Leaving Yamaha...

Space for non-sponsoring commercial users. Ads, announcements and promotions.
Forum rules
Threads Can Only Be Started By Supporting Members
User avatar
brucebruce
Posts: 1630
Joined: 08 Apr 2009, 17:58
Location: Melbourne, VIC
Contact:

Leaving Yamaha...

Post by brucebruce » 13 May 2014, 22:34

A year as an endorsing artist…

As my contract period with Yamaha Australia comes to an end, I thought it prudent to give some serious consideration to my position as a bass player and artists prior to signing on as an endorsee for a further 3 years. I was honoured and somewhat taken aback to be offered an endorsement deal with Yamaha in early 2013 – counting myself, in retrospect, very fortunate to keep the company of virtuosos like John Patitucci and Billy Sheehan not to mention session stalwarts Nathan East and Lee Sklar. I entered into the agreement well aware that the role of an endorsee is to promote a product and as a largely unknown, independent musician that I would have very little to ‘really’ offer a multinational music corporation. I’ve never considered myself a particularly talented bassist, nor do I profess to have ‘pro’ music experience; like most artists my musical pursuits have fallen largely into obscurity and significant performances have been incredibly uplifting but rare. Akin to other independent endorsees the formation of my working relationship with Yamaha is thanks to the rise of social media and specific to my story, forums like talkbass.com and video streaming monster youtube.com.

In late 2009 when Yamaha announced the rejuvenation of the iconic BB (Broad Bass) line of bass guitars, unlike most product launches – that generally only temporarily pique my interest – Yamaha and their clever youtube.com teaser clips (featuring Lee Sklar, Marco Mendoza, Nathan East, James Lomenzo and Glenn Hughes) managed to muster genuine product hype and place me squarely in their sights as a ready made consumer of the BB bass. So drawn to the product I hunted online for additional information and in a pursuit not unlike the search for ‘Bigfoot’, I uncovered images of Justin Meldal-Johnson and Duff McKagan sporting BBs on stages across the globe. It seems that Yamaha went to great lengths to test the new line of basses prior to their distribution to the public. As an endorsee I can confirm that this was precisely the case; Yamaha invested heavily in the Japanese BB line desperate to re-establish a market for high-end bass guitars and join the likes of ‘Super Fender Clone’ produces including Sadowsky, Lakland and countless other super P-Bass builders. Justin Meldal-Johnson was quick to deliver praise for the BB 2024X but in his typical honest and unapologetic manner also forewarned his fans “I know these basses won’t be cheap”. Fortunately, I soon learned that Yamaha would deliver a CNC import model – the BB 1024X (featuring the Yamaha custom shop model’s specifications to 90% of their entirety) and maintaining Yamaha’s commitment to quality entry level instruments, a student line the starting with the BB 424X bass.

In early 2010 after struggling endlessly to get a response from Yamaha Australia in regards to the launch of the BB line at home, I finally found an online US store ready to ship the BB 1024X. This bass was likely one of the first run of the import line and it was utterly flawless. Yamaha delivered everything they promised with this bass and I was quick to replace my trusty Fender Geddy Lee Jazz Bass with the BB as my ‘go-to’ instrument. Not long after owning the BB and putting through its paces with my then band, White Flag Of War (now; recording project), I posted an extremely detailed review on talkbass.com 18/3/2011, it reads as follows:

… In 2010, Yamaha announced the resurrection of an iconic 80s instrument, the BB or ‘Broad Bass’. These hardy Japanese monsters graced the hands of great session players like Nathan East and other band-orientated notables including Billy Sheehan, Paul McCartney and Tony Kanal. The BB became a pet project for Yamaha long before 2010 and endorsee-artist input was used extensively throughout the development period (according to Yamaha’s YouTube channel, representatives at NAMM 2010/2011 and statements made on their website).

Listen here (YouTube - yamahacorporation's Channel - and search BB Bass) to the likes of Lee Sklar, Nathan East, James Lomenzo, Marco Mendoza and Glenn Hughes sing the praises of these basses and despite the fact that most will think “Well, the check is in the mail; not to mention the free bass; and, while we’re on the subject, doesn’t Lee Sklar advocate the sheer brilliance of Dingwall basses? Oh, and don’t get me started about James Lomenzo’s rampant endorsement jumping.” All valid points but your rational scepticism is better off left in check, at least until this bass is actually in your funky paws.

