#1
I figure electric guitar is the proper section for this since it's just a 6 string guitar tuned an octave lower, but I wanna talk about the Bass VI. I can't really find much on these things and the few instruments I see just have the weirdest pickup configurations and the players tend to play them icky. I really want to get a hold of one and play strictly the same way I play guitar, but give it a deeper, fatter sound. I love the range of basses and I think with a proper tone, it could sound killer, they usually have P-90s or some shit like the Fenders, but I haven't really seen one targeted towards rock/metal players that want to use it as a lead/front/melody instrument instead of just an easier way for guitarists to play bass. Anyone know of any companies that make them affordable and decent? They just don't exist on the used market and I'd really rather not ever drop $800 on one of the fenders because it would require even more work to make it useable.

Also, are there any bands that use them like this? I know of tic-tac basses and stuff from old countries records, but bleh.
#2
There are guys like Geddy Lee, Stu Hamm, Brian Bromberg, Jonas Hellborg, Jah Wobble, Bootsy Collins, Bill Laswell, Doug Wimbish, Flea, Les Claypool, Tony Levin, Chris Squier and John Myung who play "lead bass" at least part of the time. I know Brian Bromberg plays a piccolo bass, and most of those guys have 5 or 6 string basses. Some even go for 8s, 12s, or even things like chapman sticks.

Charlie Hunter plays custom 7 & 8 string guitars that have actual bass strings & pickups for the lower 2 or 3 strings, while the upper ones use standard guitar strings & pickups.

Others in search of more low end try baritone guitars.

So there is precedent, of a sort.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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#3
FYI: piccolo basses are guitar scale with (slightly lighter than usual) bass strings. They sound a bit...different.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WNgaPELvSxw
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#4
I know about piccolo basses and all that, but that's not at all what I'm interested in, I'm talking about using these in a rock lead guitar style:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYQSnHorKZM

Actually, piccolo basses are the complete opposite of what I'm looking for >_> I don't like the string spacing of basses and I don't particularly want a 7 or 8 string, though I am considering a baritone with heavy strings, but bleeeeh. I suppose drop tune 8 string guitar string sets would work pretty good, but the scale length seems like it'd be too f ucky. I'm a guitar player that wants a lower octave without extra strings or bass string spacing. I'd also rather not it sound...like a bass. Maybe I should just go with a baritone and EMGs, the compression would keep chords sounding listenable.
Last edited by Velcro Man at Mar 10, 2014,
#5
Quote by dannyalcatraz
There are guys like Geddy Lee, Stu Hamm, Brian Bromberg, Jonas Hellborg, Jah Wobble, Bootsy Collins, Bill Laswell, Doug Wimbish, Flea, Les Claypool, Tony Levin, Chris Squier and John Myung who play "lead bass" at least part of the time. I know Brian Bromberg plays a piccolo bass, and most of those guys have 5 or 6 string basses. Some even go for 8s, 12s, or even things like chapman sticks.


A Bass VI is different from a six string bass. A Bass VI is a 30" baritone guitar for playing guitar using guitar techniques one octave down. A six string bass is a monster bass that’s well-suited to virtuoso-level popping and slapping.

Anyway OP, you’ll have to replace the pickups on a Bass VI to do metal. There’s just not many people who actually want to play that low without just using a bass. And then you’ll have to put together a rig that can handle the low notes and not sound like shit. You’d probably be better off getting a double-neck guitar/bass and connecting each to an appropriate amp like Al Cisneros.
#6
Fender's Bass VI has developed something of a cult following in some circles. It is, as you have said, essentially a baritone guitar (tuned low to high: E-A-D-G-B-E) rather than a true six-string bass. I believe Schecter still makes their Hellcat model, which is pretty much a product-improved version of the old Fender Bass VI:



I do not know of any band or artist that uses these instruments as lead instruments on a regular basis, but they might exist. Most bassists who want a six-string bass go for the mainstream design (tuned low to high: B-E-A-D-G-C).
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#7
Quote by Velcro Man
I figure electric guitar is the proper section for this since it's just a 6 string guitar tuned an octave lower, but I wanna talk about the Bass VI. I can't really find much on these things and the few instruments I see just have the weirdest pickup configurations and the players tend to play them icky.


