Bass Guitar Review: The ESP B206 6-String Bass

ESP a Tokyo based company founded in 1975 originally opened up shop to distribute replacement parts for guitars. In 1976 they began manufacturing their own line of guitars under the name ESP and Navigator lines in the Japanese markets. ESP began crafting custom instruments for local New York artists between 1984 and 1985. Among these artists were Vernon Reid of Living Color Vinnie Vincent & Bruce Kulick of Kiss and Ronny Wood of The Rolling Stones.

Off The Rack

My first impression of the ESP B206 first started with the spalted maple top. The spalted guitars always catch my eye right away, very bright and unique looking.  The ESP B206 was lighter then most 6 string basses that I have played in the past.  To me, that is very important in a bass guitar, has to be light weight. Before I plugged it in I was a little skeptical of how it would sound for the money.


The ESP B206 is made up of a high quality ash body with a spalted maple top. The bass comes with a 5-Pc maple/walnut neck with a rosewood fretboard. The B206 has a super thin U shaped 35” scale neck and a 54mm width nut. It also comes standard with abalone dot inlays and 24 XJ frets (extra jumbo). The ESP B206 comes with black nickel hardware and ESP-LTD tuners. The ESP SB-6 pickup set include volume and balance controls along with an ABQ 3 3-band EQ.

The Low Down

The tone of the ESP B206 greatly depends on the amp you are plugged into.  Played through a cheap amp you will find that it sounds like any other bass guitar. However if played through a decent to high end bass amp, the B206 really shines, with thick bottom-end, subtle mids and smooth highs.  The price tag suits the working mans budget and for what you get, this is a steal.

The ESP B206 has the playability of guitars twice the price.   I really liked the neck; it plays very easy and is more forgiving then other basses on the market.  If you have smaller hands like I do you will love the action and easy of play.  The tone is very bright and crisp perfect for Jazz and blues.  I think the ESP B206 really stands out above most other guitars in its class and price range, Definitely an A + in my book.

Pros – Excellent price, light weight, great tone, beautiful look and superb playability.

Cons – To access its full potential needs to be played through a good amp.

MSRP – $429

Nick Arrietta is a staff writer at SMG. Nick is a professional Music teacher from California and has been playing the Guitar for 24 years. Along with teaching music he is a touring guitarist, studio musician and songwriter. Email:

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