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#749918 - 08/16/06 04:53 AM Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
John50 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 111
Loc: Marlborough, New Zealand
Hi, I'm new here, and I have already used the search function to check, but there are very limited comments on this make & model bass.

Briefly, I'm a keyboard and tenor / bass trombone player of some 35 years, but have always been a closet bass player!! That is I'd talked about learning bass for some 25 years! Just over 2 years ago, I brought a VERY entry level 5 (hey why make it easy!) string, and never having attempted any stringed instrument previously till 2 years ago, set about teaching myself to play by ear, as well as read. Anyhow, I'm not doing to bad, and have played bass now for 3 different musical theatre shows, (10 to 15 show seasons) which really put the pressure on me to improve. Very, very scary the first show!!! I'm not claiming to be any speedster on the fret board, so my current bass is fine in that respect. However, having played trombone to a reasonable sort of standard in brass bands, orchestras, musical theatre, big bands, and my favourite, Dixie jazz bands, for 35 or so years, I am looking, sound wise and tonally, for something a lot more satisfing than what my crappy entry level bass can possibily do! So cutting to the chase:

In the interim I am using as a bass amp my Fender RXA 200 watt keyboard amp (brought for my Roland RD600 piano) which I am told is fine for the bass. Certainly it seems to handle things with out any problems. I'm looking to play in future anything from musicals to jazz, blues and rock music at some stage.

I am considering purchasing NEW a Yamaha BB 615 (quite impressive) or one of the following Ibanez basses; SR505, SRX705, or one I have not tried yet the BTB555 or ... maybe go to the 6 string BTB556 (these 2 BTBs seem to be packed with features for the price)

The other option that has poped up is this second hand Yamaha BB 5000A, for about the same money as the above mentioned new basses. The Yam BB 5000A (I think the closest current model to this would be the BB 2005. Am I correct there??) seems a pretty awesome bass, judging by a few comments I've found. I also noticed I could not currently find any others for sale. I presume this means they are very sort after?? Sounds like they are heavy, but that is not an issue for me. The only problem is, this bass is in another country from where I am, so I would have to purchase it in good faith, but also not having a chance to play it, which I'd much prefer. As I really like the sound and playability of the current BB615 model, does this mean I'd find this bass even better, sound and playing wise?? Sorry, hard questions I know. I am a bit nervous about buying a second hand 15 year old bass, but also like the idea of having what is apparently a stella, premium bass, compared to the models I am looking at buying new.

I'd really appreciate any, and all comments on this issue. Thanks for your time to read this.

I'm just loving the bass playing SO MUCH. Like a new lease of life~! I now know I was always meant to be a bassist!! :-)

Cheers,
John
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#749919 - 08/16/06 07:03 AM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
jlrush Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 2392
Loc: Columbia, Missouri
Hi John50, and welcome to the LowDown.

You said your current bass is entry level. What kind is it?

Yamaha is a reputable company and their BB and TRB models are top of the line. I've played some Ibanez models (can't remember which) in stores, and they sounded pretty good too.

It sounds like you've been able to play the basses you've mentioned, and that's the way to do it. Have you played them through your own amp? That would be a good idea.

Music Man and G&L are both pretty versatile basses, and you can't beat a good Fender Jazz or Precision bass. The Mexican made models are pretty good too. The key is to play them first, then decide. A trip to Guitar Center or Sam Ash would give you several options to try out at one time.

Many here on this forum own one or more of the models mentioned and all like their own basses for one reason or another. I have in my collection a G&L Tribute 5, MIM Jazz 5, and Precision 4 string. I like them all, but still would like to own a Music Man Sting Ray or Sterling, or both. Like many others here, G.A.S. has a strong hold on me. \:D

Good luck in your search. It's great fun hunting for new gear and can become an obsession.

Jim
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#749920 - 08/16/06 08:22 AM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
dcr Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/07/01
Posts: 5315
I've played both, & they're both really nice basses. I have a BB615 myself, although it's the older model; they've since totally redesigned it. I bought it second hand, very cheap, and have been really, really impressed by how nice an instrument it is. My favorite part is the preamp; I've tried it against some other active 5-strings (including an old BB5000!) & it compares very well indeed. The best part is that it has a circuit that cuts midrange frequencies; when it's engaged, you simply turn a knob to choose which frequency you cut. I have found that I can get a WIDE range of tones--basically all the tones I need--with just that one knob. According to the Yamaha website, it looks like the redesigned BB615 still has the same preamp in it. That, plus the fact that you can buy it new, makes the BB615 a no-brainer for me.

