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Talk me into or out of a Bass VI

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by loopfinding, Nov 28, 2020.

  1. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    Black Friday has some deals on these (Squier classic vibe). The only used ones that come up are the older VM’s which have some issues. I've always had my eye on one of these to experiment, but it could be an experiment that goes horribly wrong. I’m considering though.

    Thoughts:

    1) I write a lot of solo stuff in alternate tunings. Often dropping the low strings to B or A. This could be a cool thing to write for. I’m not jazzed about losing so much high end, but some weird hybrid bass/baritone tuning could be cool.

    2) I’ve always wanted a baritone. I could string it up A-a and deal with the 30” scale (the JM baritone is also 30” and at B-b). I think it would be easier to dump and less of an investment if I don’t like it than a proper baritone.

    3) I don’t have a bass with me at the moment. My bass playing is usually limited to jamming out to r&b and disco just for fun, or recording some dub style basslines on tracks. I’m thinking I could get by recording with it in a pinch. Especially if I put a humbucker in the neck. I’m a flats guy so I feel like that could take care of half the battle. The ability to put a jag mute on it for quick 60s sounds is also enticing.

    4) The trem. Love offset trems. The 30” JM baritone doesn’t have it. I don’t think anything in the same price range does. I think the newer mustang style bridges on them solve some previous issues but I’m not sure.

    5) I really need to know if it sounds like a sega genesis when you run it through octave fuzzes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
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  2. WingedWords

    WingedWords Friend of Leo's

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  3. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    You should definitely try one before you buy. I had one of the older MIJ baritone Jags. It wasn't my favorite guitar--fine as a baritone B to B, but a little floppy as a bass. I did record with it once or twice, and for that sound, it was pretty great. The MIJ (I think it actually said Crafted in Japan) was well made, I just didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would and eventually traded it toward a Jazzmaster.

    I tried a CV when they first came out and it was super heavy. I was all set to get one, but after playing it, I decided I liked my regular bass better (I later got a Hofner Beatle Bass and like that even more.)
     
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  4. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Tele-Meister

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    They are neat, and I’ve been tempted, but in the end.. they aren’t all that cheap for what ends up being a niche or novelty instrument, for most people that buy them.

    basically, a regular bass or downtuning with thicker strings can do the majority of what the bass VI has to offer. I can definitely do B or C with thick enough strings on a Tele or Strat.

    that’s my attempt at talking you out of it.
     
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  5. USian Pie

    USian Pie Tele-Meister

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    I have a Schecter Hellcat VI. It's the same concept as a Bass VI but with a tune-o-matic bridge and 3 mini-humbuckers.

    It has flats on it at the moment. They are coming off as soon as I get some free time. I like flats on a normal bass but they kill everything cool about the Bass VI, in my opinion. The clarity is all gone but they don't add back any of the low-end thump lost with a short scale.

    I have used it as a substitute bass accompanying piano and acoustic guitar. In that setting, chest-punching low-end isn't missed. The higher strings let me add some simple embellishments that make sparse instrumentation more interesting.

    It doesn't replace a real bass. If the song calls for a punchy P-Bass sound, better grab a Precision.

    It excels at riff-writing and getting me out of my guitar ruts.

    Some effects work well with it.
     
  6. notroHnhoJ

    notroHnhoJ Tele-Meister

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    I’ve got a longhorn 6 strung up as a baritone A-a. It was kind of unwieldy as that old school 6 string bass, and really not very applicable to much. As a baritone its gotten a crap ton of use. I’d say get one and string it up as a baritone guitar. That 30 inch scale is really key I think, and makes a much better baritone than bass.
     
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  7. gusfinley

    gusfinley Tele-Afflicted

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    Wait until the Bass VII comes out.
     
  8. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    The problem with baritones, 12 strings and the like is that you need a regular musical reason to break them out, as regular guitars and basses do a better job of all the regular things we do every day. If you have some kind of music you play that requires a bass VI, I guess you know it already, and if you don't - do you need it? If you want it and can afford it, then who am I to talk you out of it. But not that many guys really need a bass 6, baritone ukelele, resonator mandolin and so forth.
     