Unfortunately, Yamaha’s advertorial hype failed to align with production or availability timelines and while curious bassists spied Michael Anthony and Justin Meldal-Johnson pumping out the low-end on a range of prototype ‘Super BBs’ many in the bass community were left wondering what’s the hold up?

The company’s next blunder occurred at price-point. Even Justin Meldal-Johnsen was quick to point out – in late 2009 (in reference to the Prototype he’d gigged with Nine Inch Nails) “I will say that the one I’m playing (of which I know has a production duplicate) is NOT budget minded.” Rumour regarding price spiralled and many endorsees were quick to confirm such speculation. Perhaps, in their infinite wisdom, the Yamaha marketing team firmly believed that in order to sell a high-end passive P/J bass, to a market swamped by US built counterparts, produced largely by the big ‘F’ they would need to ensure that these basses were highly sort after yet slightly out of reach; certainly, Dennis Webster’s (Yamaha Marketing Manager) rhetoric supports such assumptions, “These basses are the quintessential ultra high-end player’s instruments.”

“So, how much do they actually cost?” Well, for the most part this seems, oddly enough, to be a question of geography rather than economy. In Australia the Japanese built 2024, 2025, 2024x and 2025x BB basses retail for a wallet bashing RRP $5400, the Indonesian duplicates 1024, 1025, 1024x and 1025x instruments are priced from RRP $1499 and the entry level, featureless look-a-likes 424, 425, 424x and 425x axes range from RRP $500 - 700 (all figures in AUD).

Now for Yamaha’s next fumble, a matter of distinction; Yamaha have produced THREE new BB lines and at face value they all look the same (cosmetically), probably not ideal when you’re selling to a somewhat image driven commercial market. Let’s be honest, even the least egotistical of bassist enjoys showing off their new modified, upgraded, ‘slightly better than yours’ battle axe.

Having had a chance to A-B the 2000 Japanese built series and the Indonesian 1000 series brought to the fore a less than impressive, though pleasantly surprising revelation. Despite the missing A.R.E. and I.R.A. (read about them here - BB Series - Yamaha Electric Bass) technologies in the Indonesian line, Yamaha have reaffirmed their reputation as builders of fine, affordable basses.

The phrase ‘sucks the doors off’ is rarely seen in bass guitar reviews and probably with good cause but in this instance these words seem some how appropriate, thus, The Yamaha BB1024x ‘sucks the doors off’ all other passive P/J basses in its price range, in fact, this bass gives instruments twice the price a serious run for their money. Three key factors account for the power and performance of this bass: construction, resonance and tone.
In the case of the 1024x and its series siblings, the build techniques are consistent with their Japanese counter parts; constructed of a three-piece Alder body with a spline joint, the pickups and bridge are all mounted on the one piece of timber enhancing resonance and as quasi-scientific or spurious as these enhancements seem, in the flesh the unique three-piece construction makes one hell of an audible difference. A-B your favourite passive P/J (USA and custom shop models inclusive) against the 1024x BB and you’ll be amazed. The resonance of this bass brings life to Nigel Tufnel’s expression “listen to the sustain, you can go and have a bite and that’d still be going ah.” The notes fly from the fingerboard, holding sound and strong for a phenomenal length of time. It seems strange to note the musicality of an instrument but the integrity and sonic balance in this instance is something to marvel.

In terms of pickups, the Yamaha BB 1024x makes use of precision style split blade alnico magnets in the front and a ceramic single blade (jazz) pickup at the bridge (again, the same can be found in the Japanese ‘Super BBs’). Nathan East reveals, “they (Yamaha artists and designers) tried a lot of pickups” until they settled on the pair designed by YASH (Yamaha Artist Service Hollywood) and the time was well spent. This P/J is incredibly hot, the output level destroys the average punch of passive pickups and if not for the ‘vintage vibe’, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the sound for an active bass. From a less adoring standpoint it would be safe to say that the pickups may be a little bright for some player’s tastes.

Another factor for review is the quarter-sawn five-piece neck (it’s important to note that this is the only quality feature found in the entry level 400 series); it’s one solid piece of lumber and adds, once again, more integrity to the build quality of the BB bass. The neck is a little ‘chunky’ but far from excessively so, it might be likened to a Stingray or heavy set Precision and the finish is reminiscent of Ernie/Ball Music Man instruments; not quite satin, just a simple natural finish. The nickel-silver nut and mother of pearl inlays are really just icing on the cake…


The review received the usual share of praise and stereotypical talkbass.com damning criticism but it is thanks, largely to this post, that I would become endorsed by Yamaha Australia some 2 years later.

