1961 Fender

Color: Sunburst, Rating: 9.00, Sold (ID# 00058)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113

An Amazing Fender Six-String Bass!

This extremely early Bass VI weighs in at 9.10 lbs. and has all of the earliest features, including three two-way selector switches and a slab rosewood fretboard. Solid alder body, maple neck, and slab rosewood fretboard with 21 frets and clay dot position markers. With a nut width of just over 1 1/2 inches and a short scale length of 30 inches. Headstock decal with "Fender VI" logo in gold with black trim and "Electric Bass Guitar" and three patent numbers in black below it. Small circular "Offset Contour Body" decal on the upper bout of the headstock. Single "butterfly" string tree with metal spacer. Individual Kluson Deluxe tuners with oval metal buttons. Three Stratocaster-style (white six-polepiece) pickups with chrome surrounds and balanced outputs of 6.13k, 6.42k, and 6.02k. Four-layer (tortoiseshell/white/black/white) plastic pickguard with bevelled edge. Two controls (one volume, one tone) with black plastic knobs and jack input on lower metal plate adjoining pickguard and three two-way pickup selector switches on metal plate inset into pickguard. Six-saddle bridge and separate vibrato tailpiece. A small amount of belt buckle wear on the back of the guitar, some finish checking, and a few little marks and chips, especially on the edge of the guitar. This super desirable bass guitar, in exceptionally fine condition, is the best example we've ever seen. It is one of the very earliest examples, with serial number "73078." Only a very few were made like this, with the original slab rosewood fretboard (in 1962 the fretboard was changed to a veneer rosewood) and with three switches instead of four. Housed in its original Fender "coffee-with-cream" Tolex hardshell case with brown leather ends and dark orange plush lining (9.00).

"After noting the popularity of the Danelectro 6-string bass (tuned EADGBE, like a guitar, but an octave lower) in the Nashville studios, Leo decided to build his own version. He introduced the Fender Bass VI in 1961. The original version looked vaguely like a Jazz Bass but had a 30" scale length, three pickups, and three sliding switches that allowed seven different pickup combinations. That wasn't enough for Leo, apparently, so a year later he added a fourth switch -- the so-called 'strangle switch' that cut low frequencies. The pickups were also modified and a mute added. The Bass VI was never very popular, but it remained in the catalog until 1975 and was later revived, in a Japanese-made reissue, in 1995" (Jim Roberts, American Basses, p. 55).

"Every musician will readily recognize the potential of the New Fender six-string Bass Guitar inasmuch as it offers an entirely 'new sound' to every playing group. Tuned one octave below the standard guitar, numerous new tone combinations are made possible with three full range pickups. The circuit incorporates three two position switches enabling the player to select the pickups individually or in any combination. In addition, a tone control positioned adjacent to the volume control permits further tone modifications of any selector position. The Bass Guitar is a fine addition to the Fender line and answers the demand for a high-quality six-string bass" (July 1961 Namm Daily advertisement in J.W. Black and Albert Molinaro, The Fender Bass, p. 31).

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