A timeless sound with a look straight out of the 1960s, Fender's Vintera II Bass VI features an alder body, Mid-'60s C-shaped neck, and vintage tall frets.
- 12 x$116.67
- 8 x$175.00
Submitted November 13, 2023 by Bert
"MIM Fender does not disappoint"
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Written by one of our gear experts!
This MIM Fender iteration of the VI arrived with a secure shipping carton inside a Fender branded gig bag equivalent to some of the premium Fender/Gator bass bags out there. Out of the box, the Fiesta Red is intensely red, but not quite Candy Apple or Dakota, but also not quite that Orange-ish Fiesta Red you may have seen on some older models, like a Jag-stang. These appear to ship with the Fender suggested gauges that most VI players love for the tighter low string bass tones, rather than the snappy, 28-84 gauge D'addario sets that are commonly available (and my usual go-to.) This is a great example of the quality jump from Squier to Fender manufacturing-wise.
I have several baritone guitars in the VI scale and each manufacturer out there seems to have a different recipe to get the bari-twang. This instrument's pickups are filling out the gaps that the Squier VI had. This was a plug and play affair without needing to really dial in a late 70's Fender combo. I absolutely love my Squier but the sum of all this Fender's parts makes this a considerable upgrade from the Squier out of the box, without so many of the modifications that players "insist" are needed to make the Squier playable. The Squier is great, period. Did mine need some fine tuning to get where I love it? You bet. Once I handled the Fender, I could tell the only thing I would need to adjust or swap would be the bridge height as I keep mine very-very-very low. More on that below.
Great looking and conditioned Rosewood board right out of the box. I've handled the more modern Laurel fretboard Fenders/Squiers out there, and I like those just fine, but the Rosewood has a tight grain and a great fit and finish with a very comfortable fretboard edge. Tuning machine ratio, heft, and feel are solid and again, another big upgrade from the Squier. Switches, potentiometers, and tremolo unit have a similar rigidness that I would trust to stand up to heavy wear. My favorite part of this instrument so far is the resonance of the back of the neck. It's snappy. It's got some bounce to it; you'll feel where you're playing. Any bridge tweaks I had to make were knocked out in 10 minutes before band practice and I had it very dialed in without any unreasonable string buzzing. The action is set by neck pocket, and that was not needed out of the box. Pickup to string height clearance was great after the bridge adjustment and these were beautifully clear sounding without some of the aggressiveness the Squier needs you to tame with tone knob or amp EQ.
Ease of Use
I would say the VI is not an easy instrument to get great sounds from. Bassists hate that it's not bassy. Guitar players are baffled by the tension out of the gate. It's its own thing, there's 1000% a learning curve. As an obsessive VI dork, I know what's going to work with my set up so far, so that easy for me. I insist newcomers tweak the heck out of their rigs before hating on this thing. Do I Bass amp? Guitar amp? Dealer's choice. Both rule, heck do both at the same time too. If I had to tweak anything on my existing pedal board, it was some high-end EQ and some backing off on my gain. The highs on the pickups were well pronounced on their own and I didn't need my extra EQ-ing.
Mechanically speaking, I am impressed by the tuning machines and tremolo unit. I am typically not too fond of the screw thread type vintage bridges cause of the potential string pop-outs, but after beating this up at practice, I can live with it and we didn't have any pop-outs. Again, really impressed with the neck wood.
Considerable jump in price from the Squiers/Harley Benton's, but comparable to the Schecter's out there. If MIJ is in your budget, go for it, the QC is amazing typically. If you need MIA, look at Custom Shop prices and you've got an investment. The used market on these is all over the dial, and I am happy to have a super-minty-brand-spanking-new one I can break in myself.
Fender Customer Support is out there and I cannot say I've needed them with any of my recent Fender/Squier purchases. They have good hours and get it done for general service inquiries when I have called.
The Wow Factor
Weird instrument for weirdoes that I am hopelessly addicted to. I am a crummy bass player and a worse guitar player but I am at home on the VI. If you're that bass player trying to learn guitar or vice versa, is this the right choice off the bat? Maybe. My First Guitar? Probably not. I'd say this is for a person looking to cover that tonal range and heft in between those instruments and once you hear that range, you'll know what you need to get there.
guitar, bass, baritone, some drums, some keys
psychedelic rock and hardcore punk
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