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Yamaha Electronics: Bad???

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by IotaNet, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. To the Group -

    Its time for me to add an active fiver to my arsenal and I'm looking at a Yamaha (of course), specifically a BB615 to compliment my passive 415.

    In reading this board (and some other review sites), I have seen a number of comments that refer to the Yamaha preamps as sounding bad or otherwise not being up to snuff. Unfortunately, I can't play any for myself because there are no dealers near here that carry the Yamaha BB's.

    I would like some input/feedback on what folks don't like about the Yamaha's preamps so I can figure out what to do. I like the feel of my 415 and would like to stay consistent with that.

    My ultimate aim is an active 5-string that will work in an Urban Gospel/R&B/Funk setting. I may consider one of the older Yamaha actives (BBG5N/BBN5A) but I can't afford the "Nathan East" models, so that isn't in play. The TRB's are not an option either as I'd like to stay with a 34" scale.

    I welcome your input and feedback!
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Hmmm ... I don't recall seeing any complaints about the BB electronics. My impression has been that the folks that have 'em really like 'em. Nate's is a BB, but I don't know whether the extra cost is in cosmetics, the name, or electronics. Doesn't Michael Anthony play a BB, too? It'd be worthwhile to play a couple and see how you like them. Yamaha's overall reputation is excellent, and even their lower-end basses are well-crafted.

    Too bad about the TRB. My TRB is one of the three best sounding basses I own (see profile for comparison). I've seen a couple of the new TRB-1005's and if they sound as good as they look, they will dominate. I switch back and forth between 34- and 35-inch scales all the time and never notice the difference. The frets are less than 1/32-inch different in spacing at the low end, and less further up the neck. I'm usually playing above the fifth fret, so there's just not that much difference.

    Anyway, I don't think you'll have a problem with any Yamaha you get. If it sounds good when you try it out, then go for it.

    Okay, that one's $.02. Money orders accepted, no PayPal.
  3. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I have 2 BB's. The BB414 is great and I think the electronics are fine. It's a passive P/J so what is there to screw up.

    My BB605 is also great. I did replace the preamp - not because it was bad, but because I didn't like the hum when I soloed a pickup. This is, of course, common to many basses with single coil "jazz" type pups. I also liked the Bartolini tone because I had just come off a Modulus with Barts.

    You could look for a used new/old stock BB605. They do show up from time to time. 34", active, great playing and light.
  4. I think it's really "you get what you pay for" only with Yamaha it always seems a bit more. In my experience the first place guitar manufacturers lower their cost of goods is in the electronics and pickups. The good news is that these are relatively easy pieces to source after-market and install. Just look at the electronics part of this site - it seems that regardless of what bass people buy, one of the first things they complain about are the pups and electronics. And what is perfectly fine for one will be garbage to another - mileage varies. Yamaha's are great value even if you feel the need to pimp them out to fit your personal taste.
  5. The only negative comments I've heard about Yamaha electronics have to do with the TRB II series. I have a TRB 5II that had a very aggressive, sometimes "honky" (for lack of a better word) tone, which was okay for about 2% of my playing. I finally did a bartolini transplant - both pickups and preamp, and am very happy with it now.

  6. 1kinal


    Jan 18, 2006
    Montreal, Qc. Canada
    Endorsing Artist: SIT strings
    +1 on that!

    I used to have a TRB5 II Fretless and it did had bad electronics.
    On the other hand, all the BB I've tried were great, and I've recommended the RBX to many of my students with no problem at all.
  7. anonymous278347457

    anonymous278347457 Guest

    Feb 12, 2005
    I played a RBX 374 at a shop, it was great.

    the pickups even has small curves on the top so you can rest your thumb on it more comfortably.

    as for the electronics, i heard they eat battreys, this may be true for the BBs aswell
  8. I have got two old (1988) active BB's, and I have no complaints whatsoever about the preamp or pickups.
  9. Baa

    Baa Happy hobbyplayer

    Jan 10, 2006
    stockholm, sweden
    I´ve had my BB615 since december, and i have no preamp-issues. There's a slight hum from the bridge-pup, but as mentioned before it's pretty common.
    The EQ on it is good and potent. I paid little money, but got a lot of bass.
  10. The TRB's do eat batteries, at least in my experience with my TRB-6II. Had it for about two months, and it died. Played quite regularly but not that much, on average I guess just half an hour per day...
  11. bassomane


