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Al Krow

The Yamaha BB mega-thread

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13 hours ago, TRBboy said:

Hey BB fans! I realise in advance that this is probably a bit of a dumb question, but.... The 434/435 have a split coil neck pickup; do they do a pretty good approximation of a F%@#$r Precision with the neck pickup soloed, or do they somehow quite different? Thanks

Also, I SOOOOOO wish they did the 435 with a maple board too! 😞

I've no experience of the pickups in a 434/435 but the 414/424/415/425 have a split pick-up at the neck too but don't quite pull off the P-bass mid-growl. The 434/435 have standard size pickups so you could swap the neck pick up in a 434 for a Fender CS '62 set and it should sound very close to a P-bass

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I think the consensus is that the Yammy BB's have their 'own take' on the P bass sound and a lot of Yammy owners prefer it to the original Fender P sound; which is part of the reason I guess why we have gone for a Yammy rather than a Squier P or a Fender P.  Further differentiated by the PJ config on the Yammys and the much liked PJ setting used by a lot of Yammy players in preference to either a solo'd P or solo'd J.

I've updated the OP with a table showing a comparison between the 234/5, 434/5 and 734A/5A for ease of reference, which is particularly for anyone thinking about getting a 3 series Yammy BB.

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The new generation (434, 734A, P34, etc) will sound closer to a Fender than the previous generation (424, 1024, 2024, etc) due to their more traditional alnico pickups.

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10 minutes ago, dannybuoy said:

The new generation (434, 734A, P34, etc) will sound closer to a Fender than the previous generation (424, 1024, 2024, etc) due to their more traditional alnico pickups.

Are you sure that is correct dB?

My P35 sounds pretty close to my BB1025 and certainly when @dave_bass5 was over we both felt that the 1025 was the slightly 'flatter' of the two and closer to what might be thought of as a traditional P bass sound. And certainly flatter / more P bass-like still is the BB425 which I've previously had and Dave still owns.

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I certainly feel like my 735a has a more traditional P tone than my old 1025x did, although I sold the 1025x a few years ago so perhaps failing memory is a factor! 

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What ‘classic’ or ‘traditional’ P bass sound are we talking

’52, ‘58, ‘65, ‘70s 

We are talking 50-80 years ago in range where lots was happening 

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, CameronJ said:

I certainly feel like my 735a has a more traditional P tone than my old 1025x did, although I sold the 1025x a few years ago so perhaps failing memory is a factor! 

You're getting old and wise eh Cam? 😉

Having also had the 735A, my sense is that if you played a set of Yammy BBs (passively in the case of the 734A/5A)  you would find that they all sounded much closer to each other than any of them do to a Fender P

Edited by Al Krow

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I agree with @Al Krow, neither of my Yamaha's sound as 'fender' as my Fender. I know its different woods and pups etc, but still, i think think Yamaha has a signature tone that can get a P bass tone, but not a traditional one when put up against a Fender.

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34 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

What ‘classic’ or ‘traditional’ P bass sound are we talking

’52, ‘58, ‘65, ‘70s 

We are talking 50-80 years ago in range where lots was happening 

Fenders have a 'fender' tone, you know it when you hear it, from countless recordings.

Yamaha's have a P bass sound, thumpy etc, but distinctively different from a 'fender' tone. Yamaha's have their own voicings.

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2 hours ago, Al Krow said:

Are you sure that is correct dB?

My P35 sounds pretty close to my BB1025 and certainly when @dave_bass5 was over we both felt that the 1025 was the slightly 'flatter' of the two and closer to what might be thought of as a traditional P bass sound. And certainly flatter / more P bass-like still is the BB425 which I've previously had and Dave still owns.

The 1025 pickups are very high output and a lot darker then a regular P pickup. The newer pups are supposed to be more vintage voiced and sounded quite a bit brighter when I auditioned a 435 vs a 2025X in store.

If you want that old school precision and flats sound though, you're better off with a Fender.

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So today I had a chance to try out a few bass guitars at Wunjo bass in London. Going in there I was dead set on a Fender Aerodyne however having had a chance to play it along with a Yamaha BB734 I was utterly disappointed in it, and actually blown away by how good the Yamaha was!

Looks like I'll spring for a BB then, but I have a few questions.

