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NBD Pawn Shop Bass VI

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SneakyT, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. SneakyT


    Dec 5, 2005
    file-40. file-35.
    Sorry for the low Light pictures.
    On to the review.

    Negatives first.
    1) The setup from the factory was atrocious. (action was unplayable, neck needed shimming, bridge was buzzing, trem wasn't even close to adjusted, string tree was loose, pickup heights were all over the place.)
    2) The low E string is too small of a gauge as others have pointed out. (others strings are quite good)
    3) The bridge wont allow for proper intonation on the low E.
    4) Bridge pickup is not my favorite.
    5) 5-way switch won't allow for all pickups on selection or bridge and neck for that matter.
    6) Not nearly enough chrome.

    1) Beautiful deep Candy Apple Red Finish. Matches my '66 reissue jazz bass perfectly. Pretty flawless actually. Best MIM finish I've seen to date.
    2) Neck and mid pickups sound great.
    3) Screw in trem (really makes me want to change out the one on my Jazzmaster guitar)
    4) Fret work was impeccable. (real rarity these days)
    5) Individual string height adjustment. (I feel this is a necessity on bass[Most Bass VI bridges were a set radius like the Mustang guitar])
    6) Neck is really pretty comfortable. (Lot more playable than some bass players would lead you to believe)
    7) No neck dive at all.
    8 ) Tone, Tone, Tone.
    9) Ridiculously fun instrument and versatile too.

    All in all I'm very happy with it. Don't misunderstand I'll be changing a few things.
    1) As much as I like the ease of use of the 5-way it's just not as versatile as the original style switches. 3 switch plate coming soon.
    2) The bridge pickup will have a single coil very soon. Most likely a Jag pickup.
    3) The bridge has already been modified to allow for proper intonation. (pictures at end of post)
    4) Control plate will be added just for appearance sake.
    5) Since a new guard will be necessary it will surely be a mint one since that looks fantastic with CAR.

    I really thought this bass was going to go back before I did the setup. Fender has to get there act together here. Small adjustments are to be expected but damn! This was not even in the ballpark. It really worries me that this model will not do as well as it should just due to the bad setup and undersized low E string. That would be a real shame cause it is a really nice instrument. I also have trouble understanding why it is that they would put a bridge on that can not be intonated. The mod I did was really easy but how many will not do that? Not trying to look a gift horse in the mouth here cause we all know how long we've waited for an affordable Bass VI. Truth be told I'd really like to see it succeed. If some things don't change with the factory setups I doubt that many mainstream guys will give it a shot.

    The bridge Mod
    This is a really easy mod. All I did was take the low E saddle off, put it on a drill press with the bit going through the original hole to the other side. Drilled, then mounted the saddle from the opposite side. Intonates perfectly with room to spare for the new larger gauge string that is on its way.
    file-32. file-29.
    I may end up doing the A and D for aesthetics but they intonate fine as is. The nice thing about this mod is that unlike the 1" bridge you can use the readily available jaguar mute and bridge cover. (Well on this the Jazzmaster pickup will probably get in the way of the mute but that is about to change for mine)
  2. lolmont


    Jan 2, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY
    I really want one, but not at the price point.
  3. SneakyT


    Dec 5, 2005
    I guess many will feel that way which is a shame. It's certainly a quality instrument that is worth that much as is. That's as cheap as I've ever seen a Bass VI BTW. Maybe a few of the MIJ's from the nineties were cheaper when they got closed out. I'm just happy it was not $1800 and up like the rest of the Bass VI options are.
  4. SneakyT


    Dec 5, 2005
    Updated with pictures and bridge mod.
  5. mr.mow


    Feb 11, 2009
    Endorsing Artist: BBE/G&L Basses
    Why didn't you just flip the bridge around? (I have the same bridge on my telecaster)
  6. if you removed completely the E spring you would have gained more space for intonation without the need to reverse the screw with the new hole.

    One simple more thing you could do on the E saddle as it is now is to insert the height screws from above, since now the hex hole is on the bottom (am I right?)
  7. I still really want one of these...regardless of issues.
  8. SneakyT


    Dec 5, 2005
    I tried this. The high e would not intonate. Either way you would have to remove a spring which leads me to......
    I tried that as well and it buzzed like crazy due to the lack of opposing force from the spring and the screw was almost touching the string due to the break angle from the height adjustment on the saddle. Seemed a lot more elegant to approach from the opposite side than to cut both the intonation screw and the spring. Not to mention that once the new heavier gauge string was here it may not have had enough room to intonate and I'd have to cut them again.

    Not sure I get what you mean.

