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Anybody else tried the new Yamaha TRB's with through neck. piezos and exotic woods?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bruce Lindfield, Aug 31, 2000.


  1. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Just been into the shops in Denmark Street in London (Tin Pan Alley) and they have just got new stock of very nice looking TRB5s and TRB6s which look very different to the normal range. Exotic woods - flame maple tops, wenge and Ebony fingerboard, they are all natural finish. They are also neck-though construction with a new bridge - can't think of the name of this (mental block!) but it is the type that is a separate unit for each string, let into the top. The bridge also has piezos included and an additional knob to blend in the piezos with the normal magnetic pick-ups.

    I haggled on price and was quoted £2,100 for the 6-string - which was pretty high to me! But after going backwards and forwards I got down to £1,500 for a 5-string. But the 5 I tried had some loose bridge pieces and I couldn't intonate all the strings properly. The bridge unit on the G and the B were loose while the other 3 were solid. The B String was also too high and a bit "floppy". I liked the sound and the look but was dubious about the bridge - I mentioned it to the salesman who took my point and said he would send it back and ask for it to be fixed. Anyone else found a decent one? I am tempted.
     
  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
  3. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Very nice. Glad to see that Yamaha is still making the neck-thru TRB's, I've been very disappointed in the bolt-on ones that I've seen lately. Haven't got "hands on" with one of the new ones, but I always really liked the old TRB6's, pre-bolt-on. I'll definitely keep an eye out for one.
     
  4. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I had a TRB6II bolt-on, playability was excellent. The sound was pretty thin, though. Not a keeper.
     
  5. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Brad -

    That was almost exactly my take on it too. Played good, felt good, sounded like a guitar tuned down an octave. No cojones. The neck-thrus on the other hand, when I found one, thundered. Go figger.
     
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I tend to agree with this - I had a neck-though TRB6P, which has "spoiled" me for the others.

    Thanks for the link Brad - although this only mentions the 6-string. I saw 3 different examples yesterday - 2 5s and a 6. Each seemed to have a different combination of woods - one included wenge and each had a slightly different top. I think the webpage hasn't caught up yet - for example it says : "34" Scale Length. Extending the string length improves note definition (expecially on the low B string)".

    I tried them yesterday and was assured that it's 35" scale and that the special bridge allows a long scale for the B - so I presume there's some mistake in the Yamaha copy on their website - it can't be 34" and extended!

    Still it's nice to see Yamaha listening to their customers - I have seen lots of discussion on the web where people are saying that they preferred the TRB6P and that they miss this option.
     
  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Bruce, just go to the home page and you'll find links to the others. They're in there:D

    The TRB that originally caught my eye was the Patitucci model with the slap cut body and the 3 position mid switch. There was only one of the three positions that I liked but man, did I like it:D The store got silly with the price ($100 off for a used bass) so I didn't bite.

    I bought the TRB6II after playing it and tweaking the store's amp to get a good sound. I liked the playability as much as the neck-throughs, didn't want the peizo, so it was a good fit. Loved the string spacing and flat board. Thought about changing pickups but the II has the really big Yamaha soapbars, which I couldn't find replacements for. I'm glad I didn't, in hindsight.

    The only problem is, as anal as it may seem, I don't want basses I have to do extensive tweaking to to "fix" the sound. Been there, done that. Everything I have now is pretty much plug-and-play, with my amp EQ set flat.
     
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    BTW Bruce, if it were me I'd take a tape measure and check the scale length myself, if it was important to me. I'd bet it's a 34". I recall that John wanted his basses 34" scale. I think the ad copy is wrong to, just think it's the other part.
     
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    No, but the one I tried in London had a very long scale, especially noticable on the B - these are definitely very different to the JP model and not the same specs at all.

    I did find the other ones on the Yamaha page eventually, but each one was slightly different anyway - the people I talked to in the shops said that Yamaha were selling them as a special edition, "hand-made" edition.
     
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    There seem to have been a few questions about these, so maybe it will be helpful to re-open the debate?
     
  11. bassjones

    bassjones

    Sep 19, 2000
    I have to agree with Brad's comments about the TRB 6 II's sound. IT seems that Yamaha traded in the great sound of the last TRB series for a more user tweakable eq, more toys less tone. The 35 inch scale really helped the B string though. If only Bartolini made a replacement p/u and eq the new TRB6 II would be terrific. I think John Patitucci probably tried out a few of the new TRB basses and told Yamaha not to change a thing on his signature model, he even kept the 34 inch scale. Perhaps Yamaha should follow the old saying " if it ain't broke, don't fix it!".
    I just sold my TRB6 II as I was tired of trying to get it to sound like the old TRB6 series! That 3-way mid select was so great.
    Regards,
    Paul
     
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Exactly, Paul. That old mid select had one setting I liked... but I really liked it. There are replacement pickups for the older style TRBs but not the II. Unfortunately it would cost about $300 for this experiment and I might have ended up with some huge pickups and an extra preamp.

