A, where the baritone range starts. (at least the baritone voice starts at A)

    I think it has a tremolo bar too :eek:
  6. ghost_song

    ghost_song Guest

    Nov 5, 2001
    I'm pretty sure the baritone guitar starts at B, I wanted to get one for a while, but decided on a bass instead, good choice wansn't it?
  7. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    Standard tuning was EADGBE one ocatave below a guitar. And yes, it had a whammy!
  8. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Sound: early The Cure. I don't know which tracks specifically, but Robert Smith used (and still uses) the Bass VI a lot. I think albums like Seventeen Seconds and Faith were supposed to feature the Bass VI. They usually had a "normal" bass player too, so don't listen to the bass lines - it's the guitar parts. I always liked his guitar sound, the chords sound pretty good. I think the pickups cut a lot of the low-low end so it isn't too muddy? But that's a guess.
  9. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    just to clarify something..

    Baritone Guitar is ADGCEA
    BassVI is EADGBE

    and I think the bassvi has a longer scale then Baritone Guitar

    Baritone has 27" scale i think when a regular guitar has a 24"
  10. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    I knew it! It makes perfect sense that baritone guitars are tuned to A! Its all coming together now! :D

    So then the Fender Bass VI is not a baritone guitar after all, but a 4 string with a high B and E...
  11. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    ...kind of. Add "and short scale and tight string spacing and guitar pickups" and you're on the way. It definitely is not a baritone. I don't think I've seen a good, short way to distinguish it from 6-string basses. Calling it a "6-string bass GUITAR" is about as close as I've seen. :) I think this is why, when AJ got a six made, he referred to it as a "6-string contrabass guitar".
  12. KPJ


    Oct 2, 2001
    Methuen, MA USA
    Baritones can be tuned to C or B or A or any of the accidentals in between. Fender even makes a set of strings to tune it Bajo Sexto Tele to E. Brian setzer has a custom Gretsch tuned to C.

    Anyways, the standard Bass VI string set has a low E string gauge of .095 as opposed to the Jerry Jones/Danelectro low E of .088. I have a Dano 6-stringer and I use the D'Addario Jerry Jones set which has a disclaimer on it to make it clear that it is intended for the JJ/Dano and not the 6-string bass.

    I had always wanted a Bass VI, and the only opportunity I had, about 5 years ago when they came out with the re-issue, I picked up the bass and did not like the way it felt against my body. I put it down immediately. I'd love to try another, now that I'm older and wiser and been playing the Dano for 2 1/2 years, but have yet to see one around.

    I use mine primarily for fattening up recordings, but occaisionally will break it out on gigs for a change of pace. You can do some great things with it, especially in a trio or a group w/o a guitar.
  13. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Hmm, he lists New Order as using them. Peter Hook played a 6-string bass tuned EADGBE, but it was a Shergold Marathon with (I think) a longer scale, and wider spacing. I've never read anything about them using Bass VIs. Maybe he got NO and The Cure mixed up. :)

    Oh, I remembered a good example song: "Primary" byt The Cure, I think the guitar part (strummed chords) is played on a VI.
  14. Robert Smith of The Cure uses the Bass VI a lot, but on "Primary" he used a Fender Precision- you can see in the video both he and bassist Simon Gallup are playing P basses- the story is that the intonation on the Fender Bass VI he had in the studio at the time was out.

    the live version of primary on the "Show" video has Smith and guitarist Perry Bamonte both playing Bass VI's.

    the main melody on "Lullaby" and "Pictures of you" is a Bass VI.
  15. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    sumone said they went for like 1700-2000. I thought that sounded right but i just checked and the american ones are more like 3500. I can't imagine they'd be much different from like a dano or a reissue. Ive played the dano one and it was nice, but not really my thing. The string spacing does look too small to do much except play chords and stuff like a guitar.
  16. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Aha! Thanks. I'd never seen that video. I need to get my hands on "In Orange", it's been too long since I saw that one. I'm pretty impressed that Primary is played on a P-bass.
  17. ahpook


    Jul 13, 2001
    i'd put money on there being a fender VI on the original of primary......

    ...porl (anderson) (?) plays a VI during primary on 'the cure in orange'
  18. I like the Fender VI but i prefer the Music Man Silhouette Bass Guitar
  19. New Order has been known to use Bass VI's in the studio. I think old Barney tends to play it more than Hookey.

    If you really want to hear what the Bass VI sounds like, listen to Faith by The Cure. That song is drums, bass, synth, and bass VI. No regular guitar. The solo section of Disintegration is Bass VI as well. Hell, just listen to any Cure record after Three Imaginary Boys/Boys Don't Cry.