"Icky."

Rondo Music has a number of 30" scale guitars. If you want just six strings, look for something with "630" (denoting six strings, 30" scale) in the model number. If you're tuning the thing an octave down, I'm not sure how you plan it to NOT sound like a bass, but you can certainly get it to play more like a guitar if you stick to the upper frets.

http://www.rondomusic.com/argustoastsg1.html
Setup to intonate with 24 34 44 56 72 84 gauge strings

http://www.rondomusic.com/st630eb3ts.html
#8
Quote by dspellman
"Icky."

Rondo Music has a number of 30" scale guitars. If you want just six strings, look for something with "630" (denoting six strings, 30" scale) in the model number. If you're tuning the thing an octave down, I'm not sure how you plan it to NOT sound like a bass, but you can certainly get it to play more like a guitar if you stick to the upper frets.

http://www.rondomusic.com/argustoastsg1.html
Setup to intonate with 24 34 44 56 72 84 gauge strings

http://www.rondomusic.com/st630eb3ts.html


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01JC7y_NvWo

A good demonstration on how not to sound like a bass, but after sounding like a bass lol

I like these schecters, but they're a bit pricey, too

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__Am5tkI1Jw

I might just check out those Agiles soon
Last edited by Velcro Man at Mar 11, 2014,
#9
Fascinating!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#10
Quote by Velcro Man
I haven't really seen one targeted towards rock/metal players that want to use it as a lead/front/melody instrument instead of just an easier way for guitarists to play bass.


There are a couple of reasons for that. One, it's a 30" scale. Your hands aren't going to move around the frets as easily as they do with a 24.75" scale. Two, take another look at the string gauges. Three, bending on one of these really isn't very productive; it takes a lot more travel on a fretboard to get the same amount of bend. And since you wanted a standard-type fretboard width, the amount of travel you need simply isn't there.

In short, what SEEMS like a bright idea has actually been tried here and there for 50 years or so, and that's why you don't see one targeted toward rock/metal players very often.

There's also this; in order to reproduce the bottom end of these instruments with any degree of accuracy at rock volumes, a speaker needs to move four times the air, and that takes power, and that means solid state.

I actually have the capability of downtuning (via pitch replacment) a full octave on the Variax. It would probably be the ideal instrument for this, since your string gauge doesn't need to change and you don't need a longer scale, and your string tension is exactly the same. For the most part, it sounds like crap, intrudes on the bass and kick drum territory, and will make a band sound like Jabba the Hut in mating season. It would be a decent solo instrument, but it's not great for chording beyond two fingers, and the solos would still want to be taking place in the frequency range of the human voice, so you lose the whole point of the downtuning.
#11
Hey Velcro Man. I work at a music store, and I have both the Fender and Squier version on my wall. Personally, I think I'd rather have the Squier (and I almost never say that). It's got all the fun electronics, and the pickup configuration I'd want. The Fender plays really well, though.

Absolutely perfect for surf/spy kind of stuff. I write spaghetti western riffs on it all the time. If you've got a good fuzz, this thing is fantastic for old grunge or new shoegaze.

What are your questions? I check UG while I'm at work (don't tell the bosses), so I can check things out during the day.
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#12
Quote by dspellman
There are a couple of reasons for that. One, it's a 30" scale. Your hands aren't going to move around the frets as easily as they do with a 24.75" scale.


You don’t play bass, do you?
#13
Quote by dspellman
There are a couple of reasons for that. One, it's a 30" scale. Your hands aren't going to move around the frets as easily as they do with a 24.75" scale. Two, take another look at the string gauges. Three, bending on one of these really isn't very productive; it takes a lot more travel on a fretboard to get the same amount of bend. And since you wanted a standard-type fretboard width, the amount of travel you need simply isn't there.

