SINCE ITS INTRODUCTION IN 1987, Yamaha’s BB series of basses have attracted fans as diverse as Nathan East, Lee Sklar, and Michael Anthony, building a reputation for being nothing if not versatile, reliable tone tools. The relatively new BB1025X, a passive 5-string with a P/J pickup configuration, is an update on the classic bass that offers a few nifty design tweaks.
With its gleaming pickup bezels, large oval pearloid inlays, and shiny control cavity cover, the BB1025X has a kind of understated, sophisticated, fl ashy vibe I found appealing. The Yamaha’s workmanship appeared excellent—the contoured neck joint allowed unfettered access to the upper reaches of the fingerboard, and the neck sat firmly paired to the body via four countersunk screws. The sunburst finish was flaw-free, and the 5-piece neck’s lightly oiled surface felt smooth under my thumb. The BB’s shallow “C” neck profile was right in my comfort zone, but I found the fingerboard radius to be a bit higher than I normally like, making the fingerboard feel flat across the strings.
The hardware was solid; the BB1025X’s bridge offers conventional or through-body stringing, which runs diagonal through the maple body block to ferrules sitting just below the strap button. The Yamaha also boasts a nickel silver nut—made from the same material as the frets—making open strings ring in such a way that they sounded as if they were being fretted. Plugging the BB1025X into a range of rigs, the passive 5 acted just as I’ve come to expect from similar Yamaha BBs. Blended and solo’d, the P- and J-style pickups had a smooth overall character—the neck pickup gave the bass a portly midrange bump, and the bridge pickup sounded tight and assertive without being too barky. There was sonic consistency across all five strings, and while the B string wasn’t the tautest I’ve felt on a 5, it was far from muddy sounding. The single tone control offered the expected range of tones, from dark and dub-y to clear and balanced.
In most respects, rather little has changed about the BB series since it was introduced 24 years ago. There’s a good reason for that: it ain’t broke. With its solid construction, dead-simple electronics, and thoughtful finishing touches, the BB1025X is a worthy choice for players of any style, at any level.
Pros A passive 5-string with classic styling
Body 3-piece alder and maple
Neck 5-piece maple and nato
Scale length 34"
Fingerboard radius 25 5/8"
Controls Volume, tone, 3-way pickup toggle
Nut Nickel silver
Weight 10.15 lbs
Made in Indonesia