Fender Bass VI (1962) $4,075

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Jack Bruce played one in the early days of Cream, drawn, no doubt, by its extended range that allowed him to bend strings just like his then-foil, Eric Clapton. Robert Smith of the Cure powered many of that band’s classic New Wave-era hits with one, too. And Ry Cooder was fond of capoing one up to around the fifth fret in order add a bit of chunk to some of his classic ’70s tracks. Oh yeah—some band called the Beatles was seen using one from time to time, as well. We’re speaking, of course, about the Bass VI, an instrument first introduced by Fender in 1961. Unlike the baritone guitar, which is typically tuned down to B, the Bass VI is tuned like a guitar but down an octave. The narrow string spacing can be a bit tricky to navigate, but oh, the tonal possibilities this hybrid provides once you get the hang of it! With the following exceptions, this particular example is all original and fully functional. We purchased it from the original owner who recounted that he took it to an auto repair shop at some point in the early 1970s and had the original sunburst finish oversprayed with Olympic White. At about the same time, he replaced the original low e tuner with a bass tuner(!). We removed the oversized bass tuner, plugged the hole with a maple insert and installed a reissue double line Kluson. (See photo). The other five tuners appear to be original. Plug this baby into a tremolo-equipped tube amp, hit a chord, and gently manipulate the vibrato arm. There you have it—instant atmosphere for your country-western, surf, or emo band. Ships in the original brown hardshell case and includes the original strap. Coolness incarnate. SOLD!

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Jack Bruce played one in the early days of Cream, drawn, no doubt, by its extended range that allowed him to bend strings just like his then-foil, Eric Clapton. Robert Smith of the Cure powered many of that band’s classic New Wave-era hits with one, too. And Ry Cooder was fond of capoing one up to around the fifth fret in order add a bit of chunk to some of his classic ’70s tracks. Oh yeah—some band called the Beatles was seen using one from time to time, as well. We’re speaking, of course, about the Bass VI, an instrument first introduced by Fender in 1961. Unlike the baritone guitar, which is typically tuned down to B, the Bass VI is tuned like a guitar but down an octave. The narrow string spacing can be a bit tricky to navigate, but oh, the tonal possibilities this hybrid provides once you get the hang of it! With the following exceptions, this particular example is all original and fully functional. We purchased it from the original owner who recounted that he took it to an auto repair shop at some point in the early 1970s and had the original sunburst finish oversprayed with Olympic White. At about the same time, he replaced the original low e tuner with a bass tuner(!). We removed the oversized bass tuner, plugged the hole with a maple insert and installed a reissue double line Kluson. (See photo). The other five tuners appear to be original. Plug this baby into a tremolo-equipped tube amp, hit a chord, and gently manipulate the vibrato arm. There you have it—instant atmosphere for your country-western, surf, or emo band. Ships in the original brown hardshell case and includes the original strap. Coolness incarnate. SOLD!