John, thinking about your suggestion of dampening the A string in a thumbed F... that doesn't seem too different in principle from what I'm doing already (involuntarily dampening the high E). In both cases it's a moveable, five string, root position F with a real bass note - the only difference is which string you make your compromise on. Do you suppose it matters which one?
Rick, I get the feeling your vow to not rest until we're all playing 6 string Fs wasn't just a figure of speech.
Me going to Toronto? It's been known to happen. Probably will happen sometime this summer or fall.
Willie-o showed me a warmup exercise that involves some sideways stretching, so that probably accounts me having a respectable span now. It's the reach across the neck, not down it, that's the tricky bit.
OK, here's a Mudcat vow of my own. For the next month, twice a day, every day, when I am already warmed up from practicing other stuff, I'll work on the stretching exercise you describe and try to play the F. If I haven't made any progress in a month, I'll have the neck shaved. Or move to Toronto.