I’ve always maintained the notion that in order to improve as a player and a musician you should surround yourself with collaborators above your current standings. At least in my experience, being pushed helps improve my bass playing. In late 2011, I joined Anarion – a local (Melbournian) Power/Thrash act that had some fleeting international success and was highly regarded in the local metal scene. With Anarion, even more so than in the rehearsal space of other musical projects, the BB 1024X bass sounded very much at home and after just a few months of playing with the band, smitten as I was, I ditched all my Fender basses and purchased a second BB bass. Once again, limited (almost non existent) availability locally led me to purchase from the US.

Between late 2011 and early 2013 I played many gigs with the Yamaha BB 1024X double act; my original black beauty strung C# G# C# F# and the transparent caramel set up a half-step down. When my first recording experience with Anarion began in late 2012 it became quickly apparent, much to my abhorrence, that I would need a 5 string bass for that organ shuddering ‘B’. To my mind the solution was obvious – purchase a Yamaha BB 1025X but as it had been some time, nearly a decade since I’d last played a ‘5er’, I thought it best to try the bass prior to purchase. I was confident that the bass would deliver impeccable tone but concerned about string spacing and nut width, especially given the new BB’s sizeable neck and my lack of experience fretting up and down the fingerboard on an extended range bass. I hunted extensively online for local stockists but to no avail. Completely frustrated by Yamaha’s approach to sales in Australia I resorted to social media (at this point I had only recently joined the fanatical Facebook community). My post on the Yamaha Music Products Australia’s ‘wall’ was polite and restrained but in essence my message was a complaint. My comments contained no mention of Anarion, no links to any music but I did post a link to the aforementioned review of the BB on talkbass.com. I cannot recall the exact wording of my grievances but mentioned my disappointment pertaining the BB 1025X’s availability in Australia – especially given my admiration for the product.

Within 24 hours I received a response, the message read: “The General Manager would like to call you. Would it be ok if we could have your mobile number?” The phone call that followed was frustrating, enlightening and flattering. I was included in a conference call with the general manager and nation-wide guitar and bass product manager (the Andy Irvine of Yamaha Australia – if you like). Discussion centred mainly on my grievances in terms of price, availability and promotion of the new BB basses in Australia; I was swiftly informed that Yamaha are ‘really up against it’ down under.

… to be continued (sorry ozbassforum.com – I just ran out of ‘puff')
Last edited by brucebruce on 15 May 2014, 19:23, edited 1 time in total.
Super Hans: "Dude, that's not jam, that's just total f%#king marmalade."

User avatar
Juan Lauda
Posts: 374
Joined: 17 Nov 2009, 04:49
Location: Sydney, NSW

Re: Leaving Yamaha...

Post by Juan Lauda » 13 May 2014, 23:05

Holding my breath for the next instalment!
Eleven. Exactly. One louder.

bigswifty
Posts: 1448
Joined: 24 Apr 2011, 18:53
Location: Sydney Hills District
Contact:

Re: Leaving Yamaha...

Post by bigswifty » 13 May 2014, 23:16

Likewise, hope you find some replacement puff soon mate, very interesting so far!
I'm a mean offloading machine!

User avatar
FunkDragon
Posts: 1570
Joined: 15 Jun 2010, 20:34
Location: Bilambil NSW

Re: Leaving Yamaha...

Post by FunkDragon » 13 May 2014, 23:21

Interesting read.
Waiting for the conclusion now.....
:) :popcorn:
It's ALL about the groove!
Spector - ReBop MM 4, & Legend Custom 5 :partydance:
Genz Benz GBE750
Ampeg Portaflex 4x10

groovinbass.com

User avatar
sharpman
Posts: 1202
Joined: 19 Apr 2012, 06:13
Location: Ballarat Vic

Re: Leaving Yamaha...

Post by sharpman » 14 May 2014, 00:18

Ah damn, on nightshift at work and was having a grand old time, look forward to the rest tomorrow night maybe!
~Labsystems 400b-Labsystems 610HP-EBMM Stingray-Darkglass B7K

User avatar
jamiesdad
Posts: 3977
Joined: 11 Jan 2009, 14:24
Location: Sydney's Leafy North Shore

Re: Leaving Yamaha...

Post by jamiesdad » 14 May 2014, 08:15

what a story Chris ... looking forward to the next instalment

you do wonder ... if they are against the wall, not having any stock available in stores seems a strange decision.
Friendly Forum Mod

User avatar
Aussie Mark
Posts: 16078
Joined: 28 Oct 2008, 21:06
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Re: Leaving Yamaha...

