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I've had my Yamaha SLB 200 silent double bass for a few years now and I love it to bits.
If your reading this review I suspect that your considering whether to buy a double bass, possible electric or maybe acoustic.
There are obvious advantages and disadvantages of the silent electric type instrument and i will try to sumarise them as best I can below.
I had never owned a double bass before buying this and had no idea how the quality of an electric double bass would compare to an acoustic one. I had previously played a freinds acoustic version so know the type of timbre I was looking for. I always find that the best way of knowing if the instrument is right for you is to play it. With this type of instrument this is easer said than done as there are not too many music shops around that stock silent upright basses.
Luckly I was going down to London around the time I was looking for one and there are a few shops which do stock silent basses.
The first thing that struck me when I first played the Yamaha was the close representation of the sound to an accoustic bass. Other upright basses I had tried just didn't have the right sound. The others were very close to the timbre of a normal electric bass guitar with double bass style strings on.
It seemed very full and rounded and the ebony fret board made that distinct buzz similar to that of its acoustic cousin. The instrument comes with volume, treble and bass controls so you can get the exact sound you require. I find this particulaly useful when switching from plucking to bowing by increasing the treble a bit to give it a bit if a lift. As you may have gathered this does mean that the bridge and fretboard are curved so you can use a bow as well as pluck (something not all upright electric basses have). The main reasons I got wanted an electric uprught right bass as opposed to an acoustic one was for space (acoustic are VERY large) but mainly the ability to plug it in to a mixer easily. I mainly create music by live looping multiple instruments, so have say a bass, guitar, keyboard, sampler and cello all plugged in to a mixer then routed through to a looping pedal. The SLB200 is perfect for this kind of set up as it can always be on hand ready to play. I also bought the Yamaha stand for the bass which, albeit very expensive, is exelent as it can be played while stood and fixed to the stand, you don't even need to hold it! If you don't have a stand it can be a bit of a pest to lay down for a bit as it is still quite long. It can be packed away in to a fairly compact supplied soft case, maybe around 5ft tall, so its not too bad. The pictured frame that also comes with the instrument is well built and very useful to stop it from spinning round and to get a feel of an acousitc bass. It also looks very good in your room, its almost like a work of art, the wood is nice and the quality of all the components is high.
On the down side it is on the pricey side as you can get a cheap acoustic bass for quite a bit less, although I'm not too sure what the quality would be like. I also think that if you needed toEuro amplify an acoustic bass you would need a pretty good pick up, or possibly two, which would add significantly to the cost. I also have the stand for this bass and it is excelent quality and you can even play when attached to the stand.
Overall very good, I love it and so do all others that play it....ACE!!