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Al Krow

The Yamaha BB mega-thread

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Hello all, I just finished reading this thread (yes, all of it)  and decided to join the Forum just to say Hi! 

Reason for reading it all? Well, I think you know. It started when I found a glossy catalogue, 30 years ago... fell in love with BB’s, all of them, but never even saw one for sale. Played Ibanez, later Fender, quit bass completely for a decade for guitar and synth stuff. Then 3 years ago found an ’84 BB300 in very poor shape: body cracked near control cavity, bent neck, badly treated frets, non-functional tuners, broken output jack, you get the picture. I just had to get it back in shape. 
 

That one didn’t make me a bass player again, though. It took another BB, in quite interesting condition. Just one more pic for now. 

 

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08EA7FFD-95A7-45BD-9B8A-4D74457030D8.jpeg

5A615312-C0B9-40B4-A899-9DF608BCB044.jpeg

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5 hours ago, MoJo said:

The 414 has had all of the previous owners DNA removed, fretboard  cleaned and oiled, frets polished, new strings, action and intonation set and here she is with her five string cousin

7C8CA645-2E64-494C-9F19-26529242DAE7.jpeg.85898e19e1ebf33e846b86d93d4228a2.jpeg

Very nice mate, exactly the same as the one I used to have! 

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BB1200S it is. With some issues: missing original tuners, P pickup & pot knobs, new cavity for bridge PU seems routed with a chainsaw, tone pot swapped for bridge PU volume, P pickup frame ruined, ugliest thumb rest ever bolted on, body scratched & dented all over.

It has an old EMG P/J set installed. The P sounds ok, the J doesn’t really bring much extra with it, thinking of removing it. Would also like to locate an original Yamaha P pickup with its frame, just to find out how the bass is supposed to sound.

Very heavy, on the other hand it feels extremely solid. Thick neck, great sustain, biting attack, balanced sound, plays nicely with Rotosound Monel Flats. 

58781F6F-1CBF-4942-9BD3-9AA015C7A882.jpeg

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On 02/08/2020 at 18:49, MattiZ said:

Hello all, I just finished reading this thread (yes, all of it)  and decided to join the Forum just to say Hi! 

Reason for reading it all? Well, I think you know. It started when I found a glossy catalogue, 30 years ago... fell in love with BB’s, all of them, but never even saw one for sale. Played Ibanez, later Fender, quit bass completely for a decade for guitar and synth stuff. Then 3 years ago found an ’84 BB300 in very poor shape: body cracked near control cavity, bent neck, badly treated frets, non-functional tuners, broken output jack, you get the picture. I just had to get it back in shape. 
 

That one didn’t make me a bass player again, though. It took another BB, in quite interesting condition. Just one more pic for now. 

 

C64F5DD5-B5E2-4126-BF3C-4E8DF9FC0CF0.jpeg

08EA7FFD-95A7-45BD-9B8A-4D74457030D8.jpeg

5A615312-C0B9-40B4-A899-9DF608BCB044.jpeg

That cream and gold BB1600 ,😍😍😍😍😍😍

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Posted (edited)

Great thread :D

My lot:

Yamaha attitude ltd

Yamaha attitude ltd II

Yamaha attitude plus 5

Yamaha attitude special edition

Yamaha TRBX 505

Yamaha TRB 5 mk1

Yamaha BB1600

Yamaha BB714BS

Yamaha BB424

Yamaha BB425

Yamaha BBG5s

Yamaha BB604a

 

Now I only have the BB714 and Attitude Ltd II

Edited by andy67
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Posted (edited)

Yamaha BB235 review

Not a lot of reviews around, decided to write one. I am new here, don’t know if there is a better sub-forum for this. 

This is my first 5-string bass. Never even played one before, so can only compare to 4-string ones. Took a risk, ordered it unseen, but I trust Yamaha - have played and liked their basses, guitars, synths, amps and so on. Chose the cheaper model instead of BB435 because didn’t feel like paying almost double the price for an instrument I might not find any use for (and liked the BB235 finish options more). No used basses available where I live either. Also considered an even cheaper Ibanez TMB105 as an alternative but decided to go with Yamaha. Ordered from Thomann, arrived in 5 days.

