6-String Basses

Collage of 6-string basses

Rainbow Bass for a client in Japan, serial number 6-16-20.

Brians’ serial number 5-19-20. Photos courtesy of The Low End, http://www.thelowend.net/

Pete Connor’s 6-string fretless, serial number 3-3-20.

Alex’s 6-string fretless, serial number 1-14-20.

Paul Morgan’s 6-string, serial number 7-6-19.

Brian from The Low End’s beautiful 6-string whale-tail bass, serial number 2-5-18. Photos courtesy of The Low End, http://www.thelowend.net/

Serial number 12-28-17 fretless bolt-on.

Serial number 2-9-16, owned by Magnus. Photos courtesy of The Bass Collection, www.e-basscollection.com

2016 1
Photos courtesy of The Low End, www.thelowend.net

2016 2
Photos courtesy of The Low End, www.thelowend.net

Serial number 12-23-15, photos courtesy of The Bass Collection, www.e-basscollection.com

Fretless custom bass, serial number 7-17-13. Photos courtesy of The Low End, www.thelowend.net

Serial number 3-27-13, now owned by Magnus. Photos courtesy of The Low End, www.thelowend.net

Serial number 3-19-13, 6-string piccolo bass made for Larry, Les Claypool’s neighbor. It has a 30″ scale and utilizes five bass strings and one guitar string.

Andrew Lloyd’s 38″ scale 6-string full-frills fretless, serial number 12-12-12. Also pictured is 3-28-18.

Top: Bocote, Gaboon Ebony
Back: Gaboon Ebony, Bolivian Rosewood, Green-dyed Poplar
Cats eyes: Gaboon Ebony, Cocobolo, Pink Ivory
Body: Mahogany
Nameplate: Mahogany, Green-dyed Poplar, Gaboon Ebony
Neck: Port Orford Cedar, Gaboon Ebony, Bolivian Rosewood, MOP side dots
Fretboard: Bloodwood
Bridge: Bloodwood, Pink Ivory, Snakewood, Ebony, Mahogany, Brass, MOP inlay
Nut: Gaboon Ebony, Bocote, Pink Ivory
Headstock:Bocote, Flame Maple, Mahogany, Bolivian rosewood
Heel Block: Bolivian Rosewood
Strap Button Stripe: Gaboon Ebony, Pink Ivory
Truss Rod Cover: Gaboon Ebony, Bolivian rosewood, Bocote, Pink Ivory
Pickup Cover: Bocote, Rosewood, Mahogany
Knobs: Gaboon Ebony, Pink Ivory, Cocobolo
Switch tips: Gaboon Ebony, Cocobolo
Strap buttons: Gaboon Ebony, Pink Ivory
Football: Bocote
Control Cover: Bolivian Rosewood, Pink Ivory

Serial number 3-15-12, photos courtesy of The Low End, www.thelowend.net and The Bass Collection, www.e-basscollection.com

Zircote 6-string fretless, serial number 4-19-11. Photos courtesy of The Low End, www.thelowend.net and The Bass Collection, www.e-basscollection.com

Serial number 7-11-10, photos courtesy of The Low End, www.thelowend.net and The Bass Collection, www.e-basscollection.com

36” scale fretless, serial number 12-25-08, built by John Montalbano, Kelvin, Pete and Carl for John. The top is spalted maple, and the bass has a Seymour Duncan Basslines Steve Bailey preamp and pickup set.

Trevor owns a beautiful 6-string, #71708. He sent in the following: “This is Trevor Anema out of Sioux Falls, SD. I had Carl build me a 6-string bass a while back and I’ve had it for about a year and a half now. Carl said his wife thought it looked like it was alive and I have to agree with her. Because of the lines and the wood I affectionately refer to it as “The Tiger Bass”. I don’t think I ever sent pictures of it. So finally, here they are! The specs to the best of my memory are: 6-string, 36″ scale, fretted. Carl said he used a hipshot bridge and at the time he said it was a new prototype. It has a pickup selector for bridge, neck, or both positions, a high-pass filter and a stand-by switch, as well as tone and volume knobs, and also features wood pick-up covers which I asked Carl to make for me. The serial number on the bass is 71708. It plays and sounds even more beautiful than it looks. I have never seen its equal and I could not be happier with it!”

Serial number 6-5-07 6-string fretless ‘rainbow bass’. Also pictured are Pete and Kelvin, as well as 9-25-06 and 13-13-78.

Serial number 4-9-07, 6 string fretless, 36″ scale, ebony and paduak top, cocobolo and paduak back, mahogany core and neck, ebony fingerboard, Kent Armstrong pickups. Nick McGarry bought the bass from Jim Fleeting and had another pickup placed at the bridge by Carl. Photos courtesy of The Low End, www.thelowend.net

Serial number 4-8-07. 6 string fretless 36″ Scale, ebony and paduak top, cocobolo and paduak back, mahogany core and neck, ebony fingerboard, Kent Armstrong pickups. Photos courtesy of The Low End, www.thelowend.net

2007 1

Chuck Heuser’s 6-string fretless, serial number 7-25-06. Also pictured is Marshall Hay on a visit during the bass’ construction, and 5-string 1-18-06.

