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is this a hoax?


bassopotamus

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I know that john paul jones played an 8 string bass live sometimes with led zeppelin.

 

But the body on this one is that of a mustang/musicmaster, fenders early beginners shortscale bass.

 

plus, the fender decal on the neck looks like a phony.

 

then again, I dont know what Im talking about, and I also read too many detective stories.

 

not a good combo.

James Fitzgerald

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I agree that the decal looks fishy but I think one of the vintage gear buffs is gonna have to weigh in here.

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Well, Fender did make a 5 string in the late 60's. Check out Klaus Blasquis' "The Fender Bass" book. It looked a lot like a Mustang Bass, such as the one in the picture in the auction. What makes them different from today's five strings is that it has a high C-string instead of a low-B. I don't remember if it was actually tuned to C, but you get the point. Neat, huh?
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I think the sellers price displays a lack of realism on their part.

 

You're right, no musician would pay such a sum for that bass.

 

But is it even worth that much, even if it's real?

 

I doubt it.

James Fitzgerald

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"I dont buy toys. I buy tools."

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The original idea behind the Fender Bass V was that it might be easier for some players to reach the high notes by going "across" the neck to an additional string, rather than "up" the fingerboard. You might also notice it has suprisingly few frets. The reason behind this is that it was meant to have the same range as a "regular" bass, but allow players to get the full range without having to move as far up the neck.

 

This thing looks real, but they're asking a lot for it, and I know I woud personally not want to own a bass like that, except perhaps for collectable value, as Jeremy noted.

 

I think there's a reason Fender stopped making them! :)

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Oh, and for those wondering about a five-string existing back then (1960)...it didn't exist, at least not in the way we think of 5 string basses today. There were 6 string basses at that time, strangely enough, but they were more or less like a "standard" guitar, pitched down an octave, and usually with very tight string spacing, not easily played fingerstyle.

 

It wasn't till several years later that the modern 5 string came about. It was within a year or two of Anthony Jackson's first modern 6-string bass designs coming out, actually, if I recall correctly (from my reading, of course!).

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Originally posted by rotosound45:

Ya, Jack Bruce from Cream played the six string back in the day. Wasn't it called a Bass VI?

He played Guild Starfire basses a lot, and similar hollowbodies, but I don't know about the Fender VI. I wouldn't be suprised.

 

The Fender Bass VI was a wonderful example of the "guitar pitched down an octave" design. Tight string spacing, strat-like pickups, and a tremolo! Fender still makes the type of strings that were used on that bad boy. I don't know how much use they would be except on a shorter-scale EADGBE tuned bass.

 

Some people refer to those kinds of basses as "baritone guitars", I've heard.

 

EDIT: I was WAY off on Jack Bruce up there... It was late last night, and I had just been listening to Jefferson Airplane, and I confused Jack Bruce with Jack Cassady. Wow. My bad!

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It could be thought of as a lower baritone guitar since the string spacing, the string gauges, the VIBRATO bar, and the guitar-like layout are there. As a matter of fact some baritone guitars tuned A-a (or B-b) are at 29.97" scale (some are as short as 27" though many go for at least 28"), and the Bass VI at 30" - which also is where short scale fatty-string basses start at.

 

Bruce moved to the short-scale 4-string Gibson EB3 (if recollection serves) after the Fender VI.

 

Several companies make strings for the Bass VI and the Danelectro 30" scale instruments. Increasing numbers of baritone guitar strings are also on the market.

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Thee Olde Guild Starfire was Jack Casady's lookout for awhile, Hags. Actually a lot of short scales were in use back in them days, but also note that more players stayed up above that sloppy lowest string much of the time - partly also because the cabs and amplification for bass was crude at that time.
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That looks like the real deal. Only thing is, they were designed and built for a high C rather than a low B, and... they pretty much sucked, sound-wise.

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I know that along with Bruce, The Beatles used a Fender Bass VI. This was most common on songs that McCartney was playing something other than bass (e.g. piano) and George or John played bass. It's been almost 2 years since I finished reading The Beatles Gear Book, but that's what I remember.

 

And yes greenboy - Jack Bruce went from the Fender VI to the EB3 (a big improvement in my book, but what do I know).

