RBX170 review by Yamaha

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  • Features: 10
  • Sound: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (137 votes)
Yamaha: RBX170

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features — 10
- Made in Indonesia
- Rosewood fingerboard with 24 frets
- Solid body 
- Vintage style bridge
- Passive electronics
- Front volume, rear volume and master tone controls
- Single coil pickup and split coil pickup

The features on this bass are pretty much what you would expect from an inexpensive beginner bass. The tone controls actually allow for quite a bit of range. The only feature I wish it had was active electronics, but for the price, you really can't get much better. It also came with the allen wrench needed to adjust the truss rod and saddle.

Sound — 8
I play multiple different styles from Evanescence to Red Hot Chili Peppers and 311. For the heavier metal songs, it has rich lower notes sounds good even at lower tunings (Drop D, Drop C#). This guitar has fantastic tone for slap bass songs. The passive controls do allow for a wide variety of tones that can fit pretty much any style of music. I use it with a Peavey practice combo amp and sometimes an Electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff Pi pedal for rock songs and for songs requiring more of a fuzz sound such as "Hysteria" by Muse.

The single coil pickup is noisier than the split coil. At higher volume, the guitar has a constant hum unless you hold the strings. This humming isn't too bad and doesn't interfere with the sound when playing. My only real complaint with the sound is that the A string is significantly quieter than the other strings. You can adjust the tone to compensate somewhat, but it is still noticeable.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
As soon as I pulled the bass out of the box, it was ready to play. The action was well adjusted and there were no other adjustments that needed to be made. Everything was aligned properly and there were no issues with the tuners. The only comment I would make is that the stock strings that come installed in the bass are not the best. I don't really like light stings anyway so I'm not sure if they are fine for someone who likes them like that. I changed the strings to mediums and had to adjust the action, but that is to be expected.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I have had this bass for a year and a half now and it plays like the day I took it out of the box. I play this guitar almost every day for hours on end and I have never had anything break. I'm pretty rough on it too. I've hit it a few times and dropped it from a small height. There are now a few nicks in the finish, but even the worst are hardly noticeable. After a lot of playing slap bass, there is an area on the finish full of scratches from my watch which I wear on my right hand but even this is only noticeable in the right angle of light. This is not my only bass but it is the one I play most of all. I can depend on this guitar to sound great every time I plug it in. One of my favorite things about this bass is that it locks in tune really well. Even after temperature and humidity swings in my dorm room, it is still in tune. The strap buttons aren't locking but are rock solid.

Overall Impression — 10
The bottom line is that this guitar is a fantastic starter bass. This is the fist bass guitar I have ever owned (not the first I have ever played) and it has never let me down. I'm no expert bassist but I know this bass is better than a lot of starter basses out there. If this bass was lost/stolen I would most certainly buy it again although I would consider a higher end version with active electronics. Compared to the Squier J bass I own, it's got a better tone. It doesn't sound that much different from a Fender P bass I have played, and considering the price difference, I find that astounding. This bass is a great value for the price and will keep playing for years to come.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This is the first bass I ever bought. Perfect for starters; cheap and reliable. The sound isn't extraordinary, but again, good for beginners. After playing for about two years, you'll want to upgrade. 8/10
    I recently bought this bass on ebay, but when it was delivered this morning I was very disappointed to find that the jack socket is broken and part of it is missing... Considering fixing it instead of going through the hassle of returning it - can anyone tell me what replacement socket I should buy or would any old generic one do? Thanks!
    i just bought this bass yestarday.it has a clean sound and is well worth the price.