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Yamaha BB615 vs Ibanez BTB405QM 5-Strings

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dgce, Apr 28, 2006.


  1. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Looks like Musician's Friend is having another bass clearance "blowout." I see they have an Ibanez BTB 405 going for $399 and the Yamaha BB615 going for $499. Both sound like super deals.

    I've tried the Ibanez BTB 405 and liked it. It’s not as refined as the higher end BTBs, but I always thought it had great bang for buck. The 35" scale felt a little weird but I'm sure I'd get used to it. The preamp seemed pretty flexible and the see-thru black tint on quilted maple top (ok ok, it’s a veneer) looks pretty darn snappy. Now at $399, it’s hard to pass up on.

    The Yamaha BB615 looks pretty good too. I haven't tried these new retro-looking BB basses though I loved them in the 80s and this new crop of BBs have gotten pretty good reviews. Though I like the Ibanez BTBs, I find I like the more familiar look of the Yamaha. I'm also more comfy on Fender-style basses. It’s more of an aesthetic thing for me, but can the BB play and sound better than the BTB?

    And so you have it. What's your take on these 5 strings?

    r
     
  2. I would go with the Yamaha, but only you can really answer that. Yamahas seem to hold up better, plus they feel like a BASS, know what I mean?
     
    Dave Neal likes this.
  3. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Ohio
    I've played both, and both are nice. That's a great price on the Ibanez, and I've been tempted to order one myself. I think what I personally would do, would be get #3, the Yamaha BB415. Same bass as the BB615, only passive. They can be had in the just over $400 area.
     
    Dave Neal likes this.
  4. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Right, the passive BB-5 is even less expensive and I heard the 4 string passive BBs had more character tonal dynamics than the active model per Bass Player mag review. However, I want that active preamp and like the idea of having a boost and cut for highs, mids, and bottom right there at my finger tips.

    Question, the BTBs are known for longer scale and wider necks so there's plenty of room to slap and a more tonally happening, non-floppy low B string. Cool. But what of the 34" scale Yamaha? How's the low B compare to the Ibanez BTB? I recall the Yamaha BB 5s back in the 80s had VERY tight finger spacing making slapping almost impossible. How are these new BB 5-string models?

    Thanks.

    r
     
  5. bazzanderson

    bazzanderson

    Oct 7, 2002
    Austin, TX
    They are extremely comfortable although a tad bit neck heavy (get a wide strap). I just go the BB415 because NO ONE makes an affordable, passive, 5 string P bass. The BB series is awesome. I'm loving mine. I measured the string spacing at the bridge and it looked to be 2.75" but for some reason felt wider than a Stingray 5 (which is 2.75" as well). The neck is very playable. I'll give more of an in depth review after a month or so.
    -Bazz-
     
  6. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Ohio
    The last BTB I played had a pretty floppy B. That was one thing that kept me from buying it. It could have been an isolated incident though, because I've heard from many other players here that the B's on their BTB's are good. The string spacing on the Yamaha is a bit closer than the BTB, but I didn't feel it was especially tight. I also preferred the 34 inch scale. I found the neck on the Yamaha really nice, and at least on the ones I tried, the 34 inch Yamaha B was tighter than the 35 inch Ibanez B.

    I'm not a slapper, so I guess I can't really comment, but to me, the string spacing on the Yamaha was not so tight that it would prevent anyone from slapping.
     
  7. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    How odd that a 35" scale bass have a floppy B. I'll trust that it was an isolated incident. Maybe it was the strings. I know Ibanez uses Elixirs on their high-end basses; doubt they'd bother with such expense on the BTB 405.

    I think I need to find a local Yamaha dealer and try one of these retro BBs for myself. Just curious, can the Yamaha BBs be strung through the body or is it only through the bridge?

    Thanks,

    r
     
  8. Through bridge only.
     
  9. punkmetal

    punkmetal Guest

    Jul 19, 2005
    WI (milwaukee area)
    my vote goes for ibanez
    i've played both (own one) and i like my ibanez more by far
     
  10. punkmetal

    punkmetal Guest

    Jul 19, 2005
    WI (milwaukee area)
    the 405 does have elixirs
     
  11. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Wow, Elixirs on BTB405s? I thought the bass had be higher up the food change for Ibanez to bother with the fancy, pricey strings. Cool. Guess I'll have to hit a Guitar Center (a good hour drive for me in Western Massachusetts) to do an A/B test. The specs and price tell me that the Ibanez is the way to go. But damnit, that Yamaha just has something about it I dig. Guess there's no knowing for sure until I actually sit down with both.

    Thanks for your help, people. Any other comments or advice is more than welcome!

    r
     
  12. punkmetal

    punkmetal Guest

    Jul 19, 2005
    WI (milwaukee area)
    i recently became friendly with the mid range control on my BTB...yea...lots of fun to be had with that
     
  13. Thanks to DGCE, I went to the MF site and looked at the sale they've got going on (I haven't bought anything from them since the early '90s). The price of the BTB405QM is now $349.99!! And I scored it. I'm not a newbie player in any sense, and I've thought these were great basses for a long time, even at the Guit. Center price of ~$600. I regularly play an EBMM SR5. But this? Oh my GAWD! It seems that the 2006 Ibanez model has morphed into the BTB455QM, thus prompting the sale of the old units. Good for us. Thanks for the heads up DGCE!!
     
  14. By the way, the Musician's Friend sale is over on Tuesday, May 2. Whatever your buying politics are, you just might get a deal.
     
  15. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Hey Musician's Friend! Where's my cut? :D

    r
     
  16. BillytheBassist

    BillytheBassist

    Aug 18, 2005
    Texas
    The BTB's are really great basses, and at 349$ for a 405? Man thats a great value. I'm sure the 455 and 456's sound good as well. My BTB has a very tight B string and plays very nicely.
     
  17. punkmetal

    punkmetal Guest

    Jul 19, 2005
    WI (milwaukee area)
    from what i was told...
    there really is no real difference between the new and old BTB's
    the pups one might say but...
    the pups in the 405 (i might be wrong) were aided in design by bart
    and the 455 pup i am told are the same ones that actualy say that they are barts

    either way i got a $200 off on mine when i bought it and i love it
     
  18. Yeah, I went to the Ibanez site and checked it out, and they're calling the pickups "Bartolinis" instead of last year's Ibanez model number, so that seems to be the major change. No biggie to me. I'm glad to get it as is, especially at that great price. It should arrive tomorrow. Yay! I like new stuff!
     
  19. BillytheBassist

    BillytheBassist

    Aug 18, 2005
    Texas
    I'm sure there's a little difference in the two p/ups... Bartolini's are considered to be some of the best p/ups on the market. The p/ups that are in the older model BTB's are called "Ibanex" and are made by Ibanez. I personally like the way the Ibanez p/ups sound. The new BTB's are using the same preamp's as the old ones, Just different p/ups. I played a yamaha bb yesterday at guitar center just too see if it compared. IMO the Ibanez is a much better choice as far as playability and features. I liked the Yamaha, just not as much as the Ibanez.
     
  20. dgce

    dgce

    Jun 17, 2001
    Massachusetts, USA
    Did you try the active Yamaha BB or the passive model?

    r
     

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