The evolution of the electrical upright bass, or EUB, has tended for the reason that Nineties in the direction of hybrid devices which try to fulfill the center floor between double and electric bass gamers.
With this new Silent Bass, Yamaha’s intention is clearly to develop an instrument that replicates the precise expertise of taking part in an actual double bass, with a transparent view to reproducing its sound as carefully as attainable. Concurrently, the SLB300 may present beneficial options to among the journey issues going through the fashionable participant. Let’s unpack it and see.
Construct High quality
My preliminary impressions upon first assembling and taking part in this bass acoustically had been extraordinarily constructive. Setting up the bass straight out of the case is a quite simple job – and sure, it may be finished in a short time, relying in your atmosphere. Can it’s finished in 30 seconds, as Yamaha declare? I was being very cautious to not harm the instrument, so for me it was a minute or two.
The shoulder brace is the perfect I’ve come throughout on an EUB. Two aspect items that symbolize the higher bouts fold out and are fastened into place when bolted on on the high of the physique. When this leans towards you, this offers it a genuinely real looking really feel, similar to a double bass.
It feels fully steady, sitting completely with good stability. There’s not one of the feeling that you simply’re holding an extended neck with no actual sense of the place the physique is for reference. It additionally provides the right taking part in stress below each the left and proper hand, with out you having to carry the bass in place – a uncommon and beneficial asset.
The SLB has a really playable normal 41.75” string size. The neck feels good for all left-hand transitioning. I would love it to be a little bit thinner, however a luthier might simply repair this for me. The bass comes with normal machine heads, and though these are ample, I would like a higher-quality various with finer gearing, equivalent to an Irving Sloane product.
The top pin suits into the physique at an angle, an excellent concept that stops rotation and makes the bass really feel steady. It fixes into the bass with an adjustable tightener that goes straight onto the pin – it has no grooves into which to repair it, which is a slight concern.
Because it’s the weakest level of any EUB, I might personally favor an finish pin with a denser mass within the metallic that wouldn’t bend on the joint below stress, as I believe this one could do over time.
Pin slipping is unlikely to occur on a jazz or classical gig, however had been I to make use of it in my band Lamb, the place I usually transfer round energetically, placing further strain on the pin, this may very well be a difficulty. I would like to repair it into the bass in a means that fully avoids it loosening and slipping into the instrument.
On a sensible notice, the SLB has an simply accessible cavity for its AA batteries. We’re advised to anticipate 26 to 32 hours of battery life, which appears fairly brief to me, so ensure you carry spares.
Sounds And Playability
On taking part in the bass acoustically, I used to be struck by its very good resonance. You’ll be able to really feel the notes via your physique, and the place different EUBs can usually sound and really feel merely like a large electrical fretless, this bass satisfies the need for the texture of an actual double bass.
The sound is drastically enhanced by a good-quality bridge and an honest, dense fingerboard. It has a full and wealthy low finish because of an acoustic chamber that provides a pleasingly loud physique quantity when unplugged. The bridge is adjustable, so establishing your required motion is fast and straightforward.
Plugged in, the bass makes use of a powered digital system that simulates the sound of three completely different studio microphones. You’ll be able to regulate your sound by deciding on certainly one of these and mixing it with the treble and bass controls, supplying you with a variety of tones for various musical conditions. The mix may be adjusted between the direct pickup output, with no mic simulation to full microphone simulation.
Right here, although, is the place I discovered it troublesome to attain my desired tone when taking part in pizzicato. With the EQ set flat on my amp, I discovered the tones to be too nasal for my style.
It is a widespread downside with EUBs: My feeling is that through the use of a mixture of a high-quality preamp equivalent to a Grace Felix and a special hybrid string equivalent to Evah Pirazzi – quite than the D’Addario Helicores that this bass comes with – you’d get a richer, woody amplified tone.
This bass bows extraordinarily properly, with an excellent sound in all registers throughout the complete vary of the fingerboard. I loved experimenting with its pure sound by working it via varied results together with reverb, delay, refrain, and sub-harmonics.
It tracked these properly and will show to be an excellent bass to make use of in louder digital or rock bands. It might be fascinating to see how properly you would drive the sound via an enormous PA at bigger venues and festivals.
As an alternative choice to an upright, the SLB300 would work properly in each a classical and a jazz context. It feels excellent in your arms and performs very a lot as a double bass ought to. Although a big funding, it is a really spectacular leap ahead within the development of one of these instrument – and in some respects, it’s the most interesting EUB I’ve performed.
- PRICE: £3,499 avenue / $4,575 MSRP
- MADE IN: Japan
- COLOR: Brown
- BODY: Spruce and mahogany
- FRAME: Beech, removable
- NECK: Maple, 41” scale
- FINGERBOARD: Rosewood
- PICKUP: Piezo
- CONTROLS: Quantity, energetic treble and bass controls, bypass selector, mix management, mic sort selector
- HARDWARE: Wormgear machine heads, reverse ebony tailpiece
- WEIGHT: 15 lb 14 oz
- CASE/GIG-BAG INCLUDED?: Sure, with mute and allen wrench
- CONTACT: Yamaha