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I have been hankering for a Bass guitar to fiddle with as a project and when I earned a few extra quid for a private job I started to browse eBay for a likely candidate.
I found a Yamaha RBX170 4 string bass on a pick up only deal in Ringwood, a place that I pass through regularly.
This bass retails between £120 - £150, putting it in the higher end of the beginners' market.
When I collected it, along with the 30 Watt amplifier which I got with it for a very reasonable £73, it was a bit grubby and looked as though it had been used for serving pizza. There were several torn and grubby stickers on it and I feared that I had bought a pup.
I got it home and plugged it in. The first thing I noticed was the weight, for a full scale bass guitar it is very light, I can hold it out at arm's length with ease. The range of tones is very good, you can go from the harder, clickier tones similar to a Rickenbacker to the beefy deep tone of a Fender. The tuning keys are arranged two each side of a arrow head shaped headstock. The strings run under a bar string retainer. The fingerboard is rosewood and the fret markers are dot shaped, with smaller markers on the side of the unbound fingerboard. The neck is made from a sturdy piece of maple. The body is made from agathis wood and is finished in a glossy piano black. Once I had used some spirit to remove the mess and stickers it came up quite well, showing that the finish is made to a good standard.
I found it to be easy and quite relaxing to play. The pickups are similar in style to the ones used on the Fender Precision and Jazz basses. The Neck pickup is a split humbucker, the Bridge pickup is of the type used on a Jazz Bass. The jack socket is mounted on the lower edge. This needed a slight adjustment with a screwdriver and a pair of pliers to stop it cutting out but this only took about a minute to fix. There is a volume control for each pickup and a tone control. The knobs are quite small and I may decide to replace them with larger ones. The two strap buttons, one on the tip of the long upper horn and the other on the end of the body are very secure.
The build quality is very good, as you would expect from Yamaha and this shows through, I don't believe that the previous owner was over careful with it but there are no serious marks in the finish.
As you can see from the picture, the finish shows every finger mark so if there is a disadvantage with this guitar that would be it. I'm very pleased with my purchase and, once the restoration process is finished I hope to list it on eBay and recoup my outlay.
I love reading reviews like this here on Ciao, it's a subject that were for it not appearing here, I would know absolutely nothing about. As it is, it makes a fascinating change from the norm here. May have told you this before, but my Polish father in law is a semi-pro rock musician, no use forwarding this to him though - he doesn't speak English! Richard.