First impressions: very well packaged. Vintage White with black headstock & pickguard looks much better than in pics (it is my first white bass ever).

Maple neck has nice flames, extremely thin matte finish, rosewood fingerboard looks good, it’s dark (maybe dyed?) with even grain. Neck seems almost perfectly flatsawn, don’t expect it to be warping easily. Very good!

Surprisingly light weight, less than my BB1200S. Construction seems fine. 

Very comfortable neck profile: similar C-shape to BB1200S, not as thick and slightly flatter radius. Close enough to feel familiar immediately. 

Set-up is adequate: strings had been loosened for transit, after tuning up neck stayed straight with minimal relief (0.3 mm or so). Excellent! String height quite optimal, intonation good enough, nut seems cut just right. There was no need for retuning in the first half an hour of playing. Tightened the neck, bridge and tuner screws before tuning up, a few were slightly loose. 

How does it sound? Played at home (Zoom MS-100BT SVT model to home stereo with cheap subwoofer, some AKG headphones) I’m surprised. It sounds perfectly usable as is. Pickup balance seems well adjusted, so is string-to-string balance. No need to adjust anything. The factory strings sound clear, deep and balanced, they hold their tuning quite well.

Negatives? Of course. After half an hour of so, the smell of the strings started bothering me. Hard to describe, but I can’t stand it. They also coloured my fingertips black. Anyway, those strings performed better than I was expecting, as I was prepared to change them right away. Got an evening of play time off them, fair enough. 

Scratchy pots, all of them. They work smoothly, but all three have scratchy noise when adjusted. Poor quality? Probably. But what to expect, I’ve changed pots on instruments costing three times more. Might try cleaning them first, see if it helps. Might be dust or something in the control cavity. Or, maybe the cavity shielding leaves something to be desired. I’ll find out later.

Close inspection of the body, its countours and finish reveals little surprises. The contouring is functional, if not exceptionally pretty. The paintjob is fine until very close inspection, which reveals some imperfections. Jackplate is plastic, so not the most durable. The output jack nut was slightly loose out of the box. Nothing serious. 

The 235 is new and shiny and I’ve owned it for less than 24 hours now. I’m quite  happy with it. String change next, some more playing at home, then in a few days I’ll take the bass to my studio to test it with a Darkglass/Ampeg rig. More to follow.

Btw, sorry for the autocorrect. There may be some inexplicable mistakes because my IPad insists on translating everything to Finnish as i type. 

BAFBF4C7-A68F-4049-801C-F5FE0F471A91.jpeg
 

Part two: new strings & findings

I had a 5-string set of D’Addario Chromes ready. What happened: the .132 low B string end wrappings did not fit through the bridge! Not happy to do any major modifications on the bridge, yet. Four local music shops later no 5-string flatwound sets anywhere. Returned home with Dunlop Nickel Wound 45-125s. They are fine, much better than factory strings. No smell, no dirty fingers. Intonation needed adjustment - the bridge works and seems stable enough. Still want them flatwounds, though! 

Control cavity has no shielding whatsoever, I doubt the pickup cavities are any better. Pots are made by Alpha, so the quality is ok. Pot noise must be a grounding/shielding thing. Some Copper Tape Magic needed. 

More to follow in a few days, after some testing at proper volume levels. 

Edited by MattiZ
Added part 2, autocorrect corrections
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@MattiZ nice review, thank you!

Do have other BBs, other than your 1200S (which many of us will be very jealous of!)? Pics of that too please! 

And which BBs have you previously owned? 

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3 hours ago, Al Krow said:

@MattiZ nice review, thank you!

Do have other BBs, other than your 1200S (which many of us will be very jealous of!)? Pics of that too please! 

And which BBs have you previously owned? 

Thanks! More on the BB235 coming soon. 
I’m no photographer (and my BB1200S is hardly the prettiest one there is), but I’ll take some more pics. My BBs at the moment: 

’82 BB1200S (Japan)

’84 BB300 (Taiwan)

’20 BB235 (Indonesia)

... and it seems now that next week, there may be one more. We’ll see!
 

