MusicMan Bongo 6 (HS or HH) vs. Yamaha TRB 6PII

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by aleksander_sk, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. aleksander_sk


    Mar 6, 2007
    Hi guys

    I am currently looking to upgrade from a Cort A5 to a six string bass. Coming from Norway it is not easy to find six strings to try out, and if they are in the more expensive price range they are almost nowhere to be found. Therefore I have accepted that I will most likely have to buy one from an online store without having tried it. What to do? Go to and ask.

    I have been looking around for a six string in the price range between $1500 and $2500, and found the MusicMan Bongo 6 and the Yamaha TRB 6PII interesting. Could anyone please give me some advice as to how these perform, what kind of syles they are suited for and whether there are other models/brands I should check out within my price range?

    I mainly play prog. rock and metal, but the bass should be versatile, which I have heard both the Bongo and TRB are.

  2. Well, I've played two different 5-string Bongos and a 6-string, and they were all great. The tone is very solid but at the same time it's very dependent on how you have the controls set. In addition to the pickup blend, you've got a 4-band EQ to work with, so you really can get them to emulate any sound you want, but this does mean that you have to be on top of the control settings in order to get the sound YOU want. But they're very solid instruments, feel very sturdy and are comfortable to play (though the neck still has a bit of meat to it, unlike Ibanezes for example), and the tone range will cover anything you want well.

    I've only played one 5-string TRB, and they too are very solid and feel like they could take a pounding. They also have very flexible electronics (3-band instead of 4-band, but that's still plenty of control), but their range of sounds isn't quite as broad as the Bongo's. The Bongo can nail the typical Musican Stingray sound using the bridge pickup, and in general they can give you more "bite" courtesy of the Neodymium magnets in the pickups. TRBs are famous for being some of the most reliable and well-made production line basses there are, so their selling point would be that. The necks are a little on the wide side though, so bear that in mind.

    My pick would be the Bongo, because of the more cutting sound (definitely a benefit in a live situation) and the broader range of sounds. I also prefer the neck profile and the looks (it might look like a toilet seat, but it's the best-looking toilet seat out there). I actually haven't heard many people recommend the TRBs for rock/metal, as it's always been geared more towards jazz/fusion players and IMO the sound suits those genres better. The Bongo is a snarling beast, whereas the TRB is a lot more "polite" and "smooth" sounding, but it can definitely cop good rock tone with a little EQing. I always say that you have to pick an instrument based on feel, but unfortunately that isn't an option for you so you'll have to pick based on pedigree, and for that the Bongo is my choice.
  3. Alex1984


    Jan 16, 2010
    My teacher rocks a TRB and it's plenty versatile. Of course, a big part of that is due to his skills.
  4. aleksander_sk


    Mar 6, 2007
    Thanks Blue_Whistle88! Really appreciate your comments. I will be going around town to the different music stores to look for either a TRB-series or Bongo-series bass. Hopefully they have they have one or the other and I'll get a feel for one or both of the series.

    More comments are certainly welcome :)
  5. Pronin1986


    Apr 16, 2012
    I've played on both bases, and i think MusicMan Bongo - right choise for rock/metal music, but Yamaha TRB6II is more versatile.
    Sorry for my English, i'm from Russia, and my "English skills" very low yet )
  6. aleksander_sk


    Mar 6, 2007
    Pronin1986, спасибо бальшой! From the videos I've seen on youtube I though exactly what you're saying. Even so, I believe the Cort A5 I have now is closer to a TRB than a Bongo, therefore I am leaning towards the Bongo as a new addition to my bass collection.

    By the way: извините, мой русский не так хорошо. I lived in Moscow four months last year, but was sadly too busy with other stuff to learn very much Russian.
  7. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    The Bongo is the choice to make if you can't have both, the TRB is a great bass, but it's heavy and the scale is longer than you may be comfortable with. Electronics, advantage Bongo.
  8. Pronin1986


    Apr 16, 2012
    Musicman Bongo will be a good addition to your bass collection. )
    If you again visit Moscow, I advise you to spend some time at the "Kozlov club" or "ArteFAQ Cafe". Almost every day there play great musicians )
  9. My pick would be the Yamaha. The PII models are top quality, and genuinely do have a 'handmade' feel about them. The Bongo is a great bass but it's not special like the TRB's are.
  10. aleksander_sk


    Mar 6, 2007
    Thanks for a all the feedback. I am still considering my options. Will be a couple of months before I can afford one of them. Both of them are crazy expensive in Norway so I'll import them at half the price.

    Just to scare you away: The price at my local music store is
    Yamaha TRB 6PII - $6 400
    MM Bongo 6 - $ 3 600
  11. Bassist Jay

    Bassist Jay

    Dec 28, 2009
    Sterling, CO.
    Killer B and Zane Guitars and Basses sales rep, artist rep and endorsed artist.
    Bongo all the way!
  12. hasudungan1


    Nov 11, 2012
    i think you'll better buy MM Bongo, :D
  13. petercullenbass


    Nov 11, 2012
    both are very nice basses and very very very well! i own a 1999 TRB6ii so you know what my choice was. the MM has a 34" scale where the TRB has a 35" scale so the MM is a little 'easier' to play, but find the TRB to be more rewarding. the preamp in the MM is better than the TRB in my opinion, so i am thinking of changing the preamp in mine. so i hope this helps and i have not made it worse XD oh, one more thing, some of the new TRB6 are built in Korea, so make sure you get a Japan built one... if thats what you choose.

  14. NiteFury


    May 12, 2010
    Akron, Oh
    Played both, myself i would buy the TRB
  15. aleksander_sk


    Mar 6, 2007
    Still haven't been in a position to buy the Bongo, but today I found a TRB JP2 at a Norwegian auction site at the same price as the Bongo 6 will be if imported.

    Is there a big difference between the TRB6 PII and the TRB JP2? Would this maybe changes the consensus of this thread from Bongo to TRB?
  16. I just bought a 2014 Bongo 6 from Sam Ash Store for $1300 + $45 shipping. You can probably find one this price range on ebay or
  17. MingusBass

    MingusBass Commercial User

    Sep 27, 2004
    Fort Wayne,Indiana
    Sweetwater Sound-Sales
    As someone who has owned a Bongo 6(as well as several Bongo 5s and 4s) I can tell you I would buy the Yamaha. The Bongos are great, but the Yamaha, in my opinion, is a step above. If you can get along with the extended scale length it plays amazing and is just as versatile as the Bongo.
  18. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Before you buy, check out the Ibanez SR 656 & 756 sixers with the Norstrand p'ups. Basses are nice with a nice price.