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Yamaha Attitude: Tenth Anniversary

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Boplicity, Apr 27, 2001.

  1. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Billy Sheehan signature Yamaha basses, patterned after Fender Precision basses, are celebrating their tenth year in production. This news comes to me via Yahoo which sends me periodic news on Sheehan. Oddly enough the news comes in Japanese...go figure...but I was able to sort out this announcement from the English interspersed with Japanese.

    Why do I care about these basses? Well, I bought one of the first in the series, a red Yamaha Attitude Limited with Hip Shot D-Tuner, grooved fretboard (for string bending), stereo jacks, passive humbucking pickups and a cool fretboard paint that changes color from pearlescent pink to pearlescent blue depending on how the light hits the bass. You can see a bass like mine in a Mr. Big video filmed at a concert in SanFrancisco or in Sheehan's bass instruction video set.

    I have had the bass nine years now and it has stood up very well. I love the finish on the back of the neck. It is the silkiest of all my basses. I also like the string spacing. But, the bass is killer heavy and Jeff Berlin once told me the neck is really too big for my hand size, an opinion shared by my last bass teacher. Also the look of the red bass with white pick guard does not fit every music style, such as death metal, for example.

    Yamaha Attitude basses have gone through various color, material and other modifications nearly every year since the first ones hit the market in 1991. They must be popular to have survived this long, but I don't recall that anyone here has ever posted comments pro or con about them here at Bass Talk.

    If anybody here has one, I'd like to know what you think of Attitude basses.

  2. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I don't have one but I've always been interested in one. If I played one chances are it would be very uncomfortable for me (small hands) but the prospect of having stereo output is very appealing.

    I've always loved Billy Sheehan's tone. Jason, what kind of setup do you run your Attitude through?
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I have Peavey equipment, a 2x10 , plus tweeter cabinent and a 15 inch speaker cab with a 350 watt Peavey Mark VIII series amp.

    The Attitude bass was the first bass I ever bought. I bought it knowing nothing except that Billy Sheehan was my idol and I HAD to have what he played.

    The operative phrase was I "knew nothing" and the store salesman did not choose to enlighten me. I did not know, observe or take heed about the stereo output, so I didn't buy a setup that allowed me to take advanatge of that output. A bass teacher pointed it out to me later. I had naively assumed the tone changed depending on which jack you used for the cable. Not so.

    Fact is the bass sounds great using only one cable and it doesn't matter which one. I did hook up two cables one time to my practice amp and the stack and I had a fuller sound. I can just imagine how wonderful that stereo bass would sound like with Sheehan's dual Ampeg stage rig.

    Yamaha makes cheaper Attitude basses, the Deluxe and the Standard which do not have the bells and whistles on the Limited. My guess is those do not have stereo jacks.

    I keep the Attitude for nostalgia more than anything, because it was my first bass and because it is like the one Billy Sheehan used to play. I love my Tobias five-string and my Ibanez SoundGear 800 four-string for playing.

    By the way, Yahoo sent me a notice that Billy has made a new CD with Rictchie Kotzen on guitar. It was made in Japan and I don't even know why Yahoo tells me all this news from Japan and I can't understand much of it.

  4. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    Yes, Billy Sheehan did release an album. The album is Mr. Big's new album. Paul Gilbert, their old guitarist quit, and Ritchie Kotzen is their new guitarist. I thought they released that album around March of 2000 in America, but I could be wrong.

    I've seen one of the cheaper Attitude's in a guitar shop and it only had mono output. I'm pretty sure the pickups were cheap ones too. I know the new Attitude Limited's have a push-pull pot that switches between stereo output and summed mono and another push pull pot that changes the tone. I don't know about the older ones though.
  5. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    If i played 4 string, the Attitude Limited would be at the very very top of my list!
  6. I have three Attitudes. That's all I play. I may have initially gone with Rickenbacker except that I could never find anywhere comfortable to put my thumb! I love stereo basses. My bass rig is designed around the stereo outputs (I have definitely been influenced by Sheehan's tone).

    I think the necks are great and the bass' weight doesn't bother me. I noticed that my attitude limited is a little lighter than my older blue attitude bass. I like the DiMarzios and the Hipshot tuners and D-tuner. I'm pretty happy with these basses...perfect for rock.
  7. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    BTW: how much does an Attitude Custom cost?

    i saw a used one in a store... with a red metallic finish, Active, 2 outputs and Stereo/mono switch, and a little switch near the volume/tone knobs that offers 3 different settings on the tone.

    i was curious because i saw pictures of the other models and those didn´t have that little switch near the volume knobs... then i remember that in the headstock says Attitude Custom and has chrome hardware, not black.

    the closest i found was the Attitude Spec (special?) model, with chrome hardware too... but without the little switch.

    how much for the Attitude Spec?... How much for the Custom (if you have seen one)?

  8. :confused: do you mean the body paint finish? I thought the fretboard was finished in clear lacquer....

    what was that doubleneck Attitude bass Sheehan was often pictured with (sea foam green with ebony fretboards) all about? different tunings on each neck?

    I've got an old Yamaha catalogue from 92 and the Attitude Custom in it had a piezo bridge- also I remember there was a prototype eight string Attitude built for Sheehan...
  9. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    OK, my Attitude is a four-string, one neck-only model. I have seen pictures of SHeehan with the two neck Yamaha, though. MIne has chrome tuners. The "pearlescent finish" I refered to isn't paint. It is either the lacquer or under the lacquer, so it is transparent, but with a pearly coloration that changes from pinkish to blue-ish when you move the bass around.

    The fretmarkers are blue and look nice with the pearly undertone of the lacquer. Aslo, those fretmarkers are big..the biggest I have seen. I guess Sheehan likes to be able to see them.

