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BB614- New pre or go passive?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Ender_rpm, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. Ender_rpm


    Apr 18, 2004
    St. Louis MO
    I have a Yamaha BB614 Fretless that I love the feel of, but am less happy with the sound. The active circuit just doesn't seem to want to make the sounds I want out of it, so I generally prefer it set flat, or with a slight bass boost/mid cut for a P bass sound, or boost for a solo sound. I did my due diligence with search, but didn't really see anything on this topic :) Any input welcome.

    Ok, any CONSTRUCTIVE input welcome :)

    And in a slightly tangental move- What would I gain/lose by going epoxy on the fingerboard? Seems like I am wanting more bite and mwah out than I get now....
  2. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    A few years ago I got to try out a BB414 and BB614 side by side. I thought the passive BB414 sounded much better. I put it up against some Fender P basses in the store (an American and a Japanese Aerodyne P-J) and felt that the BB414's tone was at least as good--rich, warm, and detailed.

    In comparison I felt that the BB614 sounded like a cheap active bass...pinched and slightly metallic no matter how the controls were set. The instruments are otherwise identical...I realized I just don't like the active electronics on these basses. I've since gotten a BB415 (passive 5) and love it. I find the bridge pickup is meatier sounding than many typical Jazz bridge PUs so I don't miss active EQ.

    If you decide you want a new preamp, consider something with a bypass & passive tone control...that way you'll have the best of both worlds. A good pre with those capabilities--like an Aguilar or Bartolini--isn't cheap. If I was gonna spend money on my BB415 I'd put into tuners and a bridge before electronics.

    Epoxy fingerboards can be great for a singing, sustaining, Jaco-esque tone. That said I've heard great mwah from uncoated boards...it has a lot to do with the interaction of wood, electronics, setup, and technique. You can do it yourself but you need to be careful, and it's not cheap to have it done by a pro.

    If you really love this bass and feel that the tone is almost there, then the mods could be worth it.
  3. Ender_rpm


    Apr 18, 2004
    St. Louis MO
    Thanks for the insight, much appreciated. I find myself in that classic position of wanting to upgrade, but not having the coin to go after the tier of bass I want. I got the bass on a B stock close out for a song, so I'm not averse to putting some funds into modding it, but also wondering if I would just be better served saving for a higher end platform. Decisions decisions.

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