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  9. Wildeman

    Wildeman Tele-Meister

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    I have one of these too and im glad i do, its alot of fun. I have a set of flats to put on it, now im hesitant. Its actually real nice to play slide on.
     
  10. Wildeman

    Wildeman Tele-Meister

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    I have all those things:D
    Yes, they sit in cases mostly but when i need a Banjolin by golly, I've got one.
     
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  11. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    yeah this is what i have trouble with. when i hear it in any doug mccombs thing or in a wichita lineman vibe, it sounds great. but then i hear people playing it through modern bass amps and it sounds absolutely disgusting, has that polished fusion-guy-with-a-6-string-playing-chords sound. same with heavier genres, it sounds like it could be great for doom and stoner metal but every example is trashy djent stuff. so i can't tell if they're just difficult to wrangle in most scenarios, or people are just using them "wrong."

    i think given that there are some really killer 30" scale basses it might just be a problem that the strings aren't chunky enough. i think i'm trying to have my cake and eat it too a bit.

    at any rate this sounds nice and sweet to my ears in G standard.



    but i'm not sure if i'd want to leave it on something between E and A full time though.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
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  12. notroHnhoJ

    notroHnhoJ Tele-Meister

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    I tend to think of my Longhorn as a big guitar, and so I play it through my guitar amps. I end up capoing very very often. My favorite is at the 3 fret, and playing in key of C or F. Its awesome. The Danelectro-ness of the thing really lends itself to big stringy, piano-like tones. Thats whats fun about the baritone tuning, is that its really very much in guitar world. I think even really that old school 6 string bass is also more in guitar world than bass world. It sounds like your leaning more towards piano-like textures and less “heavy” music? I think you’re right most people are using them wrong.
     
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  13. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    yeah, it's another consideration. i definitely have a use where i need lower than a guitar, possibly lower than a baritone, but still higher than a bass. it would be convenient to have it in one instrument. but, i'm not sure if the bass vi is a great solution, or one that will suck at both things.
     
  14. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    For sure. I think when it gets into the uncanny valley of “this guitar is tuned way too low for the scale length” or “this bass player is playing way too high on the neck,” that’s where I start second guessing my GAS.
     
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  15. notroHnhoJ

    notroHnhoJ Tele-Meister

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    I hear you, yes exactly.....There is a place for this “thing” though, I really think. Again, in my experience, its been the baritone tuning that allowed for lots of usage and many different stylistic applications.
     
  16. dswo

    dswo Tele-Holic

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    A lot of Bass VI in The Cure.
     
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  17. somebodyelseuk

    somebodyelseuk Tele-Meister

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    For - Best guitar body shape Fender has ever done... I really, really, REALLY want a regular 6 string in this shape.
    Against - Strings will be expensive.
     
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  18. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Its 1 5/8" nut width is narrow,
    but doable: And up the neck, the strings are right on the fret edges.

    - If tuned E-E, a fatter E helps, close or above .100"
    Palm muting that string helps.

    - Shimming the neck up helps some "tightening" things up on the low strings.

    - They're fun!! They can easily work w another bassist, etc. Fingerstyle w bass, chord, melody is epic.

    - Ideally a scale length of 30.25" or so would be nice, and nut width > 1 11/16"


    .TRY in person!
     
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  19. Guitardvark

    Guitardvark Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    bought one thinking well its just a 6 string guitar with fat strings..well ya need fat fingers and fat arms for it too..if your physique fits the requirements it might suit you. if you got arms like olive oyl might want to get a workout video instead.
     
  20. MrCairo46

    MrCairo46 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I really wanted my band to do Back in the Saddle by Aerosmith , so I worked to learn up all the 6 string bass parts , but it just lacked the umph played on a regular 6 string guitar. I than watched a guy on YouTube who suggested using a Moer octave pedal if you didn’t have the Bass VI. It worked for all of $29 used. Wife got home and I shared how I saved her so much money that day......
    POG would work also
     
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