NBD Yamaha BB235

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Michael Simpson, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. Afternoon all!
    After a wait since Thursday, my new bass arrived safe and well today. Packaged extremely well, neck taken off body and wrapped in bubble wrap several times with the body and hardware being wrapped inside a deluxe gig bag, all packed together in a large box filled with air pockets 20190625_123643.jpg
    So I set to work unwrapping it, re-fitted the neck and a fresh set of strings, tuned, set up (not even a truss adjustment needed, just a slight action lowering and a minor tweak to intonation!) And about 20 minutes later I was greeted with a mint condition, perfectly playing Yamaha BB235! 20190625_140803.jpg 20190625_140809.jpg 20190625_140814.jpg
    So, the verdict...
    I must admit, when I bought a second hand entry level Yamaha 5 string I wasn't expecting much more than something to get me through a couple of gigs that I needed a 5 string for. My interest was first roused by just how well the neck pocket and heel matched up. Leaps and bounds ahead of how things used to be when entry level basses were limited to Squiers, or Vintage/Encore if you couldn't quite afford having a fender designed product. Evening fitted together extremely well.
    When re-stringinf I was genuinely shocked at how smooth, quick and accurate these tuners are. If they stay in tune, frankly I can't see you getting much better as standard on a bass 3x the price of this one.
    Upon playing acoustically my first reaction was thinking just how resonant this thing is. It weighs in at just under 9lb (somehow!?) And has one of the loudest, most resonant unplugged tones I have ever experienced.
    I was a little underwhelmed when I plugged it in, as it seemed a lot quieter than my '74 Ric with a modified loom. Even quieter than most P/Js I've played in past years, until I noticed the pickup heights were incorrect and a lot lower than they should have been. A few minutes with a screwdriver heightening, checking an even spread of volume etc later and it really did come to life. The neck pickup is exactly the sort of woody tone you'd come to expect from a P (dare I say I almost prefer it to the tone of a stock Mex P bass?) And the bridge does the burpy/growly Jaco thing very well if that's your thing. The real magic came with the P pickup on full, with the J pickup and tone rolled back about 1/4 turn of the knob each, revealing a sweet, fat and articulate tone, very well rounded. I almost can't describe it, because no other P/J I've heard does this exact tone. But it is VERY pleasing to my ears through an Ashdown ABM 500.
    Sitting down will immediately feel comfortable to those used to the P bass contours, and standing up yields a pleasant surprise that it balances very well on a strap. If anything else slightly head-heavy, but not noticeable enough to be uncomfortable over the course of a night.
    When Yamaha said they had re-shaped the BB neck I remember a lot of players stating they'd never pick up a BB bass again, as the old necks were near perfection. To my hands yamaha have done exactly what they said on the tin, and made an already great neck profile even better. Chunky, but VERY fast with the satin finish on offer. And that B string is positively THUNDEROUS and quick, and taught. A lot more than I was expecting of an entry level 34" scale. I'd expect a lot of other players to be in agreement here, this thing is an absolute peach.

    So, in summary.
    Is this the best passive 5 string P/J bass available? Probably not. I'd be very interested to see how this stacks up against it's passive peers (BB435, even the premium Japanese BBP35) and whether they're worth the large price hike. But is it one of the best passive 5 string P/J in its price range? Almost certainly to my hands. Comfortable, well priced, very well built and sounds amazing, I doubt it would even need any hardware/pick up upgrades. I can't see me needing/wanting another 5 string for the foreseeable future. I'd happily gig this night after night, no questions asked. For the price, I cannot stress enough how good these really are. Try one, and you won't be disappointed!

    Attached Files:

    Dec1975, Kestrel, Vinny_G and 5 others like this.
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I am not surprised. Bad Yamaha’s are about as common as hen’s teeth.
    TrustRod and Tubehed like this.
  3. If the quality of this entry level Yamaha is anything to go by, this statement does not shock me in the slightest. Easily one of the best, if not the best sub-£500 bass I've ever played for sheer playability and fit and finish alone! It's not perfect by any means but I genuinely can't gripe about anything for the price.
  4. Michael Simpson, how is life living with the Yami 335? THANKS FOR THE UPDATE.
  5. EmuBass


    Jan 24, 2018
    Vienna, Austria
    So now we can visit you and your bass (after the pandemic).
  6. Unfortunately due to financial circumstances I had to sell the BB235 quite some time ago. However, I still regard it as a very good bass and I bought myself a nice new BB435 recently to make up for it and I'm in love!

    This may be a very controversial statement, but I think the BB435 may be the best passive 5 string PJ bass available for under £1000.
    gg22 and Ricky Rioli like this.
  7. Haha we are allowed visitors here in Scotland right now, but feel free to visit anytime! Scotland will be happy to have you
    EmuBass likes this.
  8. HarveyRobertson

    HarveyRobertson Lowdown Showdown

    Apr 3, 2018
    Benton Kentucky
    In case anyone was wondering.. the wilkinson 6 screw bridge with brass saddles is a direct fit on the Yamaha BB235.
    20210129_160122.jpg 20210129_160128.jpg
    Ellery, badinage and tubatodd like this.