Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Yamaha RBX4 A2

I was in a music store today and this thing caught my eye. Very interesting appearance; the RBX4 A2 looked a little like 50's Jetson's-type Modern style, a little like fashion-forward postmodern industrial design. It's a real departure from the current trend of beautiful woods and finishes. So different, it's probably what interested me.

The industrial design look was all over it: Brushed steel hardware, white front with green/gray back and neck; silver/brushed steel line around the edge mimicking binding. There was even some contouring on the headstock and body. With such an interesting forward/retro look, it demanded to be played.

I picked it up and, for a bass, it's weight surprised me. Light as a feather, possibly off-balance by being neck-heavy, but overall very light in weight. Yamaha accomplishes this by using softwoods for the body center, sandwiched between hardwood face and back. There is a special bridge coupling the front and back (the strings go through the body, ala vintage Fender basses), intended to pull tone from throughout the instrument. The neck is hardwood (alder?) and bolt-on.

Plugging it in, the sound was particularly clear and in general delightful. Single-coil pickups give a really nice slap/pluck sound. Then I looked down: the knobs were glowing! Well, actually there were colored lighted rings around the 2 volume knobs that were apparently lit by internal LEDs. A little on the tacky side, I thought, but interesting.

Overall, I liked this bass a lot. I didn't get a chance to wring it out, but it left a good impression on me. It's worth a play, even if it looks like it came from Forbidden Planet. Call it "Robbie."

Zebron and James