Is the Yamaha thing getting out of control?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by IotaNet, Feb 8, 2006.

  1. IotaNet

    IotaNet Supporting Member

    To the Group -

    I have noticed that the Yamaha BB-series (414/614, 415/615) is getting a lot of recommendations lately ...

    "I want a good passive 4-string bass under $500"
    "Check out a Yamaha BB414"

    "Name a good 5-string P-Bass under $1000"
    "Look into the Yamaha BB415"

    "Whats a better bass for the money -- a Fender MIM Jazz or a Yamaha BB?"
    "Yamaha -- Hands down"

    That might make folks begin to wonder if maybe certain TB'ers have been drinking too much Yamaha Kool-aid. :eyebrow:

    As someone who has been leading the Yamaha charge, I would have to say, "Absolutely not!"

    Basses come in all shapes, sizes, finishes and configurations and based on our respective budgets and requirements, we all want, need (and GAS for) different things.

    That said, just about every bassist I know has a need for a bass that:

    * Is consistently well made
    * Is comfortable to play
    * Will provide standard usable tones (i.e. reasonable facsimiles of P and J)
    * Has good customer support
    * Is affordable (i.e. right around $500 or less)

    A bass like this may not be your only bass but you definitely want this one somewhere in your arsenal. To my way of thinking, Yamaha has nailed all of these features in their BB series.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to suggest that we should be clones and we should all like/own the same instrument. I also don't mean to suggest that the Yammies are perfect or that they will be all things to all people. (Heck, my collection includes a Bongo, a Barker, and an SX in addition to my BB415.)

    That said, I don't want skeptics to look at all of the positive Yamaha press as the rantings of a bunch of people blindly jumping on the bandwagon becaue it has somehow become trendy to do so.

    These are good, solid, quality instruments that will do just about everything a middle-of-the road bassist will ask of them.

    I am prone to using car analogies when descrbing basses and the BB series reminds me of Honda or Toyota sedans. (Think Accord/Camry.) They are not especially sexy but they are extremely well made, they ooze quality, and if you keep the oil changed, they will run forever.

    IMO, that's the exact kind of thing that a middle-of-the-road bassist needs to have. :D

    Thoughts/opinions welcome!
  2. bigbeefdog

    bigbeefdog Who let the dogs in?

    Jul 7, 2003
    Mandeville, LA
    I don't think it's "out of control". I just think that "please recommend a good budget bass for me" is probably the single most-asked question here on TB.

    I often recommend Yamaha in those threads. Nothing blind about it.... anyone checking my gear profile can see that I own two of 'em.

    Just happens to be a brand that gives exceptional value in a price range that beginners are willing to spend, IMHO.
  3. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    I think they're budget stuff is passable, but their higher end stuff (apart from the Attitude bass) has consistently disappointed me.
  4. vene-nemesis

    vene-nemesis Banned

    Jul 17, 2003
    Bilbao España
    Well i own myself a yamaha TRB1006 , it is not the most expesive yamaha but it isnt cheap either, the slap tone is not good for someone who has had a high end bass like a vigier, however fingerplayed and tapped this bass is amazing, the neck pocket is super tight, the fret job for a bass under its price is superb and the electronics are realy good for the price. The bb41x/61x are made in the same CNC machines with no fancy stuff thats why even while cheap their consistency is pretty good but In the other hand the JM2RBX was dissapointing.
  5. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Oh, Yamaha are not rip off merchants, but I really don't dig them. They're solid, but like you say, not the most high end stuff.
  6. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I sure like my TRB6 and TRB5f !

    I'd rather play a Yamaha than almost any other mass-produced bass, and they can be had used for great deals.
  7. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Well, following the raving reviews I found here, I did get a BB615 a few days ago, and I am dissapointed.

    -It has good quality for a budget bass, but it feel like a budget bass.

    -The neck is extremely thin, almost unplayable to me. Very good a for a beginner, though.

    -When adjusting the action low, to my liking, the pickups will not go low enough, making it then impossible to play with low action. The fretwork is good, with no buzzing.

    -And most importantly, the sound: I found it simply terrible. No guts, no substance, almost unusable. I A/B'd it (recording and comparing) with some basses in my arsenal (say, a '76 P-Bass, a Yamaha RBX 350 [cheap model from the early '90s) and the new BB came a far last.

    -It is a great beginners' bass, but I would think any professional that has played a good axe will find this bass unusable.

    -I would rather play my $199 Rogue Beatle bass anyday - or a Mexican Jazz for that matter.
  8. Could be a fad. That happens around here. Can't comment on the quality, the cheap ones are too ugly for me to pick up. It's not uncommon to see a big boom of love for a certain brand or item here, then eventually everybody is loving something else. Happens with the expensive stuff too. For cheap stuff, I like Dean and Peavey.
  9. Pickebass

    Pickebass Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    San Antonio, TX
    I understand you feelings about "jumping on the bandwagon". For many people they never get a chance to play a variety of instruments and rely on the opinions of others who have had more exposure. The recommendation of the Yamaha is partially because it wasn't there before. I think they started making them again about a year ago...

