Yamaha BEX-4 F-Hole Semi-Hollow Reviews
Bass Northwest, online, $500US, no case.
I really like hollow basses, especially
if they combine piezo with magnetic PUs,
so I was already on the watch for just
this sort of ax.
Even though it's semi-hollow, it sounds
like the vocal chords of some wood-bodied
animal. It really sounds like it's some
kind of living voice. It sounds this way
with the roundwounds it arrived with, and
with the Fender nylon covered RWs that I
put on it.
I also like that for some reason, there's
little or no finger-string-fret noise [at
most EQ settings] despite the problems I
usually encounter [noise-wise] with piezo
PUs on fretted axen.
And of course, there's that haunting tone,
like wood with lungs and vocal chords ...
Although it has no upper horn and has a
full scale [34"] neck, it is close to a
neutral balance on the strap. Neck dive
is VERY slight. Some SOLID-bodied basses
dive more than this one.
I also like the control layout: 2 knobs
on the front for gain and PU blend [on
this ax PU blend is a MAJOR tone control]
plus a triple slider control for 3-band
EQ up on the shoulder facing me.
And did I mention tone? that it sounds
like a living voice ? I DID ? OK....
Lastly, but very important to ME: it has
a bolt-on neck. The idea of a through-
neck bass with non-adjustable bridge is
rather scary [IMNSHO]. I like bolt-ons.
Even though the lack of an upper horn has
not resulted in objectionable neck dive,
it still shifts the fingerboard very much
to the left, especially combined with the
many extra inches between the bridge and
the end-pin [typical of hollow bodies].
This makes quite a reach to the low end.
Actually, any complaints I have are just
the typical ones of hollow bodied basses,
none specific to the BEX-4, and these are
all at a minimum on this ax. Exception:
Some semi-hollow axen have access panels
to the pots, jack etc on their back sides,
but the BEX-4 does NOT.
F-hole semi-hollow body with full-height center block connecting top to back. Not
much thicker than a solid body bass, with
a not-blocky but not-extra-sleek 4-bolt
neck joint and single cut-away. Veneer
top on one-piece carved-out hardwood body.
Bridge is typical-looking wooden acoustic
style, but with metal innards, and is
screwed [not just glued] in place [screws
reach the hardwood center block]. There's
a piezo PU in the bridge and what looks
like a humbucker in the "p-bass" location.
Tuners are the usuual compact sealed type,
2+2, plastic nut, rosewood on maple neck,
don't see any multi-lamination but there
is a large V-joint for the tilt-back head.
About 21 frets, many of which *slightly*
catch my hand at the edges but not enough to slow me down. Rod is accessed at the
headstock, and it works effectively and
easily [important, since the rod is the
only control you have over the action on
this type of ax].
Controls are described in the "things to
like" section, above. I think all the
electronics are in-house Yamaha.
Overall, it seems like a well made ax for
a standard production model: solid but
not custom-built, no fancy details. It's
made in Japan, so you know that concern
for a price-point didn't overwhelm EVERY
aspect of buliding it.
As wooden-bridged, hollow basses go, this
one is about as player-friendly as you are
likely to find. Then there's that tone.
This is not primarily a thud bass [altho
you can dial up some of that]. This ax is
a very "woody" voiced critter, but not so
strange that you would reserve it for only
special tunes. It can be your main ax,
and if it is, you will be remembered for
"your" fascinating tone.
I'm rating it a 4 because of the fret-end
thing mentioned above, and because use of
a fully adjustable metal bridge with piezo
saddles would be suitable on the BEX since
the top is attached to a center block. Golem
rated this unit