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@Al Krow took some photos of my BB1200S for you to... enjoy. I hope.

Not much of a looker. But it plays well and sounds just fine with the active EMG P pickup. The EMG J does not seem to do much - broken, or incorrectly wired? I don’t know.

I’d really like to know how the bass would sound with just an original passive Yamaha P. Or, since it already has been routed for a bridge J, maybe install a Yamaha J (from a BB1000S for example, if I can ever find one, or basically any J pickup that would cover the hideous routing). Then, on the other hand, I’ve been thinking of getting the J hole filled and having a partial refinish. Oh well. Anybody have a reverse Yamaha P pickup for sale? Or a rev P/J pair? 

The machine heads have been changed to an old set of Schallers (of West Germany? Probably). They work just fine, but I still prefer the original heart-shaped ones. Luckily, a fine member of this Forum agreed to sell me a set, so I’m already a bit closer to getting the bass restored to its original glory!

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Posted (edited)

@MattiZ, thanks for sharing that. Unusual to see anything but Yammy pups on a Yammy bass - I think they really are the core of the Yammy BB sound, and I'd associate EMGs much more with Spector.

If you get a wanted ad up, you might strike lucky with sourcing some Yammy pups. If you were to get the bass refinished (which I suspect would turn it into a valuable looker), would you get it done in the same colour? 

Edited by Al Krow
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If Yamaha ever read this thread - make sure your various BB models are always available in white. Classy.

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5 hours ago, Al Krow said:

@MattiZ, thanks for sharing that. Unusual to see anything but Yammy pups on a Yammy bass - I think they really are the core of the Yammy BB sound, and I'd associate EMGs much more with Spector.

If you get a wanted ad up, you might strike lucky with sourcing some some Yammy pups. If you were to get the bass refinished (which I suspect would turn it into a valuable looker), would you get it done in the same colour? 

Well guess what I happen to have kicking about :D

The pickups are from a Jap BB 1100s and even though the P pickup is the usual way round, I`m sure putting it on the other way would work. Might need to extend the wire? I`m selling Matti the tuners so I will send him a pm. 

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18 hours ago, Al Krow said:

@MattiZ, thanks for sharing that. Unusual to see anything but Yammy pups on a Yammy bass - I think they really are the core of the Yammy BB sound, and I'd associate EMGs much more with Spector.

If you get a wanted ad up, you might strike lucky with sourcing some Yammy pups. If you were to get the bass refinished (which I suspect would turn it into a valuable looker), would you get it done in the same colour? 

@Al Krow, as it seems, I guess I’ll find out quite soon how the Yamaha pickups sound! I will probably only need a new reverse P pickup frame made, and new (preferably old)  volume and tone pot knobs (those chickenheads are terrible in use), that’s all.

I’d already asked a luthier friend for an estimate for full refinish (with necessary woodwork, if I decide to remove the J pickup) and, well, let’s say it would become quite an expensive looker if I did that. The job would cost about 2x the price I paid for the bass itself. Plus the decal, plus cost of any surprises. Probably a partial refinish then, if I decide to go with just the P. Anyway, green it is, and will be, I really like the deep and dark colour that often looks almost black.

Somehow I feel that those scratches and marks are a part of the instrument’s personality and history, better let it show than hide it. But we’ll see. It is not time for decisions yet. 

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13 hours ago, jezzaboy said:

Well guess what I happen to have kicking about :D

The pickups are from a Jap BB 1100s and even though the P pickup is the usual way round, I`m sure putting it on the other way would work. Might need to extend the wire? I`m selling Matti the tuners so I will send him a pm. 

Now, this is really getting very  interesting! Pm’d.

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1 hour ago, MattiZ said:

Somehow I feel that those scratches and marks are a part of the instrument’s personality and history, better let it show than hide it. But we’ll see. It is not time for decisions yet. 

Plenty of folk are willing to pay extra for the "mojo" of a road worn look!

1 hour ago, MattiZ said:

Now, this is really getting very  interesting! Pm’d.

Great to see this BB community coming into play in this fashion!

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Whilst looking out the parts for Matti, I found the 1100s neck plate which is very clean and shiny. If it is any good to anyone pm me your details and I will post it out to you.

