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Yamaha silent bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by silvermaneZ, Jun 13, 2001.

  1. silvermaneZ


    Oct 10, 2000
    Houston, TX
    I am really considering buying the Yamaha Silent Bass that BassNW is advertising on their site. I have played the Yamaha silent Violin and Cello, and really liked the sound and feel of both of those. However, I have not had the chance to play this particular instrument yet. I have played EUB's before, but never liked the short scale of them. With the Yamaha being a full 3/4 size, I am really tempted. Any opinions on this instrument would be really appreciated. The reason I am even considering this is that the sale price they have it for is obscenely low, and I want to move before they sell it.
  2. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I tried the one on display at Manny's in NYC. Wasn't too impressed. Found it hard to play; actually harder than a normal acoustic. Part of it was the high setup, but part of it was also the lack of "bounce"; you expect it to respond like a normal upright, and it just doesn't. (If you've dealt with other EUBs, you know what I mean.) Contrary to the unflattering BP review, I found the pizz tone to be pretty decent through an SWR Blonde. Didn't have a chance to try arco. As for the portability aspect, I should warn you that the Silent Bass is about the same weight as a 3/4 upright: that full length solid body is heavy!
  3. BassWizard55

    BassWizard55 Guest

    Dec 21, 2002
    Rome, Ga
    Has anyone tried these basses recently? I would also like to now what all of you like or dislike about it.
  4. BassWizard55

    BassWizard55 Guest

    Dec 21, 2002
    Rome, Ga
    Whoa, didn't realize this was is BG, sorry.
  5. A moderator can move it, so more people see it...
  6. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Shazam! Moved.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I played a Yamaha Silent Bass about a month ago when I was in the market for an EUB. It was either going to be the Silent Bass, or a Steinberger NSDB-CR4. I bought the Steinberger. It blows the Silent Bass away in most respects. The Steinberger is much easier to play(almost too easy!), sounds better, and is more versatile. I must mention that it costs less too! The Yamaha looks more like a DB, and feels a little more like a DB thanks to the upper bouts, but it is a difficult instrument to play, and it sounds rather thin. It is up to you, but I would definitely check out the Steinbergers.
  8. BassWizard55

    BassWizard55 Guest

    Dec 21, 2002
    Rome, Ga
    Anyone else?
  9. Yeah...just get to try one yourself. Every EUB seems to play and balance (and sound) differently, just like their acoustic siblings.
    Of all the EUBs I have tried, I liked it the best. The one guy I know who has one didn't like the sound, so changed the pickup to the one he has on his acoustic( a stienberger/gage pickup) and is really happy with it now. Then again I didn't buy one, as I just prefer my acoustic for everything that I would use an EUB for, and bass guitar for everything else.
  10. Just played one ( Silent Bass ) last week. No improvements, still feels stiff and somehow sickeningly un-double-bass-like. Very thin sound, strange strings ( maybe they were put there for more arco than pizz ), a very bad and electric amplified tone.
    Youll´get a good EUB for that money, and if a REAL Bass is what You need, don´t even consider buying a substitute.
    The only thing I´d find any use for a Silent Bass is for my plan of establishing an audience friendly "Silent Jazz Band". They do have silent horns, keybords, drums and whatever, don´t they?

  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    This sounds interesting - so you could have everybody go into the board and then offer the audience headphones to actually hear the performance, maybe with volume controls.

    So - people can choose when they want to listen or maybe switch off and chat to their friends or go to the bar,when they like...no wait, that already happens in "normal" Jazz gigs - when it gets to the bass solo!! :D
    That was exactly what I intended. In addition to this the audience would have different channels to choose of, so if they rather listened to Madonna they´d be free to do it.
    In fact I´ve been planning this for at least 2 years, I invented it right after the first edition of Silent Bass came into market.
    Too bad my fellow musicians have not been interested to join the band....

    But how about my next idea....having the Silent jam session over the Net? You know, webcams & mics & headphones & mixers & stuff and all the Silent instruments plugged straight into the computers?
    Gentlemen, start your Basses ! !
  13. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    You're late. You're docked $50.00.

