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Yamaha RBX170EW - Tobacco Brown Sunburst Reviews

4.5 stars based on 6 customer reviews
  • from Indiana November 7, 2013Music Background:
    Bass Player/Musician

    Totally Underpriced, Which is Cool

    I bought this because I simply wanted a standard, run-of-the-mill 4-string bass to knock around on, and Yamaha has a great reputation for building inexpensive instruments of outstanding quality (this is my first Yamaha bass). Turn-ons for me were the P/J-style pickup combo, the scale length, and the price. Nothing fancy. I did not expect to end up with anything nearly this nice. So, while I'm high on the excitement of getting a new toy and from the sleep depravation of a night spent playing, I thought I'd take a second to share my observations about the RBX170 with the class.

    The body is slightly smaller than a P or J Bass, but is extremely well balanced and fits comfortably in my lap, and I'm 6'4", so it's not obnoxiously small either. More importantly, it's remarkably light, so it's easy on your back when you stand. I also like the way it resonates against my chest, which is one of the benchmarks I look for right along with the way a bass sounds unplugged. Even without the benefit of an amp, you can tell this bass sustains like champ.

    The neck has an almost sanded-feeling satin finish that's baby-butt smooth. I'd been expecting to give it the old steel wool treatment and was delighted to find it wholly unnecessary for my taste. It's a bit chunky (which I like), but not encumbering, kind of like a meaty Fender C. This keeps the narrow 1.5" nut from inducing claustrophobia, but might turn off a player with smaller hands trying to play up the neck, but I doubt it. I have sasquatch hands, so it feels like heaven to me. The frets seem nice and even too, and they're dressed nicely so you won't have to worry about sawing off your hand.

    When it comes to the pickups, I'd pretty much assumed I'd want to replace them, though other reviews spoke highly of them. So far, the reviews have been spot on, because I've felt no inclination to swap these pickups out. Both are nicely dynamic bread-and-butter single-coils, and each has its own distinct character that stands on its own or blends with the other smoothly. Each pickup has its own volume knob (as it should be), and a master tone control covers a range from lightly tamed highs to a fully rounded, treble-less R&B sound. If you like passive pickups, you'll have nothing to complain about.

    So far, the hardware appears to be rock solid. I like the fact that the 4-saddle bridge is fully adjustable, though I've found no reason to touch it. The tuning machines are sealed, and they have low-profile heads instead of those annoying paddles that make your bass go out of tune when you breathe on it. I'm still a bit heavy handed when it comes to popping, and despite hours of continuous playing I didn't notice any slippage, so they seem to do the trick nicely.

    All told, these are not the qualities you'd expect to find in a bass that's less than a respectable car payment or a night or two out on the town. A few bucks more for the RBX170EW model is totally worth the aesthetic upgrade too, by the way. At any rate, I'm very glad I picked one up.

  • from Dingmans Ferry, PA May 31, 2013

    Amazing Bass!!

    Super value for the money!!!! Factory set up was right on!! My Friend says it plays and sounds better than his Rick!!

  • from LaGrange, GA April 1, 2013

    Best bass ever

    This is by far the best bass I have ever played. I love the look of the mango wood top on the body and headstock. I have the tobacco finish and it is stunning( the stock photo online does it no justice). It slaps and pops very well. I've played basses that range from 100 dollars to 6000 dollars and this one grabbed my eye and ear quicker than anything else. I picked it up to play and thought that maybe if the neck felt good i could swap out the pups and make it a pretty decent bass. The pups were amazing! For 200 bucks this thing is a steal. Yamaha is pretty much giving it away. Yamaha quality can't be beat I don't care who it is.

  • from Miami, Florida February 9, 2015Music Background:
    Playing guitar for the last 23 years

    Cheap bass that is well made

    I bought this bass because I needed something in my home studio. It plays great, it looks great and it sounds great! Yamaha's are well made guitars that still go through better inspecection than most bigger names "say" they do. Great bass for the price, I will enjoy this instrument for many years to come.

  • from VT USA November 12, 2014Music Background:
    Musician, song writer, pro/hobbyist

    A great Bass

    This is a solid, nice sounding bass. Even with two screws missing from one of the tuners, I would not hesitate to buy one of these. A great Bass from Yamaha!

  • from Silver Spring, MD September 19, 2013Music Background:
    Semi-pro guitarist

    Yamaha RBX170EW

    I needed an inexpensive bass as a backup when the bridge in my Steinberger broke. I asked a friend who plays professionally and has a bunch of basses--and through his students, sees dozens--what he thought of the Squiers or Epiphones. He told me not to do that and to get the RBX170. I shopped around and paid the extra $20 (you must be kidding) to get the sunburst mango top, and went with Sweetwater because of the great customer service.

    The bass is as good as promised. It's full scale, but very comfortable to play standing or sitting and quite light--the reason I got the Steinberger long ago. I messed around a bit with the action, but it was really fine out of the box. The tone is very good with the stock pickups, especially the P-bass. The J-bass pickup doesn't do much for me, but I'm more a thumper than a slapper; I may think about replacing it down the road. And the sunburst mango top really is a beauty.

    If you're looking for a inexpensive bass worth WAY more than what you'll be paying for it, I can't imagine doing better than this.

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