Leo Fender debuted the “VI” in 1961 as the next model utilizing the patented offset contour waist body after the Jazzmaster. It’s possible that the popularity of Danelectro’s electric baritone guitar (1956) gave rise to Leo’s upgraded version with an additional pickup, fully adjustable floating bridge, and smooth tremolo design. The Fender company updated the VI in 1963 following the introduction of the Jaguar with Jag style shielded pickups and an additional strangle switch that thinned out some of the heavy bass frequencies. The electric baritone guitar offered a unique tone usable for doubling up bass or guitar, filling out a rhythm section, or for melodic single notes. Leo’s bridge mute was commonly used in conjunction with a heavy dose of reverb which sounded thick and drippy instead of the muddiness of a long sustained note with reverb. Popular VI players include Robert Smith of The Cure, Jack Bruce with Cream, and George Harrison and John Lennon with The Beatles.
This one owner 1963 Fender VI Electric Bass Guitar has just come from the daughter of the original owner after his passing. She can remember going to the music shop with her dad as a child to pick up his new instrument in 1964. Her father played Cumbia style music with his band through the 60s, 70s and early 1980s. He played it sparingly in his later years and passed a few years ago.
The guitar appears to be totally original except for a replaced tone potentiometer. The finish, the rest of the electronics, hardware, frets, and nut appear to be original to the guitar. It’s in nice playing condition but does show some fret wear. The pickup outputs are strong and closely matched and the electronics function properly after a light cleaning with contact cleaner. We’ve strung it with a new set of strings handmade specifically for the VI from the Gabriel Tenorio String Co. We use GTSCo strings on offset guitars when possible because the low break angle of the floating bridge require a different formulation of string tension for optimum playability. We’re confident you’ll love the tone, playability, and aesthetic of this 1963 Fender VI!