RBX170 review by Yamaha

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (137 votes)
Yamaha: RBX170

Price paid: € 199

Sound — 8
I play on a 15 Watt Ashdown combo. My style of music ranges from punk and pop to hardrock and some early metal, mixed in with some Funk, R&B or hip-hop tunes. This bass is ready for any style, basicly. The 2 volume knobs and the single tone knob give you a wide selection of sounds to choose from. The split coil is great at what it does. It has a very deep and growling tone with quite a bit of volume. I'm less pleased with the Single coil. I must admit that I'm never a fan of bridge pick ups, but the sound of this thing is just too trebly and it lacks the 'oomph' you expect from a bass. I only use it in combination with the Split Coil. It is a bit noisy tough. The pickups aren't properly shielded, which means you have to touch the strings at all time or else it will hum.

Overall Impression — 9
I have been playing guitar for a year and bass for 8 months now. I play in a post-rock/indie band which gigs occassionally. I also own a Squire Stratocaster. If it would be stolen, I'd save up a bit to the RBX 374 or 375 for the active electronics, but that is the only reason why I wouldn't get this the same one again. I will probably keep this bass as my main passive for quite some time. The best points about this bass are the great hardware and the split coil pickup. The Single coil and the electronics are less good, but what do you expect from a 200,- bass? This is probably one of the best and most versatile beginner basses out there.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar seems to be very durable. I've had it for 8 months now and I can not find a single scratch or dent. The hardware is very solid and it will probably last for years. The bass will stay perfectly in tune for quite a long time and the strap buttons (altough not locking) are rock solid and well balanced. You can definetly gig with this without a backup.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar was set-up quite well at the factory. I lowered the saddles a little bit myself, but it was definetly very well playable. The pick-ups were also at a very good height. All the hardware is fine, except for the electronics. The guitar hums, the pots are scratchy and the volume goes to zero when you turn the knob for 50%. They definetly need to be replaced. The finish on my guitar is beautifull. I have the cherry sunburst version and it's great. there are no visible errors or anything.

Features — 10
This bass is made in China around 2007. It has an Agathis body, 34" scale Maple bolt-on neck with a Rosewood fingerboard. 24 Frets, passive electronics, 4 strings. The body style is unique to RBX basses. Fret access is excellent all the way up to the 20th fret. The last frets are difficult, but not impossible, to reach beacause of the bolt on neck. It has a Vintage bridge with 4 saddles and brandless non-locking tuners. Despite the price of the bass, the tuners are great. They feel very precise and the bass stays in tune for days if you don't move it in a gigbag. The bass has passive electronics. There is a Single Coil pickup at the bridge and a Split Coil at the neck, both made by Yamaha. There are 3 knobs: Front volume, Rear volume and Master tone. The Bass came with a cable and 2 times 2 allen wrenches. The only thing you could be missing is active electronics, but that's so subjective I'm not going to reduce points for it.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    im getting this bass for xmas im getting the blue version with a Laney RB1 amp to go with it cant wait
    i like this bass....but the blue paint really pisses me off. I'm sorry but sparkly blue does not cut it for me.
    I honestly don't know much about basses for I've only been playing for about 4 months, but all I know is that I picked up this bass for 300$ and I couldn't be happier. Its a fine looking bass and the sound is good. Also I love the feel of the bass. It's got 24 jumbo sized frets and it can play just about anything. I think that if you are starting to play bass, this is the bass for you
    I have this bass, too. I like it, because I think, that you can play it very easy. Surely when you have got sweated hands
    This is my first bass from a year ago. Got it for $170. Still loving it as much as when I first got it. 24 frets? I like that. A lot. For the sound, I'd even pay $400.
    I have owned an RBX 170 for about 8 years now. It was given to me by a friend who decided that he didn't like it. I however, think it's a great bass which can be applied to any genre of music. I have also had a recurring problem with the jack nut coming loose over the years, and yes,I agree with basilbrush that the bridge pickup is way too trebly, but with a minor tweak of the very effective tone knob it is easily brought under control. Depending on the kind of music you prefer to play I find that this guitar is perfectly capable of producing a huge range of good quality sounds from a satisfyingly creamy, bluesy sound to a growling, deep and thumping bass with nice high percussive overtones which is perfect for punk or funk. If you want to play metal or slap bass this bass will do the job ok but you might be better off spending a little more and getting a bass with active pick ups. Other than that I don't see the point of active pick ups. I love the simplicity of this bass - just plug in and play! No messing about with batteries or having to adjust the volume on your amp when you plug in another bass. When I'm gigging, I usually take 3 guitars with me so that I can have variety of sound and good backup. I always include the RBX170 and it stands and is used unashamedly alongside my 1975 Fender Jazz Fretless and my 1977 Rickenbacker 4001. In fact I find that recently I use the Yam more than the Rick because of its sheer playability - and it's a damn sight lighter and better balanced! The neck on the RBX is astonishingly fast - second only to my Ibanez SR500, (which I use mainly in the studio now since the battery ran out halfway through a gig). Having 24 frets can also be useful at times, albeit rarely! I will happily use this bass in a studio through my Roland Bass Cube 100, (which I will also use for smaller gigs linked directly into the PA), and it sounds awesome through my Ampeg SVT Classic + Ampeg B410 + Ampeg B115 cabs for larger gigs. Overall, in my experience, I have never yet played a bad Japanese made instrument and this bass - as cheap as it is - is no exception to that rule. It is a perfect bass for a beginner and a perfectly good and dependable bass for an old pro like me. If my RBX170 was to break or be stolen, I would definitely replace it with exactly the same!