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#749921 - 08/16/06 09:38 AM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
SteveC Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 06/29/01
Posts: 5001
Loc: Grand Forks, North Dakota
Ihave 2 Yamaha basses, a BB414 and a BB605. I really like them.I also just bought an Ibanez SR505 fretless. It's a nice bass as well. I'v eonly had it a coupe days so I can't say much more yet. I'm not sure I like the electronics, but I am spoiled by the Bartolini's in my 605.

I have played the new TRB basses. If I didn't already have a 5 string, I'd buy a TRB 1005. Great neck, nice tone. The BB615's are very nice as well.

I'm a big Yamaha fan. I think they are great basses and highly under-rated.

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#749922 - 08/16/06 04:46 PM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
John50 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 111
Loc: Marlborough, New Zealand
Hi Jim, thanks for your reply.

"
Quote:
Originally posted by jlrush:
Hi John50, and welcome to the LowDown. "


"You said your current bass is entry level. What kind is it?"

Its a Proaxe 5 string (Asian I think, do not know much more about it). Brought new for US$180. Have seen the odd used one for sale here (NZ) for US$50 - $80 now. You get what you pay for of course. Original strings were terrible, but were enough for me when I was first struggling to learn my way around a fret board. I had a set of Dean Markley signature series ML-5 2604B strings put on it over a year ago which totally transformed the sound of this entry level bass. A much brighter sound! The volume pot fell to bits, and the pickup balance knob does not seemed to make much difference to the sound. Also a bit of hum at times under some condidtions. Hey its budget, so what you'd expect. have not had a backup for any shows I've done, and this cheap Proaxe will become the backup bass in future.


"Yamaha is a reputable company and their BB and TRB models are top of the line. I've played some Ibanez models (can't remember which) in stores, and they sounded pretty good too."

The TRB models (new) are outside of my budget at this point, but I really like the look and list of specs. Certainly the BB615s I've played in different music stores have been impressive compared to the some of the more expensive instruments.


"It sounds like you've been able to play the basses you've mentioned, and that's the way to do it. Have you played them through your own amp? That would be a good idea."

Have not had a chance to play any new ones through my amp yet, as we live in a small town, and the only music shop only carries just a couple of entry level basses for obvious reasons. The local dealer is happy to bring in 3 or 4 others from an affiliated big city store for me to compare at home through my amp. That seems like a good idea. I'm working on a short list for him, but the more I read about different makes and models, the harder it gets!!!


"Music Man and G&L are both pretty versatile basses, and you can't beat a good Fender Jazz or Precision bass. The Mexican made models are pretty good too. The key is to play them first, then decide. A trip to Guitar Center or Sam Ash would give you several options to try out at one time."

Sorry, I should have said, I'm in New Zealand (down under)but we do have a couple of good music chains in this country, but need to get to one of the three major cities to see much gear in stock.


"Many here on this forum own one or more of the models mentioned and all like their own basses for one reason or another. I have in my collection a G&L Tribute 5, MIM Jazz 5, and Precision 4 string. I like them all, but still would like to own a Music Man Sting Ray or Sterling, or both. Like many others here, G.A.S. has a strong hold on me. \:D "

"Good luck in your search. It's great fun hunting for new gear and can become an obsession."

