Yamaha or ??
Hi folks, I've recently discovered bass after 35 years of playing guitar. Somehow, I'd never picked up a bass. When the guys I'm playing with said "Hey, why don't you try bass? We don't really need two guitar player and your hands are perfect for it."
That's all she wrote. They hung some 1980s blue plywood thing on me and the skies parted. :hyper::bassist::D
I'm finding, though, that the single-coils are incredibly noisy in some rooms. I've spent the last month completely immersed in bass. The guys I'm playing with now are doing 60s and 70s and 80s covers (not my thang, but...well, from the perspective of bass, it is great fun, and simple enough for me to hang with them).
I bought a Yamaha RBX170EW to start to build muscle memory and have a limited budget, I've considered replacing the PUs with either Basslines or EMG PUs with active EQ to solve the 60 cycle single-coil hum that is really noticeable in some rooms. I ended up with EMG SAs on Strat way back to deal with this issue.
However, I LIKE the neck and feel of the RBX series and found that picking up an RBX374 with Yamaha active PUs and EQ would actually be cheaper than dropping new ones into the 170.
For various reasons, price is a major issue for the next 12-18 months. I'm tending toward the 374, but can't actually play it (none in the area), so I'd have to order it sight unseen. I've never played a BAD Yamaha instrument, but was wondering if you folks had any advice on the 174 refitted vs 374 OR the things that I'm not looking at because of a lack of experience with bass...:help:
Oh, the original project is doing 50s 60s and 70s covers (not my thing, but good practice), so I dunno how long it will last. Traditionally, I play blues, rock and some funk.
As best I recall, the difference between the two is exactly and only the active electronics package/pickups. I don't recall if the active pickups are supposed to be hum-cancelling. If you put the blend in the middle, the 170 should be hum-cancelling with both pickups engaged. If it's stock it could likely stand some cavity shielding, but that probably won't have much effect on 60Hz noise.
I was happy to find the 270 in the end, as it's slightly nicer wood (alder .vs. agathis), and no batteries to mess with.
Haven't played the RBX line, but if you like Yamaha, take a look at the BB424x. I have the five-string version of its predecessor (a BB415) and it's an absolutely fabulous line - I don't think I've heard anyone on TB say a word against it. And the pickups don't hum.
I have played Yamaha basses almost as long as I have been playing bass (28 years). I have a 1986 BB300, but my recent love has been an RBX765A five-string.
The RBX series have consistently great necks, and if you like the feel of one of them you'll probably like them all. The BB-series necks feel a little more "C" shaped to my hands, while the RBX basses feel like more of a flattened "D". That probably makes no sense at all. :eyebrow:
Bottom line - if you like the feel of the RBX line, stick with them. The 374's are really nice basses for the money - the tone is very versatile. As with all basses you don't actually play before purchasing, assume you're going to need to set it up or pay to have it set up.
Thanks for the responses. @T-Bone-TL, I picked up a B-stock acoustic Yamaha in Taiwan 10 years ago, where yours was made. That guitar sold me on how well made and undervalued Yamahas are, which is why I went straight for the RBX170.
I've just spent an hour scouring eBay and keep coming back to the RBX. I'll try the BB also, if I can find one.
The noise issue is honestly only bad, but there is one club where I sometimes sit in that is notorious for buzz. I'll try mixing the PUs when I finally get there with a bass.
I can do pretty good setups, I've been doing my guitars for 30 years. I mucked around with the saddle heights on the 170 and finally found the something that works. Honestly, it was darned close out of the box...
I'm thinking that adding a 374 is the right decision...
If the 170 is just a passive version of a 374, then just get some humbucking pickups for it. The 374 preamp isn't that great anyway. When you get more cash down the road, you could always add a preamp like an Audere or similar.
For pups, check out fellow TBer SGD Lutherie.
Edit: Just checked out the 170EW. If I were you I'd pick up a good P-pickup and a good humbucking J-pickup and be done. Lots of options for both. Wilde pickups offer great pups at a great price. The Fender '62 vintage p-pups are cheap and sound great.
Hmmm, that really is a thought. I just spent an hour trying to un-guitar my muscle memory, and I really like the 170. The wood is different in 374 (alder, if I recall, vs. agathis with mango top).
I'd considered EMGs. I used them in my strats and actually have found EMG great to deal with. I'll have to pull the cover and see how much space there is for wiring. I *think* their PJ set will drop right in. And I *think* that the pots and batteries will fit (I've not yet bothered to route a battery compartment on anything active, I just change batteries VERY frequently).
I keep bouncing back and forth between the two ideas. If the 374's preamp is just "okay," maybe the gutting and re-assembly route is better.
EDIT: The Neo Ps look *interesting*...
The RBX374 ought to have two bar-type humbuckers on it, so should minimise hum.
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