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.

The five-bolt neck joint is rounded for comfortable upper access to all 21 frets. The fretboard is rosewood, with simple but classy oval inlays (compare them to the BB3000MA’s hot chilli pepper inlays, which I assume is a nod to Anthony’s love of chilli and not a tribute to his Chickenfoot bandmate, Red Hot Chili Pepper Chad Smith). The neck feels a little bit indistinct, and although it’s well-made, it’s perhaps the one indicator that this is a less costly bass. The slightly sharp fretboard edges are a bit of a giveaway that this is an eastern production-line bass.

The pickups are a pair of custom Yamahas that look unlike anything else out there, with a blade featuring a radius similar to the fretboard for nice even volume from string to string even if you bend a note – which is something you’ll probably want to do, since this bass feels rather soloing-friendly. The pickup rings are rounded off, and while some players might find their thumb slipping a bit when using it to anchor for fingerstyle playing, I found it pretty comfortable.

Controls are fairly simple: volume, tone, and a three-way pickup selector switch. It’s much more common for basses to have a pair of volumes – one for each pickup – and a tone control, but this more guitaristic layout gives you quicker access to the bass’s sounds.

Another particularly interesting feature is the 45 degree through-body stringing: flip the bass over and you’ll see that the strings actually pass through the body at a 45 degree angle before reaching the bridge. This is designed to reduce stress, secure the string tension and improve the transmission of the string’s vibrational energy.

The BB424X is indeed a punchy, powerful-sounding bass. Even unplugged it’s almost loud enough to at least use in a living room acoustic jam. Plugged in, the same punch and power is evident, but can also be tamed by selecting the front pickup and rolling back the tone a little. You can get some great old-school R&B tones and some amazing, woody hard rock sounds, and although it sounds great with fingers, a pick really allows all that chunky alder and maple to resonate and kick some ass.

Having played the really upper-end BB series stuff before, I can say with confidence that this one really has the right sound, vibe, feel and spirit. It’s amazing that this is a relatively inexpensive bass.

LINK: Yamaha

7 Replies to “REVIEW: Yamaha BB424X bass”

  1. Does the Yamaha bb424x give you more bang for your buck over a fender jazz bass?
    I’ve been playing for about 3 years now and I’m looking to upgrade but the fender bass is almost three times more expensive. I know that Yamaha makes really good budget electric guitars so I would imagine that they make quality bass guitars as well.

  2. Tough question. The Yamaha is very flexible, but like I said, the neck feels a little bit unremarkable compared to the rest of it. There’s a certain vibe about a Jazz Bass that you just can’t get from anything else, but if it comes down to value for your money then yeah, I’d select the Yamaha over a lower-level Jazz Bass.

  3. I just got a bbg4s ii about a month and a 1/2 ago and,frankly i feel stupid.

    I have been spending way to much for my basses apparently.
    I had no idea yamaha was putting out instruments of such high quality for such a silly price.

    my new to me bbg4 was really ratty when i got it off of a auction site. so i disassembled it and,it had corrosion on the strings and,was in terrible shape.
    but after a good cleaning and,i put it back together and,set it up
    This is a pro level bass,no doubt about it. $200,on ebay shipped. crazy.

    This is a kickin behind bass guitar baby.

    I went and,played some more yamaha basses and,i have to tell you I ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT FENDERS WERE WAY OVERPRICED FOR WHAT YOU GET.. WAY,WAY,OVERPRICED.
    So even though i love the sound,i am not paying 1500$,for a jazz bass.aint gonna happen.not even 800.

    So,my bbg4 sounds like a p bass,twist a knob or 2 and viola,,JAZZ BASS.tWIST A LITTLE MORE
    and,it is snapping and,growling and,i can rock out an arena with this bass.

    Why are yamaha basses so cheap for the quality you get,unreal.
    So anyways,i have my eye on this bb424x as my NEXT bass. The bbg4s is active and,the 424x is passive but STILL has great big sound.

    I myself love the neck shape and,thickness.
    I think that somehow they have figured out something with woods and,resonance.Maybe it has something to do with how they make their pianos also.Their pianos are highly thought of for their tone and,feel. I feel the same thing in their bass guitars.
    No more -boutique basses- i am keeping some of my basses,put im gonna put a few on ebay and,buy a few yamahas and,i will be done. Great basses,great sound,great value. I AM SOLD.

  4. Hey! Thanks for the comment! As far as I can tell, the resonance you’re noticing is probably the result of Yamaha’s tight quality control along with good contact at the neck joint.

  5. hi guys,,, i’m from Indonesia, have you heard it?? sorry about my silly english… i hope you’ll understand what i’m talking about…
    ehem… i have 2006 Fender Mexico jazz bass,, but honestly,, i’m not very comfortable with how my finger make a note upon that small neck. especially in low fret,, do you think it all about how we get used before we get the comfort when we playing th bass..?? No!
    when i first try to played BB 424x i feel soooo comfort,, every chord,, every bass line,, i love Blues music so much so i search the fat tone that jazz bass produced…. the most important to do is how we get honest about how we get comfort from the instrument no matter how the price or what tha fuckin brand… just honest right?? hehe…. i’m ready to release my Fender and get a 424x in my hand… yes dude!! thanx bro….

  6. Hey- just wanted to circle back and say thanks for the review. After reading it, I did a little research and found one in stock at a store in my city to test drive.

    15 minutes later I bought it. Absurd value. This thing plays like nothing else I’ve found in the price bracket, and it looks just deadly. I’ve had great luck with Yamaha basses thus far (I bought an RBX something-or-other for next to nothing to replace a stolen instrument on short notice and was shocked at how good it sounded for the money), and if this one stands up to the level of abuse I put that thing through they’ve made a customer for life out of me.

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