In short, what SEEMS like a bright idea has actually been tried here and there for 50 years or so, and that's why you don't see one targeted toward rock/metal players very often.

There's also this; in order to reproduce the bottom end of these instruments with any degree of accuracy at rock volumes, a speaker needs to move four times the air, and that takes power, and that means solid state.

I actually have the capability of downtuning (via pitch replacment) a full octave on the Variax. It would probably be the ideal instrument for this, since your string gauge doesn't need to change and you don't need a longer scale, and your string tension is exactly the same. For the most part, it sounds like crap, intrudes on the bass and kick drum territory, and will make a band sound like Jabba the Hut in mating season. It would be a decent solo instrument, but it's not great for chording beyond two fingers, and the solos would still want to be taking place in the frequency range of the human voice, so you lose the whole point of the downtuning.


Seems like you've never played a bass, guitar necks are wider than a 4 string. Also, 30" scale isn't that big of a deal nor are the string gauges, all of these are positive traits. Personally, I NEVER bend past a full step, even then, usually half step bends and considering it has less tension and smaller strings than a bass and bass bending is also no problem... Hell, 8 string guitars generally have a 28 inch scale, though I guess nobody manages to get their hands around those...

Also, I would be using bass amps, sooo... yeah. Also, apparently you've never listened to bands with lead bass players, hell, surely you've heard Black Sabbath songs with Geezer Butler playing with the same presence of Tony Iommi and playing in the slight upper register of a bass is faaaar closer to the human voice than anything on the guitar past the 7th fret lol and on top of that, who says that's where I want to play "solos"? When I play guitar, I prefer leads in the lower register and for chording and stuff, I want the option of going lower. If one were to use active pickups, compression or just roll down the bass and mids a bit, chords won't sound too bad. Plenty of bassists play chords and make them work, it's just with any distortion, single notes on a bass sound about as rich as power chords on a guitar, so trying to play power chords and stuff on a bass with lots of fuzz or distortion is just going to cause a lot of noise.

Quote by JustRooster
Hey Velcro Man. I work at a music store, and I have both the Fender and Squier version on my wall. Personally, I think I'd rather have the Squier (and I almost never say that). It's got all the fun electronics, and the pickup configuration I'd want. The Fender plays really well, though.

Absolutely perfect for surf/spy kind of stuff. I write spaghetti western riffs on it all the time. If you've got a good fuzz, this thing is fantastic for old grunge or new shoegaze.

What are your questions? I check UG while I'm at work (don't tell the bosses), so I can check things out during the day.


I have considered the squiers, but that seems like an even bigger replacement project. From what I've heard on youtube, the pickups are somewhere between bad and okay and tuning stability... Those agiles are rocking grovers and such, so even if the pickups suck, it would be an easier upgrade, so if I go the $400 new route, I think I'll take my chances with them, but I'm really digging those Schecter Hellcats...maybe I will just break my own rules and buy new...

Also, anything you can tell me would be appreciated! To be honest, playing those spaghetti western riffs on one of those would be amazing... The sound I'm really wanting is kind of like Geezer Butler in NIB to some Deep Purple stuff to Motorhead and really any nice, fuzzy, loud lead bass stuff, but I just don't like basses.

What companies make baritone guitars with a 28" scale instead of 27"?
Last edited by Velcro Man at Mar 11, 2014,
#14
The tuning on the Fender is pretty darn solid. Honestly, for the sound you're thinking of, I wouldn't recommend a pickup change. My only complaint was that things didn't seem as clean as I wanted them to be, which is why I liked the ability on the Squier to change stuff around to keep the sound from breaking up a bit.

If you want the fuzzy lead tones, the stock pickups in the Fender sound like they'd be right up your alley. As I play and really start to hammer, there's a natural thickness to how it starts to crunch up, so it seems right up your alley.

