Fender sent out an e-mail blast this week which, among other things, listed some new guitars in their Pawn Shop Line. Most interesting to me was the re-appearance of a Bass VI! I wrote a fairly comprehensive article about the Bass VI back in 2006 (CLICK HERE). At the time I was really interested in the Bass VI as a way to bridge my bass playing skills to 6-string. The Bass VI was a premium guitar from Fender which didn’t fit in my budget, but I tried out a couple of the Baritone Jaguars that Fender put out as a response to demand for a guitar in this class. You can read the article I linked to above where I compare the guitars, but ultimately I didn’t keep either of the guitars I tried and decided to invest in some regular 6-string electrics.
That said, this appearance of the Bass VI in the Pawn Shop line has me pretty interested in the Bass VI again. The guitar is introduced at an MSRP of $1079.99 (street price is estimated at $799) which makes this the most affordable Bass VI in a long time. Keeping with Fender’s tagline of “Guitars That Never Were But Should Have Been” the Bass VI gets a slight makeover and improves the guitar. For one thing, Fender removed the complicated and awkward bank of pickup switches and replaced it with a more conventional 5-position switch. Additionally, they replaced the bridge single-coil pickup with a humbucker that at first glance looked like a P90 or P100 but is in fact the Jazzmaster Humbucker (designated JZHB). This will give the guitar some interesting tone options not available in any of the previous Bass VI or Jaguar Baritone configurations. They did keep the distinctive locking tremolo and floating bridge that the Bass VI had and maintained the 30″ (76.2 cm) scale.
The Pawn Shop Bass VI comes in three colors: Black with tortoise pickguard, Three-tone Sunburst with tortoise pickguard, and Candy Apple Red with painted headstock and parchment pickguard. The Bass VI comes out on March 19th, according to Guitar Center, where you can pre-order it.
In the vast history of electric guitars from Fender, the Bass VI is somewhat obscure and harbors a kind of cultish, rabid fanbase. It remains to be seen if this re-introduction will widen the visibility of the Bass VI, but I think that there is pent-up demand from people who have been unwilling or unable to pay premium prices for a used Bass VI. If Guitar Center here in Cedar Rapids gets one in, I’ll go try it out and report back.
UPDATE: You can now get a regular configuration Bass VI as a Squier! Click the picture below to check it out!
Click Here to read my article comparing the Bass VI to the Baritone Jaguars.
Click Here to Go to Fender’s Pawn Shop Bass VI page