 

I suspect this item is real, plays poorly, and is overpriced. But with collectors, you never know....

 

Tom

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Originally posted by Dr. Zarkov:

I know that along with Bruce, The Beatles used a Fender Bass VI. This was most common on songs that McCartney was playing something other than bass (e.g. piano) and George or John played bass.....

Lennon famously played "rhythm bass" on the jam tune "Dig It" on the Let it Be album/movie. He's just strumming away on the thing while making up lyrics off the top of his head. :D

 

"Like the FBI, and the CIA, and the BBC, BB King and Dorris Day."

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Originally posted by Scary Muddy Cat:

Originally posted by Dr. Zarkov:

I know that along with Bruce, The Beatles used a Fender Bass VI. This was most common on songs that McCartney was playing something other than bass (e.g. piano) and George or John played bass.....

Lennon famously played "rhythm bass" on the jam tune "Dig It" on the Let it Be album/movie. He's just strumming away on the thing while making up lyrics off the top of his head. :D

 

"Like the FBI, and the CIA, and the BBC, BB King and Dorris Day."

Also on Let It Be, George played a quite tasty bassline on "Two of Us" on the Fender VI.
Ah, nice marmot.
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Originally posted by Bob Gollihur (bob@gollihur.com):

That looks like the real deal. Only thing is, they were designed and built for a high C rather than a low B, and... they pretty much sucked, sound-wise.

I'm old enough to recall seeing this in a 1970 Fender catalogue and I've seen a few in the way-back-when years. (I thought that was for players who couldn't reach down the neck to the high notes. :D ) Hard to tell with digital photos but the wear pattern just behind the nut is interesting along with the yellowing of the neck. Best way to tell (outside of reading the date stamps and pencil marks on the neck heel) would be the aging around the "dings" and the "spiderweb" finish checking, which are harder to fake than pigment stains.

 

Outside of whether it's real or fake, I don't think these are THAT rare (except for the UK) and if they were I'd reckon you could hop a plane to one of those guitar extravaganzas in Texas or California and pick up one for less, airfare and all, that what the seller is asking.

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greenboy: It could be thought of as a lower baritone guitar since the string spacing, the string gauges, the VIBRATO bar, and the guitar-like layout are there...
Was referring to the Fender VI, in that post BTW, taking up on Hags's mention of it - and not the Fender V paddle shown in auction. Too many programs open at the same time, too many hours online ; }
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Originally posted by Scoot:

Originally posted by Scary Muddy Cat:

Originally posted by Dr. Zarkov:

I know that along with Bruce, The Beatles used a Fender Bass VI. This was most common on songs that McCartney was playing something other than bass (e.g. piano) and George or John played bass.....

Lennon famously played "rhythm bass" on the jam tune "Dig It" on the Let it Be album/movie. He's just strumming away on the thing while making up lyrics off the top of his head. :D

 

"Like the FBI, and the CIA, and the BBC, BB King and Dorris Day."

Also on Let It Be, George played a quite tasty bassline on "Two of Us" on the Fender VI.
Actually that riff was George playing his famous rosewood Telecaster.

Mudcat's music on Soundclick

 

"Work hard. Rock hard. Eat hard. Sleep hard. Grow big. Wear glasses if you need 'em."-The Webb Wilder Credo-

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I've seen pictures of John Paul Jones playing one of those early 5-strings. I believe that James Jamerson owned one as well; it's pictured in the "Standing in the Shadows" book.

 

Kinda cool, in a history-of-the-instrument sort of way.

 

Anyone actually played one?

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Originally posted by greenboy:

Thee Olde Guild Starfire was Jack Casady's lookout for awhile, Hags. Actually a lot of short scales were in use back in them days, but also note that more players stayed up above that sloppy lowest string much of the time - partly also because the cabs and amplification for bass was crude at that time.

Thanks, GB, I realized my mistake as soon as I reread a few posts above, and added to my earlier post to point out my mistake. Yeah, must be because they're both named Jack, or something, but you're right that I was certainly thinking of Jack Cassady when I made that statement, not Jack Bruce. And, I'm familiar with both (and a fan!)

 

If I'm this bad now, when I get up in years, I cannot imagine how absent-minded I'm going to be! It's frightening!

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