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Which Yamaha BB to choose?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sparkl, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. Sparkl


    Apr 23, 2011
    Hey peeps!

    So I had the opportunity to try a Yamaha BB734 in a guitar store and was absolutely blown away by how precise this instrument sounds. Especially the 4th string is a pleasure to smack on. Moreover, it is the geometry of this guitar that really fits my bill. I am sure that there are guitars even more comfortable to play but this one really fits the niche of having a pretty much Fender-ish sounding guitar with much improved playability. Being a Fender fan myself I am definitely looking for something between these lines and Yamaha really grabbed my attention.

    Mainly what I want this guitar to be is a PJ sounding instrument with great soloing comfort and overall sound balance, precision and stability.

    The 734 model does basically all of the above very well (I was amazed at how I could play certain licks I find difficult to play on a Fender being much much easier to nail down) but being still a relatively low price model (sub 1000) I can feel that the quality of the instrument could and should be much higher on more expensive models (the 734 still feels a bit... light and "cardboardish" - definitiely great for the price though - I am not a lightweight freak and don't mind having a heavier solid piece that feels strong in my hands). Since I main a Fender Jazz Bass Elite V, I am looking for something in that quality range or higher.

    I'm sure someone here is familiar with the BB series and can advise me in this direction. Also, I wouldn't mind having 24 frets but honestly, 21 is plenty for what I perceive the bassists role to be anyways. I am asking mainly because I have read that longer scale/fretboard improves on tone stability, precision and balance. I still want to have that fat tone though.

    Any thoughts?
  2. lowdownthump

    lowdownthump Supporting Member

    Jul 17, 2004
    If you don’t have any hesitations on vintage instruments and you like that Yamaha look and feel, I would suggest try to locate a Yamaha BB2000 or BB3000 .
    If you want more recent, a Yamaha BB2024X.

    I think Yamaha BB series are some of the finest ever made, especially the original BB2000, BB3000, & BB5000.
  3. Wind Blade Khan

    Wind Blade Khan

    Oct 12, 2018
    interp likes this.
  4. Sparkl


    Apr 23, 2011
    Thanks for the input. I have a special discount in a certain shop so I guess I will go with the brand new route this time. Although I must ask - is there a notable difference in favour of the old ones compared to the new BBX series?
  5. Wind Blade Khan

    Wind Blade Khan

    Oct 12, 2018
    Question, you seem to be very knowledgeable about Yamaha basses . I have a 1997 BBG5 Yamaha Jazz Bass I always wanted to know the pickups spacing 60s or 70s position ? Can you help me with this information?

  6. I can't speak from my own experience about his particular model...at least not yet as I don't own a Yamaha BB.

    That said, BB735 is at the top of my current GAS list after having been blown away by the TRBX505 (active 5-string HH), which I acquired back in April. So well designed and so well put together for such an attractive price. I still love my two Fenders (P4P & P4J) but all of a sudden new Fender basses seem over-priced in comparison.
    CameronJohnson, soflbass and Sparkl like this.
  7. Sparkl


    Apr 23, 2011
    I am sure this question was directed to other users but from looking at pics on google it definitely seems to be the 60s position (to tight for 70s) or even a bit tighter than 60s.
  8. Jonny lee long says its more of a 70’s check out his review on youtube. Ive got a 97 bbg4 it it awesome. Great basses very undervalued. Imho but is definately a BB.
  9. Nunovsky


    Sep 4, 2004
    If you liked the BB734 but would like a higher quality one, why don't you try the BBP34? It has the same specs of the BB734 but made in Japan, better built and with the I.R.A. wood treatment. Those are top basses.

    Besides that, you should check the BBNE2. One of the best sounding basses out there.
  10. lossfizzle


    Jul 8, 2013
    OP, I've got a Yamaha BB1000 from '78 and a black BBN5II from the early 90s. That 1000 is a monster P, but I mostly play 5s so it mostly sits around looking gorgeous (and it's not going anywhere).

    The much humbler BBN5II has been one of my main gigging basses for a while now. It has 24 frets and while, like you, I couldn't imagine needing that many, it's actually come in pretty handy now and again... I even have a bit of a hard time sometimes going back to a 20- or 21-fret neck now, and I am *not* a bassist confused about the bassist's role by any means. But every now and again there's some lick the keyboardist forgets to play, or the guitarist is missing from rehearsal that week or something... anyway.

