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Bass VI, ’63


Sunburst, Serial # L03350.

Ten years after launching the ground breaking Precision Bass, Fender introduced a six string bass, the Bass VI, in 1961. The instrument was tuned the same as a standard guitar, but an octave lower, attracting guitar players, as well as bassists wishing to expand their soloing range (this soloing capability was utilized by Cream’s Jack Bruce, and the Shadows’ Jet Harris).  The Bass VI had the comfort contoured “off-set” body design and floating tremolo of the Jazzmaster, and the narrow nut size of the Jazz Bass. The constricted string spacing made playing with a pick the easiest way to get sound out of the Bass VI. Nashville session players made great use of this when doubling the bass lines of the upright bass. This was known as “tic-tac” bass.


The 1963 Fender Bass VI pictured is typical of Bass VIs that year. The pickups, which originally had metal surrounds, were changed to match the newly released (1962) Jaguar’s pickups. A bridge mute was added, also much like the Jaguar’s, and a fourth switch appeared allowing for a darker tone option.

The 1962 Fender list price for a Bass VI with a sunburst finish was $329.50.

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