Serial number 6-9-05, the “Bat Bass”. It has a bocote center with cocobola wings on top, a bocote pickup cover, and an ebony fingerboard with maple neck and ash side runners. The headstock front veneer is wenge. The back is ziricote, as is the rear headstock veneer. It features a custom Kent Armstrong dual coil pickup with a Kent Armstrong two-band EQ. Photos courtesy of The Low End, www.thelowend.net

Andrew Marvin holding a 6-string encountered at Carl’s birthday party in 2006.

Gary Kelly’s gorgeous 6-string ball-scroll bass, serial number 9-16-03.

Also pictured is Akila.

Dave Muntner’s 6 string fretless’ features include a Mahogany core, Canary wood ‘sandwich’ with African Makore front and back veneers. In addition there are Redheart accents on the front, Ebony stripes on the back, Canary veneers on the headstock and a matching Makore nameplate! Top it off with custom gold and black machine heads, a Kent Armstrong pickup with 1 volume and 1 tone knob, a Maple neck with Canary accents and you’ve pretty much summed it all up. It is little wonder Carl called this bass one of his favorites. Check out the scroll picture to see the Canary ‘sandwich.’ The serial number is 4-16-02.

Also pictured is Les Claypool’s Rainbow Bass.

2002 1
Shaun received his 6-string fretless after waiting 2 years 5 months for it. This is Shaun’s second CT, he also owns a 5-string that was sold here on the site. Carl chose a stunning Morado top placed on a Mahogany core and finished the back off in a dark Walnut. Note the beautiful figure of the Walnut control plate, the wood bridge and the accent at the very base of the fingerboard just above the pickup. As usual, Carl’s attention to detail makes all the difference in the world on this beauty.

Also pictured are friends Larry and Marlene.

Fretless 6 built for Allan Harry of Switzerland, serial number 2-5-01.
Also pictured are Kelvin at work on the bass, Carl’s friend Barbara McKay, and friends Nancy, Kathern and Selma at Boro Photo on Montague street in Brooklyn. Boro Photo is where Carl has gone for the past 25 years to have all of the photos of his basses developed.

2001 No Serial

2001 1
“The Mexican Bass” so dubbed by Carl because of the desert themes of the wood. This is one of his favorites, owned by Manuel Fernandez of Mexico.

Also pictured are Emily, Kathleen and Ben.

Lefty 6-string originally made for Dan Jackson.

Check out this description of one of Dan’s visits to the shop:

This bass is now owned by Mike Adams. Mike says, “…I did some work on the lefty 6 string that belonged to Dan Jackson. The bass has been upgraded with a 3 band Bartollini active preamp with pickups wound by Larry Pollack of Aero. The custom wood pickup covers, knobs and bridge were built by THG knobs.”

Pinstriped 6 string with a single Kent Armstrong pickup, serial number 8-24-00, owned by Rogelio “Kello” Gonzalez.

2000 1
Carl and his friend Tatyana with a Les Claypool style rainbow bass for a buyer in Japan.

Serial #8298 is a fretless 6-string previously owned by Trip Irish and now owned by Florian of Munich, Germany. Carl built this bass over the course of two years. The bass is fretless, set neck with Canary top, Redheart back, Walnut core, Epee fingerboard, Zebrawood cat’s eyes, multi-laminate pickup covers (Burled Rosewood). Almost every major component is laced with dyed Hollie veneers in either black or red. Extended tailpiece and bridge finish things off, along with a set of EMG’s. Florian was nice enough to take some gorgeous new photos of the bass and send them in.

David Muntner’s 6 string fretted bass, serial # 4-20-97. The back is walnut, the fingerboard is epee.



Dave Muntner’s 38″ scale 6-string, serial 2-14-97.

1997 1
Les Claypool style Rainbow bass completed in 1997. Photo by John Slog of Guitar Villa.

Serial number 5-3-96, owned by Magnus.

Our good buddy Dan (from the Bass Board) purchased this beauty from Lance Rungren in January ’04.

It sold on eBay with the following description: “The best of the best. This is a 1996 (serail 4-26-96) Carl Thompson 6 string fretted scroll bass. I sent it to Carl This year to have it reworked from a fretless single pickup to a fretted dual pickup bass. The work is flawless. I have provided a “before” picture. The bass is in new condition and features 2 custom made passive kent armstrong pickups, Jazz electronics setup and a Mini toggle that acts as a Mid shift and a Kill switch. Comes with the original Reunion Blues Gigbag, About a dozen extra Dovetailed Saddles for the bridge (that Carl sent me) and a handfull of extra Carl Thompson Strings. This bass is Also Signed By Les Claypool on the Top rear of the headstock.(I had backstage passes for the show that just came through Detroit) I can email a Pic of the Signature to anyone that wants to see it. The pics I took were done before I had it signed. I do not know the woods used on the bass Carl did not provide me with a list of woods. Its killing me to have to sell this bass. However have no choice but to sell. I need the cash.”

