When looking for a bass guitar suitable for beginners, Yamaha’s TRBX174EW is one of the first on our list. It is actually one of the Japanese brand’s more affordable bass guitars, sitting in the lower end of their TRBX series, although it still offers all the playability, durability and style that makes this range so popular. Let’s see what’s on offer.
This is one attractive bass, with a curvy double-cutaway body shape allowing full access to all 24 frets. The body is carved from solid mahogany, but includes a layer of thin laminated flamed mango wood on the top, which gives this bass its unique and eye-catching look. You will find that various shades are available on some market places – all settling around the theme of brown, including Root Beer and Tobacco Brown Sunburst, although the natural finish shows off the exotic wood very nicely.
This is a full-size bass, with a 34” scale length, and features an easy-playing bolt-on maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. It’s a solid choice for beginners, and is something you’ll want to practice on – not just because it looks good, but because it feels so smooth to play. The neck seems a little wider so is easy to grip, while the body feels comfortable whether standing or sitting. There’s a good action and minimal setup needed out of the box.
The TRBX174EW is fitted with two Yamaha-designed pickups in the tried-and-tested PJ configuration – a simple split Precision-style single-coil in the middle with a Jazz-style single-coil at the bridge. Although there’s no selector switch, there is a volume control for each of the pickups along with a master tone control knob.
There’s also a standard four-saddle vintage bass bridge, which feels pretty solid. The headstock includes four covered tuning machines and a string retainer, and is fixed with a veneer of the same exotic mango wood found on the body, which adds to the premium look. However a few things let it down a little, such as the black plastic control knobs which cheapen the look somewhat. Thankfully these are easily replaceable!
For around $200 you may expect some compromises in sound quality, although the TRBX174EW stands up to more expensive models. The two stock pickups offer plenty of tone and versatility, with enough punch and clarity to practice, jam, perform or record with. The Precision-style pickup offers the deep bass sound beginners crave, while the Jazz-style pickup comes into its own when exploring the higher ranges of the instrument.
For an affordable, mass-produced bass, the TRBX174EW impresses, and beginners using it as their first bass will benefit from the easy-playing neck and overall look and feel – who wouldn’t want to play on this? It’s not perfect, but that’s why it’s around $200 not $2000. Still, with such a nice body and neck, not to mention the quality sound on offer, it lends itself well to upgrading and should last any bassist a long time.
For more info about the Yamaha TRBX174EW, click here.
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