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New Yamaha BB415 arrived today!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassdr, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. The Fed Ex man delivered my new BB415 today and I thought I'd throw out some first impressions and see if anyone else has played any of the new BB's.

    I owned a BB1600S that I bought new in 1985 and jumped at this new BB hoping it measures up to the 80's bass. Does it??????

    So, initial impression is that the color, weight and body shape are better than expected. Mine is the wine to black burst and it is well done, showing some grain of the alder. Fretbaord inlays are cool, a nice step up from previous BB's. The paint is perfect, no imperfections that I can see. Weight is around 9 pounds. Build quality on initial playing is excellent but maybe not quite as smooth as the 80's models. The edges of the neck and fret edges are a tiny bit rough, not as perfect as I'd hoped but an easy fix. I am very pleased with the neck profile, I had a BB605 and the neck was a bit chunky for my taste like a P-bass, the BB415 has a more modern profile, thinner at the nut. The back of the neck is flat finished not laquer, a nice touch. The harware is nice, tuners seem solid, the bridge also solid and the B-string saddle is a bit longer than the other strings giving the B about a 1/2 inch longer scale. Pickups look like the old BB's. Now for the tone. I only played it once so far through an Eden CXC112 combo, but was very pleased. The P/J combo sounds just like you would expect with each pichup soloed, nice and big when both are on. I like the toggle switch for pickup selection. The passive electronics are clean, but buzz a little on the J pickup soloed if you get close to the amp. B string is better than I exprected, just as loud as the other strings, not floppy, excellent, maybe just a touch below in quality the 55-01 IMHO.

    Overall, for $450, a tremendous buy and I'd highly recommend it to anyone. Quality is maybe not quite as high as on the 80's BB's but the tone is right on it. Lakland 55-01's and MTD Kingstons should also be considered in this price range and the BB wins out if your looking for the old school tone.

    Anybody else????
  2. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I played one of those in the store the other day. Nice bass. I prefer my BB605 - with Bartolini electronics.

    Actually the 414 is the best playing (and looking - love the orange) bass in the store and more tempting to me. I've almost brought it home a few times for my passive bass.
  3. echo008

    echo008 Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2004
    Long Island, NY
    I have been gas'in seriously for a BB615 active 5 string. your review just makes me want it all the more ... I have just recently aquired a BBN5A which is now out of production, but I am sold on the yamaha tone..... I love mine!

    I did have a chance to sample a BB415 at my local Sam Ash (unplugged) and thought the build quality was impressive as well the neck had low action and a felt great. Definitely seems like you get alot for your money on these
    - Tom
  4. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Yamaha is probably the best $$/value ratio out there.
  5. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    they are amazing basses for this price, think is very good to have a BB414 with good outboard preamp.
  6. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    bassdr, thanks so much for this review! I have been waiting to hear from someone who got BB415. Considering the low price, I could easily see the BB415 being my next purchase. I'm not surprised that the quality is a touch below that of the old BB basses. Remember the BB1600, 2000 & 3000 were all pretty high end basses. If those old neck through were still being made in Japan today, they would have street prices around $1,500.

    I've always been a Yamaha fan. My experience with the TRB 6 and BB404 was very positive, I also had some nice inexpensive Yamaha fretlesses. The neww BB415 sounds like a worthy successor to all of those basses.
  7. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    The BB415 gets my attention also because it will be the only five string bass with a P-style pickup that is not priced in the boutique range.
  8. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    Argh... don't tempt me! ;) That passive fiver has been growing on me.

    Yamahas are indeed great bang for the buck. The guitarist in my old band had a "lower end" Yamaha BB-style bass that really sounded and played great.
  9. FuManChu


    Mar 3, 2005
    I had a chance to sit down and give this a good workout at the local music store the other day. I've owned multiple basses up to this point ranging from Peavey to Pedulla and usually landing somewhere in between for my actual gigging basses. I have owned a Yamaha TRB6 and an old BB and this was consistant with Yamaha's great workmanship. For under $500 this is the one. Nice passive tone and the toggle switch and tone knob gives you multiple options for getting some serious options out of this bass. I agree with getting a good outboard preamp to maybe work on the mids and you will NEED TO REPLACE THE BRIDGE. The only thing that made me cringe playing this bass. Spend $50-100 on a new bridge and make this your workhorse. The B was a little floppy, but a new bridge placed back an extra inch and better strings will resolve this issue. This bass oozes cool retro vibe and as Bass Player wrote this bass has "Understated Bling". So whether you wear your bass or actually play your bass this is one nice piece.
  10. syciprider

    syciprider Banned

    May 27, 2005
    Inland Empire
    Okay since nobody wants to say it, I will:


