There are a lot of great six string basses out there, and there are a lot of options to choose from with a very wide price range. However, the LTD B-206SM seemingly blows the competition out of the water with its exceptional quality and incredible tone. This bass provides a wide variety of options for tone and is ready to handle anything you throw at it (that was meant to be a metaphor; don’t literally throw objects at it).


  • 35” scale
  • Ash body
  • Spalted Maple top
  • Natural satin finish
  • Bolt-on 5 piece maple neck
  • Thin U neck shape
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • 24 XJ frets
  • 400 mm fingerboard radius
  • 54 mm nut width
  • Molded nut
  • Black Nickel hardware
  • Standard strap button
  • LTD Tuners
  • LTD DB-6 bridge
  • ESP Designed SB-6 Neck (N) and Bridge (B) pickups
  • Active EQ
  • Master volume, balance, and 3-way EQ with control knobs

This bass provides a lot of different tonal options, but the simple design makes it very easy to use. The spalted maple top gives this bass an interesting and aesthetically pleasing look that stands out among a lot of basses.

The B-206SM comes in 4 string (B-204SM) and 5 string (B-205SM) models, as well as left handed models. In addition to this, ESP recently came out with the previously mentioned basses in See-Thru Satin Black (and they look incredible). This allows you to still see the pattern of the spalted maple while still giving it a striking appearance.


The Rosewood fingerboard on the B-206SM gives this bass a slightly warmer tone, but still allows bass players to create a very bright sounds when using the EQ controls properly; furthermore, when the EQ is used right, it creates a much warmer tone. The dense ash body lets notes sustain for a long time, and it allows them to project very clearly. In addition to this, the ESP designed pickups capture each note perfectly, meaning you can have more control over how this instrument sounds through the EQ, amps, pedals, or whatever else you decide to run it through.

(We have a sweet guide to tonewoods if you want to read more about how wood can affect your tone!)

The balance and 3-way EQ allow bass players to create just about any tone they can imagine with this instrument, meaning that it can be used in any situation. This combination with the rosewood fingerboard and the ash body is perfect to create a very large variety of tones within a single instrument. From latin jazz, to funk, to metal, this bass can handle it all!

One thing that really stands out on this bass is the harmonics. I have never played an instrument that allows the harmonics to ring out so clearly. Since harmonics are so easy to play on this bass, it makes it much easier to find ways to incorporate them into bass lines and solos; in turn, your creations as a bass player will be much more diverse and interesting.

Build Quality:

The neck of the B-206SM is very smooth and has a very comfortable curve, making it very easy and comfortable to play. The neck is a bit smaller than most 6 string bass necks, which also makes it much easier to play. Because it’s easier and more comfortable to play, you’ll be able to do more on this bass with less difficulty.

The body of this bass may not have a forearm cut or a belly cut, but it really doesn’t need one. Holding it in any position is very comfortable, whether you’re sitting (even in classical position) or standing. It rests comfortably against your body and the arm of your plucking hand is able to sit in a comfortable position relative to the pickups. The proportions of the body are perfect for this bass.

This is one solid bass; it is also very heavy thanks to the size of its body and the ash. I would recommend having a thick strap for it, so that when you play standing up, the weight is distributed more evenly across your shoulder. This will prevent your shoulder from hurting after you’ve played it for a while.

Final Verdict:

If you are looking for an “everything” instrument, look no further than the B-206SM. This bass was built to handle any situation. The pickups, balance, EQ, and the excellent choice of woods used in this instrument allow it to capture any tone necessary for any genre or style of music. ESP takes great care in building each individual instrument to perfect standards, and has not failed with the B-206SM.

I’ve loved all of the instruments that I’ve reviewed for Wired Guitarist, but I’ve owned a B-206SM for three years now. I’ve used it in a variety of ensembles playing a wide variety different genres of music. From jazz, to metal, to funk, and even to a few church gigs. I’ve never had to worry about whether this bass would be the right one for a gig or not.

Here’s a little video review I put together, where I demonstrate the harmonics, tone controls, and talk a little bit more about this awesome bass:




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This article written by community contributor Beth McPherson.

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