I tried the BB734 and it just felt really nice to play and the electronics sounded fantastic to my ears. However I couldn't help but notice that there's a lot of buzz around the vintage BB models. How do the older BBs stack up to the 734 in terms of sound? Do they also feel roughly the same to play - ie neck profile, body shape, and the like?

As it stands I'll either try to find a used 734 in black (another thing that swung me - it looks gorgeous) or get Wunjo to order one in for me since they only had a used brown one available.

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1 hour ago, hooky_lowdown said:

Fenders have a 'fender' tone, you know it when you hear it, from countless recordings.

Yamaha's have a P bass sound, thumpy etc, but distinctively different from a 'fender' tone. Yamaha's have their own voicings.

What you say is never in doubt, but within that ‘Fender Tone’ there are various iterations, so depending on which you want, your Yammy or any other bass will be closer or further away, and as someone else has mentioned, the latest Yammy models have regular pick up sizes, so changing pick ups and sound etc has never been easier

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Posted (edited)

@razor5cl I'd say the key difference between the BB 734A and the older BBs is that the 734A is both active and passive which gives it greater tonal versatility. Body shape etc has been more of a subtle refinement rather than a wholesale change from the Series 2. Most of the earlier models (Series 2, Series 1 and earlier) are either mostly purely passive or a minority that are purely active. The 734A gives you the best of both worlds on that score.

Combine that with a capable vol, blend & 3 band EQ and P/J configuration and you have a very capable bass indeed. 

Here's a demonstration of my old bass(!) being played by @TJ Spicer, which will give you a good feel for its tonal variety and capability:

  

Edited by Al Krow
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9 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

@razor5cl I'd say the key difference between the BB 734A and the older BBs is that the 734A is both active and passive which gives it a greater tonal versatility. Body shape etc has been more of a subtle refinement rather than a wholesale change from the Series 2. Most of the earlier models (Series 2, Series 1 and earlier) are either mostly purely passive or a minority that are purely active. The 734A gives you the best of both worlds on that score.

Combine that with a capable VVT EQ and P/J configuration and you have a very capable bass indeed. 

Here's a demonstration of my old bass(!) being played by @TJ Spicer, which will give you a good feel for its tonal variety and capability:

  

Thanks Al, very useful! Really preferring passive tones at the moment, so I think the 435 would be fine for me (when I can afford one....). 

Meant to ask before, have they managed to shed any weight for the 3 series? 

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5 minutes ago, TRBboy said:

Thanks Al, very useful! Really preferring passive tones at the moment, so I think the 435 would be fine for me (when I can afford one....). 

Meant to ask before, have they managed to shed any weight for the 3 series? 

Well my BB P35 is heavier than my BB 1025. Both purely passive. So I'd say "no" based on that very limited sample"! :) 

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36 minutes ago, TRBboy said:

Meant to ask before, have they managed to shed any weight for the 3 series? 

In my experience, yes. My 735 is definitely a bit lighter than my old 1025x. And that’s with the addition of the preamp and battery in the 735 which the passive 1025 didn’t have. But with wood being an organic substance and natural variety at play I’d suggest trying out a few 434s in person if possible to make sure you get one that feels comfortable to you.

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54 minutes ago, Cuzzie said:

What you say is never in doubt, but within that ‘Fender Tone’ there are various iterations, so depending on which you want, your Yammy or any other bass will be closer or further away, and as someone else has mentioned, the latest Yammy models have regular pick up sizes, so changing pick ups and sound etc has never been easier

The various iterations of fender pickups etc I don't think apply, because all are so widely known through songs across the decades that the Fender tone is so distinctive all can be grouped under the umbrella of the 'fender tone'.

The yammies on the other hand have their own tone, some might be closer than others to the 'fender tone' but none I believe would be confused for any iteration of the 'fender tone'.

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Re: the Fender v Yamaha “P tone” topic, I compared a BBP35 to a Fender Am Pro Precision 5er a couple of weeks at Wunjo and there was a definite tonal difference between the two. The Yammy was darker and rounder, whilst the Fender was brighter and more woody sounding which (and I realise this is heresy on this thread) I preferred. 

The Fender was also a bit wider at the nut with a slightly chunkier neck overall which, unexpectedly, I also preferred. As a disclaimer, I should say that I’m 6’8” with absolutely massive hands so your mileage definitely may vary!

