Cream’s Jack Bruce and The Shadows’ Jet Harris were among those who explored the Bass VI’s soloing capability.
A 1963 Bass VI leans expectantly against a 1966 Bassman head and 2x12 cab.
In 1961—10 years after launching the groundbreaking Precision bass—Fender introduced a 6-string bass, the Bass VI. The instrument was tuned like a standard guitar, but an octave lower. The idea was to attract both guitar players (who could immediately transfer their chord and scale fingerings to the new instrument) and bassists who wanted to expand their soloing range. Cream’s Jack Bruce and The Shadows’ Jet Harris were among those who explored the Bass VI’s soloing capability.
The Bass VI had the comfort-contoured “offset” body design and floating tremolo of the Jazzmaster, and the narrow nut size of the Jazz bass. The constricted string spacing made playing with a pick the easiest way to get sound out of the Bass VI. Nashville session players made great use of this when doubling lines played on an upright bass. This was known as “tic-tac” bass.
The 1963 Fender Bass VI pictured this month is typical of Bass VIs of that year. The pickups, which originally had metal surrounds, were changed to match the newly released (1962) Jaguar’s pickups. A bridge mute was added, also much like the Jaguar’s, and a fourth switch appeared to allow for a darker tone.
The 1962 Fender list price for a Bass VI with a sunburst finish was $329.50. The current retail value for one in exceptionally nice shape is $6,000.
Left: With its Jazzmaster-style floating tremolo, the Bass VI allowed guitarists to explore their favorite surf licks an octave lower than was previously possible.
Middle: On a Bass VI—which is tuned like a guitar, but down an octave—all six strings are wound.
Right: The 1963 edition of the Bass VI also borrowed features from the Fender Jaguar, including a bridge mute.
The amp paired with this Bass VI is a 1966 Bassman head and cabinet. The Bassman amp had evolved from the 1x15 combo of the early ’50s to this blackface “piggyback” 2x12 version. While the Bassman was intended for bassists, guitarists also favored each incarnation of the amp. The 1966 Fender list price for a Fender Bassman head and bottom was $410. The current retail value for one in excellent alloriginal condition is $1,250.
You’ll find more information on the Bass VI and other classics in Fender: The Golden Age 1946-1970 by Martin Kelly, Terry Foster, and Paul Kelly. For details about blackface Bassmans and other Fender combos, heads, and cabs, check out Fender Amps: The First Fifty Years by John Teagle and John Sprung.
Original price: Sunburst Bass VI, $329.50 in 1962; Bassman head and 2x12 cab, $410 in 1966.
Current estimated market value: Bass VI in excellent condition, $6,000; Bassman head & 2x12 cab, $1,250.
Dave ’s Guitar Shop
Dave Rogers’ collection is tended by Laun Braithwaite and Tim Mullally and is on display at:
Dave’s Guitar Shop
1227 Third Street South
La Crosse, WI 54601
Photos by Mullally and text by Braithwaite.
Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Flare is a dual-function pedal with a tube-like booster and a 1970s-style ring modulator effect that can be played separately or together.
Flare’s ring modulator is based on the iconic tone of the original Dan Armstrong Green Ringer. This vintage classic was made famous by Frank Zappa who loved the unusual modulations created by generating a harmonic octave over notes. Messiah’s version offers two control knobs: a “Sparkle” tone attenuator and output Level control. Its taupe-gold body, purple and green knobs and stick-figure rock ’n’ roller holding up a flame convey an appropriately rockin’70s vibe.
In a unique twist, Messiah’s Flare pairs the ringer with a warm tube-style boost instead of a fuzz. Flare feeds the booster into the ringer for an extra punch, while preserving the Green Ringerspirit. The ringer side also turns any fuzz into an octafuzz, and it has the ability to quiet signal background noise fed through it.
The booster side features a single Boost knob to control the MOSFET circuit, making it very tube-amp-friendly with a warm, organic boost and gain of up to 32dB.
