Phil Maneri’s
BASS
LAB

The quality of entry level 5-string instruments has risen exponentially in the last ten years. Ten or more years ago, if you wanted a quasi-professional level instrument, you had to spend well into the $1,500 to $2,000 range to get something that sounded good and played well – not just off the shelf, but over time. Here is a newer example of that kind of instrument that clocks in under $700 street price. That’s really just amazing. 

Lovely real flame maple top covers an alder core bolted up to a 5-piece laminated maple neck with mahogany stringers, capped by a rosewood fingerboard. The electronics are dual full-size bar-type Yamaha YGD H5 Alnico V humbuckers feeding a (9V) active preamp with 3-band EQ, volume, pickup blend and active/passive switch. The circuit cavity is mostly a printed circuit board, and everything is tidy, with flawless shielding. Hardware is black-coated, inexpensive, but very usable, bridge and keys; very much in keeping with what you’d expect on a quality Indonesian import. 

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The construction is better than you’d expect on a sub-$1,000 instrument. There were no obvious issues to complain about for something in this price range. Finish is quite pretty and flawlessly applied. The bass looks very good with a nice red burst over lovely flamed maple. The body has the “typical Yamaha shape” and it is light and well-balanced.

The sound is good for the price range. It is a bit on the thin side, even in active mode, but it sounds way better than most anything you can get for $650. It plays quite good and is completely adjustable. The dual-action truss rod is one of the “backwards” working types. 

Thinner sounds aside, this bass is a winner. It would be hard to find other basses that combine this good of construction with the price.

bass test
Yamaha TRBX605FM Bass Guitar

Yamaha TRBX605FM
Bass Guitar

CONFIGURATION

Strings:5
Style:Double cutaway
Overall Length:44”
Body Dimension:19” long x 13” wide at lower bout
Body Contouring:Minimal
Weight:8.45 lbs

NECK

Scale length:34”
Neck width at nut:1.686”
Neck width at 12th fret:2.462”
Neck width at joint:2.722”
Neck thickness at nut:.855”
Neck thickness at 1st fret:.843”
Neck thickness at 12th fret:.898”
Neck thickness at joint:1.025”
String spacing at nut:.342”
String spacing at saddle:.711”
Fingerboard radius:20”
Descriptor for neck shape:wide C
Peghead break angle:10 degrees
Bridge break angle:17 degrees
Afterlength at nut:1 7/8” to 4 7/8”
Afterlength at saddle:1” to 1 ½”
Attachment:N/A
Pocket gap:.017”
Truss rod type/access:Dual-action (reverse function) / body end
Fret count:24
Fretwire:90x46

ELECTRONICS

Pickups:Yamaha YGD H5 Alnico V Humbucker (Bridge and Neck)
Pickup location(s):11 ¾” and 14 ¾” from 12th fret
Electronics:Yamaha 3-band EQ
Controls:Volume, Blend, Bass (boost/cut), Mids (boost/cut), Treble (boost/cut; passive tone roll-off in passive mode), active/passive toggle switch
Shielding:Paint
Preamp circuit voltage:9V

CONSTRUCTION

Body Woods:Alder, flamed mple
Neck Woods5-piece (maple, with two mahogany stringers)
Fingerboard:Rosewood
Body Finish:Gloss polyurethane
Neck Finish:Satin polyurethane

HARDWARE

Stock Strings:D’Addario Nickel Roundwounds
Gauge:.045 - .130
Attachment:at bridge
Bridge/color:Yamaha High-Mass, die-cast / black
Nut:Urea resin
Tuners/color:Covered, die-cast / black
Knobs/color:Knurled metal / black
Pickguard:none
Back Cavity Cover:Black plastic, separate 9V battery compartment

GENERAL

Company:Yamaha Corporation of America
6600 Orangethorpe Ave
Buena Park, CA 90620
Usa.yamaha.com
County of origin:Indonesia
Warranty:Limited lifetime (top, neck, back, and sides); one-year (hardware and electronics)
Price:$1,070.00 (MSRP), $649.99 (street)
Options:None
Accessories:None
Available finishes:Dark Red Burst, Natural Satin, Translucent Black, Matte Amber
Acquired from:Yamaha Corporation of America
Dates:Summer 2019
Locals:Ohio
Test gear:Orange Crush 100 W 1x15 combo amp, Bergantino forté HP and HG412, Ibanez SR305 bass, Jackson CBX V David Ellefson Signature Series bass, Logic Pro X, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface, KRK 5” Powered studio monitors

TEST RESULTS

1-5 (unacceptable to impeccable)

In-hand

Features:4
Tonal Flexibility:4.5
Ease of Use:4
Aesthetics:4
Ergonomics:4.5
Tone:3.8
Value:5

In-hand Score
4.26average

On-bench Score
4.71average

On-bench

Overall construction5
Wood choice5
Materials choice4
Joinery5
Fretwork4
Fit and Finish of adornments5
Quality of finish work5
Ease of repair4
Potential range of setup5
Balance on knee5
Balance on strap5
Overall electronic quality3
Solder joints, wire runs5
Clarity5
Noise5
Shielding5
Quality for Price Range5

SONIC PROFILE:

Low: Warm, somewhat light, slightly pillowy on lowest low notes
Mids: Full, bold. Low mids are definitely the sweet spot of the instrument
Highs: Bright, smooth


TONE-O-METER

Extremely value-packed, versatile, good-looking bass from a company known for high-quality products. Would work for a wide range of music styles, and hits well above its price class.

Ibanez Bass Guitar Tom