Sound — 9
This bass can do anything, and that's no overstatement. The pickup switching options and the awesome 3-band EQ give you limitless possibilities, and with little to no background noise. I'm running it through a Fender Rumble 100 210, and I'm extremely satisfied with the different tones that I'm getting. After a head-to-head test against a few Fenders, Ibanezes and even some top-of-the-line Musicman and Warwick basses, this is the one that did it for me.
Overall Impression — 9
For the varied styles that I play, this bass excells in all the right places. I've been playing for the best part of a decade, and I feel that this is the bass that I've deserved to play all along, it's simply gorgeous. There's not a single thing I hate about it, but this is unsuprising seeing as how this bass came about after years of trial and improvement on Yamaha's part. Besides, Yamaha have always had a reputation for producing some of the world's most affordable yet cutting-edge instruments. If you're looking around in the 200-350 price range, give the Yam a slam.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I haven't had this bass long enough to see if it'll stand the test of time, but this thing feels solid. It's not like one of those cheapo basses that you expect to fall apart in your hands the moment you rip a massive riff, and it seemed on par in construction to the more expensive basses that I tried. I can't say much at this point, but I'd definately depend on it for my band's rigorous live performances.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
This is where it slightly loses points, perhaps not by its own fault. When I opened it, the truss rod needed massive attention with no notes being audible before the 3rd fret, bar a clanking noise. However, this was sorted out in setup, and it's probably due to the bitter cold it was shipped in. After setup, this bass feels completely flawless, and the finish is gorgeous. The satin finish on the neck makes it a pleasure to play, unlike the glossy painted necks on a few basses I tried. Definately a cut above the others in its price range.
Features — 8
My Yamaha BB614 was probably made in late 2006, and I can't remember which country it was built in. However, this is unimportant, taking into consideration the excellent craftsmanship. The body is a solid slab of alder, which is pretty rare on guitars in this price range, and the 21 fret neck is made from maple, with a rosewood fretboard. It has a rather handy 3-band equaliser and pickup blend pot, which provides an almost infinite variety of tones. Coupled with the P-Bass and rail soapbar pickups, this is perhaps the most versatile bass in its price range. This bass ticks all the right boxes in the cosmetics department, too, with it's sparkly pewter finish, nice big pearloid inlays and more chrome than a Harley Davidson. This is no run-of-the-mill P-Bass clone! The bass included a lead and a little Tool kit, which is rather nice, but I'd have liked a case, too.