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The Yamaha BB mega-thread


Al Krow

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On 11/12/2020 at 10:58, Sarlscharisma said:

I've had a chance to play it now and it certainly has the 1200S DNA. But it does have it's own thing going on.  I have had 3 1200S basses in the past so I am working off my memory but it does have a lot of the sparkle of the top end of that bass.  I find the bottom end is very different though in that it doesn't have the 'hollow' sound of the 1200S and is more round.  Without playing this in a band setting I think hitting that E string might blow the roof off, that didn't happen with my 1200S basses.

So I would say it is different enough from the 1200S to be it's own thing.  The feel of the neck is amazing and it is very fast.  It is certainly not the 'tank' the 1200S is, but that is probably down to it being so much lighter.  The sustain is amazing for a bolt on, that is a huge achievement.

I have never played a 734 so can't comment on that, but this is a workhorse bass with a solid feel to it.

The only thing I would be critical of is the knobs seem a bit on the cheaper side and are too small/fiddly, the inlays are plasticky, and the fretboard is too light against the rest of the bass.

But for £899 it's an absolute steel and a top bass.

Lots of parallels here, compared to my experience with my two BB1200Ss and a BB735A. Not the same as the BBPH (a 5-stringer with non-reverse P), but close. 

They have somewhat similar top end sparkle, yes. Differences in low end, except 1200S has it tight and focused, but 735A feels somewhat phasey and scooped, possibly lacking something in the low mids (hard to pin it down exactly, just a feel). Could it be the difference between reverse and non-reverse P, and/or the pre-amp? I’m not sure.

Different, absolutely. And I completely agree the 1200S is a ”tank” (or Imperial Starcruiser) to the light-weight 735A. There is nothing wrong with its build quality but it still feels much less substantial (and actually weights less than the 1200S). 

I also agree the knobs are not ideal (very heavy, unmarked and... uh, pretty ugly), neither are the pots themselves: they feel very stiff to turn, and the center detents feel very subtle, there is almost no positive click. And those inlays really are ugly, they look like cheap nicotine-stained plastic. 

Still, it is a good bass, it fits the band I play it in, I like it more and more after each band practise...

... but finally, getting even more off-topic but... I - still - kind of enjoy my BB235 more!

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Unlikely Twins!

Two of my very favourite basses! Pic inspired by recent chat with @Chopthebass whose identical finish new NE2 has just arrived and @cetera, undoubtedly the biggest Spector lover on BC (and probably the UK!)

I posted a while back about how I felt that the NE2 took more design cues from Spector than from any other of my basses including my other Yammys.

In particular, they both have in common:

  • sculpted backs making them very comfortable to wear;
  • neck through;
  • 3+2 headstock;
  • purely active;
  • seriously meaty low end;
  • and 24 very accessible frets - even more so on the Yammy with its cut-away lower horn.  

The "extra" that the Yammy delivers is a 3 band EQ vs 2 band on the Spector and a Nathan East mid scoop, which I believe is centred at 2kHz, and which adds to its capability as a phenomenally versatile tone monster.

On the other hand the ability to obtain tonal precision by being able to select single or dual coil for either pup on Spector is an excellent feature.

Differences:

  • obvious key one of pups - the Spector has it's iconic EMGs whereas the Yammy features two Jazz-style, hum-cancelling, stacked Alnico V pickups;
  • single bridge piece Spector vs individual bridge pieces on the NE2;
  • 35" scale on the Spector vs 34" scale on the NE2;
  • 17mm string spacing on the Spector vs 18mm on the NE2, but with a shallower taper on the Spector (down to 9.5mm at the nut vs 8.8mm for the NE2).

In theory the individual bridge pieces should provide better isolation vibrations on other strings, but I know some folk prefer single bridge pieces, and whilst a 35" scale should provide a slightly tighter low end I think it's relatively marginal and I personally find 34" a more comfortable scale length.

Unlikely twins.jpg

I was kinda gratified to read in this excellent review: Yamaha BBNE2 Nathan East Signature Model – MusicPlayers.com that their evaluation short list for the NE2 were the following:

  • Spector Euro5 LX 5-String Electric Bass Guitar
  • Warwick German Pro Series Streamer CV 5-String Electric Bass Guitar
  • Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray 5 HH Neck Through 5-String Electric Bass

...so it appears that I'm in good company in wanting to put these two superb basses side by side! 

Both have pretty eye watering new prices although the NE2 is typically another £750 to £1,000 on top of the Spector - I was fortunate to get my NE2 in great condition used and my Spector new in a "sale".

If I had to save just one 'in a fire'? Hmmm...tricky question! I guess I'd just be happy to still have either! 

Edited by Al Krow
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On 15/12/2020 at 22:57, MattiZ said:

... but finally, getting even more off-topic but... I - still - kind of enjoy my BB235 more!