Jim
I am understanding what you are saying, as I think this current process is already becoming an obsession LOL
Thanks for your comments. It sounds like I'm sort of on the right track. I'll know the sound I'm looking for (that is in my head) when I find the right bass, I guess!
John
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#749923 - 08/16/06 05:03 PM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
John50 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 111
Loc: Marlborough, New Zealand
Quote:
Originally posted by dcr:
I've played both, & they're both really nice basses. I have a BB615 myself, although it's the older model; they've since totally redesigned it. I bought it second hand, very cheap, and have been really, really impressed by how nice an instrument it is. My favorite part is the preamp; I've tried it against some other active 5-strings (including an old BB5000!) & it compares very well indeed. The best part is that it has a circuit that cuts midrange frequencies; when it's engaged, you simply turn a knob to choose which frequency you cut. I have found that I can get a WIDE range of tones--basically all the tones I need--with just that one knob. According to the Yamaha website, it looks like the redesigned BB615 still has the same preamp in it. That, plus the fact that you can buy it new, makes the BB615 a no-brainer for me.
Thanks dcr, I definitely feel more comfortable with the idea of buying new, rather than untried 2nd hand (the used BB5000A is in a different country to me!) and really interesting to read your comments, because you've also played a BB5000A as well. I am looking for a wide range of tones, and really liked the 3 band eq on the BB615 basses I've played in music stores. I take it from yours, and other comments elsewhere that some of the mid range frequencies can a have a negative effect on the bass sound. I am still new to, and learning about all the ins and outs of basses and their sounds, but presume this has something to do with the harmonics???
Thanks for your help.
John :-)
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#749924 - 08/16/06 05:21 PM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
John50 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 111
Loc: Marlborough, New Zealand
Quote:
Originally posted by SteveC:
Ihave 2 Yamaha basses, a BB414 and a BB605. I really like them.I also just bought an Ibanez SR505 fretless. It's a nice bass as well. I'v eonly had it a coupe days so I can't say much more yet. I'm not sure I like the electronics, but I am spoiled by the Bartolini's in my 605.

I have played the new TRB basses. If I didn't already have a 5 string, I'd buy a TRB 1005. Great neck, nice tone. The BB615's are very nice as well.


I'm a big Yamaha fan. I think they are great basses and highly under-rated.
Hi Steve,
Yes I had the TR1005 & TR1006 on my short list, as I really liked what I'd read about them, and the specs. Unfortunately, even the 5 string is US$500
above my absolute spending limit. You can read that as the wife will make my life hell if I buy a TR1005 at this point in time!!!! LOL

I've got a SR505 freted bass on my short list of basses to try out, so I'd be really keen to know your initial reaction to the instrument and what it's sound and tone possibilities are.
Thanks for the comments
John.
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#749925 - 08/17/06 03:10 AM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
John50 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 111
Loc: Marlborough, New Zealand
Quote:
Originally posted by jlrush:
Hi John50, and welcome to the LowDown.

You said your current bass is entry level. What kind is it?

Jim
Jim
Proaxe is what became Ashton, an Australian company. There basses say "designed in Australia", so obviously made with cheap labour nearby somewhere in Asia! Only seem to make entry level type with cheapish components. Have a look-see here if you like:
http://www.ashtonmusic.com.au/productlist.asp?CatID=1055
John
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#749926 - 08/17/06 03:18 AM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
John50 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 111
Loc: Marlborough, New Zealand
Have finally got an email back about about the used Yamaha BB5000A. About 9 years old, one owner who has apparently not abused it. String spacing at bridge 19mm. It comes with a hard case in good condition for about, in USA dollars US$800. Does this sound like a reasonable buy, presuming it is orginal and in good nick??

John
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#749927 - 08/17/06 07:19 AM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
dcr Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/07/01
Posts: 5315
Whew...yeah, the best thing you can do with an Ashton is replace it...

The info on the BB5000A doesn't really shed any new light. And I might add that you can buy a new Yamaha TRB (or Ibanez BTB) for the same money (from the US).

My experience with the BB5000 was that it sounded & played great, but I was a bit disappointed with the preamp; I didn't find it overly versatile. One way to look at it is that an instrument doesn't have to be overly versatile to sound really good. But I'd be just as happy to have the versatility, too.

On the other hand, I know a shop here in Melbourne that's trying to clear out a new Yamaha TRB1006 (6 string bass) for $1k AUD, which is about $750 USD. You'd still have to ship it, of course, but I imagine it'd be cheaper than shipping from the US. (Send me a private message if you're interested.)

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#749928 - 08/17/06 05:11 PM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
John50 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 111
Loc: Marlborough, New Zealand
Thanks dsr, I've sent you a message
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#749929 - 08/17/06 05:12 PM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
John50 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 111
Loc: Marlborough, New Zealand
whoops, dcr that is....
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#749930 - 08/17/06 06:27 PM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
dcr Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/07/01
Posts: 5315
Can't send you a private message for some reason.

I looked at the BB5000 on the website...it looks really nice! (They put two different style bridges on that model, & that one has the "good" bridge.) You'd probably be happy with it. You'd probably be happy with a 600-series, too (I'm sure I would be!), so it's a tough call.