After checking the P pickup, the surround wont fit but if Matti can un solder the pickups then he can turn them round and re solder them and Bobs yer funny auntie.

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On 08/08/2020 at 13:51, Al Krow said:

Plenty of folk are willing to pay extra for the "mojo" of a road worn look!

Great to see this BB community coming into play in this fashion!

Yes, so it seems. But there is a difference between, say, a vintage Fender with a weathered and cracked, nicely aged nitro finish, and a more modern Yamaha with polysomething on it. The poly finish looks like cracked and scratched plastic - well, because that is pretty much what it is. There is little ”mojo” in it. 

Great indeed! I’m very happy I joined in here! 

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On 08/08/2020 at 14:28, jezzaboy said:

Whilst looking out the parts for Matti, I found the 1100s neck plate which is very clean and shiny. If it is any good to anyone pm me your details and I will post it out to you.

After checking the P pickup, the surround wont fit but if Matti can un solder the pickups then he can turn them round and re solder them and Bobs yer funny auntie.

This is exciting! Can’t wait!

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2 hours ago, MattiZ said:

Yes, so it seems. But there is a difference between, say, a vintage Fender with a weathered and cracked, nicely aged nitro finish, and a more modern Yamaha with polysomething on it. The poly finish looks like cracked and scratched plastic - well, because that is pretty much what it is. There is little ”mojo” in it. 

Great indeed! I’m very happy I joined in here! 

Yeah, very fair. I wonder if someone like our own @Grangur might be able to refinish it for you at a fraction of the cost of what you were quoted? And there was a BB425 refinished in white + pattern (earlier on the thread) and it looked amazing! I'll see if I can dig out the pic... 

Here you go - it won't be to everyone's taste, I appreciate, but I love it!

Yamaha BB425 - that finish!.jpg

Edited by Al Krow
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On 07/08/2020 at 00:03, MattiZ said:

@Al Krow took some photos of my BB1200S for you to... enjoy. I hope.

Not much of a looker. But it plays well and sounds just fine with the active EMG P pickup. The EMG J does not seem to do much - broken, or incorrectly wired? I don’t know.

I’d really like to know how the bass would sound with just an original passive Yamaha P. Or, since it already has been routed for a bridge J, maybe install a Yamaha J (from a BB1000S for example, if I can ever find one, or basically any J pickup that would cover the hideous routing). Then, on the other hand, I’ve been thinking of getting the J hole filled and having a partial refinish. Oh well. Anybody have a reverse Yamaha P pickup for sale? Or a rev P/J pair? 

The machine heads have been changed to an old set of Schallers (of West Germany? Probably). They work just fine, but I still prefer the original heart-shaped ones. Luckily, a fine member of this Forum agreed to sell me a set, so I’m already a bit closer to getting the bass restored to its original glory!

70350FF1-E18D-41A0-BD7F-DDA1BC391F4A.jpeg

86B98E32-31B9-46AD-A19C-3AE054B2031E.jpeg

D842BFC6-298F-494B-A000-258BC5B420C1.jpeg

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19E1BF74-BEA3-4E2F-BD85-0EDAA030801D.jpeg

That's the rarest colour you have there, keep it as is! Battle scars are cool 🤘

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On 10/08/2020 at 07:46, miles'tone said:

That's the rarest colour you have there, keep it as is! Battle scars are cool 🤘

 

On 09/08/2020 at 17:49, Al Krow said:

Yeah, very fair. I wonder if someone like our own @Grangur might be able to refinish it for you at a fraction of the cost of what you were quoted? And there was a BB425 refinished in white + pattern (earlier on the thread) and it looked amazing! I'll see if I can dig out the pic... 

Here you go - it won't be to everyone's taste, I appreciate, but I love it!

Yamaha BB425 - that finish!.jpg

Thanks, it’s good to know there are options. 

That is a nice-looking bridge by the way, what is it? 

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13 hours ago, MattiZ said:

 

Thanks, it’s good to know there are options. 

That is a nice-looking bridge by the way, what is it? 

It's the Hipshot Vintage, dropped straight on & has the right string spacing but no string-through.

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