Mid-Range 6-String Shootout

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Gabe7539, Oct 3, 2017.

  1. Gabe7539

    Gabe7539 Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2016
    I'm looking to get a mid-level 6-string to do some Dream Theater stuff and possibly convert to fretless at some point. My budget is $550 or less. I'm primarily looking @ used. This is a list of basses I've tried so far or am interested in trying but haven't gotten a chance to:

    ESP LTD B206-SM -Played
    Ibanez SR506 -Played a SR505, not too impressed.
    Schecter Stiletto Custom 6 -Played a 5-string Stiletto
    ESP LTD D-6
    Dean Edge 6
    I'm not totally opposed to a Brice or Harley Benton, but I don't want to buy something OK for $400 new and then have to spend another $400 on a setup, new pickups and a new preamp.

    So far I preferred the sound of the B206/D-6. I'm still giving the 506 a chance since the 505 I played felt great with very old strings and a mediocre setup, and since it is within my budget to buy used and then upgrade to MK5s.
    If anyone has got any suggestions or recommendations, I would be happy to read them. Thanks.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
  2. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Didn't I already do this thread once? I own a B206 and an SR506. Both are excellent basses but quite different. I picked these two over all the others. The D-6 is better than the B206 because it's mahogany rather than ash which weighs a ton, but the D-6 costs more. I had a chance to upgrade but didn't because of the price difference. Mahogany is my favorite body wood though. Neck is best thing about the ESPs. Ibanez is, well, an SR Ibanez which is also good. I prefer the SR basses to say the BTB etc.

    Want cheap? Look at my Avatar. SX 6 string converted by me to fretless with ebony fingerboard. Yes, some work but that bass I kid you not will hold it's own with ANY bass! I absolutely LOVE it. But it is Fender-clone old school passive if that matters.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  3. Gabe7539

    Gabe7539 Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2016
    Thanks for responding :). The d-6 is actually not a mahogany body, it's merbau. I'm not sure of the advantage, other than that it's very dense and very easy to obtain, and probably does weigh a ton like you say. It has a mahogany neck though, and I like the feel of mahogany necks.
  4. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    I’ve played the LTD B206 and was rather impressed with it, especially at the $525 price tag (GC). Kinda made me want one, although I really have no need for a 6-string bass.

    For your budget, I don’t see how you can go wrong
  5. Aidil


    Dec 4, 2014
    Jkt, IDN
    I had the chance of directly comparing the D-6 NS and B-206 SM in a local music shop few years ago, which several days later I returned to that shop and went out with the D-6. The D-6 was my 2nd 6 string bass, which had my interest due to its neck thru and string thru body construction. But, it didn't last long with me either, cause I gave it up for a Cort Artisan A6. Main reason was, the A6 had better playability. It had the lowest string action w/o fret buzz that I ever had. Low string action is important when you have such wide board to fret. The hardware and electronics were also better, and it was still in my range of budget. It also had a slight lighter weight than the (5.5 kg) D-6, but still I felt have to use Gruv Gear Duo Strap when gigging with the A6, cause weighing at 5 kg was still on the heavy side.

    Then several years later, I fell in love with one of Ibanez 6 string Soundgear, due to the comfort of light weight body of 3.8 kg for an hour or two hours gigging. In the end, I keep only the SR and sold all my other 6 string bass.

    So my suggestion for OP, you might want to consider adding the important of lighter weight when choosing 6 string bass. And I strongly suggest that try the SR506 first or other SR 6 string basses, before deciding to get the other.


    Feb 10, 2016
    Michigan USA
    Have you considered a Peavey Grind NTB. Good sound and great play-ability with very low action. The only drawbacks could be the weight, and it's only passive, with 2 soapbars and VVTT controls. On the plus side it is 35" scale and neck through.
  7. Gabe7539

    Gabe7539 Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2016
    I finally found a SR506 in a store. The experience was significantly better than with the 505: Very good setup, lowest action of any of them, more comfortable neck, fresh strings, and definitely was 1-2lbs lighter than the B206. It was the older version w/o the mid frequency switch, albeit I didn't miss it. Thanks for the recommendations, I'm gonna get this one. I have to say though, after looking at two in person and around 15 online, I understand why people at Guitar Center get pissed because 90% of them had that same spot by the neck pickup with the finish worn away from people slapping. This is not the right bass for that if you want to keep your finish.
    I hadn't, but I was mainly looking for something active that I could add a bypass switch to later if I wanted to. Not a fan of 35" scale, all my other basses are 34". Seems like a good bass though.
  8. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    I was preparing to post exactly what you observed. Something is "right" about the way ibanez makes a 6-string. They just feel really nice.
  9. Gabe7539

    Gabe7539 Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2016
    As far as their double-cut bodies, I agree, but I had a BTB846SC for two days and I hated it. I couldn't get past the weird neck joint.
  10. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    When I was shopping for a 6, I gave myself a $2K budget.

    Played the B206, and bought it.

    Left the rest of the money in the bank.
  11. Gabe7539

    Gabe7539 Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2016
    Got the used SR506 w/case for $330. I haven't put it down since. It plays like butter. So happy with it I picked up another even more worn one from guitar center for $240 to be converted into a fretless. Both will see a refinish or some decals to cover the wear, and maybe an electronics upgrade down the road.
  12. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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