Price paid: € 246
Purchased from: Thomann.de
Sound — 8
I've used this bass in a variety of situations, though most of them could be defines as rock, in one way or another. Paired with steel strings (D'Addario Pro-Steels, or Rotosound Swing Bass 66) I can get a nice, well defined, bright and full tone that has often received compliments. The J-pickup on it's own has a nice growly sound while the P soloed delivers a quite full tone that maintains character and doesn't get muddy. I usually go for the middle, slightly favouring the J for fingerstyle. On ballads and stuff with log full notes, I use the P alone. The J pickup can cause a slight buzz when not grounded through body contact, but that has never been a problem. Nobody has ever noticed it in a gig. One often mentioned "flaw" of this bass is that it doesn't have a big fat bottom sound. I don't agree. Soloing the P pickup and playing with more skin close to the bridge I can get a very fat sound. Also the acoustics of this and any other bass, change completely when played in room level volume, compared to PA or loud amp situations. Before I ever used this bass live, I also thought it was a bit thin. But having used it now in a variety of live situations, I tend to eq-out some sub-lows (3 to 5 db cut at 50 hz), especially on gigs that take place in smaller venues. Using proper technique and carefully chosen strings, I've been able to get any sound that I've ever cared for, through this bass.
Overall Impression — 9
This bass has served me well and will continue to do so for quite some time. Given that I've never been (nor am I likely to be any time soon) in a financial position to have enough (if any) disposable income to buy a high end bass, I've only ever had cheap basses. Most of them (all?) usually have a bad fret or two (or 3, 4...) and that is what makes or breaks a bass for me, because it limits my playing. The Yamaha RBX-270J bass doesn't have any of these problems and it has never made me think that I couldn't play anything I want with it. Other brands might have more slick or pretty models, but this one is a real workhorse. Compared to all other basses I've ever played, that were around it's price range (even some that cost more than double), I'd recommend this without any hesitation.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The loose jack can be a problem, since heavy wires can actually fall on a sudden movement or something. Then again, I always wrap the wire through the strap, so I've never had this problem. I've used this bass often without a backup in live situations. The finish is, if anything, too thick. I'd prefer it if it was thinner and did show some ageing marks (other than dents).
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Setup was a bit high at first, but no construction flaws. I've done my own setup on it and I've managed to get a very low action that suits my tastes exactly. NO rattling frets or anything.
Features — 7
I've had this bass for almost 3 years now. Based on the serial and the document on the Yamaha site, mine was made in 2008 (somewhere around June to September, don't remember right now), in Indonesia. It is a typical passive P/J bass, with volume, balance and tone controls. Alder Body, Maple Neck, Palisander (i.e. Rosewood) Fingerboard, chrome hardware, but with black plastic knobs on the pots (I've replaced them with some old chrome ones I had). It is quite light and can be played for many hours without any encumbrance problems). It has a vintage-fender-style bass bridge, which is one of the weak spots, since there are no grooves and the G string barrel tends to move when down-thumping/stroking/picking. I've actually changed the bridge and placed a Gotoh B201-4, which somewhat improved clarity and sustain and more importantly, it cut all the rattling caused by the unstable barrels of the Vintage style bridge, especially during aggressive playing. Last weak spot is the jack, which was loose and I also changed (but only after it started losing contact while playing, which was 2.5 years after I bought the bass). This bass had a cheap wire (1.5m IIRC) included.