Yamaha BB415

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sundogue, Sep 4, 2010.


  1. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I just traded my beloved Washburn 5 string for this Yamaha BB415. I had been looking for a P-Bass or a Jazz and never even thought about a Yamaha.

    I owned a Yamaha BB (200?) years ago and I loved it. While I loved my Washburn, I had taken the preamp out and wired the pups direct to the jack to get a more "vintage" vibe going with it. It did that, but not enough for what I was after. I still wanted a 5 string though.

    I know the word vintage gets tossed around a lot, but I was really looking for that classic rock tone. I don't really care much for the "modern" active bass tone. My three favorite basses (in order) always were the Precision, a Rickenbacker 4001 and a Jazz.

    So what do you get when you cross a P-Bass with a Ric and a Jazz? Apparently a Yamaha BB415. The Yamaha has very hot pickups for a passive bass. The P-Bass pickup sounds just like a classic P-Bass with it's own strong mids and punch, only hotter. When played with a pick it has that Dave Hope clankiness and depth. The Jazz pickup has that classic "burpiness" to it and when played near the bridge fingerstyle it has that smooth, clear burp Jazzes are famous for. When both pickups are combined and played hard (finger or pick) it really has that snarly Rickenbacker growl (think Squire or Geddy).

    I'm amazed at just how versatile this Yamaha is, yet not in a modern kind of way. It has a seperate volume control for each pickup and one tone control. Between those controls and using either fingerstyle or a pick and where you play, the combinations of classic tones is just stunning. It really is like having those three basses all rolled into one.

    If you notice in the pics, the bridge has an extended part for just the B string. Not sure if it is just for ease of stringing or if it helps with the sound of the low B, but the low B on this bass is just about the clearest B string I've ever heard. It sustains well and the note played is very distinct. Every bit as one played on the E string. The sound from the strings (strung up with DR Sunbeams...my rounds of choice) is very even all across. Wonderful clarity and sustain. The D and G strings have bite and punch without sounding thin. A beautiful yet aggressive sounding instrument.

    And the classic black and chrome looks absolutely stunning to me. But I really like that look.

    OK, enough of the raving about it. The downside? Not much, but it is a bit on the heavy side and the classic Fender style headstock (with the added string and tuner) makes it just a bit unbalanced. But it isn't terrible to deal with. It isn't as if it takes a nose dive if you let go, but you can feel it a bit. Since I'm not some melodic jazz soloist, but just a classic rocker, it isn't that much of an issue.

    The neck is a bit chunky, but there is a lot of string spacing so while it isn't a tiny Jazz style neck, it is quite easily playable.

    Anyone else own one of the Yamaha BB415 (or 414) basses? Feel free to chime in on your thoughts. Obviously it is an older bass but that's part of it's charm...it isn't a modern instrument and has all the character of my three favorite basses, all rolled into one.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. lowendblues

    lowendblues Supporting Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    Ohio
    Good looking bass.

    I've owned a couple of BB2000's and have been thinking of picking one of these up for nostalgia.
     
  3. I still wish I'd picked up one of the BB414F fretless basses; they weren't around very long, but the one I played just one time was very fine. Still keeping my eye open for one.
     
  4. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Had my second gig with the Yamaha and I am really diggin' playing roundwounds on it. This bass is super aggressive and punchy.

    Most of the music I play doesn't really require that roundwound sizzle and top end so I'm looking forward to throwing some Chromes on it (my preferred flatwound). With it having such a great P-Bass punch the Chromes should sound great with this bass.

    Always fun to get a new bass, but I feel like I got all the vintage tone I could want in one bass. Fun!
     
  5. Aspidites

    Aspidites

    Oct 20, 2009
    Berkeley CA
    I have one in Metallic Orange. You are correct in that the pups are really hot but IMO they are cleaner that those in a Fender P or P/J. It has the narrowest nut I have seen on a 5 string. The neck is too small and skinny for my taste which is one of the reasons I am selling mine and plan on replacing it with a Millennium 5.

