Yamaha BBP35 vs BB435 - opinions?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by McIrish, Apr 26, 2021.

  1. McIrish


    Apr 26, 2021
    I have been looking for a passive bass with a PJ pickup arrangement. I currently have an older RBX (4 string) that I changed the pickups on. It sounds great now but of course, I'd like to have a five string too. I think I have narrowed it down to the BBP35 and the BB435. They look very similar with the main difference (seemingly) is the country they are built in. I'm undecided as to which to go for. Obviously, the BB435 is about $1000 less expensive. I could drop some new pickups in it and be set for well under a grand.

    Have any of you played both, side by side, and compared?
    Thanks for the help.
  2. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    My feeling is that an audience or engineer will not hear a great difference if you use either bass. I am sure the BBP35 is superior in construction and components, but improvements are not dramatic.


  3. BassBuzzRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    If you want superior build quality and feel, get the BBP35. If you want to save money, get the cheapo.
  4. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    The difference is in the construction details...Yamaha's best guys build the P35 one at a time, in the custom shop, just like the BBNE2, Attitude III, Pattituci, and so on. It's not an assembly-line bass, if that helps. Oh, and I had a P35, btw...the pickups ROAR.
  5. skycruiser

    skycruiser Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2019
    You may be hard pressed to find someone who has done a direct comparison. Some of the cost difference is in materials, time, etc., and part of it is just different cost of doing business in different countries. I'm sure the profit margin is a bit higher on the BP as well. But in any case, they are similar instruments, but only you can say if the differences are worth it to you.

    The BB435 can hold its own for sure. @Lowend65 just posted a video of a full show with his BB435 over on the BB club thread. I doubt you could find much to criticize about the sound of that bass in the mix.

    Is there a Yamaha BB club? There is now!

    I love my BB434, but I'm not an experienced player so take that for what it's worth.
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  6. Lowend65

    Lowend65 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    San Jose, CA
    Hey, thanks for the shout-out.
    I have also not been able to A-B a BBP/435. I've never seen a BB series of any sort on a showroom floor anywhere.

    If I was buying again, there's a good chance I would go BBP. While the BB435 is an outstanding value (kind of unbelievable frankly), there are some finishing aspects which I'm sure the BBP would be better. This is mostly cosmetic stuff. I dunno, 2x the money for a better-fitting pickguard seems silly now that I'm writing it down.

    The BB435 has excellent sound, although I will say the J-pickup is 'meh'. The BBP uses a different bridge pickup and I wonder if it's better. That said, I could buy a bridge pickup from Nordstrand that's probably better than both for $100.
  7. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    Here was my P35:

    J_Bass and DJ Bebop like this.
  8. skycruiser

    skycruiser Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2019
    There are plenty of recordings that would convince you that the BBP35 is an excellent, professional instrument. Here's one of many with Claus Fischer.

    Is there a Yamaha BB club? There is now!

    Still won't answer the $1,000 question for you! I would love to own a BBP myself, but with my limited gear budget I try to maximize value over quality. But the value calculus is different for each of us. Good luck!
    Deep likes this.
  9. Lackey


    May 10, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I don't know the answer to this, but you're asking a solid question.
    Herrick likes this.
  10. hypercarrots


    Jan 28, 2009
    the pickups are different and the bbp35 body is an alder maple alder sandwich that is I.R.A treated. the bbp bridge has brass saddles.

    Any guitar benefits from being "played in," a process in which the instrument matures and opens up as the stresses between the wood and finish, neck and fingerboard, and body and hardware are released, resulting in better sound and playability.

    Yamaha’s exclusive Initial Response Acceleration (IRA) technology releases those stresses by applying specific vibrations to the completed instruments as part of the crafting process and gives a "played in" guitar from day one.


    Yamaha - United States
  11. Personally I think the
    “IRA” is a lot of bunk. Still love Yamaha.
  12. hypercarrots


    Jan 28, 2009
    i don't have an opinion either way. i'm just stating facts and requoting yamaha's explanation. i posted the link to the page where i copied the definition of I.R.A. from.
    Ricky Rioli and Dr. Cheese like this.
  13. Sean150


    Jul 18, 2018
    I can’t say specifically that is because of the IRA but my BBP34 is the most solid feeling bass I have ever played.

    OP - If you can afford it the BBP is the way to go, otherwise you could also look at the BB735A which is the same design as the pro but made at their plant and less expensive (although you do get a bonus Pre Amp).
  14. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    IRA is Yamaha’s secret sauce like others swear by roasted maple necks. I am a firm believer in diminishing returns. Expensive basses are genuinely better, but often the improvements are barely measurable even though they are perceptible.
  15. Clark Westfield

    Clark Westfield Floyd Pepper is my mentor!

