Before getting into this review, it’s worth pointing out that in 20 years of playing in bands, working in music stores, writing for magazines and working with gear companies, this writer has never come across a bad anything from Yamaha. Their quality control and construction standards have never been anything less than gosh- darn impressive, whether you’re talking about an entry level acoustic guitar, or a top-of-the-line Billy Sheehan Attitude Bass. So you know that when it says Yamaha on the headstock it’s going to be reliable. So what’s this particular instrument, the TRBX204, all about?
HOW MUCH BASS WOULD A BASSWOOD BASS
This is a fairly straightforward, solid four-string bass, designed to be affordable and sonically exible. It’s certainly not the rst bass to feature a ‘P and J-Bass’ pickup con guration, although it appears there’s slightly more space between the two than many other variants on this con guration out there, providing a slightly wider sonic range. The pickups are ceramic, which generally means tighter lows and a bit of punch in the upper midrange. The controls include a master volume, a pickup balancer knob and controls for bass and treble. The body is made of Basswood, a particularly even-toned wood often found in metal-oriented guitars. (Some folks think of it as an inexpensive wood but there are some damn ne Basswood instruments out there like the Ibanez Universe and EVH Wolfgang. Oh and it’s typically pronounced like the fish, not the instrument, so okay, that subheading up there is a bit of stretch). The neck is made of Maple with a Rosewood fretboard and 24 frets. The overall shape of the body is slightly reminiscent of the fabled Tune Bass Maniac but with more of an offset thing going on, and there’s good access to most of the upper frets. You might nd it a bit ddly to get to the 23rd and 24th depending on your playing style. The bridge is a vintage-style unit and the tuners are die-cast and quite simple and straightforward.
Straight out of the box this is a great playing bass, with no need to tweak the setup at all. Everything from string action to intonation to neck relief was just nailed on the review model. It’s loud acoustically too, which usually bodes well for the plugged in sound. Plugging in, the bridge pickup sounds punchy and articulate, and you might not feel much of a need to add extra treble unless you want a particularly aggressive tone. If you’re using fuzz or distortion you might like the sound of the bridge pickup with extra bass. As for the neck pickup, it sounds full and deep, and is a great way of adding extra lows to the bridge pickup without overwhelming it. Most players will nd themselves dialling in some blend of the two pickups rather than using them separately, but the ‘all-on’ neck pickup tone is very useful too.
THE CASE FOR BASE
So who’s this bass for? Well it’s affordably priced so it’d be a great beginner bass but it’s a good choice for general use for a more advanced player too. You might want to eventually consider a pickup swap to something a little more distinctive and wide-ranging, but as is it’s a great playing, decent- sounding bass with how-do-they- do-it-for-the-price construction quality.
Hits and Misses
Simple but effective electronics
- Scale Length - 34’’ (863.6mm)
- Fingerboard - Rosewood
- Radius - 9” 1/2 (240mm)
- Nut Width - 40mm
- Tuners - Die-cast
- Bridge - Vintage style
- Pickups - Split single (Ceramic) x1, Single (Ceramic) x1