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Yamaha BB414 Orange Metalic Reviews
“It’s HOW much?!” exclaimed my wife, more than just a little annoyed.
“Under a thousand!” I said. “And look how nice it looks.” I was pointing to a Music Man bass in a catalogue that was selling for ‘only’ £999.99.
“Not a chance,” was her firm-but-surprisingly polite response.
“Alright,” I conceded, turning to my computer screen “how about THIS one then.”
“Hmmm. That’s a little better,” she observed. “Is it nice?”
“Is it nice? It’s better than nice. And it’s a steal at that price.”
(She _never_ bought that line.)
“OK…” she paused, as if to think about what she could negotiate in return. “You can have the orange one.” Thankfully, there were no further terms and conditions. Yet
And so I ordered the Yamaha BB414 – which really was the bass I had wanted all along. Between you and me, I wasn’t going to drop a grand on my new axe, as I’m not even a bass player, and the extra £800-some-odd quid would be better spent on outboard or more mics.
But I did need a new bass guitar for some studio work I was doing. I know my way around them, even if I can’t quite sound like Geddy or Flea. And since this was going to be used as a recording tool, as opposed to a gigging instrument, I needed a versatility of tones that wasn’t about to be provided by many of the lower-cost options, and as I already stated, I didn’t want to spend a fortune.
So – enter the ‘compromise’ in the form of the BB414. But a compromise it’s most definitely not.
It’s a solid instrument. Alder body, bolt-on maple neck, die-cast tuners, chunky knobs, ‘Fender-style’ headstock, and it feels great. I’ve played other basses, and this one feels a bit like a Fender P-bass, but there’s something a little more ergonomic about. This overall solidity would also lead me to believe it would probably make a fine instrument for live use.
Anyway, I plugged it in, using the included patch cable. This is when the fun really starts.
NB - My signal chain is a Radial Pro-D2 DI into a DAVelectronics BG-1 preamp and into my DAW via a 002R, or occasionally a Focusrite Saffire feeding an Mbox via S/PDIF.
The range of tones that this bass can produce is nothing short of astonishing, considering the price. With a soapbar-style bridge pickup and two split-coils in the middle plus a tone control knob there’s a fantastic number of possibilities. The bridge pickup provides a very ‘single-coil’ sound (that hum/buzz included) – very up-front, ‘toppy’ and punchy sounding. The middle (combo) setting on the switch adds a bit more bottom-end to the sound, giving more of a fat, punchy growl, but with less overt noise. The split-coils on their own are fat, round and smooth, as they should be, and exhibit no extraneous noise. I think it would be very difficult not to find a sound that will sit in the mix of whatever style you’re working with.
I share a gripe with another review I found on the Internet before purchasing this bass – there’s only one tone knob, and thus you can’t adjust the tone of each pick-up individually, which would allow for an even bigger range of tones.
My only other complaint is a common one with guitars bought sight-unseen, and that’s that the intonation was not set properly at the factory, and I’m going to have to do a bit of work to get it right, but it’s an easy process – the instructions are included.
The bottom line: the BB414 a great bass for a great price.
I would also tell parents out there who are looking for a ‘first bass’ for their wannabe-rock-star kids to seriously consider this one, as the extra money spent over a Bronco or Squier is very justified, as the bass is better made, more versatile, and is going to be infinitely more fun to play, as long as the kid doesn’t mind not having the F-word on the headstock.
(that would be F[ender], of course.)
So I’m happy with my BB414.
But more importantly, my wife is happy with my BB414.
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