    If you look for a BBN4 (*not* the II, which has passive 2x humbuckers), you'll have a solidly-made 24-fret basic J-configuration instrument which, yeah, I know it's not a PJ but it's quite possibly close enough? Also, the BBNs aren't especially coveted as BBs go, for whatever reason, and you can find them... yeah, frankly, just stupid cheap if you look around a bit. I believe all the BBNs also have big fat cast bridges like my BBN5II, but don't quote me on that; I am presently on the hunt for a BBN5 "I" myself, mostly because finding upgrade pickups that fit the route for these II-series humbuckers is very difficult and I love this bass but I would prefer the single-coil J sound.

    As a multi-instrumentalist I am a lifelong huge Yamaha fan. Aside from these two basses I've owned a number of others, also own at *least* a dozen Yamaha electric and acoustic guitars as well (to say nothing of tons of other Yamaha gear from the 70s to now). I really, really wanted to like the newest generation of BBs, but I've picked up about six or seven of them now and there's just a je ne sais quois missing there vs. many of the older BBs; also I'm just not a 100% fan of the styling or color options. They are still definitely solidly made instruments with good-sounding electronics, and I have no doubt that if you like that 734, you'd be very happy with it long term.
    soflbass, Nunovsky and Sparkl like this.
  11. Wind Blade Khan

    Wind Blade Khan

    Oct 12, 2018
    Thanks !!!
  12. Wind Blade Khan

    Wind Blade Khan

    Oct 12, 2018
    I'll check him out ..
    Thanks !
  13. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    I’ve never played a B.B. that I didn’t think was a quality instrument
  14. Sparkl


    Apr 23, 2011
    Yes, the BBP34 looks like the way to go. I would very much like to have the BBNE2 but amazing enough the lowest price for it in Europe is 3600€ which is ridiculous. I am pretty sure that it's worth every penny but honestly, after realizing that you could buy the same instrument in the US for 2500USD (+ tax probably) I kind of lost my interest if you catch my drift.

    The 34 looks very intriguing though!
    Nunovsky likes this.
  15. Sparkl


    Apr 23, 2011
    Me neither! :bassist:
    Nunovsky and lowdownthump like this.
  16. Sparkl


    Apr 23, 2011
    Haha a friend of mine also isn't sould out on the looks. I, OTOH, absolutely love the design. There is something retro going on on these basses yet they look very modern at the same time. The almost always matching headstock is just too beautiful of a feature and also the logo on it and fonts used are superb.

    Anyways, yes, a double single could could and should work as well, I actually prefer singles for live and splits for studio use (as a rule of thumb, with exceptions of course). Though honestly, if you check my sig, you will notice that I am missing a nice PJ axe in my collection which I would very much use especially in jazz type of gigs where I would find it very handy to be able to switch to bridge for soloing and split for that hefty uprightish tone. Also, I really happen to dig the PJ sound. Actually it sounds the most modern to me, when you combine the two out of all other options.
  17. Andii Syckz

    Andii Syckz

    Jan 2, 2011
    Definitely go vintage if i had the chance. The new ones are nice. but there's something about the old ones. Yamaha is built like tanks, capable of achieving many tones.
    dalkowski, lowdownthump and Yammybass like this.
  18. "Which Yamaha BB to choose?"
    The answer is "yes."
  19. Odinbass


    Dec 6, 2006
    Cleveland, OH
    Agree on the vintage. 70s and early 80s BB1000s, BB1200, BB2000. All amazing and undervalued on the used market.
  20. I got this abused but still fantastic BB1200 off Craigslist for very little. It was converted to fretless, a bridge pickup was added and the upper horn was carved out because... because bassists always spend a lot of time up there on that part of the fingerboard?
    The materials and construction are top notch and I keep it handy to play while watching TV etc so it gets a fair amount of use.
    I should start a thread featuring my collection of second hand mutilated basses- there must be a northwest serial bass killer out there with some wood tools and a dim understanding of what's right.

    ReasonablyHappy, Sparkl and rockdoc11 like this.

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