2015 Fender Squier Vintage Modified Bass VI

  • Body: Basswood, Olympic white
  • Neck: Maple/Rosewood, C-shape, bound with block inlays
  • Hardware: Stock
  • Pickups: Three custom single-coil Jaguar type pickups (reverse-wound/reverse-polarity middle pickup for hum cancellation), “claw” shielding rings

At $300 I could afford to add this specialty item to my arsenal, and so far it has gotten a lot of use, from traditional “Tic-Tac” bass tracks to “Wichita Lineman” or “Dance Dance Dance” type soloing. It has a 30” scale length, and uses guitar tuning one octave below standard. The hardware is not great — Fender offset guitars are legendary for their bridge issues, and eventually I want to replace it with something more stable and easier to intonate, like a Mastery bridge. And the tremolo arm keeps falling out, so that needs to be sussed as well. Regardless, so far this has turned out to be a brilliant investment and I’ve used it on quite a few projects.

Some history: A few bass players have tried to use it as a “bass” after it was introduced in the 60’s, like Jack Bruce (Cream), Rick Danko (The Band), and it shows up in the Beatles arsenal around the time of Let It Be, but it has been used mostly as a lead instrument, essentially an octave guitar. The solo on Wichita Lineman is a Bass VI. In Nashville in the 60’s they’d use it to double the upright bass, but put it on the treble setting with lots of reverb.