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Yamaha preamps & electronics, reliable?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Busker, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007
    I looked inside the cavity on my Yamaha TRB-5II and was a little surprised to see that the pots were mounted directly to the circuit board. It all looks nice & neat - and hard to work on. I thought if anything ever goes out on this system, its an electronics tech to fix it, or replacement parts direct from Yamaha.

    So the questions, do you think this is going to be reliable over the long haul, and are the pickups passive in case I ever want/need to replace with more conventional pots/wiring? There looks to be 3 wires coming from each pickup, one being the ground. The other two are red and white IIRC.

  2. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    My BB5000AF from the early 90s has a similar setup. That's not the way I'd prefer but it sounds good (real good) and it's never given me a single problem yet.

    IME, Japanese mass-produced items from that era hold up way longer than you'd expect them to from glancing at the components. (Case in point: my '85 Nissan truck.)

    So, I wouldn't worry about your Yamaha too much. If it's a higher-end model and it's working good now, chances are it'll keep on working for a really long time. (Like any active instrument w/o a passive bypass, I'd bring a backup for important gigs. And never ever leave home without a spare 9V.)

    If the electronics on the BB5000AF ever start to go, I'll probably rewire the bass with an OBP-2 or similar. IIRC my pickups are passive (2 leads).

    It does sound like your pickups are active. I suspect the red is 9V+ and the white is the signal. (That's just my hunch, though - be good to confirm that theory w/ Yamaha or an experienced tech B4 hacking.)
  3. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007
    I think its a higher end model. And thanks for the advice on the backup and spare battery. Will do.
  4. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    I'd agree with Jefenator, Yamaha's bass electronics (and most other things) are very reliable. Not only that, but if you ever do have a problem Yamaha's warranty repair and customer service is a bit above average.

    They are defintely active pickups.

    The only thing I noticed about the TRB series is that they seemed to drain batteries just a little faster than other active basses, so definitely keep those backup 9V's like Jefenator recommends.
  5. Ironically, I just called Yamaha on Friday to enquire about a pot for my TRB 5P that an airline sheared off. To my surprise, a human answered, knew what I was talking about, transferred me to the correct department, who knew what I was talking about, and the pot was in stock. So three minutes later the part was ordered, and judging from the courier note on my door today, it's already here...

    Shockingly good service, IMHO. Kudos to Yamaha.

  6. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007
    Thanks everyone. I'll just play it and not worry too much, but bring a backup bass (I usually do anyway) and keep spare battery on hand.

    Its my only 5-string. Since I got it a little over a week ago, I've hardy touched my Fender P, but it will be my backup. I've used the five on the last two rehearsals and my band loves it and wants me to use it, so... I guess I'm a five string player now.:bassist:

    And so far, I like Yamaha customer service just fine. I called them with the serial number and they were able to tell me the year it was made (2001). The serial number was unusual enough not to be registered in their serial number system on the website. Either this model, or the whole TRB series (?) has serial numbers a little different from other Yamahas.
  7. SoundChaser


    May 23, 2005
    Hi everybody!
    I have a BB fretless model from Yamaha. It`s a cheap instrument but has such a nice neck finish that IMHO it matches higher brands standards. I can`t get enough of it. It only has one P pickup and I have replaced the original one with a Bartolini 8CB Deep if I remember well. The sound improved greatly in color and also in the output strengh. I`ve just ordered another J pickup also from Bartolini along with a 5.4 preamp so I plan to transform it in P-J active set with even more tonal possibilities. I am looking forward for them to arrive. Maybe I`ll come back with more feedback afterwards.
    So comming back.. for me the original electronics in terms of value were as good as the price I`ve paid. I can`t complain and I never had any problems but I simply wanted to upgrade.
    The only issue I had is with the fretboard wich it came to have some trails from the strings .. I don`t know if I pushed the strings too hard or maybe is the wood essence not hard enough. Anyway I manage to correct this on a local luthier and now it`s like new. :)

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