Don't judge a bass by its headstock

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Michael Jewels, Jun 26, 2001.

  1. I bought a bass over the weekend, a five string, but no, it wasn't the Ibanez BTB405 I've been talking about for a month now, it's a Yamaha BB5N. I was all set to tell the guy in the store to bring up a BTB for me, when I figured, check out a few more basses, what the hey? I'm so glad I did. Now, the BTB is an excellent bass, and everything I've said about them is true (it's still on my list) but, as far as a bass giving me the
    EXACT sound I've always wanted in a Jazz type bass, this Yamaha is it! I'll give you all a quick review set up as in Bass Player Mag's format, rating things 1 through 5 with 5 being the highest.

    Construction: 4.5 The body is very Fender like, but to me it most closely resembles a G&L 2000. It's alder with just a light sealer on it, not like the heavy almost laminated types that are on some basses. The neck fits very snuggly into its slot, and the bass itself balances very well sitting or standing. The fretwork is good, and what impressed me alot were the machine heads. They're about half the size of the ones on my MIM Jazz, and were secured with a nut, something the MIM doesn't have. I'm not bashing MIMs (I own one myself) but, overall more attention to detail seems to have been given to this bass' manufacture.

    Electronics: 4.0 Very simple, like a regular Jazz Bass. Two passive pickups in the usual Jazz positions, but they're big soapbar types. Three pots, two volume and one tone, which are just as annoying as on my MIM Jazz: at zero, the volume/tone is completely off however, as you turn towards 10, the sound does not come on gradually and smoothly (like on my Casady) but, abruptly between 7 and 10. For the price I paid ($479.00 w/case) I can live with this.

    Playability: 5.0 This bass just feels good in your hands. The body and headstock are a little smaller than traditional Fender types, and as I've said, it balances well. The neck is wide at the 24th fret, but, tapers heavily towards the nut. It's not narrow, but, it's not super wide; somewhere in the middle. The action out of the box was set about as low as possible, but, I've heard no buzzing frets. The strings supplied feel like D'addarios, and I think the E string is 100. I can't tell what the low B is (I'm new to fives) but it's not floppy; the BTBs is tighter, but, this one's pretty good. There's just enough room for slapping between the end of the fingerboard and the neck pickup.

    Sound: 6.0 (Remeber 5 is highest) I don't know how they did it, but, the pickups Yamaha put on this bass have a deep, throaty growl, good output, and very important to me, NO HUM! This is the exact sound I've been looking for in a Jazz type bass. For a passive bass, this one is hard to believe.

    Value: 5.0 My whole point of this thread is not to seek congratulations for buying a new bass, but to emphasize what some people have been saying here about listening with your ears and not you eyes. I was ready to spend up to a grand, but when I heard this guy, I knew I'd found what I was listening for. Don't write off those lower priced guys.

    Sometimes, less is more.
    Mike J.

    P.S. Now that I think of it, it might be a BB5N II. I'll have to check it when I get home.
  2. Dude glad you found the bass that was better then the one you wanted! but what does that have to do with judging the bass by the head stock? :D
  3. Well, a lot of people might not think that Yamaha are the best guitar manufacturers that'd explain the 'not judging by headstock' thing.

    Looks like a BBN5 to me, that's the only 5 string BB with passive electronics. Which finish did you get it in?
  4. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I know what you mean. I played one of those at GC, and found myself sounding exactly like Nathan East. It's a great-sounding bass. Besides, if we all bought basses by the look of the headstock, nobody would buy Zons, which, come to find out, are monster basses.
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    That Yamaha is a serious sleeper. Excellent 5 for the bucks.
  6. td1368


    Jan 9, 2001
    Thanks for the review I'm considering the Yamaha RBXwhatever with five strings and active electronics. I thought they were pretty good all around import basses too. With the exception of maybe the Spector imports IMO of course
  7. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    HEY!!! I like the headstock on my Zon....:p

    But, check my sig...names on headstocks, et al, are pointless, what matters is what YOU dig. The BBN5 is an excellent bass, no question, ESPECIALLY for the money.

    (Glad you dug the Zon Munji, when you want to put in your order for one? ;) )
  9. The BB5NII is the active one, nice. The thing looks like a real rock bass IMO.