The Yamaha TRB1006 in Melbourne is at a place called Cranbourne Music (in Cranbourne, VIC): +61 03 5996 6955. If you call them, be sure to ask for Ross McMahon (tell him Dan Russell sent you). It's transparent black with a quilted maple top & black hardware. I've played & it's nice. They're way outside the city & I just don't think they've been able to attract many 6-string players (or adventuresome 5-string players) so they're trying to clear it out. It's been in the shop a long time, but doesn't look like it's seen much use. I've come pretty close to grabbing it for myself! (My wife even thinks I should! But I'll be in the US in a year, so I'll wait.)

Looks like you've got a lot of good options!

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#749931 - 08/17/06 07:35 PM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
John50 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 111
Loc: Marlborough, New Zealand
Sorry, my private messaging was not enabled. I've fixed that now so it can be used

Yes a lot of options. This is really fun, and later today hopefully will arrive a Yamaha BB615, plus 3 Ibanez basses [SR505, BTB556 (6 str.)and SRX505 (neck through)]
I've negoiated with the dealer for me to try them a home for this weekend. I particularly want to play the 6 string for a few hours to see if I can feel comfortable with 6 strings. I like the idea of having 2 & 1/2 octaves within about 4 frets. I've played bass trombones with double triggers, so i really understand the advantage of using alternate positions, which is why I went for the 5 string right from the start.
Hey this process is really fun. Can't wait to get these b4 basses side by side. And now a possibl;e option of a Tr1006 into the mix. Thanks heaps for the heads up on that one. I'm just going to phone them right now!
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#749932 - 08/17/06 09:17 PM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
dcr Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/07/01
Posts: 5315
I'll be interested to know what you think of the Ibanez BTB556...I've had thoughts that I just might get one some day...

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#749933 - 08/18/06 02:33 AM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
John50 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 111
Loc: Marlborough, New Zealand
Might be Monday now before they arrive. I'll give you an opinion in due course on the BTB. It was not one the local dealer thought would suit me, but I'm so impressed by the features the BTB has for the cost, that it had to be considered. Am looking into the ins and outs of the TR1006 with CM.
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#749934 - 08/18/06 07:11 AM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
davebassman Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 541
Loc: Sydney, AUSTRALIA
G'day John, welcome to the Lowdown.

I've got a '91 model BB5000a and I think it's great except for the chunky tuners which make it a little neck heavy.
When they were new they retailed for just over AUD$3000. I think with the drop in manufacturing costs, you get more for your money these days. I paid $895 back in '96 for it. Bargain at the time. They do pop up on ebay for around the $600-700 mark.

I was really impressed with the yamaha rbx375. Great value. The ibanez SR905 also impressed me.

Good luck finding a new fish.

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#749935 - 08/18/06 01:30 PM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
John50 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 111
Loc: Marlborough, New Zealand
Quote:
Originally posted by davebassman:
G'day John, welcome to the Lowdown.

I've got a '91 model BB5000a and I think it's great except for the chunky tuners which make it a little neck heavy.
When they were new they retailed for just over AUD$3000. I think with the drop in manufacturing costs, you get more for your money these days. I paid $895 back in '96 for it. Bargain at the time. They do pop up on ebay for around the $600-700 mark.

I was really impressed with the yamaha rbx375. Great value. The ibanez SR905 also impressed me.

Good luck finding a new fish.
Thanks for the comments Dave. At this stage I've dropped the 5000A down a few notches of possible contenders. I've just found that if you purchase a new Yamaha in Australia, you get a 5 year warrenty. If purchased in New Zealand they only give a one year warrenty. Seems rather uneven treatment for NZers!! Can't see why that would be.
Cheers
John
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#749936 - 08/18/06 04:56 PM Re: Yamaha BB 5000A (how good, whats it sound like)
John50 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 111
Loc: Marlborough, New Zealand
Quote:
Originally posted by davebassman:
G'day John, welcome to the Lowdown.


I was really impressed with the yamaha rbx375. Great value. The ibanez SR905 also impressed me.

Good luck finding a new fish.
At the end of last year I tried a Yamaha bb615 and the rbx375 in a music store while having a weekend away in the big city (Wellington) with my wife. Loved the bb615 but, sorry, I really did not like the feel, but especially the sound of the rbx375! Of course it all comes down to personal taste. I sure am having fun looking around to buy my first decent bass. :-)
John
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