    It's a rule.
  11. I have not played the new Yamahas yet, but if it is as reliable as my old BB405, I'll have to check it out. The 400 series Yamahas have a great sound for the price. Mine sounds GREAT as a recording bass ...
    I did upgrade with EMG p/ups though. Have fun ... and flash us a pic. :smug:
  12. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    My envy for you runs bitter. ;) I used a friend's (okay, so he was my drummer!) BBN5A for a few sessions several years ago, and was stunned as every aspect of that instrument. Certainly the first "plus in and play" bass I'd ever recorded with, and a large degree why my two main basses are Yammys - pure, unbeatable bang-for-the-buck.

    I should have beaten him over the head for it then... or offer to buy it from him now. I know he still owns it.
  13. echo008

    echo008 Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2004
    Long Island, NY
    Hi, As it turns out, unfortunately... its currently for sale here on TB (some other purchases forces the sale)(PM me if you are still looking). I did pick up a BB614 Natural and have been playing it quite a bit, light body and a thin neck very easy bass to play, Yamahas are great.
    - Tom
  14. RBASS930

    RBASS930 Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2005
    New York
    Just a heads up for those interested in the passive BB414 model. There was the BB1000MA bass from a couple of years ago that IMO is a better bass and value. Here are a couple of differences in the two basses. Some of these points are strictly my opinion or only aesthetic differences, but I think they are worth noting (some good points and some bad). You just might end up saving a few bucks in the end.

    You can usually find one used (in mint condition) for around $250 - $300
    Red fret markers (you either hate them, or can live with them)
    Only available in Mist Green or Metallic Black
    Chrome knobs with rubber o-rings rather than the numbered black knobs on the BB414
    A more substantial bridge
    Thinner neck?? (Not sure about this one, just feels like it to me)
    Reversed P configuration (always liked this setup better – that’s just me)
    Deeper body cutaways for easier access to the upper frets
    About $100 - $150 less (although it won’t be brand new like the BB414)

    I own both of these and love them both equally. They are very similar in sound, with my tastes leaning towards the BB1000MA. This is probably due to the reversed P configuration, which seems to make the bottom end tighter, and the higher notes fatter.

    Side note: On the new BB's I think the passive BB414 is a bit more balsey than the active BB614 IMO.

    Hope this helped someone out there.


    BB414 on the left - BB1000MA on the right
  15. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    Grrraghh!! Cabinets vs. BB5NA... head exploding!


    Headless PM sent.
  16. lowender


    Aug 10, 2005
    Staffs, UK
    i'm really glad i chanced upon this thread. i've got an old bb1100s that needs some attention but its a great bass. Sounds great, looks good, and plays beautiful.
    this all seems to answer my question as to how the new bb's compare to the old ones.
    only one problem though, i've slowly noticed that yamaha are taking ove my life, like the musical equivalant of ikea!
    i have an electric guitar/ acoustic guitar/keyboard and my bb - all yamaha.
    i've been looking at getting an electric drum kit too and guess what? thats right yamaha.
    wonder if their motorbikes are any good hmm...
  17. Here's my BB415

    Attached Files:

  18. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Although I need another bass like I need a hole in my head, I really want to check out this BB415. If it is any good at all, I'll probably fork over the dough. I would love a P pup five string bass. :)
  19. lowender


    Aug 10, 2005
    Staffs, UK
    hello folks whats the neck finish like?
    is it like the originals or has it got that bloody painted neck thing going on.
    don't get on with paint finished necks myself.
  20. echo008

    echo008 Supporting Member

    Jan 30, 2004
    Long Island, NY
    Hi, the neck has a smooth satin feel to it.... its pretty quick and thin with a nice feel.

    BTW: if anyone is interested I am selling my mint BBN5A and my Brand new BB416.

    I need to move them to make room for another purchase.

    - Tom