The pedal is a distinct improvement over the 1970s pedal that inspired it. “Most ringer pedals don’t track well,” Tom Hejda, owner of Messiah Guitars. “The player can’t rely on repeating the same effect even with the most consistently played notes. We carefully matched the components, so our ringer follows your every move, producing that slightly dirty octave you expect on demand.”
Messiah developed this vintage octave pedal with flexible features so that people who love that messy, dirty Zappa-esque sound can get there with ease but there’s also something for those who have not fallen in love with fuzz or the Green Ringer alone. Flare offers an array of sonic options while retaining simplicity in the controls.
Each Flair Pedal Includes:
- 3 control knobs: Boost, Sparkle, and Level
- Two effects – Ring Modulator and Boost – can be used together or separately
- Space-saving top side jacks
- Durable, cast aluminum alloy 125B enclosure with fun artwork
- Easy to see, illuminated True-bypass foot switch
- Standard 9V pedal power input
Flare Pedal Demo
Messiah Guitars pedals are designed with an explorative player in mind. Like their custom guitars and amplifiers, Messiah’s pedals are hand-crafted in Los Angeles for a long life with guaranteed quality.
Flare retails for $199.00 and can be purchased directly at Messiah Guitars or you can hear it in person at Impulse Music Co. in Canyon Country, CA.
For more information, please visit messiahguitars.com.
This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal.
If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and QUACKS like a duck, then it must be a duck. That's how we came up with the name for our new envelope filter. This feathery little guy is a joy to play because of its incredibly quick response to your right hand - much faster and more expressive than your typical auto-wah pedal. Trevor explains how this is possible in the launch video, as well as gives a demo on Le Canard’s operation.
The attack control determines how quickly the filter responds to the envelope, and the decay sets how quickly the filter releases afterward. The range controls which frequency spectrum the filter does its magic on. Add to this relay-based full-bypass switching with failsafe, and you've got one crazy little quacky beast. It is so expressive that you'll want to give up on your rocker-wah forever.
The MayFly Le Canard envelope filter features:
- Super fast responding envelope follower. Touch it and it jumps!
- Range control to dial in the character of the filter
- Attack control to control how fast the filter moves on that first touch
- Release control to control how slowly the filter slides back to baseline
- Full bypass using relays with Fail SafeTM (automatically switches to bypass if the pedal loses power)
- Cast aluminum enclosure with groovy artwork
- MSRP $149 USD ($199 CAD)
Introducing the MayFly Le Canard Envelope Filter
All MayFly pedals are hand-made in Canada.
For more information, please visit mayflyaudio.com.
Outlaw Effects introduces their next generation of NOMAD rechargeable battery-powered pedal boards.
Available in two sizes, NOMAD ISO is a compact, versatile tool that offers the convenience of a fully powered board plus the additional freedom of not having to plug into an outlet. NOMAD ISO is ideal for stages with limited outlet availability, quick changeovers, busking outdoors, temporary rehearsal locations, and more.
NOMAD ISO builds upon the legacy of the ultra-convenient and reliable NOMAD rechargeable pedalboard line originally launched in 2018. The brand new NOMAD ISO editions feature eight isolated outputs (1 x 9V DC, and 1 switchable 9V/12V DC) for even more versatility and clean, quiet power. With an integrated lithium-ion battery pack boasting 12800mAh capacity, NOMAD ISO can fuel a wide array of pedals, and will last over 10 hours* on a single charge.
Each NOMAD ISO pedal board includes adhesive hook & loop pedal-mounting tape, eight (8) standard DC connector cables, and one (1) reverse polarity DC cable, giving you everything you need to build your ultimate "off-the-grid" rig. A rugged, road-ready padded gig bag with shoulder strap is also included, to safely protect your gear while you're on the move.
NOMAD ISO S
NOMAD ISO S: MSRP $309 / MAP: $249
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 5 ¼"
NOMAD ISO M
NOMAD ISO M: MSRP $349 / MAP $279
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 11"
More info: https://www.outlawguitareffects.com.