Post by Aussie Mark » 14 May 2014, 08:39

Bugger ... I'd just made myself a cup of tea and had sat down to read this.

Rolling Stoned | The Volts | Doors Alive | Bonza | The Vinyl Beats

Basses: Nash, Fender, Duesenberg, Greco, Ibanez
Rig: Fender Bassman 500 and Neo 410

Endorsing artist: Fender; Cave Passive Pedals

User avatar
vin-tone
Posts: 4725
Joined: 09 Oct 2009, 21:46
Location: Ballaarat Vic.
Contact:

Re: Leaving Yamaha...

Post by vin-tone » 14 May 2014, 09:24

Fender Roscoe Beck V, Fender 63AVRI, Eberhard Meinel Upright > Markbass & AI Coda

User avatar
rodl2005
Posts: 4194
Joined: 31 Oct 2008, 09:04
Location: Hobart TASMANIA
Contact:

Re: Leaving Yamaha...

Post by rodl2005 » 14 May 2014, 13:57

I need glasses!

Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk
Mean & Surly

User avatar
drbass
Posts: 3213
Joined: 04 Apr 2013, 05:31
Location: Doreen, Victoria
Contact:

Re: Leaving Yamaha...

Post by drbass » 14 May 2014, 18:09

Come on, Chris,

The suspense is killing me!

Regards,
Michael
Last edited by drbass on 14 May 2014, 21:17, edited 1 time in total.
- Merlin “Kermit” 6 multi, Merlin Gaia 6 fretless, Merlin Rockmachine 5, Merlin NT5, Manta 5, Manta 5 YOLO, ("Red Baron" 5), Q 5, (Sandberg Classic S2-5), (Thumb-4)
- Genzler Magellan 800, 2 Genzler BA12-3

User avatar
Classic5
Posts: 3872
Joined: 15 Oct 2009, 19:33
Location: Melbourne

Re: Leaving Yamaha...

Post by Classic5 » 14 May 2014, 18:49

The last comment, "Yamaha are really up against it in Australia" doesnt make sense to me. I purchased my 1024x from a local store in Melbourne and it's one of my all time favorite basses. What are they talking about?
IB-Classic#001, Xotic XJ-1T 5,Yamaha BB1024X
Glockenklang Blue Soul, Glockenklang Double, TecAmp Puma 112 Combo
"If you keep buying things you DON'T need, eventually you'll have to start selling things you DO need"

User avatar
TheMachineIdol
Posts: 463
Joined: 29 Nov 2011, 21:38
Location: Bathurst, NSW

Re: Leaving Yamaha...

Post by TheMachineIdol » 15 May 2014, 10:16

I can relate; late last yeah I embarked on a journey to buy a TRB 6 string- couldn't find one anywhere, so I placed an order with the local music shop for one.
I was informed there would be a 3 month wait until the next shipment. So the salesman ordered it there and then, I paid my deposit. And I waited......

3 months went by and nothing. Then the shop got a phone call, the shipment had arrived and there were no TRB 6s coming. And there would never be again. The line I was fed was that they have stopped making them entirely.
:(

User avatar
lownotes42
Posts: 795
Joined: 21 Jul 2011, 23:04
Location: Adelaide

Re: Leaving Yamaha...

Post by lownotes42 » 15 May 2014, 17:49

I seriously cannot wait for part 2.
Clover Apeiron5, Stingray 5, USA DLX Dimension 5HH, '97 USA DLX Suhr Jazz V, USA P5, BB735a and Bergantino Amplification.

User avatar
PBass
Posts: 426
Joined: 12 Nov 2009, 16:11
Location: Sydney, Australia

Leaving Yamaha...

Post by PBass » 15 May 2014, 19:07

While WE all wait with antici......

http://mobile.news.com.au/entertainment ... 6917433651



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

User avatar
Aussie Mark
Posts: 16078
Joined: 28 Oct 2008, 21:06
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Re: Leaving Yamaha...

Post by Aussie Mark » 16 May 2014, 08:37

"She's a prick teaser; she took me half the way there"

Rolling Stoned | The Volts | Doors Alive | Bonza | The Vinyl Beats

Basses: Nash, Fender, Duesenberg, Greco, Ibanez
Rig: Fender Bassman 500 and Neo 410

Endorsing artist: Fender; Cave Passive Pedals

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest