|Body And Neck:|
Yamaha’s much-loved BB Series is a legendary collection that has spanned more than 40 years, has been used by a big range of pro musicians, and thousands of bassists around the world. Part of Yamaha’s 2017 overhaul, the BB 700 Series is most definitely targeted towards the gigging bassist, with the BB734A deserving its place on our chart of the best basses under $1,000 for its stage-worthy style, comfort and electronics. Right, we’ve bigged it up enough – time to take a closer look…
There’s nothing too extravagant about the design of the BB734A, although nobody can deny it’s a great-looking bass in either color choice – there’s a sophisticated Coffee Sunburst or the slightly more ominous Translucent Matte Black.
With a core of maple sandwiched between an alder top and bottom, the body itself features the classic contoured shape that always makes a BB bass so inherently comfortable to hold.
Attached to this is a five-piece maple and mahogany neck, which features a new six-bolt miter connection. These extra two bolts make it an incredibly sturdy neck and increases sustain. This painted neck shows off a new slimmer profile – one that will appeal to modern players – and is capped with a rosewood fretboard with 21 medium frets and bar inlays.
The overall build quality is what you’d expect from a sub-$1000 Yamaha – very good with no major flaws. It feels like a reliable performer truly built for the stage.
So, what’s under the hood? The BB734A is loaded with the classic P/J pickup combo, with two YGD Custom V7 pickups – a single-coil at the bridge and a split-coil at the middle. The ‘A’ in the name points towards the fact that this bass sports active electronics. A small switch on the lower bout allows you to quickly flick between the active and passive circuits, while you’ll also find a master volume control, a pickup blend control and 3-band EQ controls for big versatility.
The rest of the hardware is also geared towards the working pro, with a set of Yamaha’s new lightweight open-gear tuners on the headstock – easy to use and another addition that shows Yamaha’s designers are thinking about how this bass performs on stage. At the other end, there’s a Vintage Plus Bridge with strings strung through the bottom of the body for huge sustain. And yes – it comes with an included case, which is a handy addition.
This bass doesn’t have ‘a tone’ – it has hundreds. The flexibility in sound shaping is huge thanks to the already versatile pickup combo but throw in the 3-band EQ for boosting and cutting frequencies, and you have huge versatility. One key feature we love is the ability to quickly switch from active to passive configuration, which is particularly useful for gigging musicians. You can find bold, punchy modern rock and metal tones, but seconds later be playing smooth jazz with a softer and warmer sound after switching.
For an in-depth look at the sound of the individual pickups, as well as the bass performing in a musical context, check out this video:
The beauty of this bass is in its versatility. Whether you are a recording artist, a session player or even a hobbyist, the BB734A can really offer you the tonal flexibility you need. Add in the comfortable body shape and the sleek playability, and the value on offer really speaks for itself.