Up for sale, a 2013 Fender Pawn Shop Series Bass VI in near mint condition and in perfect working order, complete with a G&G Deluxe tweed hardshell case. In addition to the case, upgrades include white witch hat knobs, a chrome switch tip, a genuine nitrate tortoise pickguard, and a StayTrem 1" wide Bass VI bridge. This limited release instrument was part of Fender's unfortunately named "Pawn Shop" series, produced in sparingly small quantities and discontinued long ago. Representing a new spin on a classic model, this Bass VI features a stacked P-90-style Jazzmaster pickup in lieu of a bridge position single coil, with a five-way blade switch to engage the pickup array.
Tuned E to E (an octave down from a standard guitar), the Bass VI can cover an incredible tonal range, working as both a bass and a lead instrument, depending on the situation. Originally designed for studio players looking to nail the Nashville "tic-tac" bass tones, the Bass VI has a present and clear low end, with a sinewy snap that cuts through a mix yet still retains plenty of warmth. For low, surfy twang the Bass VI is ideal, and when drenched in Fender reverb, the tones can be haunting and ethereal. Of course the range of the instrument allows you to also strum full chords and augment bass lines with leads and complex chord shifts not possible on a conventional bass. Used on Ennio Morricone's Spaghetti Western film scores, Beatles tunes, a good chunk of the Cream catalog, and much of the Cure's output in the past 40+ years, the Bass VI is an indispensable tool for a wide range of musical styles.
This particular Bass VI weighs 9lbs 5oz, balances well on a strap, and has a solid note attack and surprising amount of sustain. Professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, this Bass VI is strung with Labella Deep Talkin flatwound strings, specifically tailored for this model, dialed in with spot-on intonation and comfortable action.
The maple neck has a slender C-shaped profile carve with just enough roundness in the shoulders and faintly rolled fretboard edges, gaining just a hair more depth as you travel up the fingerboard, measuring .825" deep at the 1st fret and .895" at the 12th. On the thick slab rosewood fretboard, the original medium jumbo frets are flawless, and the bass plays easily up the 30" scale with a straight neck and responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod. The nut measures 1.650" in width. On the headstock, the Kluson-style tuning machines turn smoothly and function as intended.
All of the electronics work as they should, with a five-way blade pickup selector switch and Master Volume and Tone controls governing the two Jaguar-style single coils and stacked Jazzmaster-style P-90 which offers a broad, thick sound with hum-cancelling functionality. The knobs are upgraded to genuine Fender white witch hats, and the chrome switch tip is another subtle yet welcome accent. The bridge is a notably rare component and a significant upgrade, manufactured by StayTrem and faithful to the original in terms of the correct 1" width, with substantial saddles that are more stable and tonally impactful than the smaller spiral saddles seen on other reissues of the VI. Fender's classic offset vibrato unit tops things off with the screw-in arm seen on this model, and the guttural growls and twangy warbles that the vibrato can coax out of the Bass VI are truly unique. The vibrato jumps back into tune with ease, and the spring tension is more than adequate.
The Sunburst gloss finish is warm and saturated, very representative of an early '60s Fender burst, accented by an upgraded WD-made genuine nitrate tortoise pickguard. Cosmetic wear is limited to a few faint pick marks across the strum path, and there's barely a scratch on the body save for a bit of very faint scuffing in the clear coat on the back lower bout body edge. The gloss finish on the neck profile has been very lightly removed resulting in a flawless silky smooth satin feel.
A G&G Deluxe tweed hardshell case is included, a $300 upgrade in its own right, as the Pawn Shop model was offered new from Fender in a gigbag.