Yamaha RBX170EW demo and review
New bass in the barn.
Here is my video review and demo of the Yamaha RBX170EW bass guitar I bought. Below the video is my story on why I got it, and some further thoughts that I didn't cover in the video.
Some further review notes
It absolutely amazes me these days what some companies can push out for so little money, and the Yamaha RBX170EW is one of those types of guitars.
The regular RBX170, as in the non-EW version, is a model that's been around for probably 10+ years now and is already a great instrument on its own. In fact, the entire reason I bought a second is because I owned a blue one before. And in fact, Yamaha still makes it.
So why the EW? Simple answer. It was on sale at Guitar Center for the same price as a regular RBX170, I've been wanting a 34-inch scale bass guitar, and it was available right now.
There were only two problems with the RBX170EW when I got it. The master tone pot was a little loose, and the output jack was a little loose. That's it. It took all of about a minute to tighten both of those, and the rest of the instrument was spot-on and was even intonated correctly right out of the box. The only other setup I had to do with adjust the truss rod slightly and adjust string saddle height, and I was done.
As far as how the RBX170EW sounds, it the same as the RBX170. No difference to my ears, which in this case is a good thing because my old RBX170 sounded great.
What impresses me most
My most favorite cheap guitars are ones that are good, solid instruments that look like they cost a lot more than they sell for, and the RBX170EW is definitely one of those.
What makes the RBX170 non-EW look cheap more than anything else is the headstock as it's just plain, non-tinted maple. If that were color-matched to the body, or if the front of headstock were tinted, that would make a huge difference, looks-wise.
The entire reason why many guitars don't have color-matched headstocks is because the painting process is entirely separate from the body, and that adds in extra cost. I don't know how Yamaha was able to get matching on the EW and keep it cheap, but I'm glad they did because it just makes the bass look so much better. The instrument seriously does look like something you'd pay $500 for easily, but sells for under $200.
First time I have ever re-bought the same guitar
If one year you buy a Squier Strat made in China, and a few years later you buy another that was made in Indonesia, that's not re-buying the same guitar. It might look similar, but it was made in a totally different place by a totally different shop even though the brand hasn't changed.
This RBX170EW I bought is the same RBX170 guitar I had before, made from the same company who still uses the same shop, and the only difference is that it looks fancier. I was okay with that, because that's what I wanted. I wanted that RBX170 I remembered, and got it in a nicer-looking package.
The main reason most people buy an RBX170 is specifically for recording, whether for pro or home studio. I didn't realize how good my old RBX170 was until I didn't have it anymore, and when I saw the EW model go on sale, I knew it was time to get another.
Would I recommend the RBX170? For guitar players, it's a perfect bass. For bass players, it's a perfect backup bass.
I'm glad I got mine. As soon as I plugged it into my recording rig at home and played it, I was very glad I got another one. And this time it's sticking around. 🙂