Yamaha BB434 Review & Prices

Yamaha BB434 Review
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  • From Yamaha's 2017 400 series
  • Made in Indonesia
  • 4 strings
  • 34"'' scale
  • 9.843" Fretboard Radius
  • Alder body
  • Maple/ Mahogany 5pcs neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: VSC5b ; Single Coil / Alnico V (Single Coil/Passive)
  • 2 volume and 1 tone Dome knobs
  • Vintage Plus Light: Convertible Stringing, Steel Saddle bridge
  • Bass C Bolt-On neck
  • 21 Medium frets
  • Lightweight Open Gear tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 68
Sound 81
Build quality 65
Value for money 76
Overall Score 71
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Yamaha BB434
  • Expensive Wood
  • Ivory Tusq Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in Indonesia
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Active Preamp
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Retainer Bar
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $440, which means that the Yamaha BB434 costs around 18% more than the competition. It might be due to it having additional features, but know that you can find cheaper similar alternatives. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 4 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in Indonesia.

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Your feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

Weight

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Tuning stability

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Neck access to high frets

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Neck profile shape

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Is it Easy to Play?

The Yamaha BB434 meets 4 out of our 6 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good bass to start with as a complete beginner. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

Yamaha BB434
  • Comfortable shape
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Yamaha BB434's construction favors people with relatively big hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this bass—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Yamaha BB434's 34" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Yamaha BB434 Scale Length Comparison
Yamaha BB434's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is considered a long scale bass, and it's the most popular choice for several reasons. Even though it might be more difficult to play than short scale basses due to their increased string tension, their punchier low-end results in a clear and defined bass tone that can cut through in a mix, making them well-suited for genres like rock, metal, and funk.

Neck Profile

Yamaha BB434 Neck Profile
Yamaha BB434's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Yamaha BB434 has a 9.843" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Yamaha BB434 Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Yamaha BB434's fretboard radius compared to others

This is a radius that makes it comfortable to play chords, but that's just slightly flatter than the typical Strat fingerboard. It's still not as flat as a Les Paul, so it might not be as comfortable for soloing. The feel sits right in between a Strat and a Les Paul, although it feels more like the former.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Yamaha BB434 has the same radius across the board.

Playability compared to main competitors

Yamaha BB434
This model
34'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.575'' Nut Width
9.843'' Fretboard Radius
34'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.575'' Nut Width
9.843'' Fretboard Radius
34'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.575'' Nut Width
9.843'' Fretboard Radius
34'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.575'' Nut Width
9.843'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Yamaha BB434 Nut Width
Yamaha BB434 Nut Width

The Yamaha BB434 has a nut width of 40mm (1.575''). This is considered a wide width for a 4-string bass. A wider nut provides more space between the strings, making it easier for players to execute techniques like slap bass and tapping, which require extra room for precision. However, players with smaller hands might find it challenging to comfortably reach across the wider fretboard, as it requires a wider stretch between the fingers.

Frets

The Yamaha BB434 has 21 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

Fret Size

Yamaha BB434 Fret Size Comparison
Yamaha BB434's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Yamaha BB434's frets are Medium size. With medium frets, you can feel the fretboard more than with jumbo frets, but it's still easier to press the strings cleanly than with small frets; notes might change their pitch just slightly if you press hard on the fret. Also, if you need to do some fret leveling after years of playing, you'll have some room to sand them down without having to replace them.

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 65
Chord Playability 80
Solo Playability 60
Playability 68

Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Alder wood pattern used for guitar building
Alder Body
Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Neck
Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood Fretboard

Alder Body: This is a lightweight type of wood that was popularized by Fender. According to them, it's a wood that offers a balanced tone but that favors the upper midrange slightly.

Mahogany Neck: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Rosewood Fretboard: Since the ban of Brazillian Rosewood, this has become a rare and expensive wood. It's not usually used for guitar bodies because of this, and also because it's heavy. Instead, it's used mainly for fretboards. Sometimes it's also used for necks because it's an extremely hard wood (even harder than maple). Its tonality tends to favor warm tones.

