Harder Than Hard: the Best 6 String Bass Guitars

I am going to need you to take a seat, because what I am going to give you right now is heavy and, unless you have been doing a lot of weight lifting lately, will be uncomfortable to play for an extended period of time. The news might come as a surprising bag of bricks, but the 6 string bass exists, and it is in every way much more complicated to play than the five string or the four string bass. It is much more complicated than the non bass electric guitar, whether it be 6 or 7 strings, because of the specifics that come with playing bass. Heavy strings and strong sound, extremely wide fretboard and heavy build of the 6 string bass guitar make it an instrument only the bravest and the most skillful will attempt to play and succeed in playing it well. This is not to discourage you though, only to act as a fair warning. Now that you know that you will be having a heavy problem weighing you down, both physically and spiritually, and since you are still willing to deal with this hardship, I would like to introduce you to what potentially will be the love of your life. The best 6 string bass guitars are instruments of immense power, ones that require commitment that is physical, mental and spiritual. My friend, who actually has one of these beasts, says that the funk demands more than you are able to give, since funk is infinite, it demands 6 strings and it demands constant play. Which is why he is in love with his 6 string bass: despite the complicated relationship of constant attention and practice, the ability to play the funkiest solos and tunes gives him all the reason he needs to adore the instrument. The successful musician, one of which you might be, will find the 6 string bass guitar to be one of the greatest assets to his collection.

Top 5 Best 6 String Bass Guitars

ImageBass Model
Rating
Check Price
Schecter Stiletto Studio-6 Electric Bass5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)Check on Amazon
Ibanez BTB746 6-String Electric Bass5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)Check on Amazon
ESP LTD B-206SM Spalted Maple4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)Check on Amazon
Dean Edge 6-String Bass4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon
Ibanez GSR206SMNGT GIO4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon

Schecter Stiletto Studio-6 Electric Bass

Build Quality:5 out of 5 stars
Hardware:5 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.9 out of 5 stars
Sound:5 out of 5 stars
Value:4.9 out of 5 stars
Average:5 out of 5 stars

Check on Amazon

Full Review

Schecter Stiletto Studio-6 Electric Bass

Schecter has a talent for manufacturing guitars and bass guitars that conquer the favor of my heart with ease. Whether it is because the style is beautiful or because the sound is great I do not know. What I know is that the stiletto bass series are some of the best mid range bass guitars ever made. So when I found out that there is a six string version of the Stiletto I rejoiced, knowing that the quality would be something to be proud of. The Schecter Stiletto Studio-6 Electric bass guitar proves me right, once again, by being a great quality bass guitar. The neck through design is perfect for the 6 string bass, as it makes the higher tones easier to play, especially on a complicated 6 stringer. The mahogany body with a bubinga top gives the guitar the resonance across the range of tones that the 6 string bass guitar needs, emphasizing the lows and the highs with the same level of beauty. The EMG-Hz pickups do their best and succeed at picking up every sound as it should be hear. Overall this is the best midrange 6 string bass guitar on the market.

Pros:

  • Long Lifespan
  • Bubinga Top
  • Deep, Warm Sound

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Could use more high tones

Ibanez BTB746 6-String Electric Bass

Build Quality:5 out of 5 stars
Hardware:5 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.9 out of 5 stars
Sound:5 out of 5 stars
Value:4.9 out of 5 stars
Average:5 out of 5 stars

Check on Amazon


If you’re craving some attention, the best way to make a lot of heads turn is to get a fine-looking 6 string electric bass guitar. Even though such a bass has the ability to captivate everyone’s heart even without fancy appearances, when its features are combined with great looks, there’s no way you won’t be in the spotlight. Ibanez BTB746 can impress even the most critical players out there. It has everything one could wish for. It looks really beautiful with a visible combination of ash and mahogany woods on the body. The walnut top is finished with natural color and low gloss, adding an extra touch to the design. 5pc maple/walnut neck is reinforced with graphite rods and features a neck-through design, while the Jatoba fretboard is finished with abalone dot inlays. Passive Bartolini BH2 neck and bridge pickups determine the sonic character of BTB746, which happens to be extremely expressive. One of the downsides of this wonderful bass guitar is the fact that it’s a bit heavy – your back and neck might feel strained after hours of playing in the beginning. But as you get used to it, you won’t have any trouble in that region.

Pros:

  • Balanced tone through all the strings
  • Looks distinctive and appealing
  • Offers professional experience

Cons:

  • You might notice some sharper edges on the fretboard
  • A bit heavy

ESP LTD B-206SM Spalted Maple

Build Quality:4.9 out of 5 stars
Hardware:5 out of 5 stars
Electronics:5 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.9 out of 5 stars
Value:4.9 out of 5 stars
Average:4.9 out of 5 stars

Check on Amazon


If you took a look at our list of best 5 string basses, you’ll remember that we discussed a similar model there, but with 5 strings. Now, we’re moving to something with even more strings and potential. EPS LTD B-206SM is close to its 5-string sibling in its features – the difference is that this one is tailored for that extra 6th string. It has an ash body, which is covered with either natural or black see thru colors. The finish is satin, which is the best kind of finish in my personal opinion. This bad boy has a spalted maple top, which compliments its qualities really well. 5pc maple/jatoba neck has a roasted jatoba fingerboard. Both of them are easy to play, but the neck width is something that requires getting used to. B-206SM has active EQ and passive pickups. Keep in mind that you should always unplug your bass when you’re not using it, since batteries can drain pretty easily due to the active electronics. All in all, this guitar is an amazing affordable option, if you’re craving a 6-string bass but can’t afford to spend a lot of money.