    The bass has one push-pull pot closest to the jacks. It stopped working quite soon (it stays only in the "up" position.) The store where I bought my bass, Ace Music, in Florida told me they didn't know how I could get a replacemet. They probably just didn't want to bother with me as I was new to playing bass and was easily fooled, believe me.

    The bass also has the little chrome lever that goes up and down. That lever is below the humbucker, near the neck. Besides the humbucker PU, the bass has two black, flat PUs...DiMarzios? I didn't get any literature with the bass, so I don't know. (But I did get a very sturdy carrying case, velvet lined with a storage compartment.)

    I'm surprised to learn The Attitude has an active model. Billy Sheehan used to say he didn't like active basses because if something was wrong he never knew if it was the battery. Maybe there was a demand, though, for active PUs, so Yamaha made a bass with that option.

  10. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    what exactly does this little lever do?
    you are describing exactly the same bass that i saw...

    how much did you pay?
    what is the list price?
  11. The new top of the line Attitudes are the Limited II's. They are passive with a DiMarzio Model One (or a variant of the model one) and a model P, and dual outputs. I think a ballpark figure for a new one is $1200. You can find older ones on the used market for about half that.

    The little switch near the Model One pickup on the older models is a high-cut for the Model One pickup. It was replaced by a push-pull pot with the Limited II.

    The Limited II's have black hardware where the older models are chrome.

    I don't know anything about an active model. There were a lot of variants.
  12. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Sapo, my Limited has both the push-pull pot and the lever.

    The price I paid was $800 in June of 1992 (with hard shell carrying case)and I was told it was a real bargain. The bass has previously retailed for $1,200 new and I was told it was the last one like it in South Florida.

    Like I say, it was the first bass I ever bought, so I was very naive about what I was told. However, over the years I have come to see that it is an excellent bass guitar...very solid and perfect for blues, rock and roll, pop, reggae, hard rock, gospel, and any style in which a Precision would be appropriate.

  13. JO, my old blue one has a push pull pot (closest to the bridge). It allows you to combine the output of both pickups to one jack (the Attitude Limited II's are the same way). Push it again and they are separated. I'm not too crazy about those pots, they seem a little fragile.

    I think $800 for the bass new and a hardshell case would have been a good deal. I'm trying to find a hardshell case right now and everybody seems to be out of stock. I even called the Yamaha HQ in the US and they told me they were out of stock!

    I agree with your assessment of the instrument. Its really just a hot-rodded P bass.
  14. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Sapo, one thing this discussion has led me to do is try to find a repair person who can do my bass a big favor and repair the push-pull pot and see why the lever has never made any appreciable difference one way or the other. I bet it has never worked. My Attitude bass is way overdo for a checkup and maintenance. So is my Tobias. Time to find a reputable bass doctor. Thanks for your input.

  15. No problem! Let me know how you make out. DiMarzio used to sell those pots. I know I've seen them online somewhere...a little searching is all it will take to find a replacement.

    FWIW, the effect of that little switch isn't all that noticeable. I believe that in the up position (towards the model one pickup) is the high cut, down adds the high end.
  16. MatW


    May 10, 2000
    UK, Swindon

    I had an original Yahama Attitude Ltd back in '92. I had the blue one and I know exactly what you mean about the colours changing. If I recall the fretboard used to turn a pinky color in different lights.

    I also never made use of the stereo outputs, but I could see how they could have been really useful. I enjoyed all the features on the bass, especially the semi-scalloped upper frets, D-Tuner and overall look and feel.

    The bass didn't feel too heavy for me, and I gigged it quite a lot. Back in those days I was really into Billy's playing so like you said I didn't care about the cost (1000 pounds), which was a lot of money back then! I just wanted to play Billy's bass.

    In the end the bass proved impractical because I played a lot of styles, including slap and plectrum and I felt that it was only suited for fingerstyle. Also, I felt a bit to self conscious wearing the bass because it looked so flashy. People expect big things out of you when you play a bass like that!

    I would have kept the bass, but at the time I needed the money so cashed it in and eventually lost all the money through on bad deal to the next.

    I now own a Fender Jazz Delux (which I love) and I feel suits my playing style better. However, I had a lot of fun with the attitude at the time.

    Happy Birthday Attitude!
  17. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    so what can you do with those two stereo outputs?

    -i heard that you can send one to one amplifier and the other to another amp... so you can play two amplifiers with two different settings... is that true?

    -can you buy a Y cable that uses both outputs and mix it in to one... does that sound good?

    -how does using just ONE sound like? which one is better?

    i´m asking because i´m about to buy a used one... why? because it´s pretty cheap and it´s very rare to see a good bass like this around my town.

    also if you have used the two outputs in other way... let me know...
  18. MatW


    May 10, 2000
    UK, Swindon
    If I recall, Billy used to run it into two amps. One for a really deep bass, the other for highs. By doing this you can actively mix your desired setting straight from the bass.

    There's a push-push control that allows you to run the bass either in stereo or in single output mode. I used to use this setting, so I've no idea what mixing the to outputs sounds like?

    Looking objectively, I can't really see the point of twin outputs anymore? Expecting someone to buy to setups for bass and highs seems extreme to me. I'm sure most modern basses and amps can achieve a good tonal balance without going to all the trouble of two outputs?

    Still, that aside, it's still a great bass to play. I still wish I had mine sometimes.

    Good luck with it
  19. darknature79


    Apr 6, 2011
    i love it and id love 2 know what its worth its in great shape and play wonderful no buzz at all
  20. Aspidites


    Oct 20, 2009
    Berkeley CA
    This thread is useless without pictures.;)

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