Fender Bass VI Electric 6-String Bass Guitar (1962)

Fender  Bass VI Electric 6-String Bass Guitar  (1962)
$12,500.00 + shipping
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Item # 11588
Prices subject to change without notice.
Fender Bass VI Model Electric 6-String Bass Guitar (1962), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 66597, sunburst lacquer finish, alder body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, original brown tolex hard shell case.

This is a very early pre-CBS Fender Bass VI that has been well-played showing some noticeable wear but no alterations. This instrument was Leo Fender's answer to the cheap and economical Danelectro 6-string basses, which were very popular with studio musicians in the early 1960s. Leo's version was much more elaborate, with all the latest deluxe Fender features but that unfortunately made it far more expensive, which limited its appeal to all but top pro players.

The Fender VI (that is its original official name, though it is universally called the "Bass VI" today) was the company's big instrument unveiling at the July 1961 NAMM show, but production did not get underway until the fall of that year. This one has a neck date penciled on the heel of 2-62 and the pots are stamped 304-6212, indicating it was assembled in Spring 1962. Sales were slow from the beginning, and although available up into the '70s these were never built in large numbers.

This VI has the standard features of the early version. The three pickups are controlled by a bank of on/off switches on the lower bout, with a master volume and tone. These early Bass VI pickups are unique to the instrument, built much like Stratocaster units but with 4 adjusting screws and small chrome surrounds specific to this model. Later on in 1963, the pickups were replaced with Jaguar units, and a fourth "strangle" switch added to the wiring rig. We feel these earlier models offer a deeper, fuller sound.

The large offset body features the standard 1962 blended 3-color sunburst, with a tortoise-celluloid pickguard. The standard Jazzmaster trem unit is fitted, along with a wider bridge allowing more travel for the threaded saddles. The maple neck has a clay-dot thick slab rosewood fingerboard with a narrow 1 1/2" nut width.

This early first-generation Bass VI is not only a rarity but a great-sounding and playing 6-string bass with an amazingly wide range of tones from its three pickups, and a vibrato arm to play with, if you dare. This is a ringer for the VI Jack Bruce played with the Graham Bond Organization, Manfred Mann and the early Cream, except his was even more worn in by 1966! A number of other UK players used this model as well including Hollie Eric Haydock, Jet Harris, Peter Green and John Entwistle. The VI can be heard on countless film and TV soundtracks as well as pop recordings of the 1960s. This is a nicely "reliced" but all original and very cool example of one of our favorite instruments.
Overall length is 44 3/4 in. (113.7 cm.), 14 in. (35.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 30 in. (762 mm.). Width of nut is 1 1/2 in. (38 mm.).

This bass has seen some play time and shows a decent amount of general finish wear, mostly to the body finish. This gives a "real relic vibe but it remains a beautifully original instrument. There are dings and dents all around, most notably to the body edges, with a large spot worn off the bottom lower bout. There is one deep ding in the top above the vibrato, a number small dinks and chips, and some scattered some belt buckle wear to the back. The back of the neck is surprisingly clean with only a few small dinks. The headstock face has some dings and dents, a small cigarette burn below the low E tuner and a chip out of the decal with the "ER" missing in "Fender".

The bass has a no alterations, and all finish and hardware remains original. It is complete including the oft-missing trem arm; only the snap-on bridge cover is long gone. The frets are in excellent condition, which is not surprising as it is still strung with original 1960s Fender flatwound strings! This is a fantastic-sounding instrument with a great feel and really conjures up that "early Cream" vibe in spades. The original brown Tolex HSC is included with some external wear but fully solid. Overall Excellent - Condition.