Sargeant Zeno’s 6 string. It was completed 11-8-95. Shortly after the bass was finished, Carl took it to a art/music show and was offered $10,000 for it on the spot. Fortunately for Zeno, Carl would not sell the bass.

Serial number 3-18-95, owned by Magnus.

Serial number 2-26-95 bolt-on neck 6-string fretless. It has since been refurbished by Peter Hilton, and a second pickup was added. This is the first bolt-on 6-string Carl produced. Also pictured are 8-30-78 and 7-1-80.



Serial number 10-20-94. Zebra Wood Top with padauk center, padauk back with zebra center, walnut body Core, padouk fingerboard w/multi binding layers of ebony, maple and rosewood. Fret lines are maple, ebony and rosewood. Photos courtesy of The Low End, www.thelowend.net

Gerrard Williams pictured.

1994 1
A 6 string (likely 1994) and a 7 string (4-20-94) CT side by side. Both have set-necks.

Robert’s 2-14-92.

Les Claypool’s Rainbow Bass, serial number 2-5-91.

90s No Serial
The bass is an early 90s fretted 6 string model with a ‘whale tail’. This bass does not have a serial which is no unheard of from that time.

90s 1
A 6 string bass that was found on a Japanese website by David Muntner.

90s 2
Matt Otto playing a Rainbow-style bass sometime in the 90’s.

Gary Kelly’s 6-string fretless, serial number 2-5-89.

Also pictured is Tony Senatore.

Tony Senatore’s 6-string fretted. Here is what he had to say about it:

“Carl took a hiatus from bass building in the early 80`s. When he started on my 6 string bass, he just finished building Gary Kelly`s. Mine was the 2nd six string that he built after a lengthy break.. He hadn`t built a 6 string for many years, so he didn`t exactly exude confidence. He started construction in 1986, and it took him about 16 months to complete. It has an EMG P-Bass pickup in the middle and bridge positions, and a 40 inch string length (36” scale). It also has a HAZ labs preamp . The controls are panpot, master volume, treble boost, bass boost. It`s all walnut, with a rosewood board and nut.. The serial # is 5/7/88, the first 2 digits are my birthday, the last digit the year the bass was finished.. We experimented a lot with string gauges. At one point,
I believe I tried a 165 low b, but it was so heavy, it vibrated erratically. I went to a 140, and now, a 130. I can`t tell you how many people want to buy my CT Bass.”


“After 16 years, I have decided to revamp my Carl Thompson Six String. The Preamp that Carl put in back in 1987 kept malfunctioning, so i decided to go Passive, which i prefer anyway. I had Kent Armstrong build me a custom set of P Bass style pickups, and a Varitone.”

1988 No Serial
Fred Sisco’s 36″ scale fretted bass was ordered in 1987 and 1988. Carl later repaired damage to the headstock and placed a new veneer that covered the serial number.

1985 No Serial
The 6 string bass that inspired Les to order the “Rainbow Bass” after he saw it at a NAMM show. This was the first bass made after Carl’s hiatus. The bass has no serial number and is owned by Gary Kelly.

80s 1
An early 6-string fretless with a padauk body. Likely built in 1988 or 1989.

80s 2
“In this photo Carl holds a 4-string curly maple fretless bass. In the foreground, he is flanked by two of his 6-string basses. Note their starkly original body-bridge extensions. In the rear, an early maple scroll-body 6-string and a maple left-handed 8-string. The bass Carl is holding is the one he uses for his gigs.”
Wheeler, Tom. American Guitars, an Illustrated History. Harper Collins Ny, New York: 1992. Page 362

The bass Carl is holding is 2-5-80, while he curly maple 6-string is 2-5-77. The fore-most 6-string is a padauk bass likely made in 1988 or 1989 (’80s_1′ on the 6-string page).

This entry in the photo gallery is also a placeholder for the left-most 6-string bass.

Serial number 2-14-78, owned by Les Claypool.

36″-scale 6-string fretted with a curly maple neck and body, serial number 2-5-77. This bass was originally made for musician Dave Moore, and had two special Seymour Duncan pickups, as 6-string bass pickups were not available at the time. It has since been converted to lined fretless and sports wood-covered active EMG-45J pickups with early slanted coils and an EMG BTS Control with volume, volume, bass and treble, added around 1991. Note the wood bridge with large brass tailpiece and 2-1/16” wood nut.

Pictured with 11-9-77, and basses in the works circa 2006.

Pictures of Anthony Jackson’s six string CT. This was the first 6-string electric contrabass ever made, and is now owned by Steve Bailey. Pictures of Anthony Jackson sent in by Paul Neff, which were found in the book “How the Fender Bass Changed the World”.