Fender Bass VI Model Electric 6-String Bass Guitar (1974), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 626103, sunburst polyester finish, ash body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, original black tolex hard shell case.

This instrument is a relative rarity: a Fender Bass VI made in 1972-4, shortly before the always low-selling model was finally deleted from the Fender catalog. The bound, block-neck Bass VI is broadly considered a late period "Beatle" instrument, although theirs was a 1968 model the general look remained the same. The Beatles and a number of other pro players used the Bass VI quite a bit as a recording instrument, but Fender's lavish and expensive 6-string bass guitar was never a common sight.

Although it achieved some popularity in the early 1960s, by the end of that decade the Bass VI was built in at best miniscule numbers. It was still featured in the Fender catalogs but was headed for oblivion; there appears to have been one final batch assembled in late 1974, of which this is one. The Fender VI simply never caught on in a major way despite being a very well-engineered and useful instrument -- as six-string basses go! This CBS-era example is actually even rarer than the early-'60s models.

The bound, block-marker neck is ink-stamped 6 OCT 72; the pots are stamped for the 42nd week of 1974, indicating fabrication of the neck predates assembly by about two years, which is not uncommon with this model. The finish is the heavier poly first used around this time. The body is ash, not the alder used on nearly all earlier VI's; it is nicely grained and finished in the typical darker sunburst seen in the mid-70s.

The pickups and electronics are the same type used since 1963, Jaguar style coils with the magnetic "claw" fitting underneath and a simple and effective on/off switching for each. The fourth "strangle" switch cuts lows to allow for a more guitar-like tonality in any pickup setting. The 3-layer tortoise plastic pickguard is the material used from 1965 up into the '70s. The bridge and trem system are the same as mid-'60s models, with the solid block Mustang-style saddles adopted in 1964. Despite dating to the "Heavy '70s" the essential Bass VI sound and character are still intact with this instrument, and there is something poetic about it being one of the last of its breed.

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.)., 11.24 lbs.

Overall this is a relatively clean and all original instrument showing some typical play wear but alterations or no major finish loss. The fairly heavy Poly finish shows some dings, dents, chips and scratches overall and a large spot of "strap burn" from vinyl contact into but not through the back finish. There are a number of small dings to the back of the neck but no heavy wear.

All hardware is original and generally well-preserved with some minor corrosion here and there. The bass was once fitted with Kluson style tuners; it has now been seamlessly restored with the original 70's Fender "F" keys with just one tiny filled screw hole as evidence. The snap-on bridge cover and mute assembly have gone missing but the all-important original trem arm is still intact! The original frets show some light wear in the lower positions but the bass plays fine. It has a great growly sound strung in E-E tuning with roundwound strings. The original Fender HSC is included, somewhat worn with some old stenciling on the top. Overall Excellent Condition.

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Listed2 years ago
ConditionExcellent (Used)
Excellent items are almost entirely free from blemishes and other visual defects and have been played or used with the utmost care.Learn more
Brand
Model
  • Bass VI
Finish
  • sunburst polyester
Categories
Year
  • 1974
Series
Fretboard Material
  • Rosewood
Model Family
Color Family
  • Brown
Right / Left Handed
  • Right Handed
Active / Passive Pickups
  • Passive Pickups
Number of Strings
  • 6-String
Neck Material
  • Maple
Finish Pattern
  • Sunburst
Active Preamp
  • No Preamp
Finish Style
  • Gloss
Body Material
  • Alder
Offset Body
  • Offset Body
Body Shape
  • Double Cutaway
Pickup Configuration
  • SSS
Number of Frets
  • 19

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Retrofret Vintage Guitars

Brooklyn, NY, United States
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