    We started fifteen minutes ago. Couldn't you hear us?
  14. I tried the Yamaha and found it played OK when set up correctly. The first one I tried sucked because the fingerboard buzzed and the strings were way too low. The second one I tried (after giving my unflattering assessment of the first one to the Yamaha string rep) was much better and sounded as good as many uprights do through an amp. (I should add that as a rule, am not a fan of pickups and amps, but they often seem to be a necessity for playing live; especially with drummers)
    The biggest problem I have with the Yamaha is that it is so big and heavy. One of the reasons I would want to play on a EUB is that it might be lighter and easier to travel with. The Yamaha just doesn't offer enough size and weight reduction to make it worth while for me to compromise and not play my acoustic. I bought a Messenger bass from John Knutson, and although it is certainly not an acoustic bass, it sounds a lot like one through an amp and is a lot more portable! It has a real fingerboard and bridge, uses real strings (41.5 in.) and has a Barberra pickup. The great thing is that the body is short enough that it will actually fit in the overhead of an airliner. That counts big for me.
    Having said that, the Yamaha does have some nice features. In my opinion, they should get rid of the massive body and lighten/shorten it up.
  15. MartinT


    Apr 16, 2003
    San Mateo CA
    I've bought a Silent Bass a year ago, and am really happy with it. To give some background: I've played double bass in an orchestra and jazz band in the late seventies and early eighties in Holland, then moved to the US, didn't take my bass for a number of dumb reasons, and did not play for about 18 years. I badly wanted to get back into the swing of things, so to speak, and was looking for a quality bass. However, before I was going to fork over 10-15K for a good bass, I wanted to find out if I still enjoyed it and whether I could relearn what I had lost during the years. Rather than buying a cheap DB with all its associated frustrations, I thought I try an instrument that feels and plays like a real bass without the variability of tone quality across the board, that so many real basses suffer from. You've all experienced this: Even with my old bass (a German carved 3/4), I mostly limited my lines from A or Bb up, because of the lack of volume in the lower registers, even though it was (purportedly) well set up by a luthier. The nice thing about the Yamaha is that the tone quality and volume is highly consistent across the fingerboard.

    As many have recommended, I changed the strings to Thomastik Spirocores (Orchestral), because the Supersensitives really suck on this bass. Now that these are played in, the bass can really sing. For the first 8 months, I played mostly through a set of headphones, which was OK, but not much more than that. This really changed after I bought an AI Coda from The Good Bob Golihur. It is a real pleasure to play through this combo..

    Some of the pros and cons (purely my personal assessment):
    - The instrument really feels like a 3/4 bass. It has the same weight and balance, and with the bridge adjusted right the strings feel like having the same tension as my old bass. The one drawback is that it doesn't allow you to let the bass lean into your groin the same way a full body bass would. I guess it requires that you balance it even more by itself, which is not necessarily a disadvantage
    - It's a lot less prone to damage. My old bass was repaired several times because of travel-inflicted damage, no matter how careful I was.
    - Apart from jazz, it's suitable for pop and rock work, if one if so inclined.

    - Contrary to what Yamaha claims in its adverts, it can and never will sound like a true quality wood bass. It simply misses the wood overtones that are so essential in small ensemble playing. It is an electric bass, period.

    I will buy a real DB in the foreseeable future, but I now can afford to spend much more time looking for one. I can play anytime I want, with or without alarming the rest of my family, and have fun doing it.

  16. BassWizard55

    BassWizard55 Guest

    Dec 21, 2002
    Rome, Ga
    Which size of the Thomastik Spirocores would you reccomend?
  17. MartinT


    Apr 16, 2003
    San Mateo CA

    I can't really recommend any size, only what I'm currently using, which are the Spirocore Medium, Orchestra gauge, Orchestra tuning, 3/4 size, 41.5" tuning length, red on top and bottom. Works for me.


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