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, CameronJ said:

In my experience, yes. My 735 is definitely a bit lighter than my old 1025x. And that’s with the addition of the preamp and battery in the 735 which the passive 1025 didn’t have. But with wood being an organic substance and natural variety at play I’d suggest trying out a few 434s in person if possible to make sure you get one that feels comfortable to you.

I agree with you in part - my 735A was definitely a bit lighter than my BB P35, but actually only comparable to my 1025.

A fairer comparison is perhaps between fully passive basses. The wood in the body of the 735A will have been reduced to make way for a larger EQ housing area i.e. more air and less wood, so you might well expect the body to be a bit lighter on that particular model. 

Edited by Al Krow

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2 minutes ago, CameronJ said:

... As a disclaimer, I should say that I’m 6 km 8 metres with absolutely massive hands so your mileage definitely may vary!

Fixed.

Or at least that's how it felt to me 😁

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, CameronJ said:

Re: the Fender v Yamaha “P tone” topic, I compared a BBP35 to a Fender Am Pro Precision 5er a couple of weeks at Wunjo and there was a definite tonal difference between the two. The Yammy was darker and rounder, whilst the Fender was brighter and more woody sounding which (and I realise this is heresy on this thread) I preferred. 

The Fender was also a bit wider at the nut with a slightly chunkier neck overall which, unexpectedly, I also preferred. As a disclaimer, I should say that I’m 6’8” with absolutely massive hands so your mileage definitely may vary!

Fenders also sound 'warmer' than yamaha's imho.

My main bass is a yammie with fender pickups, just because I like a 'warmer' tone, instead of the 'darker' stock yammie tone.

Edited by hooky_lowdown

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50 minutes ago, CameronJ said:

Re: the Fender v Yamaha “P tone” topic, I compared a BBP35 to a Fender Am Pro Precision 5er a couple of weeks at Wunjo and there was a definite tonal difference between the two. The Yammy was darker and rounder, whilst the Fender was brighter and more woody sounding which (and I realise this is heresy on this thread) I preferred. 

The Fender was also a bit wider at the nut with a slightly chunkier neck overall which, unexpectedly, I also preferred. As a disclaimer, I should say that I’m 6’8” with absolutely massive hands so your mileage definitely may vary!

Pee wee

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14 minutes ago, hooky_lowdown said:

Fenders also sound 'warmer' than yamaha's imho.

My main bass is a yammie with fender pickups, just because I like a 'warmer' tone, instead of the 'darker' stock yammie tone.

Tbf there are good reasons why Fender are the best selling bass on the planet, and why so many other brands make a good living ripping off their designs. 

Wouldn't the world be a boring place if everyone had the same taste in basses, genres of music, amps, cabs etc. etc. 

Plenty of space for us to all enjoy the basses we enjoy. Personally I think my Yammys are just great! And I have no itch at all to buy a Fender. A Spector EuroLX neck through on the other hand... 😄 

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, hooky_lowdown said:

Fenders also sound 'warmer' than yamaha's imho.

My main bass is a yammie with fender pickups, just because I like a 'warmer' tone, instead of the 'darker' stock yammie tone.

Well there we go. I’d consider “warm” and “dark” to be in a similar ballpark as far as my descriptors of tone. Which just highlights how subjective this all is.

Perhaps your “warm” = my “woody”?

Edited by CameronJ

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1 hour ago, CameronJ said:

The Fender was also a bit wider at the nut with a slightly chunkier neck overall which, unexpectedly, I also preferred. As a disclaimer, I should say that I’m 6’8” with absolutely massive hands so your mileage definitely may vary!

Interesting point about the neck, though, 'cos the flatter / really comfortable to play (particularly on 5ers) / not a baseball bat neck of the Yammys is a feature that a LOT of Yammy fans (me included) love. If a chunkier neck is what you're now preferring, and...

On 22/07/2019 at 20:02, CameronJ said:

On paper, all of what you’ve said is true. But alas, in my dotage I find myself after a more traditional Jazz aesthetic and true single coils - noise be damned!

...sounds like you could be heading back to Fender and, based on your comments a few weeks back, forget PJs, you could be going straight to J(ail).

😊

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