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Fender Jaguar Baritone six?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassplayer48, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. Hi All,
    i was talking to someone last night who said the original Fender sixers (tuned like a guitar) sounded great for certain types of songs anyone used one of the new reissue ones? If so what are they like?
  2. trog


    Nov 8, 2003
    I bought one online, but sent it back. They actually produce a pretty reasonable bass tone, and are good for powerchords/double-stops etc., but sound pretty pants when any sort of complex chord is played. Strumming a simple C chord just produced a mushy, muddy rumble which I couldn't tame.
  3. yeah i was thinking more for country flavoured riffs etc rather then chords.
  4. anyone else?
  5. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    There are several threads concerning the Fender Bass VI and old-school 6-string basses. Search and ye shall find.
  6. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Think Glenn Campbell's "Witchita Lineman," or lots of Johnny
    Cash stuff. Plenty-o-coutry guys used these with flats on them, and palm muted while playing to get a sound that very closely mimic the rhythm guitar parts-known as a "ticky-tac" bass line.
    A"regular bass" they ain't, but they have applications. I wouldn't have one as a primary or even secondary bass, but it would be neat to have one for certain stuff.
  7. I own one of the CIJ 2 pickup Jaguar Baritones with the Tune-o-matic style bridge. They're definitely not "basses," as the strings are very close together, so you really can't play too much fingerstyle on them. If you use a pick like I do, they can make passable basses for recording (though I probably wouldn't use mine to hold a groove down with my band).

    The strings are .92-.26 on the standard Fender strings, and I think they make decent "tic tac" basses. On the other hand, its not hard to get that sound with any bass... The best use I've heard of these instruments has been as a second bass in a band. In a situation with 2 basses, this functions as a "lead bass" extremely well since it works well for both chording and lead lines. The best example of this that I can offer you would be the entire Cure "Disintegration" album, where Robert Smith uses it for this purpose. Pretty much any lead line you pick out on this that sounds like its being played on the low end of the guitar is actually being played on the upper registers of a Bass VI(which this is the reissue/upgrade of).

    On the tone front, it can get a bit muddy if you try to play open position guitar chords on it with all six strings, but this is due to the well known problems of tuning/temperment that spawned the Buzz Feiten tuning system. For upper register chords (which usually sound like crap on guitars IMO) and 3-4 note chords, this instrument is pretty cool. The tone circuit is nice too since it has the traditional Jaguar rhythm/lead circuit and the "bass cut" switch cleans up the aforementioned open chord mud at the expense of low end/volume.

    To close a ridiculously long post, if you like the idea of this instrument, try to play one first for a while as they're definitely a departure from both guitar and bass. I love mine and plan to keep it for a long time. Also, I'd recommend this reissue model over the American reissue which has the traditional Bass VI/Jaguar/Jazzmaster bridge. That's one of the worst bridge designs ever made for tuning stability, and adding the heavier strings doesn't help that at all.

  8. Thanks for that great info, i was thinking of mainly using for recording as a lead instrument as you describe, for doing those nice low twangy type of fills for country type of material, sounds like it would be a learning curve although a very interesting one. Do you know where you can import the CIJ ones from direct? i don't know of anyone in Aust who stocks these.
  9. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    This is a fact. For a long time, I owned a Bass VI, strung and tuned as a baritone guitar (A to A), and the sound was just beautiful in the studio. However, the hardware (don't forget the vibrato bar here) let that instrument down, in that you had to play it with some restraint, or it would go out of tune at once.

    BTW, credit for discovering the wondrous guitar sounds of the Fender Bass VI must go to David Lindley, who made good use of one in the '70s. That's who I got it from.
  10. I got my "Crafted in Japan" model from www.musiciansfriend.com out of their dent and scratch section of the website for ~$575.00 with the gig bag. This part of the website is nice because aside from the factory b-stock instruments, all the customer returns are there (which mine apparently was, as I can't find a scratch on it). The way to tell them apart is the pickup/bridge configuration...MIA has 3 pickups and the Jaguar tremolo, while the CIJ has two pickups and the Gibson style bridge.

    I don't know if they'll ship to Australia, but as there's not a MIM version of this one, just look for one with the right configuration and it will be the CIJ one. Just be careful not to pick up the "Jaguar Baritone Special HH", as its not designed for the bass tuning, but B to B like a standard baritone guitar. According to their website, the CIJ model is backordered and wouldn't ship until 1-20-07 right now, though the free shipping would be offset by the ~100 dollar air freight charge to Australia I'm sure. I wish I could offer more help than that, but I've never tried to find out how to ship Fender products to Australia. You might try to see if a Fender Japan dealer like Ishibashi can get ahold of one.

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