    Somebody must have added the extra volume on yours in place of the pup selector because normally they have a three way switch and one each volume and tone controls.

    P1000856.jpg

    P1000855.jpg
     
  6. Just got done practicing two octave scales around the circle of 4ths on my 415! :bassist:

    That bass is just perfect (that is when you wire it V/V/T) I would literally cut off my foot for it! Good to see someone with one wired V/V/T because most are V/T/switch. The one downside to yamahas are the crappy stock electronics...
     
  7. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Yeah mine is wired up with one volume control for each pickup and then a single tone control. Easy to vary the tone between pickups.

    Since it is a passive bass, I don't know how the electronics could be considered "crappy". Perhaps they are in their active models. I consider the stock pickups to be some of the best pickups I've come across. The pots are just pots. Not much to mess up there. What did you mean about their "stock electronics"?
     
  8. Aspidites

    Aspidites

    Oct 20, 2009
    Berkeley CA
    The stock pots and switches leave something to be desired so with a simple pot swap you can really wake them up.
     
  9. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    The nut and string spacing was much narrower on my Washburn and the last thing I think of regarding the neck is "skinny". Perhaps it's just a matter of what we get used to. The Yamaha has a bigger, fatter neck than that 5 string.
     
  10. Aspidites

    Aspidites

    Oct 20, 2009
    Berkeley CA
    It has a much smaller neck and nut than my other 5ers. My TRB5 has a much wider neck as does the Roscoe Beck 5 while my L1505 has a smaller neck it is still bigger that the neck on the 415.
     
  11. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I got it already wired up with the V/V/T so perhaps all new pots were part of the equation.

    The pups are killer.
     
  12. Aspidites

    Aspidites

    Oct 20, 2009
    Berkeley CA
    Yeah the pups are killer, I will say must be in the majority because I do prefer having the pup selector over the separate volume.
     
  13. The pots had a bad taper and sucked a lot of treble even for 250k ohm pots. This seems to be a common complaint with yammy owners. However I doubt that your pots are stock due to the wiring scheme. Did you buy your 415 second hand?
     
  14. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Yeah, I traded for it and it came wired that way. There is tons of treble on this bass. This is really a tone monster. P-Bass, Jazz and even Ric tones. Part of the gig last night I was full on with both pups, played aggressively with a pick, with my amp setup with a lot of the Drive control (Carvin BX1200) and it really had that Ric growl. My guitarist has commented frequently over the last couple of gigs just how much it sounds like a Ric at times.

    Fingerstyle near the bridge with just the Jazz pup on really gives a nice burpy Jazz tone. With just the P-Bass pup on it really sounds like a P-Bass (my favorite bass).
     
  15. I have a BB3000MA that has V/T and pickup selector switch. I've had the switch replaced twice, but it's not an expensive part. I love my Yammy. Yesterday, I was comparing it to my Hanewinckel w/ Nordy Big Singles, and the Yammy does sound more aggressive, and the pickups are hotter in passive mode.

    I've not seen a BB415 with V/V/T controls, but enjoy it! :bassist:
     
  16. laklandplayer

    laklandplayer Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2001
    USA - Memphis, TN
    How did they find a pot to fit in the hole where the switch is located?
    I wired my 415 Vol - Vol - and installed a tone switch - .026, flat, .047 where the PU selector switch is. I'd love to find a pot and replace the switch.
     
  17. Sundogue

    Sundogue

    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    I don't know. I haven't looked that close at it. If the hole is larger perhaps just a washer was added. I'll have to check.
     
  18. Gunner77

    Gunner77

    Nov 30, 2009
    Columbia, MO
    Is this what you did to the one you have for sale?

    Gunner
     
  19. kramerj

    kramerj Supporting Member

    May 22, 2003
    Iowa City, IA
    I have a stock BB415--what pots/switch would make good replacements?
     
  20. I've had the switch in my BB3000MA replaced twice, and I'm pretty sure the switches are the same you can get from Stew Mac and All Parts.

    from Stew Mac
    from All Parts
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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