A comment about a BB235 being "off-topic" on a Yamaha BB thread?

Now I know you Scandinavian types have a reputation for being super honest (by the rest of the planet-we-all-share standards), but I'm afraid that hardly even registers on the off-topic Richter scale. You're going to have to try a LOT harder...😁 

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Has anyone has ever played a BB434 side by side with a TRBX504/604?

I'm considering swapping my TRBX for a BB, but perhaps the difference in the character of the sound wouldn't be enough to justify the effort?

At the moment the TRBX has Chromes, mostly gets played on neck pickup only, and is permanently set to passive, so you can see why I'm wondering!

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I guess it really depends what you're after?

The key tonal difference is going to be from swapping humbuckers for a P-J set of pups which, for me, is the "USP" of the modern BB range (apart from the NE2, which is a souped-up Spector in disguise not a Yammy BB 😁).

The body construction on the 434 will also be a step up from the TRBX and, as you already note it's purely passive, rather than active / passive.

Do you feel the TRBX is coming up short and, if so, what is it "missing" for you? 

On the other hand if you're after a PJ that punches well above its price point, I suspect you're not going to be disappointed with a BB 434!

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2 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Do you feel the TRBX is coming up short and, if so, what is it "missing" for you? 

In general the TRBX is a bit too amiable for my tastes - putting on flats helped bring out the bassy side of it, which I like, but I was wondering if the BB pickups would be a bit less polite. More woof less miaow.

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1 hour ago, Al Krow said:

A comment about a BB235 being "off-topic" on a Yamaha BB thread?

Now I know you Scandinavian types have a reputation for being super honest (by the rest of the planet-we-all-share standards), but I'm afraid that hardly even registers on the off-topic Richter scale. You're going to have to try a LOT harder...😁 

For a while I thought this had become the official BBPH thread. Tried my best to fit in. 

By the way, did I mention I like the 235 a lot? 

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2 minutes ago, Ricky Rioli said:

In general the TRBX is a bit too amiable for my tastes - putting on flats helped bring out the bassy side of it, which I like, but I was wondering if the BB pickups would be a bit less polite. More woof less miaow.

Is amiable = polite / bland / tame?

If so, I've not been disappointed with the Yammy BB series 2 (425, 1025) or series 3 pups (735A) at all - in that regard. I love the tone, particularly from my 1025 / 735A.

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1 hour ago, Ricky Rioli said:

Has anyone has ever played a BB434 side by side with a TRBX504/604?

I'm considering swapping my TRBX for a BB, but perhaps the difference in the character of the sound wouldn't be enough to justify the effort?

At the moment the TRBX has Chromes, mostly gets played on neck pickup only, and is permanently set to passive, so you can see why I'm wondering!

With that swap you are not swapping humbuckers, you are swapping a Humbucker in the bridge position.

A split coil is still a humbucker by definition.

Aside from other build features, try and source measurements as to where the pick ups are located in reference to the neck and the bridge and how each pick up is wound. You can also look at pot and capacitor information - this will give you the info you need as to how they will tonally differ and what suits you - then it comes down to looks and feel

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22 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Is amiable = polite / bland / tame?

If so, I've not been disappointed with the Yammy BB series 2 (425, 1025) or series 3 pups (735A) at all - in that regard. I love the tone, particularly from my 1025 / 735A.

Yes. I can imagine the TRBX  doing all kinds of useful things - purring along in a theatre band for example - none of which I'm interested in. It seems a bit daft to have a versatile instrument, and then spend the entire time parked at one end of its spectrum.

I now know the BB would be a step in the right direction, but I need to find out if the step would be big enough to be worth the bother of selling + buying.... and this thread seemed a good place to start my enquiries 😊

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2 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

I don't think most folk would describe a P pup as a humbucker though? They would describe it a as a P pup.

I am not most folk.

Check the definition of what a humbucker is and what the ‘P’ pick up is and why it was developed moving from the original Single coil 51 type P bass.

If the above is correct, then the original statement holds water unless I have the make up of the bridge pick up incorrect, but you will know more than me on that.

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9 minutes ago, Ricky Rioli said:

Yes. I can imagine the TRBX  doing all kinds of useful things - purring along in a theatre band for example - none of which I'm interested in. It seems a bit daft to have a versatile instrument, and then spend the entire time parked at one end of its spectrum.

I now know the BB would be a step in the right direction, but I need to find out if the step would be big enough to be worth the bother of selling + buying.... and this thread seemed a good place to start my enquiries 😊

If your preference is playing on the neck pick up, then unless you plan to tickle something located nearer the bridge you will favour a bass with 1 pick up around that spot.

Having something by the bridge can be useful be it a single coil or a dual coil even if you don’t dial it in as a place to rest a playing hand, still giving variation of tone.

