Yamaha’s BB Bass series is growing this summer with nine new models that debuted at the Summer NAMM Show. The reworked basses, which range from entry-level to professional, will feature a smaller body among other upgrades.
The new line starts with the four-string BB234 and five-string BB235. Each is built a solid alder body fitted with a custom V3 ceramic pickup. Yamaha opted for retro hardware with a vintage-style bridge and lightweight open gear tuners. The next step up is the 400 series, which steps things up with a five-piece maple and mahogany neck that’s attached with a 6-bolt miter neck joint. “The firmer 6-bolt miter neck joint that has won praise in the Billy Sheehan Signature/Attitude Limited III lineup not only improves stability,” the company writes, “but also increases the efficiency of vibration transmission to the body for a more resonant, organic feel and tone.” The 400 Series also bumps up the pickups to a set of YGD Custom V5’s.
Building even further, the BB700 series changes the construction to an alder/maple/alder multi-laminated body. “The hard maple center increases body stiffness and accentuates midrange to cut through the mix of a band, and allows a more uniform transmission of vibrations between the body and the maple neck for unparalleled resonance and sustain,” Yamaha explains. The YGD Custom V7 pickups are matched to an active/passive 3-band EQ that has a battery alert LED to indicate how much juice is left. The BB734A and BB735A also include a Vintage Plus Bridge with a convertible bridge and saddle.
At the top of the pack is the Pro Series BB, which is crafted one-at-a-time at Yamaha’s headquarters in Japan. It carries the same features of the 700 series with the special treatment of the company’s top luthiers. It also gets the I.R.A. or Initial Response Acceleration treatment. “Any bass benefits from being “played in,” a process in which the instrument matures and opens up as the stresses between the wood and finish, neck and fingerboard, and body and hardware are released, resulting in better sound and playability,” they write. “Yamaha’s exclusive Initial Response Acceleration (IRA) technology releases those stresses by applying specific vibrations to the completed instruments as part of the crafting process and gives a “played in” bass from day one.”
Yamaha’s updated BB Series will ship this month with prices ranging from $470 for the BB234 to $2,575 for the BBP35.