    I really am happy with it. Very, very cool instrument. After a couple of days with the thing I am really surprised at how playable it is. I am primarily a bass player (although I have played guitar just as long, it was not in a professional capacity). I always thought that these would play more like a guitar but they really are somewhere between the two. I find myself playing mostly new material on it. Neither bass nor guitar parts. It really feels like I'm playing Bass VI parts if that makes sense. That's really inspiring to me. In contrast: tone wise, I really thought that this would be just a layering tool for recording but I really think it's more than that. The low end is surprisingly tight (after getting a new .095 E string that is). I could easily take this on bass gigs and be happy. Finger style is surprisingly easier than expected (that may be due tho the amount of guitar I've been playing lately) and picking is super natural as expected. The more I play it the more I really cant believe I didn't pull the trigger on a VI earlier.
  9. SneakyT


    Dec 5, 2005
  10. Meddle


    Jul 27, 2009
    Cool mod, but couldn't you just cut the low E spring down or something? Maybe even a smaller spring? I have enough parts to build up half a dozen Strat bridge assemblies here (not sure how, I've never owned that many Strats) and I've seen springs at different lengths. Even cutting down a humbucker/PAF mounting screw might work as they don't seem to have the same tension.
  11. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Phillipsburg, NJ
    Beautiful instrument!! I hope when you get the new string it gives you "Extra" Intonation adjustment. That happens a lot.
  12. SneakyT


    Dec 5, 2005
    The screw will run into the string once the string height is set correctly so a shorter screw would be required. So I could get a new spring and screw from who knows where or use a drill bit that I already have and easily fix the problem in a matter of seconds with room for further adjustments.

    Thanks man. I already tried it with a quite dead .095 string that I had sitting around and it intonated fine but was almost to the back of the bridge. Between 1-2 millimeters shy.
  13. Disregard: my eyes failed on me!!!
  14. SneakyT


    Dec 5, 2005
    Update: I installed a Fender Mute. It was pretty stright forward. I followed the instructions at http://www.shortscale.org/wiki/index.php?title=Jaguar_Modifications_detailed#The_Fender_.27mute.27
    Strangely no one seems to mention this but you really need to let the foam break in before trying to adjust it to stay in tune. When I first installed the mute it was pushing the strings quite sharp. I left mine engaged for a few days when I wasn't playing it and played it quite a bit with it engaged as well. Once it had broken in sufficiently I had to raise it quite a bit to get it to sound muted at all. It now gives a great mute sound and only pushes around a couple of cents sharp. It also functioned more smoothly now that it was raised but not as smooth as I would like so I took it off again. I took a file to the bottom of the screw and rounded it off. I went back and added some grease and I'm quite happy with the way it functions now.

    As I was playing the bass with a pick I noticed a weird popping noise coming through the amp. It became pretty obvious that it was static building up on the pickguard and coming through the electronics. I have seen this on a few guitars in the past (weirdly only Mexican ones and only with a strat style switch). I knew this was no big deal as it is easily fixed with a properly shielded pickguard. I had planned on just waiting until I built a new guard to go with the new plates but I've gotten pretty busy and that may not happen for a few months. I went ahead and shielded it while I had it apart. I went with my usual aluminum foil and spray adhesive and covered the back of the entire guard. Immediately the difference was apparent. Not only was the static problem completely gone but the single coils were almost completely silent when soloed. This is my first instrument with "claws". I am quite surprised at how well the work when used in a properly shielded instrument. Which leads me to a question: Why don’t companies properly shield their pickguards any more? This seems like such a cheap corner to cut. Anyway as I do with all my instruments now days I highly recommend shielding the pickguard when you get it.

    Anyway on with the pictures...I wish I had documented the process but alas I did not. file_zps0ee6466d.
  15. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Question ?
    I have only seen pictures of this axe.
    String spacing looks tight.
    Can it be played with fingers or just a pick?
  16. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    It can be played with fingers, but not like a standard bass. Will take considerable adjustment. While this goes down to a low E as any bass, I definitely wouldn't recommend it as a main player. It more of a novelty instrument. Not quite a guitar, not quite a bass. Feels much more like a guitar than bass. And it definitely works best played with a pick, or finger picked like a classical guitar.

    There are other threads on the dander vi with lots more info. I'd search them out if you're considering one.
  17. SneakyT


    Dec 5, 2005
    I strongly disagree. I play it finger-style more often than not, although playing with a pick certainly works. While it's true that it is not quite a bass or guitar, it certainly is not a novelty. They have been used for years by lots of big name artist for the things they do well. I think the people who say it feels more like a guitar have never spent much serious time on a guitar. While some muscle memory is the same from guitar equal amounts muscle memory from bass apply. It is a very valuable and versatile tool, especially in the studio. Could you use it as you main bass? I could but probably wouldn’t. It can create guitar like tones or bass like tones but what it excels at is somewhere between the two.
  18. change-jug


    Oct 11, 2008
    Whoa. That mute assembly looks soooo sweet!

    I too just bought (and received) a new Pawn Shop Bass VI. I really like mine. I bought heavier strings to replace that light E string.

    Man,now I want to get a mute put on mine. You said it was a pretty easy procedure?
  19. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    Well... I played guitar for about 10 years before bass, and played guitar on all my recordings here http://joenerve.bandcamp.com/ plus the video below. If I had to choose between it feeling like a guitar, or a bass, I gotta go with guitar. I said in my post that it can be played fingerstlyle, but playing fingerstyle there's a lot more I can do with a 4 string than I can with this. Playing with a pick, there's a lot more I can do with this, than on a 4 string. And as fer it being the main player for someone, with thicker strings I could imagine it being a possibility - but if it ain't one's own music I'm gonna bet that somewhere down the line somebody's going to complain.
  20. octaverazor


    Jun 3, 2009
    Houma, LA
    I did your bridge mod on mine. It worked great, good solution. Btw , anyone got a lead on strings for this bass besides the overpriced Labellas.