Low budget and the quality

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BigBenH18, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. Hi folks,

    I own a Yamaha BB424X. Yesterday I was at my local music store to try some Fender Mexican P Basses so that I can compare the P Bass sound from my Yamaha to the "original". I tried one with rosewood and another one with maple fingerboard. Both sounded good but not as good as I thought they would. But that's not the point I want to make. Sound is totally subjective anyway. What really surprised me in a negative way was the feel of the instrument and general quality. Now there are enough stories about Mexican Fenders being lemons and so on and that's not the route I want to go. I don't want to make the Mexican Fenders generally bad but rather praise the quality of Yamaha. I mean the Fender is here in Germany about 740 Euro, the Yamaha you can get for about 420 Euro. So the Fender is almost twice the price but nowhere near the quality of the Yamaha. When I grab my Yamaha it feels like it's twice as expensive as the Fender. To come to an end: I really ask myself how can Yamaha deliver such quality for this price?
    PillO and katalyzt13 like this.
  2. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Simple answer: dirt cheap labor cost. I suspect Yamaha, like many companies, is subbing out production to Indonesia or other low labor cost countries. With CNC manufacturing and well trained supervision, almost any competent workforce can turn out a well made bass. It's very basic manufacturing compared to things like cars and consumer electronics. I haven't been real impressed with Fender MIM in general, some good, some real dogs. The Squier CV and and VM series are as good or better on average for a lot less money IMO. Yamaha has been making great instruments for as long as I can remember, now they can make them cheaper in a Global economy.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
    ROGI, PillO, matthewbrown and 2 others like this.
  3. xroads


    Nov 6, 2012
    I am not sure how you define quality - as you state the Yamaha 'feels more expensive'.
    Are you referring to fret work, or mechanical or structural issues, or electronics?

    Have you compared a US Fender to a MIM Fender or an Asian made Fender?
    I believe that would be a fair comparison.
  4. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Even as a Fender "fanboy", I think I'd choose the Yammie over an MIM Fender.

    Mexican Fenders (and even some Americans) are pretty much hit or miss. Add to that the fact that most music stores won't bother to put fresh strings and/or do a basic setup to their instruments so they're at least playable and it becomes pretty hard to tell the actual quality of an instrument. There's some luck involved in the process.

    The Yamaha BB series are really good basses and have been used by many pros for many years.

    Edit: I think what big companies like Fender and Gibson lack the most is a competent QC department.
    Rocker949 likes this.
  5. Yeah, fret work is one of the things. The volume and tone knobs felt very cheap. The overall impression was that I would expect much more for such a price.

    Since the US fender would be a whole another price range I didn't. Are there still Asian Fenders?
  6. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    My P-bass was made in Japan. I got lucky. It's very well made, but there is no shileding in the body cavities nor underneath the pickguard, and the pickup is average.
  7. tzohn


    Apr 26, 2015
    I got my MIM in Dec. 2014 for 599 Euros and now it's 750. I think you're right, for that price you get very good asia manufactured basses.
    But I have to say that all comments I have read in the past about MIMs is just not the case with mine. Obviously I was lucky because all other
    Fenders I tried since then, not even the US made were good as mine. On the other hand before this MIM I had a Cort (360 euros)
    that was the ultimate lemon.
  8. LowNloud1

    LowNloud1 Commercial User

    Jun 11, 2012
    Wilmington NC
    I am a hobbyist making stone picks that I sell but mostly give away. They made me do this anyways.
    When I bought my Yamaha bb450, my major drive was more about finding a bass that sounded good, was in my budget, could stand up to road abuse and that was not too heavy. The Yamaha (MIJ) made it thru 3 years of hard use. Eventually, a switch failed and a pup failed but that was 10 years later. I still use it. Not so much now because I now realize the neck is a little wide for my hands but it did it's job.
  9. I've bought a few MIMs and never felt that I was holding a really great bass. Squier CVs and VMs, however, I've consistently thought were a great value.
    tedious1 and el_Bajo_Verde like this.
  10. Malak the Mad

    Malak the Mad Over the River and through the Looking Glass Supporting Member

    Could it be possible what you're feeling is a different set of physical specifications that simply do not work for you on an ergonomic level?