I play a Stingray and Jazz bass, normally. This neck here feels a bit flatter than you might be used to if you're a heavy handed bassist like I am. However, if you've got good technique and play with your thumb rested behind the neck in proper position, this thing will probably feel pretty darn smooth for you.

I don't know of anywhere else around that has one to try out. I'm here in Madison, Wisconsin. I don't know of anywhere else outside Chicago you could probably try one out in person.


(and yes, those western sounds are awesome. I'm a big surf rock fan, so a bit of reverb coupled onto it is just downright fun as hell.)
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#15
Quote by jpnyc
You don’t play bass, do you?


Matter of fact, I do. 34" Carvin LB75 5-string.
What's the question behind the question?
#16
Well the EB-6, Bass VI, and Danelectros were the first 6-string basses which were the same scale length as the Mustang and EB-0. They were made before current 6-string (BEADGC) basses. Bass VIs are definitely not baritones.

Anyway, for rock and metal look at the Schecter C-VI and Ibanez SRC6
And if you're feeling particularly crazy:
http://www.themusiczoo.com/product/20151/Jackson-Custom-Shop-Doom-Soloist-30quot-Scale-Electric-Guitar-Matte-Green/

For P-90s look at the Eastwood Sidejack VI or the Lakland Decade 6 if you want something expensive

If you want something more traditional, there are a few MIJ Bass VIs available too:
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/BassVILTDCAR/

The Schecter Hellcat VI is pretty traditional too but the Ultra VI is another option.
#17
Quote by JustRooster
The tuning on the Fender is pretty darn solid. Honestly, for the sound you're thinking of, I wouldn't recommend a pickup change. My only complaint was that things didn't seem as clean as I wanted them to be, which is why I liked the ability on the Squier to change stuff around to keep the sound from breaking up a bit.

If you want the fuzzy lead tones, the stock pickups in the Fender sound like they'd be right up your alley. As I play and really start to hammer, there's a natural thickness to how it starts to crunch up, so it seems right up your alley.

I play a Stingray and Jazz bass, normally. This neck here feels a bit flatter than you might be used to if you're a heavy handed bassist like I am. However, if you've got good technique and play with your thumb rested behind the neck in proper position, this thing will probably feel pretty darn smooth for you.

I don't know of anywhere else around that has one to try out. I'm here in Madison, Wisconsin. I don't know of anywhere else outside Chicago you could probably try one out in person.


(and yes, those western sounds are awesome. I'm a big surf rock fan, so a bit of reverb coupled onto it is just downright fun as hell.)



You're really making me consider the squier...I assume you mean the vintage modified? It seems to be $350 new now, very good price point if it's as good as you say it is, I might just sell my Mexican strat to fund it

Quote by JELIFISH19
Well the EB-6, Bass VI, and Danelectros were the first 6-string basses which were the same scale length as the Mustang and EB-0. They were made before current 6-string (BEADGC) basses. Bass VIs are definitely not baritones.

Anyway, for rock and metal look at the Schecter C-VI and Ibanez SRC6
And if you're feeling particularly crazy:
http://www.themusiczoo.com/product/20151/Jackson-Custom-Shop-Doom-Soloist-30quot-Scale-Electric-Guitar-Matte-Green/

For P-90s look at the Eastwood Sidejack VI or the Lakland Decade 6 if you want something expensive

If you want something more traditional, there are a few MIJ Bass VIs available too:
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/BassVILTDCAR/

The Schecter Hellcat VI is pretty traditional too but the Ultra VI is another option.


They're all so good...but a bit out of my price point. The Ibanez seems rather interesting though, maybe more so than the others in that price range.
Last edited by Velcro Man at Mar 11, 2014,
#18
As anyone who lurks these boards often will tell you, when I say that the Vintage Modified it good, it doesn't come without some weight. I am usually pretty bias against them. The Bass VI is a very good model in the Squier VM.
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