Hellcat VI or Bass VI isntrument owners?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bass_drum, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    Hey guys!

    I'm looking for a review on a bassVI type instrument (especially the hellcat Vi). Can it be used as a bass in a band? Id assume so but some say it cant...Does anyone play one with there fingers (besides Jack Bruce) or is it just for picks? Would you suggest this or a 6 string bass tuned EADGCF?

  2. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
  3. i don't see why you couldn't use it as a bass...the barijag that i tried out in the store sounded just like a bass to me, although i can't speak for the hellcat, as it was co-designed by robert smith, who is a guitar player.
    But since both the baritone jaguar and the hellcat were both designed to be a bassVI copy, i bet you could use both as a bass guitar, although i would advise the jag over the hellcat only because i was able to play the fender in a store, and never tried the hellcat...
    but i can definately tell you that the jag can be used as a bass.
    btw, i think the reason picks are used is because the string spacing is a bit tight. If you want wider string spacing, i'd look to a 6 string bass, and you can still tune it eadgbe if you really want. I've done it before and it works just fine :)
  4. Showdown


    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I have the Danelectro version and use it as a bass. The strings are lighter guage, but it basically sounds like any bass with extra-light strings on it would. I've played it with my fingers, but it is very tight, like a guitar, so it takes some concentration. A pick is much better. There is a Hellcat VI at a local store that I've checked out. Very nice.
  5. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    Haven't tried a Hellcat VI, but I owned a ´63 Bass VI for many years, and must say I found it pretty much useless for what I play. But again, it's a question of style. It might be just the ticket for somebody in a retro or surf band, say, and I've seen Bill Laswell wield one to great effect in a free-form setting, with killer distortion.
    The main problems I had were with the narrow string spacing, lack of tension on the low E, and the less than stable bridge/vibrato assembly. Intonation was approximate, especially on the E. Using a pick was practically necessary, but a strong attack would cause the string to shift on the bridge, and the thing would go out of tune.

    However (and this is why I kept it for so long)... it worked amazingly well as a "baritone" guitar, tuned ADGCEA. Add a touch of stereo reverb, maybe a whiff of chorusing, and you got the magical, deep, twangy tone that David Lindley developed back in the ´80s with El Rayo-X. Muy fresco - see http://www.davidlindley.com/cgi-bin/pgallery.cgi?pd=inst&rf=instruments.html&pi=g4.gif . - As far as 6-string bass playing, though, I'd say you want a bigger neck and more substantial hardware.
  6. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Had a Fender for years but now I play a Gretsch SynchroBass VI and a Jerry Jones Longhorn bassVI. No problem playing as a bass, it IS a bass. I always play with a pick, so not a problem. They do lend themselves to certain music styles more than others tho'. They record very well, a very punchy sound on tape.

  7. Sound Chaser

    Sound Chaser

    Mar 19, 2005
    Lockport, NY
    I saw a Genesis cover band called The Musical Box the other night. The bassist was using a double-neck 12 string guitar/bass VI. It sounded great, just like on the album (which is the point I suppose...the album is the lamb lies down on broadway, by the way). It looked like a Danelectro, but I'm not sure.
  8. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    Well I have played a 6 string abss tuned EADGBE but the neck was almost to much for me (im only thirteen). It might be the fact that the neck seemed pretty chunky (washburn xb600) or maby 6 string bas necks jsut arent for me. I have asked almost all thwe stores in town here, and the schecter dealer wont order a hellcat VI without me "buying" it first. Same goes for the fender dealer and the bari jag :scowl: .

    I have saved up enough money now (around 1400 canadian) for any of these basses so I'm jsut tryign to decide between 6 string bass, bass VI and wich model...any suggestions?
  9. Micolao


    Sep 7, 2005
    This is the one we own in our band, made for us by a luthier:
  10. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    East Bay, CA
    I have the Fender Baritone Jaguar Custom (tuned EADGBE) and I dig it. I think these instruments are especially fun if you know how to play a bit of guitar. I haven't played the Schecter or Bass VI, but I have tried the Danelectro reissue 6 and I feel like the BariJag is a lot more solid. I'm very glad the BariJag has a fixed bridge rather than a tremolo.

    These sorts of instruments probably don't make a whole lot of sense to extended range bassists who like the "contrabass" ideal and go for hifi sound, extra-long scale lengths, and super-wide string spacing. I love playing with a pick so the narrow spacing is an asset, though I feel it's quite playable with the fingers, especially if you've done fingerpicking on guitar.

    I've always felt that strings above G on standard/extended-scale basses sound kind of like a guitar with a bad head cold, :bag: so I actually like the sound of the short scale (~ 29") on the BariJag.

    Hey Imoh--can you point me to any recordings of Bill Laswell playing the Bass VI? I know he played it a bit on Basslines but most of the other stuff I've heard with him on bass (and we're talking maybe 30 recordings...I'm a Laswell FREAK) features his enormous dubby fretless P-Bass.

    I'd also suggest that people check out Tortoise if they want to hear some groovy Bass VI action.
  11. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    Saw him tearing it up live with Last Exit (Sharrock/Brötzmann/Jackson) sometime in 1986. So I guess this would be the one: http://www.silent-watcher.net/billlaswell/discography/lalz/lastexit.html . I haven't heard it myself, but it says "6 string bass" and the recording dates from the same European tour.

    EDIT: In fact, almost all of the Last Exit material listed at http://www.silent-watcher.net/billlaswell/ (discography section) seems to feature Laswell on Fender Bass VI only.
  12. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    do you guys think it would be fairly easy to play with fingers once you get used to it?
  13. the bassist from a band called the blood brother uses one live and i think it sounded great. it was drenched in effects and everything but it sounded really cool.
  14. yes