    Apr 3, 2002
    I play the BB615 and the electronic is very good. Absolutly no noise from the neutral EQ. For comparison I put in a Noll 2 Band EQ with activ/passiv option and I found the Yamaha EQ to be better. The EQ is very smooth and "passiv" sounding. I like it very much for finetunig. In comparison to the passiv version I think the active one sounds tighter and more present without sounding "active". The battery lasts also very long with only 0,5 mA consumtion. This electronic is much better than the EQ from the TRB 6II I had for some time, but the best thing is that you need NO Eq for a good sound. Let it flat and use only the balance knob.
  12. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I have a BBG5A and the electronics are really good on it. It is one of the best sounding bases I have. The only complaint I have is that it is only a 2 band EQ, but that isn't that big a deal.
  13. yeah BB series are ok if i recall my 5 is a bbn5 or bb5 series from about 97/8 my only whinge is the hum when soloing pickups but hey thats life. i think all the bb series have a good sound overall but as with all yamaha the price bracket determines only a small part of the tone as the actual guitars/ basses are built so good and electronics are easy to get and change
  14. steviecsg


    Aug 16, 2002
    used to have a trb6II....didn't encounter the battery draining problem that others have reported. the 3band eq sounded pretty good IMO. could get a pretty wicked slap tone too.
  15. ukbassboy


    Mar 19, 2006
    Hey Verne Andru, just a quick question for you.
    I also have a 3 year old BB605 and the hum when not 50/50 on the pick-ups is really bugging me now I am gigging again. Did you find it was the pick-ups causing the noise or the pre-amp, and how easy easy it to replace either of these?
    Other than that I think this is a great bass... the neck plays very nice, it looks and feels good, and I love the sound with some Roto solos on it. It was as cheap as chips too so dont mind spending a few quid (thats £'s for our American friends who haven't seen any Guy Ritchie films) on it to improve a very resonable bass.
  16. Hey ukbassboy - the BB405 I have is passive so there's no pre-amp to introduce noise. In my case the hum was caused because the 2 single coil pups are setup to work as a humbucker which is really just 2 single coils in the same package with one RWRP [reverse wound/reverse polarity] to the other. On the BB's, when both volume controls are set to the same level, the pups cancel the hum [humbuck]. When set differently to each other, you'll get hum. The further they are set apart, the more hum you'll get.

    This was exactly the problem that led me to search for an alternative set of pickups [which led me to this board which introduced me to the Q-Tuners]. I figured if I was going to upgrade the electronics, I might as well get the best I could afford. While a bit on the pricey side, the Q-Tuners were a great choice and perfect match for the guitar - maybe even a bit of overkill.
  17. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Morris, IL.
    I've got a bb605 that I like the preamp on. I dig the mid switch/sweep. I wish it had a bypass option. I didn't like the hum either but I put Carvin h50n stacked humbuckers and now I can solo either one with no hum. I also did the star grounding complete shielding job to it. I think the shielding paint is:spit:
    I had and sold a bb405 (passive j/j) that still hummed some after the shielding job, when solo pupping. The neck on my 605 needed some attention on the fret edges. They were slicing into my fingers from sticking out so far.
  18. Dude,

    I used to have a bbg5, and the leccies were awfully noisy. I also didn't like the tone - very artificial - nothing organic - which is a shame cos otherwise it was a real nice bass.

  19. ukbassboy


    Mar 19, 2006
    Sorry Verne, I had looked at the wrong post - it was the guy from the post above you that had mod'ed his BB605. Thanks all the same though. Think some new PUs could make this bass the muts nuts, and PUs sound a whole lot easier to fit than a whole new EQ!
    So EOTS, will any standard size 5 string J PUs fit in the 605?
  20. If I were you, I'd definitely look for a Mk I TRB. 34" scale, nice electronics and ergonomics, and absolute bargains on the used market. My TRB6 has stayed my main bass since I got it (it was my first), beating out basses with Barts, Seymours, etc.

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