    I, for one, have handled numerous, higher-priced instruments that simply did not agree with my hands. Conversely, I've owned lower-priced basses that have felt marvelous in my hands. Because of these experiences, I've abandoned the idea of using "country of origin" or "relative pricing" as criteria. ;)
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2016
    jd56hawk, tzohn, gebass6 and 5 others like this.
  11. Fenderon


    May 28, 2008
    I have American Standard P and Jazz basses. MIM P and Jazz basses and two VM Jazz basses. A good set up and a good set of strings can make a huge difference, takes a bass that I didn't like playing to one I would rather play. I've bought most of my basses online, so it's the luck of the draw, a good set up can change that.
    Atshen likes this.
  12. I had an older SX p bass great bass made very well. I liked it better then any Squire, as good as most MIM Fenders for the money you save, you can almost put any pickups in them.
  13. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Bring Back Edit/Delete

    Nov 30, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    There are both subjective and objective ways to measure good. Subjective can vary the most from one bass to the next, and ultimately it is the most important factor for choosing a bass.

    Objective may require knowledge of a specific area of expertise such as woodworking, electronics, metallurgy, or manufacturing processes. Objective good may not translate to a bass someone likes or wants to play.

    The amount of money you pay for a bass is largely dependant upon objective factors. The amount of bass you receive for your money is largely based upon the subjective.
    tzohn likes this.
  14. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    Yamaha makes and has made a very large variety of stuff for a really long time ... i do expect them to be good at stuff ... and i do expect a bit higher than average QC ..!!?!!

    in my 43+ yrs of bass playing , i've had 2 Yamaha ... a BX-1 1981 , and a similar Motion Bass II ... neither did much for me .! working at music stores , i was always impressed with their cheaper guitars ..! and playing piano/keys , i've had their instruments as far back as 1969 ...!

    that being said ... my last build , my beater 4 strg , was parts from Fender/Squire ... luckily i can get my fingerboard and frets feeling pretty good with the few tools i have .
  15. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    precisely! it's the 'feel'. :thumbsup:
    Malak the Mad likes this.
  16. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    I'm not a Yamaha stringed instrument fan, although I REALLY like their keyboards etc...

    Having said that, I think Fender cuts a few too many corners on their production lines QC from time to time... It shows up to the consumer. In my experience, Fretwork, and overall fit and finish of their Squier line surpasses the MIM stuff, at least straight out of the box. HOWEVER, any decent guitar shop should set up the instrument, dress and polish the frets if needed, so you shouldn't ever see this problem. The issue is too many Fender dealers just take the instrument out of the box and put it on the sales floor without so much as setting it up.

    For the most part, I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for. And in MANY cases, what you are paying for is either more expensive labor, or name recognition and marketing.
    el_Bajo_Verde likes this.
  17. Reiska


    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    The MIM Fenders I`ve checked out here in Finland left a similar impression to yours, what`s the deal with a price tag like that when you can get a Squier for half the price? However, I read and hear that there can be great MIM`s too.
    ROGI likes this.
  18. katalyzt13

    katalyzt13 some dude

    May 22, 2012
    I just bought a Yamaha BB424x after some research, trying to find the most versatile P/J passive bass I could find. I have been really impressed with it. I tried out various other basses, new and used, at multiple price points. I liked the Yamaha the best for both comfort and tone.
  19. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member

    I feel just the opposite. The lower end Yamaha basses always feel like cheap entry level stuff to me. Perfectly "usable" but nothing particularly noteworthy about their sound or construction, kinda blah in general. Maybe that's why Yamaha never got a bigger share of the market.

    The old 80's BB basses were nice, although most of the ones I've played were a bit on the heavy side for my tastes. But at least they had some sex appeal, in retrospect.

    The higher end Yamaha stuff seems very nice, but I don't see enough bang for the buck there considering their price. And when you decide to sell the expensive Yamaha some day (and you will, let's be honest), you're gonna take a nasty hit because, well....it's a Yamaha.

    MIM Fenders OTOH are a solid, consistently well made instrument at a very competitive price. I'm not sure how many I've owned over the years, but it's more than twenty for sure. Never had a bad one, or a "lemon". With that, I don't buy into the "hit or miss" meme that is so popular on TB.

    Can't speak to the Squier stuff, the only Squier I've had was a Jazz Deluxe fiver. Bought it to see what all the TB hubbub was about. It was usable, but noticeably deficient in the hardware and electronics area IMO. Underwhelmed, I flipped it locally to someone who upgraded the elecs and the tuners. Basically putting another $300 into a bass that originally cost $260 new from MF. To each their own, I guess.
  20. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Only on foreign made vehicles... and don't even get me started about those airbags.