Pros:

  • Amazing overall quality for the price
  • Beautiful design
  • Extremely playable

Cons:

  • Wider neck, which can be uncomfortable for some

Dean Edge 6-String Bass

Build Quality:4.9 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.8 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.8 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars
Average:4.8 out of 5 stars

Check on Amazon

Full Review

Dean Edge 6-String Bass

The only requirement for the best 6 string bass guitar to be categorized as such is the ability to sound good. It does not have to have some of the best tonewoods money can buy, neither do the electronics have to be breaking records. What a bass guitar needs is to sound strong and sound good. The Dean Edge 6 string bass guitar does just that. The basswood body, lightweight as it might be, does not lighten the load that comes with the 6 string bass guitar. Still, the sound is resonated well throughout the body. The Dean design pickups are powerful enough and reproduce a strong enough sound that whoever is listening will be wowed by it. The whole thing is, you can rarely get a six string bass guitar as good as this one for the price it is offered for. Affordable and good in quality, it is bound to be one of the best choices for any beginner or professional looking to extend their skills into higher and lower registers.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Cool Design
  • Warm, Thick Sound

Cons:

  • Bolt On Neck
  • Soft Body

Ibanez GSR206SMNGT GIO

Build Quality:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.8 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.8 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.7 out of 5 stars
Average:4.8 out of 5 stars

Check on Amazon

Full Review

Ibanez GSR206SMNGT GIO

Sometimes we all get lucky to find something out of the ordinary among the pile of average or mediocre. It is like finding a needle made of pure gold among a pile of straw. Seems impossible, needs immense luck but in the end is incredibly rewarding. In the case of Ibanez GSR260SMNGT GIO I ended up feeling incredulous, looking and hearing how good it actually is. Compared to most guitars in the same price range, this instrument might seem impossible, a piece of imagination. Still, it is one of the, if not the, best affordable 6 string bass guitar on the market. The maple top combined with the DXH-6 pickup serve to produce a dance inducing sound with beautiful precision in the upper registers, while remaining serious and mellow in the low. This guitar is perfect if you are a budget conscious buyer looking for something good for a price that won’t make you feel guilty days later.

Pros:

  • Full Tones
  • Fun Design
  • Powerful Sound
  • Solid Tuning Stability

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Bolt on neck
  • Cheap Nut

The 6 string bass guitar serves as the alternative to the 5 string bass guitar, for those who find that the 5 string is too limited in the range it has. It is common for the 5th string on a five string bass to extend into the lower register of the tones, while in some guitars the fifth string is used to extend into the higher tones, but it remains that the 5 stringer can only handle of the two. The six string bass guitar spits in the face of limits though and extends the range of the instrument into both the high and the low registers with each extra added string. This means that you can travel up and down the spines of your listeners with shivers that you can induce through some of the most drastic and beautiful transitions from one register to the other. This also means that you have a big responsibility, since you know, you get all that power. You need to learn how to actually creatively utilize this extended range without becoming overbearing. Yes such versatility means that you should not be limited, but limiting yourself might sometimes produce the better result. Whichever path you choose, I hope you find the time spent studying and playing this instrument to be as enjoyable as I find the music played on it.

Conclusion

My first interaction with the 6 string bass was on television, back when television was still the main source of entertainment in a household, back when booting up the internet meant listening to an atrocious sound being made and you’d have to tell everyone not to use the phone. My grandfather had fallen asleep in front of the set, and I had been left alone with the remote to roam the tele-space. I ended up on some music channel or the other and had to pause so that I could ask my sleeping grandfather, and consequently without an answer, myself, what the instrument being played was. Thankfully the announcer found it appropriate to announce the musician and the instrument, and that I had been lucky enough to hear Victor Wooten perform one of his sons on a 6 string bass guitar. It was fascinating to observe the mastery and skill with which his fingers traversed the fretboard, the way he picked them and the way he slapped them. Whatever he was playing was beyond my comprehension at the time, since my musical taste had yet to mature to a point where I could understand what a truly well crafted bass solo sounded like. Though I got to observe him play and that was all I needed to be hypnotized, as the 6 string bass had invaded my imagination to stay for a long time. I got to watch the best 6 string bass guitar player perform his piece on television and be introduced to the instrument in a manner that I would never forget. Late night television was truly the best. Except in about 7 minutes the song had ended, my grandpa had woken up and I had been chased off to bed. Still, something of a fond memory to live with now that I am an adult myself.

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