    Jan 30, 2012
    Central Jersey
    I have been on the 5 string fence for awhile now, and in both of my new bands, I need some of those 5 string lower notes.

    I was combing Craigslist for months with no luck finding a good deal on a 5ver.

    Ibanez, Squier and even Jackson came to mind to purchase.

    Now I have a very slick are arsenal of basses, Sadowsky NYC 4 string, American Fender Jazz and a custom Schecter.

    All great basses are in my hands, but not sure I’m going to love the 5 string.

    So I’ll get something cheaper than my normal stash.

    Now I’m not afraid to buy the Japanese BB at all, just weary of not using it for all of the money spent.

    Initially I went with the BB235. Then called Sweetwater back and upgraded with the BB435; better neck, pickups, neck attachment, an obvious upgrade.

    Now I have never played a Japanese BB or a 435, but the reviews here are all positive. Even Guitar World loved the BB435 and gave it a top rating for 2021.

    What is the worst that can happen, some lackluster fret ends and setup?

    Easily cured with a $100 bill.

    BACKORDERED from Yamaha, so I’ll let you all know how the 435 is once I get it.

    From everything I have been reading, I think I made a great choice.

    And if I absolutely love it, and fall in love with 5 strings, I’ll order the BBP35 or a Sadowsky 5 in a heartbeat and Craigslist gets another item for sale.

    Sorry for the rant, just using TB for my family therapy session.

    9D384202-349B-4881-A73C-72B12BA2D096.jpeg 9D384202-349B-4881-A73C-72B12BA2D096.jpeg
  16. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I just love that big ole round booty on those BB basses. They are very comfortable and sleek.
  17. Lowend65

    Lowend65 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    San Jose, CA
    For the record, there are several for sale on Reverb
    Gear | Reverb

    I'll go on record that the IRA stuff makes complete sense to me and that many serious luthiers speak highly of it. If I was going out on a serious tour, the BBP35 would probably be my weapon of choice vs the 435. The extra love it gets from the factory is peace of mind when you're days away from replacement parts on the road.

    In my local band capacity, with multiple basses, I don't worry about such things.
  18. S.F.Sorrow


    Dec 6, 2014
    I've only played the 4-string versions but I'll say this (and I'm sure it will be just as relevant for the 5-string versions):

    The BB434 is an excellent bass and better value than most in it's price range.

    The BBP34 is on a completely different planet. Comparing it to the BB434 is like comparing custom shop to assembly line. The craftsmanship on my BBP34 is some of the best I've seen. Way better than any similarly priced Fender and without any of the QC issues you often see with MIA Fenders. You would easily have to pay $4000 for a Fender Custom Shop to get instruments that are consistently as good as the current MIJ Yamahas. We're talking boutique quality here (but without the coffee table looks, lol).

    Replacing the pickups in the BB434 will not get you a BBP34. The pickups are probably the smallest difference between these two series. The difference is in the craftsmanship: Fretwork, woodwork, fit&finish.

    If anything I'd say the pickups are probably the weakest point with the BBP34, at least for my personal taste. Not that the pickups are poor, they're not. But they are a bit brighter/tighter than I had expected from a bass that looks more or less like a Fender. Compared to a Fender P-bass the BBP34 is brighter, "faster" and with more aggressive upper mids. The lows are deep/tight rather than warm/woolly. I haven't bothered experimenting with other pickups because, like I said, they're not bad. Just slightly brighter/tighter than I had expected. And in any case, the maple in the body probably also contributes to this bright/fast feel so it would probably still sound like a BB and not a Fender no matter what type of pickup it gets. Which isn't a bad thing of course, as long as you know what to expect. I'd rather use one of my Fenders for dark, thumpy, Motown-style tones but for pretty much anything else I reach for the BB.

    To sum it up: Both the BB434 and the BBP34 are some of the best you can get in their respective price ranges but the MIJ really is in a completely different league and definitely worth the higher price IMO. It all comes down to how much money you want to spend.
    raal, Deep, bassface69 and 5 others like this.
  19. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    Having that low-B string, plus basically a 4-string in the same instrument, is just fantastic. I love the extra low end, especially for my modern cover band. I don't have a need for a 6 anymore (high-C string), but can't do without a 5.

    The BBP35 blows a Sadowsky away, ime. Yep, I totally said that.
    raal, Deep, J_Bass and 2 others like this.
  20. songwriter21

    songwriter21 I have an obsession for wood. The musical kind. Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    Sponsored by Hipshot
    There's a P35 in the classifieds for under $1100....
  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.

    Jun 18, 2021

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