REVIEW: Yamaha BB424X bass

The Yamaha BB series is a legendary line of instruments with a killer pedigree. You only need look to former Van Halen and current Chickenfoot bass player Michael Anthony to hear how the BB has shaped rock, and continues to do so. The BB is available in various different configurations (including an Anthony signature model, the BB3000MA), but the BB424X is one of the more affordable entries to the line-up.

The BB424X features a smoothly sculpted solid alder body and a 5-ply laminate neck. I like that the headstock face isn’t painted, so you can clearly see the different woods even from the front. And that oversized Yamaha headstock has got to be part of the reason for the BB’s legendarily powerful sound – all that extra mass right where the strings join the neck leads to a lot more resonance.

Buy the Yamaha BB424X from Musician’s Friend.

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REVIEW: Paul Reed Smith PRS 30 Amplifier


Although they’re one of the most popular guitar brands in the world, Paul Reed Smith isn’t the first company that comes to mind when you think of amps. But even so, the PRS 30 and its other US-made counterparts aren’t entirely unprecedented. In the early 90s they released a respected line of solid state amps, and more recently they’ve launched a line of boutique amps (including a Custom Amp Designs division led by Doug Sewell).

By the way, a new PRS SE line has also just been announced for those who can’t afford the US models. Can’t wait to check those out. But first, let’s look at the PRS 30. It’s a 30 watt amp designed to offer an English sound with an American twist. The construction method utilises thick PC boards for consistency, and all of the pots, jacks, power tube sockets and switches are mounted to the chassis. Shielded wire is used at various critical points for the best quality where it counts. At its heart are a quartet of EL84 power tubes, while the preamp section features two 12AX7s and two 12AT7s. The controls left to right are a Bright switch, Volume, Reverb (3-spring Reverb with medium decay), Treble, Middle, Bass and Master Volume. Around the back you’ll find an extension speaker jack in parallel with the speaker out jack.

Buy the PRS 30 from Musician’s Friend.

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