    I did bypass the stock preamp and plug in a Carvin two band from an LB75 I had and that was an improvement over what was in the TRB6II. The stock bass control is centered too low, the mids are just wrong (ineffectual) and the highs were ho hum... and the bass was an excellent player. It was a frustrating bass.
     
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well I think comments like these are why Yamaha have introduced the new models - a return to the TRB6P addresses these criticisms, with the through neck and piezos adding to the options. I find it strange that nobody else apart from has actually tried one of the new basses though - surely somebody must have seen these and wanted to have a go - they look really good!
     
  14. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Sadly, in this little burg we have two Ya-mama dealers, neither of which will stock anything other than the beginner model basses :rolleyes:. You want to check out a new TRB? Sure....order one (with half down) and we'll have one for you to try out in a few weeks :p. Next time I make a pilgrimage to Orlando, I'll make it a point to hit the mega-stores there and find a new TRB to paw (or as my friend who owns a shop likes to put it "make new basses used" :D)
     
  15. bassjones

    bassjones

    Sep 19, 2000
    I think Yamaha accomplished their quest to kill the noise that so many of their basses had, however I would prefer the old tones to the new stuff ( noise and all ), it just seems like they missed the target with the new electronics, which is really too bad as everything else about the new basses is so much better. I bought one of the new BBG5S basses a while back, but sadly I was always just fiddling with my amp trying to get a decent or usable sound ( oddly enough Nathan Easts' signature model was left untouched like the Patitucci), in the end I got rid of the BBG5S as it had alot of improvements over the last series, but the overall sound seemed lifeless, what happened to the punch that used to be associated with any Yamaha bass? Atleast they still make the Patitucci model for some big $$$$. I am sure that Bartolini can make a circuit for the new TRB6 II, but at what cost? It used to be that when you bought a Yamaha bass no mods were needed, too bad they don't offer as an option the old TRB selectable mid circuit, I'm guessing it would be quite popular!
    Regards,
    Paul
     
  16. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I took my TRB6II to a local, highly regarded music store here in Md. to have them put in a Bart 3 band preamp. I should have known there would be problems when, after having the bass one week, the tech told me he was waiting for Yamaha to get back to him to tell him what the 2 wires coming from the pickups were for :eek: I left it there for another five weeks, at which point I was called in to check out the bass. It was wired completely backasswards (some controls working in reverse, the mids center point was set well above 1K (more like a low treble control...I know... an oxymoron, just like this tech, poor guy). The bass control added boom and the treble control was in the same range as the original. I would have done this myself but hey, I'm busy.

    I had a similar experience with the other large local store here when getting a Bart preamp replaced in my 85 Tobias (it "only" lasted 14 years...whatsupwitdat :D

    Around here, one store still has a new old stock Patitucci that they're still trying to get almost retail for...good luck. The other Yamaha dealer doesn't carry upper end Yamahas. I don't recall seeing upper end Yammie at GC or MARS.
     
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well, it seems that in the UK we have actually done better for the first time - Yamaha must like us!

    To bassjones - these new TRB(P)s are very different to the TRBII series that has been out for a while and they look like custom-made/boutique basses, with very nice finishes -the shops in Denmark St. in London put them in the window straight away, which was why I was tempted in to try them. Whereas, the previous range didn't inspire me to pick up and play and was nothing like as good as the original range.
     
  18. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    You poor guys are underpriveleged :p

    One Mars here has the TRB6II(yuck), 3 John Myungs(comment withheld!) and a NOS JP with the slap cutout. They've got the JP marked down to $1799.

    Another Mars has the TRB6II, 2 JMs and the Nathan East model.

    Of course, like all Mars instruments, the strings on them are dead and the setup sucks(with the exception of the JP model - it is setup exactly the way I would set it up, if I only had the $1799 plus tax :( )
     
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    But I think you've mised the point here - these are very new - only appeared in the last few weeks and are completely different to the old II series, with neck though construction, piezos in a bridge which has separate pieces for each string and exotic woods. In fact everything that the TRBIIs aren't! They are also very different from the JP signature model, which is also a bolt-on - this may be why they are marking it down, as the new TRBs are actually better IMO.
     
  20. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Actually, that comment was aimed at Brad, regarding the Mars in his area not having high end Yammies.

    I have not seen one of these new ones yet, but would love to get my hands on one.

    Here's hoping that they have the tone of the previous Yamaha series, and not the TRBIIs.