Pickups

This bass comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Yamaha. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

Preamp

The preamp is an electronic circuit that serves as an intermediary between the bass's pickups and the amplifier. Its primary function is to boost and shape the bass's raw signal before it reaches the amplifier. This allows for greater control over the bass's tone, volume, and other sound characteristics. Preamps often include tone controls, equalization settings, and sometimes even onboard effects, enabling bassists to tailor their sound to their preferences and the musical context.

This bass has a Passive preamp. A bass with a passive preamp lacks an onboard electronic circuit for tone shaping and signal boosting. Instead, it relies solely on passive pickups and basic tone controls, typically consisting of volume and tone knobs. Passive preamps don't require an external power source like batteries, making them low-maintenance and dependable. While they offer a simpler and more straightforward tonal character, passive basses are appreciated for their warm and vintage sound, often favored in genres like classic rock, blues, and funk. They are an excellent choice for musicians who value the simplicity and timeless appeal of their instrument's tone without the need for active electronic components.

The Yamaha BB434's configuration is Split S. It has a classic, warm, and punchy tone, characterized by a strong midrange presence and noise reduction. Its design cancels out interference, making it suitable for various musical styles and ideal for live performances and studio recording.

More with the same pickups

Yamaha BB434
This model
21 Frets
Fixed Bridge
VSC5b ; Single Coil / Alnico V Bridge Pickup
VSP5n : Split Single Coil / Alnico V Neck Pickup
21 Frets
Fixed Bridge
VSC5b ; Single Coil / Alnico V Bridge Pickup
VSP5n : Split Single Coil / Alnico V Neck Pickup
21 Frets
Fixed Bridge
VSC5b ; Single Coil / Alnico V Bridge Pickup
VSP5n : Split Single Coil / Alnico V Neck Pickup

Versatility

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

What music genre is it good for?

As a 4 strings, Solid Body bass with Split S configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Country or similar. However, you can use almost any bass for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 100
Sustain 65
Versatility 77
Tuning Stability 80
Sound 81

Build Quality Analysis

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Yamaha BB434 is made in Indonesia. Many people prefer the quality of an Indonesian guitar over a Chinese. Respectable brands like Epiphone, Ibanez and Schecter are building in this country because of the great quality and lower price. Some people like to compare them to the ones built in Japan during the 80s, when Japanese guitar makers made a name for themselves.

Bridge

Vintage Plus Light: Convertible Stringing, Steel Saddle: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your bass. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Yamaha BB434 has a Ivory Tusq nut. This material is made to look, feel and sound like Ivory. It's made of organic polymers and doesn't contain oil or animal products. This is probably the highest quality nut you can get, so you can expect good tune stability and more clear tones when playing open strings. Most people seem to agree that it looks nicer than any plastic and even some bone nuts.

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the bass meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This bass has a Bolt-On neck joint. Even though this type of neck was looked down upon for a long time, nowadays bolt-on necks are well built and provide just as much sustain as any other join method. First of all, it's cheap to make because it consists of simply 4 bolts that attach the neck to the body. And you can travel with the guitar more easily, swap out the neck if you damage it, or upgrade to a more comfortable neck later on.

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 56
Features 70
Quality Control 70
Build Quality 65

All Specs

Yamaha BB434
General
Brand: Yamaha
Year: 2017
Configuration: Split S
Strings: 4
Made in: Indonesia
Series: 400
Colors: Black, Blue, Brown, Red
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: Alder
Bridge: Vintage Plus Light: Convertible Stringing, Steel Saddle
Neck
Neck Joint: Bolt-On
Tuners: Lightweight Open Gear
Fretboard: Rosewood
Neck Material: Maple/ Mahogany 5pcs
Decoration:
Scale Size: 34"
Shape: Bass C
Frets: 21 Medium
Fretboard Radius: 9.843"
Nut: Ivory Tusq
Nut Width: 40mm (1.575'')
Electronics
Switch: 0 Way
Knobs: Dome
Volume Controls: 2
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: VSC5b ; Single Coil / Alnico V (Single Coil / Passive)
Neck Pickup: VSP5n : Split Single Coil / Alnico V (Single Coil / Passive)

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