    The BB series basses were always good basses but not necessarily the best looking basses. As mentioned, it is a "Honda/Toyota" of basses. I think the mention here brings people to at least look at something different.

    The darlings of talkbass have been the Fender Geddy Lee and Marcus Miller Jazz basses because of the price/performance ratio. Like the yamaha, a good value for the money. Let's not forget the SX

    If the bass is really good, the comments will continue and it will become a "contender" for favorite bass in its price range... Only time will tell
  10. You know, i had a chance to really spend some good time at the store checking out a good number of instruments. I really, really admire and desire a BB615. Solid, Versitile, and that neck and fretjob was flawless - the best in the store, hands down. Through an old SWR Workingman's 15, this bass caused Pure Testosterone to spray from the speaker and I was drenched in MAN SOUND. It works better than Sex Panther cologne - illegal in 9 countries, and its got bits of real panther in it so you KNOW its good. (Anchor man quote).
  11. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    I don't like Yamahas. They have this weird plasticky feel to them. They also look like plastic.
  12. I'm only on the bandwagon because I own one...

    my cheap RBX-170 is AS GOOD as basses I have owned costing 3 times as much...

    on top of that I rung out a BB415 in a music shop a few months back and I LOVE IT! No it's wasn't perfect, but it sure was sweet enough to give me some serious GAS.

    Yamaha has always strived for quality from the entry-level on up...why? because they know that folks don't start out Sadowsky's, Celinders, Lulls and Alembics...they grow into them...and Yamaha wants to hold onto these folks for as long as they's just good business sense...Quality = Good Name, Good Name + Good Price = Business, therefore Quality + Good Price = Business...economics 101...

    If you are a bassist on a budget...Yamaha MUST be a serious consideration...
  13. Bassmunnky


    Jul 3, 2004
    New York and Philadelphia
    Endorsing Artist: Ernie Ball MusicMan Guitars

    I tried both the Yamaha BB414/614 in the worst possible place...Sam Ash on 48th street in NYC. I say the worst place as the basses hanging on the wall are in pretty bad shape. No setups to speak of, knobs falling off etc....

    I found the passive version of the BB the best...and hell it sounded amazing, a great P sound and well, just felt great.

    It may be me, but I could be just stoopid enough to have the idea that if the bass is under a $'s not good enough...for me anyhow.

    That bass certainly made me think "hmmm AM I that stoodpid??"

    could be..

    I don't think the talk about these basses is all hype.

    Allright...everyone GET offline and see if SLY STONE is going to play on the Grammys tonight..or at least see what Mariah (eech) in not wearing.

  14. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Lets see...The looks of the Yamaha's are great...not too sure of the sound, only heard a clip once and I loved it.

    Heck, if you want to get a budget bass, be like me and hunt donw an Ibby. I may get flamed for liking em, but I do :D
  15. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    i think on a budget there's really nothing beating a yamaha or an ibanez. i like the budget yamahas better, but their high-end basses sound like crap.

    on the same line of thinking, anyone like cort? i think the cort curbow is the nicest looking and most playable cheap bass ive seen so far.
  16. I must agree that I have played a couple of "high end" Yamahas and was left un-inspired. By the same token I have played some high-end Ibanezes and thought WOW!...

    as far as Cort...I haven't picked up a Cort in about 15 years, and back then, Corts were pretty aweful...couldn't comment on a 2000+ Cort.
  17. Ok my thoughts on the new BB series is this. They sound good, feel like budget basses, great deal for the money, and have a vintage cool look to them. That adds up to a pretty good do it all for the begginer bass for the money. But compared to my older 80's BB300's (excluding the hardware) they dont even come close in terms of vibe, the oldies just feel solid, I mean way more solid! And you could by them back in the day for like $300 bucks. So maybe weve compromised solid wood feeling basses for basses that now are made more efficently with better electronics but with less vibe? Just IMHO.
  18. I only very recently saw that the Bassplayer magazine gave the new BB414 and BB614 a very good review. I assume that the people from that magazine know what they're talking about. But as others have said here, if it feels and sounds right to YOU (and is within you're budget), then it is the right bass.
  19. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member

    The motorcycles are pretty decent. :D
  20. bassomane


    Apr 3, 2002
    After playing expensive Basses like Stingray5 and Warwicks I decided to get a good, simple working bass. Something doing the job providing a solid, verstile bass sound. Nothing fancy and the trend following P-bass like. My Yamaha BB615 did it for me.

    I specially like the beautiful shaped neck and the absolute amazing playability. All sounds provide a solid foundation wich carry the Band. This bass is designd for playing in a band. Played solo it could be more lively but playing together it sits absolutely perfect in the mix without annoing the audience with over the top highs and ugly mids. It sounds like BASS.

    For doing a solo record I would choose another Bass, for doing the bassmans job this bass has it all. Considering the price of EUR 410,- in comparion to a Fender MIM deluxe 5 EUR 793,-- I find the Yamaha to be a good choice. Not to mention the good H string from the BB615.