Whether you stick or twist you can always change pick ups (depending on the date of the model esp with the BB range) to give you a different sound in a familiar shell

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2 hours ago, Al Krow said:

I guess it really depends what you're after?

The key tonal difference is going to be from swapping humbuckers for a P-J set of pups which, for me, is the "USP" of the modern BB range (apart from the NE2, which is a souped-up Spector in disguise not a Yammy BB 😁).

The body construction on the 434 will also be a step up from the TRBX and, as you already note it's purely passive, rather than active / passive.

Do you feel the TRBX is coming up short and, if so, what is it "missing" for you? 

On the other hand if you're after a PJ that punches well above its price point, I suspect you're not going to be disappointed with a BB 434!

Having had a TRBX505 and a BB435 I’d say BB all the way. I gigged my TRBX for about 2 years, but never really found it exciting. There was a softness about it. Not sure if that makes sense. I’d say it reminded me of a bass that had Bart BK1’s in it. Polite and up for the job, but not as exciting as it could have been.

The analogy about it purring along in a theatre band seems spot on.  Its quite a generic tone so fits in everywhere., but doesnt really claim its spot. 

The BB435 on the other hand blew me way. It had a proper P bass tone with just a bit more kick and growl, and playability was quite a bit better. IIR the BB neck didnt feel as cramped as the TRBX.

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2 minutes ago, dave_bass5 said:

Having had a TRBX505 and a BB435 I’d say BB all the way. I gigged my TRBX for about 2 years, but never really found it exciting. There was a softness about it. Not sure if that makes sense. I’d say it reminded me of a bass that had Bart BK1’s in it. Polite and up for the job, but not as exciting as it could have been.

The analogy about it purring along in a theatre band seems spot on.  Its quite a generic tone so fits in everywhere., but doesnt really claim its spot. 

The BB435 on the other hand blew me way. It had a proper P bass tone with just a bit more kick and growl, and playability was quite a bit better. IIR the BB neck didnt feel as cramped as the TRBX.

Cheers Dave - I almost linked you into my original reply as, at the back of my mind, I thought you'd had a TRBX in times past, but couldn't remember the model!

I think you've nailed what @Ricky Rioli was looking for in terms of a comparison between the two.

What you're both saying about the two humbuckers on the TRBX seems to completely chime with each other and I suspect there is no way that most of the BB owning crew on this thread would describe the P-J pups on the BB 435 and its sister basses as being in the same bag!

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1 hour ago, Al Krow said:

 

What you're both saying about the two humbuckers on the TRBX seems to completely chime with each other and I suspect there is no way that most of the BB owning crew on this thread would describe the P-J pups on the BB 435 and its sister basses as being in the same bag!

For what its worth i thought the BB435 sounded much better, to me, than the P34 i had. So even within the BB range there are differences. 

I felt the BB435 sounded much more ‘Fender’ than the P34, which I found to be a bit more polite. Neither sounds like the TBRX though. 

Oh, and no relevant to this topic, but the BB435 also had a much better B string than the TRBX. Even the Sire V7 that replaced my TRBX had a more solid B string. All 3 are 34’’ so its not a length thing. 

Edited by dave_bass5
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7 minutes ago, dave_bass5 said:

For what its worth i thought the BB435 sounded much better, to me, than the P34 i had.

Well obviously it did - the P34 really struggles with the low D and C in my experience, almost like there was nothing there 😁

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8 minutes ago, dave_bass5 said:

Oh, and no relevant to this topic, but the BB435 also had a much better B string than the TRBX and the P34. Even the Sire V7 that replaced my TRBX had a more solid B string. All 3 are 34’’ so its not a length thing. 

Fixed 😁

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6 minutes ago, Al Krow said:

Well obviously it did - the P34 really struggles with the low D and C in my experience, almost like there was nothing there 😁

Haha, I’m not talking about the B string, just the other 4 and in general. Then again, the P34 can obviously be de-tuned, so quite easily get those notes if needed 😏

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14 minutes ago, dave_bass5 said:

Haha, I’m not talking about the B string, just the other 4 and in general. Then again, the P34 can obviously be de-tuned, so quite easily get those notes if needed 😏

So...hold on! You had a 435 that you preferred to your P34 and was in a different league to your TRBX, with a great low B string and weighed around 9 lbs and was in your chosen finish, right?

And you did what, exactly, with this wondrous bass?! 😁

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

So...hold on! You had a 435 that you preferred to your P34 and was in a different league to your TRBX, with a great low B string and weighed around 9 lbs and was in your chosen finish, right?

And you did what, exactly, with this wondrous bass?! 😁

Haha, well within a week of getting the 435 i got put on 80% wages, all gigs cancelled and then got made redundant. I also felt i had enough basses to play bass on at home anyway......oh and then gave up playing bass. 

Oh, and it was 8lbs. I do regret sending it back still. 

 

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