Fixing my Yamaha BB1100s Bass (Part 1)

After a bit of a work-imposed gap in hobby activities, one of my oldest pastimes has reared it’s ugly head again – music. I have been playing guitar and bass guitar for years, never getting very good, but enjoying myself and even playing in the odd band or two over the years. (on Bass)

My one bass, a late 80s Yamaha BB1100s, has been sitting in an unheated warehouse at work for almost 10 years. The poor old thing has been very unloved, which is a shame as it is a really nice instrument. I bought it s/h in preference to a Fender USA Jazz bass or P-Bass as it simply played and sounded better to me. Of course, a Fender of that era would have appreciated in value where my old Yam is more or less worthless1. Bah! I like it anyway.

So, what is wrong with it? Er … look at those frets:

They appear to have gone rather green and the fingerboard is filthy. In fact the whole thing is pretty grubby and rather …sticky. (where did I last play this???)

The neck is also bent like a banana. What should be a small amount of neck relief at maybe 12-14thou2 is more like 40thou3 at the 7th fret so it is clear the truss rod is waaaay out of adjustment. In fact, the playing action is massively high. Did I ever set this thing up? Not sure I even knew how to do that the last time I was playing this seriously. Or did it have uneven frets and buzzed if the action was set to a normal height??? Can’t remember.

So, it’s going to need some serious work to get this old thing playing again. Fortunately, I’ve learned a thing or two about guitar setups since then so I’m not daunted!

To be continued…

Notes:

  1. Especially since it’s made in Taiwan. These were made in Japan originally, you can tell at a glance by the Taiwan pickups not looking like standard P-Bass / J-Bass ones. They are reported to sound and play identically though, so it’s just a cachet thing, not a real difference.
  2. 0.3 – 0.35mm
  3. 1mm